Telecom company Noodle will pay you to make and receive calls on your handset, writes Ali Hussain
FANCY being paid every time you use your mobile? It may sound too good to be true, but a free mobile-phone service that can be used alongside an existing contract is offering customers money back each time they make or receive a call.
Some customers are already making up to £100 a week, more than enough to cover a phone’s running costs, according to Noodle, the telecom firm providing the service.
Noodle customers make 2p a minute if they make or receive a call during peak hours and 1p at other times. You can also make money by signing up a friend. You earn money each time you receive a call on your Noodle number, which is obtained by texting “Noodle” to 81025. Calls made by dialling the Noodle number first also earn money.
There is no contract or monthly fee and you can keep your mobile number and any free bundled minutes you have with your existing provider.
If you have free minutes to spare you earn money every time you use the phone. Once you run out of bundled minutes you cut the cost of your calls by up to 2p a minute by calling via Noodle.
Rob Barnes at comparison firm Moneysupermarket, said: “It’s exciting to see a new entrant creating a different product that is so good other networks should be replicating it. There are no discernible drawbacks and the product works.”
After obtaining a Noodle number, you can register online to set up an account. You can then see how much money you have accumulated. There is no need to provide bank details though transferring money to your account is easier if you do. You have to wait 60 days after setting up your Noodle plan before you can withdraw money.
To earn extra by signing other people on to the network, you register a unique word of your choice online. You then ask people to text Noodle followed by your word to 81025.
Savvy customers have set up websites where they encourage people they have never even met to join. Noodlesuper.com or Natter2.com, which look similar to the official Noodle website but are not affiliated, invite you to text “Noodle Super” or “Noodle Natter” to 81025. This will connect you to the Noodle network but also make the website owners money when you use your service.
Some customers have preset a Noodle number on their phones so it is dialled automatically each time they make a call.
Joe Weston, 21, a student at the University of the West of England in Bristol has an Orange contract that costs £45 a month. He has been using Noodle for four weeks and has made £22, covering about half the cost of his mobile contract.
He uses his Noodle number each time he makes calls and has signed up five other students, his older brother and his uncle, so he makes money each time they use the service as well. “I’m hoping to get a few more people to sign up and hopefully cover my entire monthly bill,” he said.
Noodle, owned by the private-equity firm Gerrard Bailey, is able to pass money on to customers because mobile operators pay to connect calls to rival networks.
When a T-Mobile customer makes a call to an Orange phone, for example, T-Mobile pays Orange a fee to connect the call to its customer.
If you make or receive a call on your Noodle number, the caller’s mobile operator has to pay Noodle. A slice of this is then passed on to the customer.
The service also allows you to make cheap or free international calls. Mobile users can pay over £1 a minute to make a call and they are also charged to receive them. The European Commission’s clampdown on overseas call charges, which will slash the cost to 38p a minute, takes effect this month.
But Noodle will still be cheaper. Most international calls, including to America, Australia and Canada, are charged at a local rate so are free if you have spare bundled minutes. You will also be making 2p a minute at peak times so you will in effect be paid to chat to friends and family abroad.
There are some downsides to the service. If a Noodle user calls you on your Noodle number, the caller makes the money not you. Also, you do not make any money at weekends.
All major operators allow customers to use Noodle apart from T-Mobile, which blocks its customers from making a call using the service. A T-Mobile spokesman said the operator was “not averse to working with Noodle” and that it was in discussions with the firm.
Some experts believe that it won’t be around for long though. Anthony Ball, director of comparison firm Onecompare.com, said: “The networks won’t like it and are sure to close the loophole that Noodle is exploiting.”
HOW THE SCHEME WORKS
Register for an account by texting NOODLE to 81025. You will receive a text with a Noodle mobile number and a pin to access your account on noodle.co.uk. To make calls, you dial your Noodle number and wait for a dial tone before calling. If you give your Noodle number to friends and colleagues, you make money every time they call you. You make more money by signing up other people.