Katy ratican headshot b w april 2021
Written by
Katy Ratican
27 Jul 2021
3 minutes
Different types of telephone numbers and how they work
Learn more about non-geographic and virtual phone numbers and how small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from them
Pexels monstera different types phone numbers

Gone are the days when businesses had to be content with the usual phone number starting with the area code. Now there are different types of phone numbers to choose from, including non-geographic numbers and second phone lines for work.

A non-geographic phone number isn’t tied to any particular region or locality. The non-geographic numbers available in the UK include freephone numbers, local phone numbers, UK-wide numbers and premium-rate numbers.

Freephone numbers

These numbers start with 0800 or 0808. You can call them from a mobile or a landline. Freephone numbers are useful for:

  • Customer support: Your customers won’t have to pay for the call

  • Advertising: You can include a freephone number to persuade customers to call you

  • Customer acquisition: This can also be used for sales calls

Local rate numbers

These usually start with 0844 or 0845. The difference between these and freephone numbers is that the caller will have to pay as much as 7p for every minute, along with access charges. These are used for:

  • Helpline: For answering customer queries

  • Campaign response: You encourage customers to call you but don’t offer it as a free service

  • Collateral request: Interested customers or clients can call you for additional information and request brochures or leaflets

UK-wide numbers

These start with either 03 or 0354. If you’re using a UK landline to call these numbers, the charges are the same as calls to a standard phone number. But if you’re using a mobile phone to call, charges could be significantly higher.

It may only cost you around £10 per month plus additional charges. But the additional cost for mobile callers doesn’t always make this a good option. You can opt for a local rate number or a freephone number instead for customer support or campaign response.

Premium rate numbers

These start with 09 and can cost the caller up to £3.60 a minute. If there’s an incentive for the customer to call you, you can go for a premium rate number. For example, if you’re running a competition or if you want to create additional revenue through the phone charges.

For some businesses, a premium rate number is an effective tactic to discourage customers from calling them. If you’re getting such a number, ensure that you abide by the regulations of the Phone-paid Services Authority.

Second-line numbers

If you’re planning to increase productivity through a second phone number, you should consider a virtual or second line number. Unlike the traditional phone lines, these use your internet connection.

The benefits of using a business phone number

  • Quick connection: You can download a second number app and get started in a few minutes without having to wait for a day or two

  • Better business profile: Your customers and clients will have a separate line to reach you, which makes your business look more professional

  • No need for another device: No need to buy a device or port your number. Since it’s an app, you don’t have to buy a new phone or get a new SIM

  • Cost-effective: You only have to pay a reasonable monthly fee. With Chalkboard, for example, it’s less than what you would pay for a cup of coffee

  • Advanced features: You will also get additional features including call queuing, call recording and voicemail

Enjoy additional features

To separate your business and personal lives and to have a dedicated number for customer support, business owners and professionals should consider getting any of these non-geographic phone numbers or a second phone line for work for value-added features.


Chalkboard is a separate phone number for work

Keep your real number private, easily recognise work calls, and get extra tools to help you 👌 stay organised and 🚀 grow.
Wedding Shop

Continue reading

Help & advice
4 minutes

Everything a business owner needs to know about number porting – including alternatives

Help & advice
4 minutes

There are many professional and personal reasons why local business owners should have a second phone number