About to activate and take the plunge? Quick note with a few common pitfalls to avoid if possible
|Pay as you go data|
This needs to be unlocked or on O2 to work with giffgaff.
Same coverage as O2 - worth checking before you take the plunge, stick your postcode on here:
O2 coverage checker
New to giffgaff? This great guide is a useful place to start.
You ONLY get the £5 free credit after activation (which by the way includes topping up or buying a goodybag/gigabag) if you got your sim from a referral link / signature banner or if the person who gave it to you ordered it from their spread giffgaff page. Sims ordered direct from giffgaff (from the website, ebay banner etc) do not attract this bonus
Activation - Personal details
The giffgaff system is a bit cranky and errors out if any punctuation characters (,.;:- etc) are used - use only standard letters, numbers and spaces in the personal details fields.
Activation - topup
The first topup for activation has to be done online (subsequent voucher topups can be done by dialling 43430).
Activation - password
If you include your username within your password then the screen errors out and refreshes but gives no error message to explain what you have done wrong. Your password must not contain your username.
You may find that although you are certain of your password the site won't log you in and shows a "wrong credentials" message. The most common reason for this is a browser compatability issue and can usually be resolved by clearing cache/cookies and/or switching browser (Firefox most stable with the website, followed by Chrome with IE a long way in last place).
I've logged in but my number is missing from my account and it says I need to activate a sim
Almost always this is due to logging into the wrong account. Because the site allows you to create forum only accounts many people have two or more accounts with similar usernames - sometimes completely inadvertently (eg get part way through activating a sim, stop and then start process all over again). Often crops up after a month when the original goodybag runs out and the user wants to buy another, not having logged in in the meantime and no built up memory of the username/password combo.
You can search the site for similar usernames by typing the username into the relevant search box on the detailed search page - get lists of suggestions of similar usernames. You can also use the lost password link and put in your phone number - the correct username appears in the email header of the forgotten password email. However the easiest way to check is to text the word "username" (without the quotes) to 43430 between 9am and 5pm to get a response by text in approx 20 minutes.
Problems with cards
There are a number of possible issues affecting the ability to pay by debit or credit card - these are clearly and helpfully laid out in this top-tip thread by @bertiebat:
Worthy of special highlighting is the "required field" error on expiry date field. Happens particularly on iPhones and iPads and seems to be a browser compatability issue. Resolved by using mobile site giffgaff.com/mobile (from phone or PC) or by using a different browser such as Firefox.
Goodybags - Not a bonus for topping up
You don't get the goodybags automatically on topping up, they have to be purchased (mainly catches out people topping up by voucher). If you topup with a voucher just go back to topup page, select goodybag, click continue (credit options page) and click button to exchange airtime credit.
Goodybags - only one per calendar month
If you run out of goodybag minutes (minutes or texts if on Hokey Cokey) before the calendar month expiry date then you will have to topup PAYG credit and use this until the goodybag expires. You cannot start a new goodybag until expiry of the original one. Good news is you can up your allowance without penalty after 30 days (unlike many contracts on other networks) by buying a bigger goodybag. For calls you can always skype with your data allowance (unless Hokey Cokey) until the goodybag expires.
Goodybags - New £10 bag
Tethering is permitted on this bag BUT still dependant on phone ability to tether. Unfortunately, as giffgaff is not an official apple partner, YOU CANNOT TETHER WITH AN iPHONE unless you jailbreak and purchase a tethering app from cydia. The inbuilt hotspot function can't be activated on giffgaff.
Goodybags - Not Balance
Goodybags are measured in allowances (minutes, texts, data) and not £s. If you buy a goodybag only (no PAYG topup) then it is correct for your balance to show as zero. Balance only refers to PAYG credit (does not expire after a calendar month like a goodybag does).
Goodybags - texts remaining
While on the subject of things that should read zero but still confuse - dialling the shortcode *100*5# for remaining texts is only worthwhile on the Hokey Cokey goodybag where texts are limited. On all other goodybags texts are unlimited and, as the shortcode can only return a number and not text, return a value of zero. This does not mean you have no texts, they are unlimited.
