If you are reluctant to embrace the digital world, prefer to get paper copies of the household bills and want to pay them by cheque, did you know this could potentially be costing you an extra £276 a year?
Are you most like customer A – happy to pay by Direct Debit, get paperless bills and use online tariffs? Or perhaps customer B – you prefer to pay by cheque, get itemised paper bills and don’t like online tariffs.
There’s no right or wrong here, it’s entirely up to you of course, but I very was surprised to find just how different the charges for common household bills – mobile phone, broadband/phone and energy – in our scenarios ended up.
Virgin Media, for example, charges £5 a month for non-Direct Debit payments plus £1.75 for a paper bill for its broadband customers – that’s £51 a year. And that’s just the beginning; online options for energy tariffs can offer you a better rate too. The examples we looked at could mean the difference of £128 between the best online and offline energy tariff available.
Paperless bills, discounted rates
I was only too happy to do away with paper for my bank statements and mobile phone bills. The uninspiring looking envelopes tended to go unopened and, if I needed to check one, were difficult to locate in my filing system (otherwise known as my overflowing top drawer). Now it’s all handily accessible online.
I’m also happy to pay my bills by Direct Debit, as I find this the most convenient way to ensure I pay on time. Paying my council tax on time has often eluded me as this needs to be transferred every month, and has resulted in a couple of scary letters demanding full payment unless I paid up immediately.
Of course, if you have a preference you’re willing to pay out for that’s entirely up to you. It’s just worth working out exactly what that will mean for your pocket. Do you prefer to manage your finances entirely online and through automatic payments or do you get peace of mind from good old fashioned statements and bills?