Managing your money

Changes to TV licensing laws

Kate, student intern, talks about the changes to TV licensing laws and how this will affect you…

Changes to TV licensing laws mean that you now need a TV license for watching TV online, as well as on your TV. Being caught watching TV illegally could land you with a fine of up to £1000.


What’s new?

Settling down to a Thursday evening catch up on Bake off? Or starting a new TV series in true student procrastination style? Well make sure you have got your house signed up with a TV licence!

TV licences are not just for live TV! You need to make sure that even if you’re lacking a TV, watching iPlayer on your laptop still needs a licence.

How much does a TV license cost?

A standard TV license costs £145.50 and can be easily paid for through registering online. This amount can be paid in instalments weekly, monthly or quarterly.

Why do I need one?

The law changed on 1 September 2016. This means that you MUST be covered by a TV licence to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or demand. However, for all you S4C fans out there, this doesn’t apply to you! As you’re allowed watch that on demand without a licence. You can also listen to the radio.

Student accommodation

Even if you have a TV licence at home, when you move into your student accommodation this doesn’t cover your new house. So get yourselves over to the TV licensing page and get yourself covered.

Moved house?

If you had a TV licence in last years students accommodation make sure you update your details and let them know you’ve moved! For more information about all things TV licences and students head over to the TV licencing page.


So your bank account is near-breaking point, and although you love a bit of Bake Off and Corrie you’ve come to the conclusion that they’re a bit behind food on the priorities list. If you can’t afford a TV licence, there are alternatives. You could try Netflix (they do a month’s free trial and it’s cheaper than a TV licence), stick to S4C and radio or turn to DVDs. If you’re bored of your disk collection, you can pick up films really cheaply in charity shops.

After a long day at university, before you know it you’re in full couched-potato mode with slanket, paned (cup of tea in Welsh) and homes under the hammer. Next thing, the news at ten is on and you’re left wondering how your night has passed by so quickly – so much for doing that seminar work!

Not having a TV to provide constant entertainment might turn out to be a blessing in disguise and cut your procrastination levels. This is especially important during deadline or exam periods . Allowing yourself an hour break to read a book or watch a programme on Netflix might lead to less temptation to overrun your break, than if you have the following episode of Come Dine with Me seducing you with more dinner dramas.


Need financial help? The Advice and Money Team can help

Student Support Services at Cardiff University are here to help you, please drop in or contact us should you have any questions. Telephone: 02920 874528 Email:


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Best wishes,

Kate, Student Intern.

kate coventry

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

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