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giffgaff’s 18-month contracts on SIM only: are they worth it?

giffgaff logo with a contractVisit giffgaff.com

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We look at the pros and cons of committing to a longer 18-month contract on giffgaff’s SIM only vs their usual monthly goodybags. Last updated: 13th July 2023.


They give you more data for the same money

The first benefit of giffgaff’s 18-month SIM contracts is pretty obvious. The extra commitment from you means that giffgaff can give you a bit extra value in your deal, as compared to their monthly plans.

There’s seemingly no fixed formula for how much extra you get for the same price but if you check the dropdown below, we’ve compared each of giffgaff’s 18-month contracts vs their equivalent 1-month one.

You’ll need to decide for yourself whether that’s a big enough motivation for you, based on your budget and usage.

Price-wise, the 18-month contracts do compare very favourably against most other O2-based networks, O2, Tesco, Sky, although Virgin Mobile will often undercut them. It’s worth comparing yourself below.

Useful link: Read our giffgaff vs O2 guide

There’s still plenty of flexibility built into them

giffgaff banner that reads 'when plans change, change plans'

You don’t have to stay on same planHow to change plan

at giffgaff.com
(opens in new window)

giffgaff pride themselves on flexibility, so they have been careful to take out some of the fear of committing so long, by letting you change your plan up or down whenever your needs change.

You might find you’re not using all the data you’re getting, so can move down to a cheaper, smaller plan and save money. You might find the opposite and that moving up plans could save on buying extra data.

It’s really easy to change your plan. Have a read of their instructions here. It’s just a matter of going into your account online or using their app, which we’ve always found decent.

And despite being a contract you’re committing to, there’s still no credit to join giffgaff on their 18-month SIMs. So if you’ve been turned down elsewhere, they’re a good, cheap guaranteed option for you.

Useful link: Compare all no credit check SIMs

Existing customers can ‘upgrade’ to one

Screenshot from app

Simply pick an 18-month plan as your nextSee giffgaff's app

at giffgaff.com
(opens in new window)

If you’ve never been with giffgaff before and are wary of immediately committing to an 18-month contract with them, first read our full network review here but also remember you don’t have to take one immediately:

Existing customers already with giffgaff can choose to ‘upgrade’ onto an 18-month contract at any point. All you do is choose an 18-month plan as your next month’s plan in the app or online.

For new customers, that means you could just play it safe and take one of giffgaff’s 1-month plans for now, test it out, see if you’re happy, and then switch to an 18-month one later, to get extra value.

Or remember that giffgaff offer a 14-day returns period on all their SIMs. So if you take an 18-month deal and aren’t happy, you can get out of the contract and pay only for what you’ve used, no questions asked.

Useful link: Compare all 30-day SIM only plans


18 months is a fairly long commitment

giffgaff fixed prices banner

Prices to stay same for this yearWhat to expect…

at giffgaff.com
(opens in new window)

giffgaff were built around their pay as you go style 1-month goodybags, so it is a surprise to see them going down the route of offering contracts. It’s most likely because they’re being out-competed on price elsewhere.

It’s also surprising they’ve chosen 18 months. We’d say that’s probably longer than average. For plans that aren’t 1-month, we’d say a contract length of 12 months is about standard, though we are seeing even longer.

A lot can change in 18 months. And we’re seeing a bit of a race to the bottom on price from many different networks. So even if you’re re-assured your price won’t go up, you could be missing out elsewhere.

And we’d say the extra data you get with giffgaff’s longer term SIMs still doesn’t make them world beating on price. You might decide that the trade-off against flexibility isn’t big enough to be worth it.

Useful link: Costs if you break your contract

You won’t be building up your credit profile

A screenshot of a giffgaff frequently asked question

No credit checks on 18-month contractsRead why not…

at giffgaff.com
(opens in new window)

With ‘normal’ contracts offered on pay monthly networks, you sign an agreement (a contract), set up a direct debit and you’ll pay for any extras outside your plan, at the end of each month.

To avoid letting customers join who have a record of not paying bills on time elsewhere, other mobile networks will perform a credit check on you. This might make it harder for some people to get accepted.

But for everyone that does get accepted, they’ll steadily be building their reputation with credit agencies as a good billpayer. That’s useful for increasing your credit score, which comes in handy elsewhere in life.

On giffgaff, none of that is happening. You’re still pre-paying for your plan and topping up credit for extras with a debit/credit card each month. So you’ll miss out on improving your credit history with their 18-month contracts.

Useful link: Read our full giffgaff review

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