how much is a tv licence

December 2023

How Much Is A TV Licence? – Including Concessions and Discounts In December 2023

If you enjoy watching television, you must ensure you have a valid TV licence. You will need a valid television licence to record television programmes or watch live tv programmes on any channel, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

History of TV Licence Fee

In 1946, the TV Licence Fee was instituted in the United Kingdom to subsidise BBC programmes and broadcasting. Since then, it has been integral to how the BBC is supported and continues presenting high-quality material to viewers who want to watch tv.

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Purpose of TV Licence Fee

The TV Licence Fee is intended to ensure that everyone who watches or records television programmes on any device – including TVs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones – pays to the cost of producing shows by helping to fund BBC services. This consists of both linear broadcast services (BBC One, Two, etc.) and catch-up television via iPlayer.

Also, you will need the licence to watch or download any British Broadcasting Corporation programmes using the BBC iPlayer whether that is live or watching downloaded content on any viewing device like a tablet, big button mobile phone, television or computer.

You can comfortably spread your expenses by making quarterly or monthly payments.

Any household recording or watching live TV transmissions in the UK as they’re being broadcasted through satellite, terrestrial, cable or the Internet must have a valid and free TV licence.

Hospitals, schools and businesses, and other organisations are also required to have TV licences to record tv and watch television broadcasts. Also, your television licence needs to receive the video-on-demand programme services the British Broadcasting Corporation offers on an iPlayer catch-up service.

The income generated from the licences is used to fund the radio, television and online services of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The television management team that is part of the Finance and Business department of the British Broadcasting Corporation manages and oversees the television licencing system.

How much is a TV Licence a Month?

The colour licence costs £159 while the black and white one costs £53.50. You will a tv licence to watch live tv programmes.

You can also pay your licence by direct debit. Details are as follows:

Pay monthly – from £13.25

The cost of your first Direct Debit licence is spread over six months, at around £26.50 a month. From then on, you’ll pay around £13.25 a month.

Pay quarterly – from £41

You will make four payments throughout the year. Each payment will include a £1.25 charge.

Pay yearly – £159

You’ll pay the full licence fee automatically every 12 months.

Doing so lets you renew your TV licence on time and be ahead on payments. You should understand that colour licences cost more monthly than black and white ones. 

Black and white TV licence

A black and white licence currently costs £53.50 per year.

A black-and-white licence is required if you only watch or record television programmes in black and white on any device, regardless of whether it is connected to an aerial. It also covers using a colour television set to watch or record any programme in black and white.

Black and white TV licences can be purchased online or by post with the same payment options listed below.

Factors Impacting the Cost of a TV Licence

Even though the cost of a TV Licence Fee remains constant throughout the United Kingdom, some variables can change the overall amount that individuals must pay. Those over the age of 75 are exempt from paying for a licence, while students and the jobless may be eligible for reduced payments. 

Also, additional fees may apply if you reside in a home with many households or own multiple televisions. Before making a payment, it is essential to consider these considerations when calculating your total charge.

Also, the BBC offers reductions to clients who want to pay their licence fees annually rather than monthly. This can result in substantial savings and should be considered if you prefer to pay in advance.

Those who are eligible for a concession or exemption must apply in advance; failure to do so could result in hefty fines.

The TV Licence Fee helps fund some of the United Kingdom’s most popular television programmes and gives viewers worldwide access to high-quality material. 

Who is entitled to a Discount?

Currently, many situations can make you eligible for a free TV licence.

Here is a list of people and why, exempt from paying the licence fee. 

Over 75s 

If you are 75 or over and living in the UK, you can apply for a free TV Licence.

Blind people or those with severe sight problems

They can get a 50% discount – anyone who has been certified as severely sight impaired by a consultant ophthalmologist is eligible for a free licence.

"If you attend full-time education at an approved educational institution, you may not need to pay for your TV License. "


If you attend full-time education at an approved educational institution, you may not need to pay for your TV License. 

People living in residential care homes

If you manage any residential care home, sheltered accommodation or supported housing, you will need to ensure that a television licence covers staff, residents, and guests if they need to have one.

