Text message comes of age!

Cheers! This Friday (3 December) marks the 18th birthday of the humble text message. The first ever text was sent in 1992 by British engineer Neil Papworth who sent an early “MERRY CHRISTMAS” message to a colleague.

Text messaging has come a long way since then, with around 96 billion messages sent last year in the UK alone – that’s over 11 million every hour.

TV Licensing is wishing the text message happy birthday by reminding mobile phone owners that they can now pay for their licence using a simple SMS. It couldn’t be easier, and this method is now used by more than 35,000 people every month who have a TV Licensing Payment Card, which helps people split the cost of their licence into more manageable amounts. A further 681,000 people on the Payment Card scheme have opted to receive text message reminders when their TV Licence payment is due.

Ian Fannon, spokesperson for TV Licensing said: “Given how much we use text messages these days, it seems hard to remember a time when they didn’t exist.

“At TV Licensing, we appreciate some people find it difficult to pay for a TV Licence in one go, which is why we offer a full range of ways to pay. This includes the option of weekly or monthly payments by text or in person at a nearby PayPoint, but more and more people are also now paying online and by Direct Debit. Anyone who is unsure of the best payment option for them should get in touch so we can help.”

Caroline Siarkiewicz, Executive Director at the Institute of Money Advisers, said: “We applaud TV Licensing's efforts to make it as easy as possible for people on lower incomes to meet their TV Licensing requirements. The Payment Card, for example, allows people to pay weekly, either at a PayPoint outlet, over the phone, online or even by SMS.”

There are many ways to pay for your TV Licence. For more information on any of them, visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info or call 0300 790 6112.


Notes to Editor:
For more information, or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson, please call the TV Licensing press office on 020 7544 3144 or email mediaenquiries@tvlicensing.info

Who needs a TV Licence?
If you use or install television equipment to receive or record television programmes as they are being shown on TV, you need to be covered by a valid TV Licence.  Viewing television without a licence risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. A colour TV Licence currently cost £145.50. A black and white TV Licence currently costs £49.00. Those over 75 are entitled to a free TV Licence.

Paying for a TV Licence:
TV Licensing aims to make it as easy as possible for people to buy a TV Licence, which is why there are many different ways to pay.

  • Online – people are now able to pay online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info by Direct Debit or with a debit or credit card
  • Direct Debit - monthly, quarterly or annual Direct Debit payment schemes are available and can be set up online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/directdebit
  • Over-the-counter – people can now pay at any of almost 22,000 PayPoint outlets across the country
  • Debit or credit card over the phone - this facility accepts payment from a range of debit cards including Maestro, Delta and Connect
  • By post – send a cheque made payable to TV Licensing to: TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL.
  • To find out more about paying in weekly instalments over the counter, online, by SMS or by phone on the cash payment plan, call 0300 790 6078 or view payment methods.

For more information about any of our payment options and concessions, to set up Direct Debit payments or to pay by debit or credit card please visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk or call 0300 790 6112.

General information about TV Licensing is available in other languages: