Warning: Bill Shock for Christmas Calls

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Don't Get Caught Out

Calling friends and family abroad this Christmas? Beware of huge charges from major mobile and landline networks. An hour-long call to the US or Australia could cost almost £235 with the worst foreign call fees. But don't worry, there are ways to avoid these rip-offs and make calls for free.

Avoid Rip-Off Charges

Smartphone users are familiar with using apps like FaceTime and WhatsApp for free calls. But if you or the person you're calling aren't online, you'll have to use your mobile or home phone. Lisa Barber from consumer group Which? says it's not fair that customers have to pay excessive charges to call less tech-savvy people.

What You Could Be Paying

Our research found that EE mobile customers would pay £3.91 per minute to call the US or Australia. A ten-minute chat would be nearly £40, and an hour's call a shocking £234.60. Vodafone, O2, and Three charge £3 a minute to call the US or Australia, meaning an hour-long call would cost £180.

Find Cheaper Options

But don't panic, there are ways to save money. Some smaller mobile networks offer great deals, like Lyca and Lebara, which provide pay-monthly options that are far cheaper. For example, with a Lyca SIM, you can get limitless texts and calls to the UK and international numbers for just 89p a month. It's a pay-monthly tariff with no long-term commitment.

Other Ways to Save

If you're looking to make a few calls abroad and only need to ring one particular country, consider getting an international call card from a newsagent or phone shop. These cards can be used on any landline or mobile to call any landline or mobile number overseas. Alternatively, you can add international call bundles to your existing plan with your mobile or landline provider, although these tend to be poor value.

What the Providers Say

Virgin Media O2, BT, Vodafone, EE, and Three all claim to offer a range of international add-ons to bring down calling costs. They also say they are transparent about pricing. Virgin Media O2 highlights that it's the only major provider to offer free EU roaming as standard on its mobile plans.

Nationwide Glitch Causes Chaos

In other news, Nationwide customers experienced a tech glitch that blocked thousands of pounds' worth of payments, leaving them unable to buy Christmas presents and food. The building society quickly resolved the issue, but some customers still faced problems transferring money between accounts or paying for their supermarket shops. Nationwide has yet to announce any compensation payments for the disruption.