Paying your TV licence

Keeping up with your TV licence payments is important as it’s considered a priority debt. TV Licensing can issue fines or take you to court for failing to pay.

If you’re struggling to pay, this guide will tell you the options available.

What to do if you’re struggling to pay your TV licence

If you’re worried about keeping up with your TV licence payments, get in touch with TV Licensing as soon as possible.

If your drop in income is temporary and you expect it to go back to normal soon, TV Licensing will work with you to set up an affordable repayment plan.

You can contact TV Licensing by visiting its website or calling 0300 555 0300. Calls cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number, whether from a mobile or landline. If you get inclusive minutes with your mobile, calls to an 0300 number will be included.

You could also consider cancelling your TV licence. It will save you money and might be a better choice if you’re not sure about when your income will go up again.

How you can cancel your TV licence and get money back

If you don’t think you’ll be able to afford a TV licence any time soon, it’s best to cancel it and potentially get some money back.

You can cancel your licence if you no longer:

  • watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on any channel
  • watch or stream programmes live on an online TV service (such as ITV Hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, NOW TV, Sky Go)
  • download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer.

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If you need to cancel your licence (and receive a refund if applicable), call TV Licensing on:

  • 0300 790 6068 - if you pay by direct debit or all in one go
  • 0300 555 0300 - if you pay by TV Licensing payment card
  • or you can use TV Licensing’s contact form to cancel online.

Make sure you have your customer number handy and choose the option to cancel your licence.

You can apply online for a refund up to two years after the expiry date of your licence. You may have to print off the form and provide evidence.

Find out more about claiming refunds on the TV Licensing siteopens in new window.

What if I’ve already missed a payment?

TV Licensing are aware that many people are struggling with their bills at the moment, including their TV licence.

They’re giving people breathing space and may not write to you if you fall behind with payments.

However, try to keep up with your payment plan as this will keep your future payments as low as possible.

If you can’t keep up with your payment plan, contact TV Licensing as soon as you can on 0300 555 0300. They’ll do what they can to help you.

TV Licensing currently have fewer staff answering calls. This means that they’re only able to provide an essential service and it’s also taking them longer to respond to emails and letters.

I can’t afford to make my next direct debit payment - what should I do?

Only cancel a direct debit to a priority bill as a last resort.

If you can’t find a way to pay your TV licence, it’s best to get advice as soon you can, especially if you’ve got other debts as well.

See our guide on how to prioritise your debts to help you work out which ones to pay off first.

If you need support, find free confidential debt advice online, over the phone or near to where you live using our debt advice locator tool.

I’m over 75 and can’t afford to pay my TV licence

If you’re over 75, your TV licence used to be free. However, since 1 August you have probably had to start paying for your TV licence.

There are still some over-75s who can get the TV licence for free or at a reduced rate:

If you’re eligible for pension credit

Pension credit provides additional retirement income if you’re on a low income. A third of people who are entitled to it don’t claim it.

If you or someone in your household is over 75 and claiming pension credit then you can also claim a free TV licence.

See our guide to Pension Credit for more details.

To claim your free TV licence call TV Licensing on 0300 790 6117 to request an application form. You’ll need to provide proof of age and that you receive pension credit.

If you live in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man

Over 75s living in the Isle of Man or the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey can get a free TV licence until 31 December 2020.

If you live in a care home

If you’re over 75 and live in a residential care home, you might be covered by the care home’s licence and won’t have to pay, even if you don’t claim pension credit.

Ask your care home manager if it has an ‘Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC) TV licence.

If you’re registered blind

If you are registered blind (severely sight impaired) you can get a 50% discount on your TV licence fee. There’s no age limit to apply for this.

If you only listen to the radio

If you don’t watch TV (or watch anything on BBC iPlayer) and only listen to the radio (even if you listen to BBC radio) then you don’t need to pay for a TV licence.

If you have a black and white TV

If your TV is black and white you can apply for a reduced cost TV licence for £53. A full colour TV licence costs £157.50.

If you’re not eligible for any of the above reductions and are worried about being able to pay for your TV licence contact TV Licensing as soon as possible on 0300 555 0300.

If you’re retired there are some benefits you might be entitled to. See our Benefits in retirement guide for more.

TV licence scams

Be wary of fake emails or text messages from “TV Licensing”, as it’s a common phishing scam.

Read our blog post for the signs to look out for.

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