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Wasting Time and Money with Vodafone

2: Seeker
2: Seeker

Bear with me. You might find the following amusing. I don't.

As a Pensioner I only need a phone occassionally so I have a PAYGo account which I top up about once a year. I have litte use for texts, Data or Apps. I have an Internet connection for that.

Here's how to waste time and money managing such a PAYGo account.

I used to have an App called My Vodafone. I updated it the other evening to see what my balance was. I was asked to turn on mobile data and turn of WiFi so I could be identified. Result: a text message "We see you are using data..." and my balance immediately went down by £2. [I know! I should have dialled some free number that I haven't noted down].

Today I decided to top up with my on-line Vodafone account. I tried to put in £30. Everything seems to go well and the Bank Authorisation seemed to complete correctly. I get returned to the TopUp page to find an error message. "You can only top up by £20 in the first 7 days you are with us". SEVEN DAYS! Interesting since I have had the same number and account since 2012. I try again. Same error.

"At this point I must have lost my presence of mind" to quote Hoffnung.

I try using the phone itself and when I enter the card details I get diverted to speak to a real person. We try again with the same card and she tells me the transaction is being refused by my bank. "Would I like to try another card?". My reply is "No forget it, I'll top up a different phone and use that".

Life is too short. I've already spent over 30 minutes trying to top up.

My landline rings. It is an automated security check from the bank. I press a load of buttons to confirm who I am and that the four recent transactions with Vodafone eCommerce are genuine. At the end, after another five minutes of so has passed, I am told my card is "Enabled and ready for use".

In other words if I had ignored the call, the next time I tried to use my CC it would have been blocked by this Vodafone nonesense.

If you want a shambles get a "Smart Phone" from Vodafone


16: Advanced member
16: Advanced member


You tried to use a card to top up, which your Bank decided as possible Fraud transaction and declined it.

Which is what the Agent you spoke to confirmed. So why is Vodafone to be blamed?



p/s more Confused than Amused


@jtevans-sk wrote:

Bear with me. You might find the following amusing. I don't.

Read what it says. The bank did not decline the first transaction. After doing the first card check, Vodafone rejected a £30 top up with the comment that I could only do a £20 Top up in the first 7 days I have been with them. My account has been open since 2012 and my number has not changed. It was repeatedly trying to recover that situation with the same card, that caused the Bank to be suspicious.


The problem is Vodafone deciding I was with them for less than 7 days. Incompetence


17: Community Champion
17: Community Champion

Hi @jtevans-sk


There is a limit on the amount you are able to top up during a 7 day period using the same card.  The transactions would have been declined by your bank and you need to take this up with your bank,


With mobile top ups being a high fraud risk banks can be over cautious and the limit is set by the bank and not Vodafone.

13: Advanced Member

If it's any comfort, long periods without use of a card seem to cause confusion. Yesterday I wasted 2 hours on calls to my bank and to one of the cash-card companies. After a 2-year gap, I wanted to add some CAD to my cash card, and wanted to use the debit card already saved to my account. The cash-card system insisted that my bank was blocking the transaction, my bank insisted that there was no trace at all of either them or Verified by Visa even seeing the transaction, let alone blocking it. Everyone I spoke to was very helpful and fully understood and believed what I was saying, but despite talking to an increasingly high-powered chain of people at the cash-card company, noone could make the top-up work. Eventually I got to a manager so powerful that he let my husband try his debit card on my account - immediately we could see that the transaction was being checked and confirmed with his bank, which I hadn't seen at all with my card. Which entirely confirmed my impression that the cash-card company's IT was at fault, but even the very high-powered manager didn't agree! I rang my bank again at the end of this saga, and they still insisted that none of the attempted transactions showed anywhere on their records.

To turn to more mundane matters, if you do decide to stay with Vodafone, you might want to switch to PAYG1, where you'd probably only be charged 20p rather than £2 for the small amount of data. You can do this by calling 41146. See

Moderator (Retired)
Moderator (Retired)

@jtevans-sk Apologies for the problems you were facing when trying to top up. 

There's a few other options you could try - our Top up page online will go through all of these for you. 

If you continue to have problems with this, please let us know and we'll take a closer look for you 😊