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Tesco Mobile's No Contract SIM: how it works, prices and benefits

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We look at the full ins and outs of Tesco Mobile's No Contract SIM only plans to see whether they're right for you needs. Last updated: 25th January 2023.

How Tesco Mobile’s No-Contract SIMs work

Pre-paid 1-month SIM plans with no commitments

No contract, no nonsense

No contracts means more flexibilitySee all plans

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Tesco Mobile offer a range of SIMs with no contracts, which give you a great deal more flexibility to change or leave your plan when it suits you compared to being on one of their SIM only contracts.

You pay for your minutes, texts and data up front using a UK debit or credit card at the beginning of each month rather than setting up a direct debit like you would for a contract. You then get a whole month to get through what you paid for.

If you don’t want to manually top up every month and choose a plan, then you can set your plan to auto-renew. If you do that, you’ll automatically get the same plan each month until you turn auto-renew off.

We’ll go over all the advantages and disadvantages of joining on a No-Contract SIM further down this page, so you can decide whether or not it’s the right plan for you.

Useful link: Tesco Mobile’s current No-Contract SIM only plans

The benefits of joining on a No-Contract SIM

You can switch, pause or leave plans whenever you like

Roundels containing plans

Example pricing only See current prices

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The added flexibility of Tesco’s No-Contract SIMs means you get more control over your plan. You can upgrade or downgrade your plan to suit your needs and budget, pause your plan for a while and leave when it suits you.

When you want to leave on a regular contract you’ll typically have to give notice and maybe a termination fee. With a No-Contract SIM that’s not the case. Just turn off auto-renew and let your plan run out without buying a new one.

You don’t even have to give notice that you’re leaving. They do say you should turn off auto-renew at least 48 hours before your plan’s set to renew just to make sure the payment isn’t taken out.

Overall, the added flexibility means you can choose a plan that suits your needs. And you’ll never be stuck paying too much for a plan you don’t need as you can just switch down and potentially save money that way.

Useful link: Our 30-day rolling SIM contract guide

There are no credit checks on Tesco’s No-Contract SIMs

SIM card and a traffic light

Plans that accept you with bad creditRead our guide

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Usually when you try to join on a SIM only contract, the network will look at your history of making payments to decide if they can trust you to pay them every month. If you fail this check you won’t be able to join on a contract.

But the fact that you pay up front for your mins, texts and data with Tesco Mobile’s No-Contract SIMs means you don’t have to pass a credit check. You just need enough money on your card and you can join.

Tesco offer a few deals without contracts. Here are what we think are their best current ones:

But bear in mind joining on a No-Contract SIM won’t help you build up your credit score. So if you want to move onto a contract later on these SIMs won’t help you for that.

They’re still a great option if you’ve struggled to join a contract in the past. On top of the lack of credit checks you’ll also get all of the benefits that we’ll go into further down the page.

Useful link: Our guide for failed credit checks on O2

Avoid accidental overspending on a No-Contract SIM

Screenshot of top up screen

You have to top up to use extras outside of your planRead more

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Another benefit of these plans is that there’s no way to accidentally overspend on extras outside of your allowance. If you want to use extras you’ll have to top up with credit and pay for them out of that.

These extras include calls to premium numbers, international calls and these others. With Tesco’s No-Contract SIMs your monthly bill will be exactly as you expect it to be.

This helps put your mind at ease as you don’t have to worry about paying more than you want to. And if you want to use these extras you still can, you just need to go through the process of topping up.

In all, it’s a nice added benefit of Tesco’s No-Contract SIMs.

Useful link: Our guide to the most flexible spending caps

You get most of the same benefits as on pay monthly

Tesco Mobile customer service awards

Still one of the best networks for customer serviceHow to contact them

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With Tesco Mobile’s No-Contract SIMs you get most of the same benefits as you’d get if you joined on a pay monthly contract.

You get the same customer service experience as any other Tesco Mobile user. Considering they receive only 1 complaint per 100,000 customers according to Ofcom that’s definitely an upside.

Their call centres are open from 8am - 9pm every day. Or if you prefer you can use their online chat open from 7am - 11pm to get your issue resolved either online or by using their app. Or you can go into a large Tesco store for help.

And on top of that you can collect points on your Tesco Clubcard which you can then exchange for money off your Tesco shopping or off the cost of your plan. This means you’re rewarded for your loyalty with Tesco Mobile.

Useful link: The best networks for customer service

Disadvantages of Tesco Mobile’s No-Contract SIMs

You get worse value for money and no Family Perks

Tesco mobile family plans

Family Perks are reserved for pay monthly customersRead more

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In terms of how many mins, texts and MB of data you get per pound, Tesco’s No-Contacts SIMs work out as a little worse value than their 24-month and even pricier 12-month contracts.

And you’re missing out on Tesco’s Family Perks which give you extra benefits for adding more SIMs to your account, such as money off your deal or extra Clubcard points. If you want multiple SIMs you might be better off on pay monthly.

You’re also missing out on Clubcard Prices which are better value or completely unique deals available to Clubcard holders. These only come on 12-month or 24-month contracts.

Also, while it’s good you can’t accidentally overspend on extras there’s no cap on how much of your topped up credit can be used on extras. And having to top up to use extras can be a pain if you have to do it frequently.

So the added flexibility of Tesco’s No-Contract SIMs does come at a cost. You’ll likely end up paying more than you would if you joined on a contract, so you’ll have to consider whether it’s worth it for you.

Useful link: Compare Tesco Mobile SIM only plans

Our verdict on Tesco Mobile No-Contract SIMs

No-Contract SIMs are fantastically flexible but come at an extra cost ★★★☆☆ (3/5, good)

Tesco mobile family plans

It's free to order your SIMOrder free SIM now

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We think Tesco Mobile’s No-Contract SIMs are a great choice if you’re looking for a flexible deal. If you want to stay in control of your plan and leave yourself open to leave or switch plans then you’ll love this SIM.

While being on a No-Contract SIM won’t build up your credit score, it’s still a good choice for a temporary SIM while you build your credit score elsewhere.

And they’re even better if you’re a regular Tesco shopper with a Clubcard as you can combine your mobile bill with your shopping to get money off either one.

But these deals can’t match Tesco Mobile’s pay monthly contracts when it comes to sheer value for money. If you’re looking for the best possible deal, your best choice is one of Tesco’s 24-month contracts or one of their Clubcard deals.

Useful link: Compare Tesco Mobile SIM only plans

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