The current accommodation for the residential care concessionary television licence costs approximately £7.50 per room, bungalow or a flat according to TV Licencing. Forms are always available if you plan to make new applications or add residents to your existing scheme. You can also be entitled to a discount if you are a sheltered accommodation or a care home resident.

Any household where someone receives Pension Credit

If someone in your home is receiving Pension Credit then your household may be eligible for a free licence.

People living in hostels or shelters

Certain approved hostels and temporary shelters can also have an exemption from the fee. 

In addition to these exemptions, you may be entitled to discounts on your TV Licence if you are aged 16-24, unemployed, over 60 or receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance. It is worth checking with the BBC whether you qualify for any of these discounts before paying.

The discount applies to any device they use, including desktop computers, television, mobile phone, laptop, games console, tablets and digital boxes, and recorders like DVDs. If you currently have over 15 accommodation units on your site, there is an extra fee for every five additional units or fewer. All mobile units and other areas where a television receiver is used or installed must also have a valid TV Licence.

Can I Claim a Discount on My TV Licence?

If you have severe sight impairments or are blind, you can claim a fifty per cent discount on your licence. Also, if you are living with your family members, the licence must be in the name of the individual who is sight impaired or blind to get the discount.

People who are living in sheltered housing or care homes can get the ARC, Accommodation for Residential Care licence. You’ll only need this if you record or watch television in your separate accommodation.

How to Claim a Discount on Your TV Licence?

If you are 75 years and above, you must apply for a television licence since it is not given out automatically. You should contact the television licencing to make your application. For you to apply, you will need the following.

  • Your current television licence number.
  • Your address, postcode and name.
  • Your date of birth.
  • Photocopy of your driving licence, passport, birth certificate or your national insurance number.

If you are sight-impaired or blind, contact TV licensing for registration. After registration, all your television renewals will be at concessionary rates. Here, you will only need to provide:

  • Your current television licence application form as well as a fee.
  • Photocopy of a certificate from the local authority ophthalmologist which will confirm that you are sight-impaired or blind.

If you are living in sheltered housing or in a care home, you should contact the staff, warden or managing authority where you currently live to help you apply for the ARC licence. For you to qualify, you must be:

  • Disabled.
  • Retired and aged 60 and above.

How to Claim a Refund on your TV Licence?

You can comfortably request a refund for a TV licence if you do not need it before its expiry date and you’ve got at least a full month left on it. Also, you can claim your refund television licence if you have an expired licence and less than 24 months have passed since its expiry date. You can apply for a refund on any time and any length if you are blind or 75 years and above.

Methods for Paying the Licence Fee

The easiest way to pay the licence fee is via direct debit. This allows people to set up an automatic payment which occurs on a chosen day each month or year. However, paying by credit/debit card and cheque is also possible. 

Additionally, those who wish to pay in cash can do so through PayPoint outlets nationwide – check your local area for availability.

You can spread the cost of your TV Licence by paying with a finance agreement such as Klarna or Clearpay. This option however does incur additional fees and interest, and should only be used if absolutely necessary.

You can also make the payment on the TV licensing website.

How to Cancel a TV Licence?

If you are paying for a television licence, it can be a real burden for you especially if you barely record or watch the TV you are paying for. With plenty of online watching applications, most people switch to licence-free TV daily.

You should watch out though, a TV licence phone number, as well as a television licence, is a legal requirement for every individual who records and watches any live television or British Broadcasting Corporation iPlayer. You can follow these simple steps if you plan to give up on television programmes for good.

1 – If You Are Paying by Direct Debit

  • If You Are Paying by Direct Debit: If you are currently paying your TV licence through direct debit, you must use the TV licencing contact us form to let them know your address and why you are cancelling. Ensure you cancel your free TV licence and direct debit with the bank.

2 – If You Use a Television Licence Payment Card

  • If You Use a Television Licence Payment Card: If you are currently using a television licence payment card, you will need to call the TV licence phone number or the payment card inquiries line between 08:30 and 6:30 during the working days or 08:30 and 13:00 on Saturdays to inform them.

