/ Technology

Am I stranded without a landline?

An old black telephone on a yellow wall

Mobile phones have become so prevalent that many people have hung up their landlines for good. But are there still situations when a landline number comes in handy?

Recently my partner and I went to hire a van. We had all the required documents, but were a bit stumped when asked to provide a landline number ‘for security reasons’. Neither of us has a landline, so what were we to do?

I haven’t had a landline for about four years, and I don’t miss it. I get enough free mobile minutes that I can call whoever I like without paying a penny, and the idea of having to run through my flat just to pick up a phone is alien to me.

Will any old number do?

And yet every now and again I’m asked for a landline number. Not just when hiring this van, but on things like credit applications too.

Although I doubt I’d give a credit card company the home number of an elderly relative – as we did with the car hire company. I know, not a great idea, but to be fair it was what the friendly assistant from the car hire company recommended.

‘Oh, loads of people have that problem,’ she said, and asked if we knew anyone who did have a landline. We wrote down grandma’s home number, just so that we’d have something that didn’t begin with ‘07’. We did warn Grandma too, in case she received an unexpected phone call!

Does a landline equal stability?

So is there any need to have a landline number? I don’t think so. But then I’m occasionally confronted with situations like this, and I wonder if I should have a landline number in my back pocket in case it proves useful.

For instance, it’s often said that adding a landline to your credit application means you’re more likely to be accepted. Experian says that putting a landline number instead of a mobile can be a stability indicator in credit scoring, along with things like relationship status and the time you’ve been with your bank.

However, the good news for those without landlines is that the effect is unlikely to be significant, because so many other things are taken into account and more people are ditching their landlines for mobiles.

I certainly don’t think it should be significant. After all, I’ve had the same mobile number for ten years, certainly longer than I’ve been with my current bank, and far longer than I’ve managed to hold down a relationship. If I were to put a landline number down, all it would prove was that I was happy to fork out money each month just so I had a number to put on credit applications!

No longer tied to a landline

I used to have a landline, but only because it came as part of a bundle from my internet provider. I couldn’t get broadband unless I had a phone line too. However, despite paying for the line, my wired phone sat gathering dust in a box until my ISP announced that it would start providing internet-only packages. I sent my dusty, unused phone away via Freecycle, never to be seen again.

But if so many people are dropping landline phones, why are we still being asked to supply landline numbers? Have you been asked to provide a landline rather than a mobile number?

Sophie Gilbert says:
31 May 2013

I have a landline and a corded phone to make sure I can dial 999 in case of an emergency without having to rely on potentially failing batteries. I can’t remember who gave me this advice, given to me a long time ago either by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service when I did a fire warden’s course, or by the Red Cross when I got trained as a first aider.


I have just replaced an ailing corded phone with a new one, though I normally use cordless phones.

Having a corded phone is still commonly recommended for emergency calls, Sophie, though I could not find this advice on the Which? website. A normal cordless phone will not work during a power cut even if the handset is charged.

As part of my emergency plan I keep a spare car key hidden but accessible so that I can easily get to the cheap mobile phone that I keep in the car for emergencies.


A few years ago, I paid £7 for a slimline corded phone and it sits on the bedside cabinet for emergencies. When we had the hurricane winds many years ago, the phone line continued to work but the electrics went down quite early in the storm. Many young people rely on mobiles, but at the best of times mobile signals and networks are not totally reliable. This morning, I received a text message at 11.25 and the time it was sent, from Devon, was 09.18.

My emergency plan involves having a set of keys to the front and rear door, near to each door for emergency exit, but not reachable from outside the doors. Perhaps I should add my car keys to the plan. And perhaps those with cordless phones only, should test their phones with the power to the base unit/s switched off. Better to know before there is an emergency than find out when you are in the midst of one.

Jill says:
31 May 2013

Credit card companies are allowed to discriminate on the basis of relationship status? I’m assuming that this is another way those of us who are unpartnered are considered not quite full people. Given how many people I’ve seen go through greatly destabilising breakups and divorces I rather doubt that being single makes me less stable!

paddy19 says:
31 May 2013

You can get a UK land line number from Skype.
It costs about £17 for 3 months or £30 a year.
You can choose from a long list of UK area codes.

It can be really handy if your abroad, your friends can
call a UK number and you can receive the call any where
in the world on Skype.

Sound quality is very good if you are on a good connection.

The same system operates for lots of countries Italy and Canada
are notable exceptions.


Paddy, the Skype landline sounds interesting for those who only have a mobile.and would find a landline number useful. Is communication through a computer/tablet/smartphone only or can you connect using normal phones. I’m not up to date with the technology and have only connected on Skype via a computer and with those far away.

Anybody can buy a Pay as You Go phone without showing any ID or proof of anything, I know as I bought one recently. I suppose having a landline is some indication of stability and you have to supply proof of address and bank details to be approved for the landline.

paddy19 says:
31 May 2013

The Skype number is exactly the same as any normal land line.

As a Skype number you have to receive calls via computer/tablet/smartphone.


Thanks Paddy

It would seem this would suit those who need to have a landline number but are not interested in having a landline phone. Personally I would challenge the companies that require a landline number as part of their security checks.


I believe this is being done to verify our identity ???!! Personally the telephone / media companies have you by the hairy curlies . They cannot cope if you relocate as have no consistent cover yet want to charge over & above what they agreed . One person says one thing another refutes .It took nearly a month when relocated to get transferred .Installation was a wireless router which did not work yet showed switched on so had to employ experts. They are now wanting to charge double after initially saying with Sky would stay the same. They also agreed to credit loss of service .The company also cut the 80 year old off here immediately & causing the sale of house to be delayed .
They pretend to have Rapid access for those with medical conditions & frail elderly but when ask for it nothing happens even though dyspraxic so have had directory for years.
I myself because single have a telecare button system as frightened may not wake up [ pulse drops low] which needs a landline too. Although they did eventually do calls to mobile before landline .However because they do not take into account medical situation if acute do not wait long enough to get to the phone so ambulances are called unnecessarily as one person does