How To Get Paid For Incoming Calls

Choose the right number range and you can earn some additional money from your incoming calls.

Every now and then, a story hits the news about a member of the public who gets fed up of receiving cold calls and decides to set up a revenue generating number to get paid every time they answer the phone.

Whilst amusing, this is definitely the exception rather the rule, as it’s normally businesses who take advantage of these numbers.

There are actually a few different revenue generating number ranges available, each with differing payouts and cost to the customer. Although they can sometimes be off-putting to the caller, these numbers are a valid way to help bring in some extra funds.

Why set up a revenue generating number?

In our experience, the main reason businesses use these numbers is to help offset their running costs. Any revenue generated contributes to the training and ongoing costs of having expert staff available on the phone. This in turn enables these businesses to offer a higher level of support than before,

With the exception of the specialist 090 number range, most revenue generating numbers don’t pay out a lot to the operator of the number (only 1p-3p/min), normally not enough to justify using them as a pure money making venture.

 Another reason to use a revenue generating numbers is a little more subtle – using one with even a small charge to the caller can psychologically put people off from calling. This helps cut down on call volume frees up more time to deal with enquiries.

All revenue generating number ranges are also non-geographic, so can be used nationwide. They are easily recognised and can help businesses appear more professional.

PLEASE NOTE: These are primarily UK-based numbers and are unlikely to work when called from outside of the UK.  Due to PSA regulations, Revenue Payment can only be made into UK bank accounts.

Which number ranges can be used to generate revenue?

The following UK number ranges can be used to generate an income. Also listed is how much you can expect to earn per minute when someone calls your number, as well as what the caller pays. Call charges are actually split into two parts and are explained in more detail further down the page.

  • 0844 numbers – This range pays 1p/min peak, 1.25p/min off peak, Calls cost 5.8333 pence per minute (ex. VAT), plus the caller’s phone provider's access charge (more info).
  • 0871 numbers – pays 3p/min at all times, Calls cost 10.8333 pence per minute (ex. VAT), plus the caller’s phone provider's access charge (more info).
  • 0872 numbers – pays 2p/min at all times, Calls cost 8.3333 pence per minute (ex. VAT), plus the caller’s phone provider's access charge (more info).

There is also another number range, which is commonly associated with earning money – the 090 number range. This can work a little differently from the above ranges, so we’ll cover it separately:

090 premium rate numbers

090 numbers are widely recognised as premium rate numbers that generate income for their operators. Call charges are usually much higher than with other ranges, as are the payouts.

Not surprisingly, 090 numbers are also much more highly regulated, so if you are thinking of getting one we recommend you talk to us first. Please note that we don’t operate or provide numbers for adult chat lines.

Calls to 090 numbers can either be charged per minute or per call (for a fixed duration).

Typical costs / payouts are as follows:

  • One-off setup fee of £100, plus annual service charge of £255.50
  • Revenue generated – varies depending on the rate the call is charged at, typically 3.5p-£1.01/min, or 3.5p-82p per call.
  • Call charges can also vary widely (you choose how much you want to charge), but usually range from 8.3p-£1.50/min or 8.3p-£1.25 per call, plus the caller’s phone provider's access charge.

090 number uses

We find our clients generally use 090 numbers for one of the following options:

  1. Premium Rate Support Lines. Popular as a way of offering specialized tech support, premium rate numbers can be used to ensure you get paid when offering your service. It’s a way of charging for your time, without having to send an invoice or set up an online payment etc (more details here).
  2. Competition Lines. Ask a simple question and have callers choose the correct answer from a list of options. If they get it right, they then leave a message with their contact details. If they get it wrong, they are invited to try again (click here for more info).
  3. Tipster Lines (Racing). This is another way of charging for your expertise. Record a message with your latest racing tips and charge people when they call in to get your advice (read more here).

 If you want to set up any of the above, or have a different use in mind, please contact us to talk through the set up process and any applicable regulatory requirements you’ll need to know about.

Call charges and displaying your number

One thing you do need to be aware of when you use revenue generating numbers, or any other number starting in 084, 087 or 090, is that you need to display call charges alongside your number.

This is required by Ofcom and applies wherever your number is provided, such as on your website, in a letter or on an advert.

The statement  is typically written in the following recommended format:

"Calls cost x pence per minute (ex. VAT), plus your phone company's access charge."

The call charge is actually broken up into two parts – the service charge and the access charge.

  • The service charge is the part charged by Callagenix and is known, so can be included in the display statement.
  • The access charge is a separate charge and is made by the caller’s phone provider. As this can vary from provider to provider it is not possible to include an exact figure for this.

There is no requirement to disclose your revenue share when displaying your number.

You can read more about this here.

Quick note on revenue generating numbers and B2C sales

There is one other thing to be aware of if you plan on using a revenue generating number and you sell to the public.

In June 2014 the Office of Fair Trading brought in new rules that prevent businesses that sell B2C (Business to Consumer) having a free or low cost number (such as an 0800 number, 01 /02 / 03 number) for sales and general enquiries, then using an 084, 087 or 090 number for post-sales support.

There are some exceptions to this, including all Business to Business (B2B) support lines, as well as B2C businesses operating in the following sectors: banking, gambling, insurance, credit, rental of accommodation, package travel, timeshares, pensions and investments, plus others

Before setting up your number, we’ll be happy to advise on whether these rules apply to you.

To read more about this, please go here.

How are revenue generating numbers used with Callagenix services?

The good news is that no matter which range you choose, you can combine your new revenue generating number with any of our hosted phone services.

If you go for an 0844, 0871 or 0872 number, you have the option of connecting it to our Basic Service. This is a simple redirect to an existing UK landline (01 or 02 number) and there is no charge for this.

If you want to divert calls to your mobile or abroad, or if you want to handle the calls in more sophisticated ways, then you’ll need to use your number with our Advanced Service. You can then use our various hosted services as building blocks, combining them to create the ideal call handling service for your requirements.

090 numbers can only be used with our Advanced service, even if you only want to divert calls to a landline.

If you need help deciding, you can start off with a Basic Service and upgrade later, or else just get in touch and we’ll advise you on the best options.

How are funds paid?

Now for the fun part!

Full details on how you are paid any funds generated can be found on this page.

To give you a quick summary, Basic Service payments are paid monthly in arrears, usually directly into your bank account. There is a £50 minimum payment threshold.

If you are using our Advanced Services, you can either use the accumulated funds to offset your account running costs, or have them paid monthly in arrears into your bank account on request.


So there we have it.

Revenue generating numbers are an option worth considering, helping to keep costs down for businesses and callers alike.

Of course, there are other choices available should a revenue generating number not be the right fit. For promotional purposes a Freephone number is usually a good choice, whilst a regular 01/02 number (or the non-geographic equivalent 03 number) is a safe and reliable option for just about all circumstances.

Whichever number type you choose, and however you need to handle your calls, we can help you find the best solution for your unique requirements. Contact us today.

To get started, call us on +44 (0) 333 247 00 00 or click here