I need the most accurate, known, day-to-day term to express a cost that is paid by a customer on a month to month basis in order to use a service. E.g: Netflix, Internet, Cable TV... If possible, a single word expression is better!

So far, I could only come up with "monthly cost" and "monthly fee".

  • 2
    My intuition is that "monthly cost" and "monthly fee" and maybe "monthly price" are the most standard expressions for this. They are certainly very common.
    – DyingIsFun
    Aug 9, 2016 at 12:45
  • In Portuguese, we have Mensalidade which means something that happens in a per month basis but I could not find a similar single word expression. Do you happen to know anything similar in English? Aug 9, 2016 at 12:48
  • Maybe some people use the Latin phrase per mensem that way, or perhaps just "monthly" (as a noun, as in "I have to pay my monthly"). But you asked for the "most accurate, known, day-to-day" expression, which is certainly "monthly cost" or one of its variants.
    – DyingIsFun
    Aug 9, 2016 at 12:52
  • 1
    Can you believe it? There are two persons who flagged saying this question is not about the English language within the scope defined. What? This is a plain question asking for a financial term that connotes "monthly". To antagonise you guys, I'll upvote this question. Aug 9, 2016 at 13:30
  • 1
    "monthly [fixed] fee/charge/subscription" are very common;
    – Graffito
    Aug 9, 2016 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


I would say that ''monthly X'' is absolutely standard, where X varies according to the context. Off the top of my (British English) head, for a service like Netflix, cost would be slightly better, as 'fee' feels slightly punitive, and so would be more often used to refer to the cost of something that is regarded as a basic commodity. So

''I pay a monthly fee of £10 for my line rental''

would fit, as this is something that (in the UK at least) is a basic charge that one pays on top of e.g. phone bills, internet connection, cable TV etc. Similarly, you might say

''I pay my golf club a monthly fee of £50 for membership, and £100 each time I use the golf course''

You'd always use fee for a professional service from an individual like a lawyer. Then there are other situations where X would supplant cost as something more specific e.g. monthly rent, monthly charge (particularly for a bank, although you could also use fee for that...), etc.

But monthly X is completely standard, in particular I never see the latin per mensum used, in contrast to per annum which is still quite common.

  • It would be great if you could find sources for your claim. This is a subjective answer. You could improve it by adding resources that substantiate the usage.
    – Helmar
    Aug 9, 2016 at 14:31
  • Substantiate the usage of common language? It is subjective, to a degree, but then the OP asked about "worldwide English", which is ostensibly non-existent for this question. American English, British English, and Australian English all have words that are used similarly, but with different inherent or implied meanings. Honestly, I find this to be an excellent answer. Aug 9, 2016 at 15:13
  • @JesseWilliams please have a look at the help center to finally find out what this site is about.
    – Helmar
    Aug 10, 2016 at 14:58
  • Helmar, I understand the principles. But now the answer is upvoted and accepted, so clearly others find the answer useful, including the OP. People getting answers and help they need is the CORE purpose of all SE sites. Aug 10, 2016 at 15:31

The expenses which are per unit time are called running costs (for a business or a household), they may be paid by other time chunks than months (weekly, fortnightly, quarterly...). Depending of what type of expenses you are considering, maybe the word utility bills can fit and have a more direct meaning related to households:

The term utilities can also refer to [a] set of services (...) consumed by the public: electricity, natural gas, water, and sewage. Broadband internet services (both fixed-line and mobile) are increasingly being included within the definition. (Wikipedia)

  • Downvote without comment is unhelpful.
    – Joce
    Aug 9, 2016 at 16:29
  • At a guess, the first downvote is because you haven't addressed the fact that the OP wants a term which denotes monthly. The second downvote is definitely for this reason.
    – AndyT
    Aug 10, 2016 at 14:56
  • @AndyT: if you had wanted to ask the question without having the "running cost" phrase in mind, how would you have described the concept of paying continuously rather than once? Choosing a (commonly used) unit of time seems quite natural for this.
    – Joce
    Aug 22, 2016 at 8:20
  • The OP specifically mentions "month" in a) the title, b) the question body, c) a comment. If he had wanted a generic term, rather than a monthly term, I'm sure he could have written "a cost that someone has to pay again and again, e.g. once a month or once a year".
    – AndyT
    Aug 22, 2016 at 10:02

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