Goodybags - Allowances do not include:
Not included in any goodybag are mms (16p each), international calls/texts (see offer page for country specific pricing), premium calls/texts (vary in price), shortcode texts (vary on price), personal numbers (vary in price), 0845/0870 (12ppm)
Goodybags - Expiry Day
You can queue (buy in advance) a goodybag at any time after the purchase of the live goodybag until 10 pm on the evening of expiry. After 10pm on expiry evening the system is updating and you have to wait until midnight to buy the replacement goodybag.
If recurring your goodybag then you should similarly be able to amend it up until 10pm on expiry day - however the experience has been that you are locked out from doing so all day on expiry day (so do it day before at latest).
Goodybags - Blackberry plans (formerly add-on)
NB This process has recently changed
Previously, if wanting BIS (Internet) and BBM, Blackberry users had to purchase a goodybag and a Blackberry services add-on at the same time (2 stage process)
In an attempt to make the process easier the Topup page now has a separate tab for "Blackberry plans" which bundles together the goodybags with the add-on so you only need to make one selection.
NB If you select a goodybag from the "Goodybags" tab there is now no option to add the add-on. As before, if you buy a goodybag without the add-on (from goodybags tab instead of Blackberry plans tab) then you cannot add the blackberry services subsequently until that goodybag expires after a month.
Gigabags - sim requirements
You can only have one bag (either goodybag or gigabag) live on a sim at any one time. If you need both at the same time (one for a phone and one for a dongle/3g tablet or one for normal phone use and one for tethering) then you will need a second sim and user account.
Is 20p for first 20mb daily, and then 20p per mb thereafter - can quickly get expensive and drain your credit if you go over 20mb and use of an app to warn when getting close to 20mb is advisable. Or get a £12+ goodybag and no need to worry .
If using a goodybag with limited data, or a gigabag, and your data allowance runs out before the bag expires you can use credit to payg for data at the reduced rate of 2p per mb until the bag expires (and you are able to to buy a replacement bag).
Make sure the sim is working properly with the giffgaff number before requesting the transfer. In any case, the number transfer request link will only work once the sim is fully activated and the giffgaff phone number appears on the dashboard.
No transfers occur at weekends or bank holidays - when making the request safest to go for midweek (and avoid the week before bank holiday weekends)
You will at some point during the transfer lose service on both old sim and new giffgaff sim, possibly for several hours. If it is vital that people can contact you for business etc then make contingency arrangements
giffgaff introduced Blackberry services (BBM,BIS) on 01 February 2012 with the launch of the Blackberry add on - recently replaced by the "Blackberry Plans" combined goodybag and add-on (see above). Blackberry users not wishing to buy the add on can use workarounds for internet and messaging - there are guides for this on the website (top tips forum). giffgaffer's guide to BlackBerry
The sim swap service enables you to transfer your number and account from an existing live giffgaff sim to another giffgaff sim in any format (mini/micro/nano). In order to be able to do this the new sim (the one you intend to swap the number/account onto) must NOT be activated prior to beginning the sim swap process.
You cannot use sim swap if you have reported a sim as lost / stolen and will need to wait for the replacement to arrive. There is a video blog explaining how to sim swap here.
If you have an Android (other than if running ICS) then you are laughing - giffgaff apn app (paul shirley) or tweakker from Google Play will set your phone up easily and quickly (select option 2 after running). For ICS onwards you can try the beta Tweakker ics app, or manual settings guidance available on the top tips forum.
For older phones texting "settings" to 2020 might work (NB do not call 2020 as you will be charged £1 and get nothing in return). If not then put the make and model of your phone into the search box on either the forum or help page to pull up specific guides/instructions for your phone.
There is so much more I could add in here but though I would leave it at that as covers the most common issues around joining / activating / transferring
One thing I'd add is DON'T lose your SIM card. There seem to be too many complaints around here about the bar on replacement SIMs taking an unreasonable amount of time to be lifted.