3 – If You Pay the All in One Go

  • If You Pay the All in One Go: In case you are using the all-in-one-go payment method, you should use the inquiries line for the all in one customers between 08:30 and 6:30 during weekdays and between 08:30 and 13:00 on Saturday.

4 – Request a Refund TV LicenceBritish Broadcasting Corporation

  • Request a Refund TV Licence: If you currently have at least a full month left on your television licence and you want to apply for a refund TV licence, you will need to fill out a form that you can get from the British Broadcasting Corporation. In most cases, they will request you to provide evidence of not using your television anymore. Also, they will work out the total amount of refund you are currently eligible for.

You should understand that you can only request your refund up to two weeks and if the British Broadcasting Corporation approves your refund, the licence will be cancelled automatically. Also, you will be eligible for the refund if you will not require your licence again before its expiry date. 

After your application, the British Broadcasting Corporation will look carefully at the details and inform you whether it can offer the refund.

The Licence Fees When Watching BBC In Other Countries

For those living outside of the UK, the cost of a licence varies depending on where they are located. In countries such as Ireland and Gibraltar, viewers must purchase an Irish TV Licence which costs €160 annually. Viewers in Canada and the United States can pay their licence fee via Paypal or credit card.

TV licence evasion

TV licence evasion is a serious offence and can result in fines of up to £1,000. 

It is important to check whether you need a licence and ensure the correct payment is made on time. Those caught watching or recording programmes without a valid licence may also face prosecution.

It is worth noting that it is now illegal to watch any television programmes on your device after the 1st of September 2020, even if you are using services to stream programmes live, such as Netflix or Now TV, unless you have a valid TV licence. 

An out-of-date TV Licence can be just as serious as not having one at all, so you should keep your payments up-to-date.

By understanding their rights and responsibilities when it comes to paying the TV Licence Fee, viewers can be sure that they are watching television legally and helping to support the quality programming we all know and love.

how much is tv licence

No matter how you choose to pay your fee, if you need a licence then it is important to make sure that all payments are made on time. This will help avoid any unnecessary fines or prosecution for licence evasion.

When do you need a separate TV licence?

You must purchase a separate licence if you watch or record programmes in two different properties on any device. If the same person owns both properties, then it may be possible to apply for a joint TV Licence.

Additionally, a separate licence is required if more than one person lives in the property but is unrelated. However, members of the same household can watch or record programmes simultaneously using just one licence.

Ultimately, having a valid licence gives viewers access to an extensive range of programmes from broadcasters worldwide, helps ensure that producers continue creating quality content and allows households to remain up-to-date with news and events both in the UK and overseas.

TV licence after a bereavement

When someone dies, their TV licence will remain valid until the date it is due to expire. If they have a joint licence with someone else, the other person may be able to continue using it if they still live in the same property.

If the deceased, or their partner, was over 75 and received a free TV Licence, the licence will stay valid for up to one year after death. After that, if somebody else is living in the property and watching television programmes as they are broadcasted, they will need to purchase a new licence.

It is also possible for a surviving spouse/partner or next of kin to apply for a refund of any unused portion of the TV Licence Fee paid.

TV licence over 80

For those who do not receive Pension Credit but are still over 80, then they must pay the full licence fee of £157.50 if they wish to watch or record programmes as they are broadcasted on any device. Again, payment options include direct debit, cheque, cash or online credit/debit card.

In short, understanding your rights and responsibilities when it comes to paying the TV Licence Fee is essential for legally watching television programmes.

How can I pay for my TV licence if I live outside the UK?

On the TV Licensing website, you can pay for your TV licence using a credit or debit card or set up a Direct Debit if you have a UK bank account. You can also pay via bank transfer or with a TV Licensing payment card, which can be ordered online and sent to a UK address.

Are there any penalties for not paying my TV licence fee on time?

There are penalties for late payment of the television licence fee. If you miss a payment, you will receive a reminder letter; if you do not pay, you may receive a court summons and be fined up to £1,000. In addition, if you continue to use your television without a licence, you may be visited by a TV Licensing Enforcement Officer, who can enter your home to determine if you are illegally watching television.

Can I use someone else’s TV licence to watch in my home?

No, you cannot use another person’s television licence to watch television in your own home. A household must possess a valid TV licence if it watches or records live television or uses BBC iPlayer. 

