Is a premium rate number right for you?

If you want to get paid whenever anyone calls you, then an 090 premium rate number may be the answer.

Using this range, you can set the cost of call (within limits) and then get paid when someone calls you. You can choose to charge on either a pence-per-minute or pence-per-call basis, and then get paid accordingly. There’s no right and wrong answer for this - it depends on what you need them for.

You can also set how much it costs to call your 090 number, which in turn directly affects how much revenue you receive. Full details on this can be found here.

Please note that 090 numbers are heavily regulated by the PS Authority (Phone Services Authority) to prevent abuse and ensure operators are using them responsibly. 

Before we take a look at some good use cases for 090 numbers, let’s just take a minute to cover what we can’t help you with.

First of all, at Callagenix we don’t supply numbers for adult chat lines, so we suggest you contact other providers if that’s what you’d like to do.

Also, if you’re thinking of setting up a premium rate number with us to trick people or scam people in some way please save your time and ours and don’t bother. There’s a cost to setting up these numbers, and you also have to provide paperwork to prove your identity, get approval from the PSA and possibly require a license to run them.

As a responsible operator, we also routinely check all new premium rate services to make sure everything is above board. Anyone found breaking the rules will be reported and have their lines shut down immediately, without receiving a refund or any revenue payments.

When to use an 090 premium rate number

The primary use is for companies who want to charge for specialist support, such as technical support for a software package or computer system. The charge for the premium rate call is taken as payment for the support. Please note - 090 numbers should not be used for general customer support, only for when customers are happy to pay for specialist help. See our premium rate support lines page for more information.

Another common use of premium rate numbers for competition lines. Callers pay to enter the competition by using the premium rate number. They then typically have to answer a question and are redirected to a recorded message that tells them if they are right or not. Callers who answer correctly are asked to leave their details to enter the competition. Competition lines can be set up using a virtual switchboard, answerphone and information line services.

If you are thinking of running such a competition line please talk to us first so we can advise whether you’ll meet the regulators requirements and help you through the process.

One final use is using an 090 number to run a tipster line. Although a lot of racing/football tipster services have moved online, a few are still run this way. Each day, the tipster records their tips onto a recorded message, which can only be accessed by dialling the premium rate number.

Again, if you want to do this please contact us for advice on how to proceed.

Alternatives to 090 numbers

090 premium rate numbers aren’t suitable in all cases and sometimes an alternative solution is best.

For example, rather than trying to get payment via the phone call, some businesses prefer to charge the customer directly, then offer a regular phone number for people to access whatever service is being provided. In these cases it’s a simple matter to set up PIN entry to protect the phone line if you need to, so only current clients can access it.

Also, if your main aim is just to put people off from calling you unless really necessary, then this can often be achieved by using an 084 or 087 number.

Call charges to these numbers vary depending on the range, and some even provide you with a small revenue payment for every call made. These numbers are much more straightforward to set up, but also far less lucrative. If you’re only looking for a way for the caller to make a small contribution to the costs, then they are ideal.

Setting up and running premium rate numbers can be far from straightforward, so we always recommend you contact us for a chat first. We’re happy to advise on whether your case is suitable, then either help you take the next step or suggest other solutions.

Written by Matt