0870 Numbers

Service numbers

Number type:0870 number
Type:Service numbers with a surcharge
Call costs:Up to 13p per minute and 13p per call flat fee, plus access charge.
(Equivalent to up to 68p/min)
Introduced:May 2007
Similar numbers:0843, 0844, 0845, 0871, 0872

What are 0870 numbers?

0870 numbers are telephone numbers that are charged at higher rates due to the inclusion of a surcharge or 'service charge' to pay for the service being provided. Common uses for 0870 numbers include:

  • Chargeable information and support lines
  • Event ticket and travel booking services
  • Conference call services
  • Horoscopes, tarot and fortune-telling
  • Dating, chat and adult entertainment

Tip: most reputable companies have stopped using 0870 numbers for customer services. If you plan to call a company on an 0870 number, check the details on the company's own website first. The 0870 number you have may be out-of-date and cost more to call than the real, current phone number.

0870 number call costs

Special two-part charging arrangements apply when calling 0870 numbers.

The first part of the call cost is your own phone company's standard per-minute 'access charge' which applies to all calls to numbers starting 084, 087, 09 or 118.

The second part is a variable 'service charge' which benefits the organisation you are calling. They are responsible for advising you of the rate that applies before you call.

Total 0870 number call costs will typically be anywhere from 7p to 68p per minute, plus up to an additional 13p per-call charge:

Calling fromTotal cost including access charge
BT landline11p to 24p per minute, plus up to 13p per call
EE mobile50p to 63p per minute, plus up to 13p per call
KC landline10p to 23p per minute, plus up to 13p per call
O2 mobile55p to 68p per minute, plus up to 13p per call
Post Office landline10p to 23p per minute, plus up to 13p per call
Sky Talk landline12p to 25p per minute, plus up to 13p per call
TalkTalk landline8p to 21p per minute, plus up to 13p per call
Three mobile45p to 58p per minute, plus up to 13p per call
Virgin Media landline11p to 24p per minute, plus up to 13p per call
Vodafone mobile55p to 68p per minute, plus up to 13p per call

Call costs rounded to nearest penny and last updated September 2016. Most companies have a minimum charge of one minute. Please double-check with your telephone company.

In most circumstances, 0870 numbers will cost you more to call than a normal landline and will not be included in any free call allowances or bundled minutes that your tariff offers.

Further information

All numbers starting 087 are charged in the same manner and have the same technical features. This includes 08700 numbers, 08701 numbers, 08705 numbers, 08707 numbers, 08708 numbers and all other numbers that start with the digits 0870, regardless of how the number is displayed or what the following digits are.

0870 numbers were introduced in 1996 for services that cost the same as a regular 'national rate' phone call. In April 2001, various older national rate prefixes were shut down and their numbers transferred to the 0870 code as follows:

  • 0374 5xxxxx became 0870 45x xxxx
  • 0541 xxxxxx became 0870 1xx xxxx
  • 0990 xxxxxx became 0870 5xx xxxx

The link to 'national rate' was later broken and by the mid-2000s calls to 0870 numbers began to be charged at a range of different rates. In July 2015, all 084 and 087 numbers switched to the new two-part charging structure made up of a separate service charge and access charge.

Other similar special rate numbers include 0871 numbers and 0872 numbers.

Regulation and advice

The Phone-paid Services Authority regulates 0870 numbers that have a service charge of more than 7p per minute or 7p per call, as well as all 0870 numbers used for chatlines, adult services and internet diallers. They can advise on related problems.

Companies are prohibited from using service numbers such as 0870 numbers for post-sales customer service lines. More info.

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