Even if a household has multiple TVs or devices that can receive TV channels, only one licence is required.

How do I apply for a TV licence if I live in a shared accommodation?

If you reside in shared housing, you must check with your landlord or letting agency to determine whether or not the property already has a TV licence. 

If not, you can apply for a TV licence online or over the phone; however, you will need to provide the addresses and personal information of all residents using the licence. You can apply for a discounted single-person TV licence if you are the only person in your household who needs one.

What should I do if I no longer need my TV licence and want to cancel it?

You can cancel your TV licence by contacting TV Licensing via phone or online if you no longer require it. 

You must provide your licence number and the reason for cancellation, and you may be eligible for a refund for any remaining full months on your licence. Note that you must purchase a new licence if you cancel your licence but then watch or record live TV or use BBC iPlayer again.

How often does the TV licence fee change?

The British government determines the annual TV licence fee, which is subject to change annually. In our experience, the fee changes annually, with the new rate taking effect on April 1st. 

Can I get a refund for my TV licence if I no longer need it before it expires?

Yes, you may be eligible for a refund if you no longer need your TV licence. To request a refund, you must contact TV Licensing via telephone or online and provide your licence number and the reason for the refund.

The refund amount may be reduced to account for a processing fee.

What is the process for getting a TV licence if I am a student or unemployed?

You may be eligible for a reduced-cost concessionary TV licence if you are a student or unemployed. To be eligible for a concessionary TV licence, you must provide evidence of your student or unemployed status, such as a valid student ID card or a letter from the Jobcentre.

Can I get a refund for my TV licence if I no longer need it before it expires?

Yes, you can receive a refund if you no longer need your TV licence before it expires. The refund amount will depend on the remaining time on your driver’s licence. You can request a refund by contacting TV Licensing or filling out their website’s online form.

What is the process for getting a TV licence if I am a student or unemployed?

If you are a student or unemployed and watch or record live TV or use BBC iPlayer, you still need a TV licence. The procedure for obtaining a television licence is identical for all individuals, regardless of their employment or student status. 

You can apply for a TV licence online at the TV Licensing website, over the phone, or through the mail.

How does the TV licence fee help support the production of quality programming?

The TV licence fee produces high-quality programming by funding the BBC, a public service broadcaster. The BBC produces numerous types of programming, including news, documentaries, drama, and comedy. The TV licence fee enables the BBC to produce high-quality programming independent of commercial advertising revenue.

What happens if I am caught watching or recording programmes without a valid TV licence?

You could face legal action and a maximum fine of £1,000 if caught watching or recording television without a valid TV licence. TV Licensing can obtain a search warrant to enter your home and determine whether you watch live television or BBC iPlayer. 

It is important to note that owning a TV or TV-receiving device, such as a laptop or mobile phone, does not require a TV licence; only watching live TV or BBC iPlayer does.

Meet the author

Rob Atherton

Rob Atherton

Rob writes and edits the content produced by the rest of the team. He has a degree in History from Leeds University and has producing, reviewing and editing the site since 2016

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a TV licence cost?

The cost of a TV licence varies depending on the country you live in. In the UK, a standard colour TV licence for a year costs £159.00. However, different rates are available for different types of licences, such as black and white TV licences or a reduced fee for blind people. In other countries, such as Canada, the cost of a TV licence may be different, or there may not be a TV licence requirement.

When do I need to pay for my TV licence?

Answer: You need to pay for your TV licence before you start watching or recording any live TV programs. In the UK, you can pay for your TV licence annually, monthly or quarterly. You risk being fined if you don’t pay for your TV licence.

Are there any exemptions for paying for a TV licence?

In some countries, there are exemptions for paying for a TV licence. For example, in the UK, you don’t need to pay for a TV licence if you’re over 75 years old, have a severe vision impairment, or use your TV to watch non-live content such as DVDs or online streaming services.

How do I pay for my TV licence?

You can pay for your TV licence online, over the phone, via direct debit or by post. In the UK, you can also pay at a PayPoint outlet. You must provide your personal information, such as your name, address, and TV licence number, when making a payment.

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