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Television Licences

The law says you need to be covered by a TV Licence to:

  • watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV, 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, etc.)
  • download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer
  • This applies to any device you use, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone,tablet, games console, digital box

This article tries to answer all your questions, but you ca also go to  TV Licensing.

What does it cost?

From 1st April 2020 the cost of a TV Licence is:

  • £157.50 colour TV Licence
  • £53.00 black and white TV Licence
  • a blind concession TV Licence costs £78.75 for colour and £26.50 for a black and white TV Licence.

The Government is responsible for setting the level of the licence fee and announced in 2016 it would rise in line with inflation for
five years from 1 April 2017.

Free TV licenses and concessions

  • free TV Licences for all over 75 year olds, funded by the Government will come to an end on 31st July 2020
  • from 1st August 2020, anyone aged 75 or over receiving Pension Credit will be eligible to apply for a free TV
    Licence, paid for by the BBC
  • applicants need to be receiving Pension Credit in their name or this can be in their partner’s name if they are a couple and living at the same address
  • over 75 years olds not receiving Pension Credit will need to pay for their TV Licence from 1st August 2020..

If you are registered blind

If you are blind (severely sight impaired) and can provide evidence, you are eligible to apply for a 50% concession.  Your TV Licence will also cover anyone who lives with you.

If you are partially sighted (sight impaired) you are not eligible for a concession.

If you are not registered as blind, but would like to do so, see our section on Visual impairments for information on how to do this.

If you live in a care home or in sheltered housing

The Government sets the criteria for which residential care homes, supported housing or sheltered accommodation are eligible for an Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC) concessionary TV Licence.

TV Licensing’s ARC team can guide applicants through the application process and check that the detailed Government criteria
for ARC TV Licences are met. (see organisation listing)

How to pay

There are several ways that you can pay for your licence, but it is worth checking first to see if you are eligible for any concessions. Please be aware that there are scams relating to this targeting older people.


If you are paying for your TV Licence in one go, rather than spreading the cost, you can send a cheque in the post. Write your cheque for the full amount and make it payable to ‘TV Licensing‘. You should also write your name, address and TV Licence number (if renewing) on the back of the cheque.  (see address on the organisation listing)

Your TV Licence will then be sent to you in the post within 10 working days. You’ll also be able to view your licence online.

Direct Debit

Setting up a direct debit can be a convenient way to pay for your television licence and you can choose whether to pay in monthly, quarterly or annual instalments. You can set up a direct debit online.

Credit or Debit Card

You can pay online using your credit or debit card, or call telephone number 0300 555 0286 and have your card ready, or use the online PayPoint locator to find your nearest outlet.

Payment or savings card

A TV Licensing payment card gives you the flexibility to pay for a licence weekly and fortnightly, or monthly, from about £6. You can pay online, at any PayPoint outlet, by phone or by text. If you don’t already have a TV Licensing payment card, apply by calling 0300 555 0286.

Simple payment plan

This is the most affordable plan – it can work out at £3 a week if customers stay on the plan.  Referral is through a visiting officer, an invitation from TVL direct mail or  any registered charity that provides debt counselling or other financial advice.

PayPoint Outlets

PayPoint outlets are located in newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol stations. When using a PayPoint outlet to buy or to renew your television licence, you can pay by cash, debit card, or payment/savings card.

Information in Other Languages

The TV Licensing website has information in Welsh, Bengali, Gujarati, Turkish, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Greek, Punjabi, Arabic and Somali and more. They also:

  • distribute leaflets to community organisations in 26 languages.
  • leaflets are available in large print and easy read
  • Customer Care line has a text phone facility
  • letters to be sent in different formats including Braille
  • easy read online

Other Useful Information

  • LifeBook – Age UK free resource. It can be easy to mislay important documents and information. Record your details from, who insures your car, to where you put the TV licence. The LifeBook can help you to be more organised  and could be invaluable to a family member or a friend if they need to locate important information about you in an emergency.

Last updated: July 16, 2020