There’s no pleasant way to pay the bills, but being charged extra for how you choose to pay is rubbing salt in the wound. Did you know that not paying by direct debit and getting paper bills could cost you £243 a year?
We totted up charges for customers paying for broadband bundles, mobile phone and energy by bank transfer, and receiving itemised paper bills.
And we compared them with those who paid the same bills by direct debit and managed their accounts online.
Say you’d rather pay a bill by bank transfer rather than direct debit. Some companies will charge you up to £60 a year extra for the privilege.
And say you want paper rather than online bills, well that could be an extra £22.80 a year.
It’s reasonable for companies to cover their costs but we think they could be charging customers more than they need to.
Penalised if you avoid online banking?
Many people find managing their accounts online and by direct debit is cheaper and more convenient. But not everyone is able to, or even wants to.
Many of those who want to keep paper bills might not have internet access, for example. But they’ll have to pay up to £1.54 extra a month for an itemised mobile phone bill.
These aren’t the only areas where paying the way you want will cost you. We also found that you have to pay by direct debit to get many of the cheapest energy tariffs.
Meanwhile, you could pay up to £6 if you want a hard copy of your credit card statement.
You can find out which companies apply the biggest charges here.
Should the best savings rates be online only?
It doesn’t end there. In this day and age, not having internet access could mean that you miss out on the best-rate savings accounts. At the time of our investigation, half of the 10 top-paying easy-access accounts on the market were online-only.
Is it fair that these deals are only available to internet-savvy consumers?
How do you prefer to pay your bills? Are you being charged extra for making payments in the way you want to – is it worth the extra cost?