There are many benefits to going online for your utilities. In 2021, those with very high digital skills were able to save an average of £19 per month on their bills. That’s an extra £228 they can use to spend on things that matter to them, build short terms savings or save in to their pension. How can they save this money by going online?

In this lesson, we’ll help you to learn and get the benefits of going online to manage your bills and utilities. You’ll learn to compare providers, check your spending and payments, and find ways you can save money.

KEY LEARNINGS

  • Know how to start when you want to compare utility providers online.
  • Manage how and when you pay your bills.
  • Stay on budget by checking your spending quicker and easier.
  • Know how to find ways to save on utilities and insurance.

Read time

10 mins

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

SAVE MONEY BY SEARCHING FOR PRODUCTS ONLINE

Read time

3 mins

How you can save money online:

  • Find the best product for you, at the lowest cost - Comparison sites are websites which help you to view a list of products from lots of different companies in one place. This allows you to find options which might be cheaper or better than your current product or provider. Some of the most well-known sites are Confused.com, MoneySuperMarket, Compare the Market, GoCompare and uSwitch
  • Know exactly what you’re spending - You can now use tools like smart-metres and your online accounts to get a better view of what you've spent. By knowing what you’re spending on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, you can begin to think about what you can do to save. For example, if you spent a lot more on electricity one day, what did you do that caused the additional cost and where could you have saved? You can then put this into action and save money on your future bills
  • Check and make payments whenever you want – Online, you can access your utility accounts and check and make payments any time you want. Having access to this whenever you like can help with your money worries. You can make sure your payments have gone through and you can plan for upcoming payments. This means you will be less likely to miss payments that may cause you issues or extra costs in the future

 

The main things to consider:

  • You can review your current payments - On your bank account you can check to see what you’re paying for each month. There may be bills you are paying which you don’t still need. Be realistic and honest about which payments could stop. There's no use paying for things you don't need or use
  • Make the most of introductory offers - Lots of companies offer you deals that can save you money in your first year with them. For example, free access to movie services or a free 2 months of services when you pay for 10. If you can get a deal like these it can cut down the costs each year
  • Change can help keep bills down – If you just let your utility accounts renew each year, you could miss out on better offers and introductory offers too. You should review your options every time a contract is coming to an end. Use comparison sites to see if you can get a better deal than the one being offered by your provider. You can always ask your current provider to match the deal. Some might, others won’t. Either way the power is in your hands to decide to leave or stay
  • You can usually complete your switch on the comparison site – This means you don’t have to spend time going to different providers websites. Some will send you to the providers site, but it should have copied across your details to save you time. You should make sure everything is correct before you buy
  • Check with your old provider – Mostly, your switch will be enough to cancel your old policy or account. Sometimes, you will need to contact your old provider and cancel yourself. It is always a good idea to check either way

Chapter 2

Chapter 2

MANAGING YOUR PRODUCTS ONLINE

Read time

7 mins

Managing your products online

As you saw in the last section, there are lots of ways you can save time and money online. In this next chapter, we’ll go through some of the common bills and utilities people have and show you how to start managing them online. We’ll also help you to think about the benefits of choosing to manage them online.

 

Council tax

Your council tax is paid to your local council. The payment covers the cost of local services. You may be able to pay online if your council has built this into their website. The benefit of doing this online is that you may be able to check and change your payments whenever you wish to. Online, you can easily choose how often you pay your council tax. Some councils now offer monthly, annually and other options. Services offered by their websites will be different for each council.

 

The services offered may include:

  • Viewing Bills
  • Pay online using your bank card
  • Check if you are eligible for a discount

 

Manage your landline and/or mobile phone bills

To manage your phone bill online you can create an account on your providers website. Some providers will also have an app you can download from your device’s app store. You can use the website or app to track your usage, pay and see your bills. You can also upgrade or change your contact online.

 

The advantages of managing your phone bill online include:

  • Viewing your usage will be easy. You will be able to manage your allowances
  • There may be deals you can benefit from
  • You can make payments
  • You can view past bills online

 

Internet/broadband

Your internet provider will have a website for you to create an account on. Some providers will also have an app you can download from your device’s app store. You can use the website or app to track your usage, pay and see your bills.

 

The benefits of managing your internet online may include:

  • You can view your agreement with your provider at a glance. This means you will know when it is time to review your options. You may want to find a similar deal with your provider or look elsewhere to keep costs down
  • Keeping track of your data usage will be easy. This will be useful if there is a set amount of data you can use
  • You will be less likely to miss payments as you will receive a reminder online of how much your bill is and when it is due

 

Gas and Electricity

To manage your gas or electricity bill online by creating an account on your providers website. Some providers will also have an app you can download from your device’s app store. You can use the website or app to track your usage, pay and see your bills.

 

The advantages of managing your gas and electricity online are:

  • You can see at a glance if your introductory rate is coming to an end – This means you will know when it is time to review your options and find a similar or better deal to keep costs down
  • Viewing your energy usage will be easy – By inputting readings online or by using a smart meter you can see how much energy you are using. This will help you to reduce energy usage and save money
  • You will be less likely to miss payments – You will receive a reminder of how much your bill is and when it is due in plenty of time
  • You can view past bills online – You won’t have to find a secure place to store your bills at home and you will save time as the bills can be accessed instantly

 

Water

How you manage your water bill online depends on where you live.

In most parts of the UK, you will pay your bill to a water company. When you move into a new home, the landlord, managing company or whoever owns your house should give you the details of who supplies your water.

Once you know your supplier, you can use a search engine to look for their website. Most companies will have some kind of online service. Here you can usually check your bills, change your payment date, pay your bill and more.

In some areas in the UK (mainly Scotland), you don’t pay your water bill to a company. Instead, you pay your bill to the local council, sometimes as part of your council tax. Again, you should be told this when you move into your property.

 

Insurance

Most insurance companies will have a website where you can apply for insurance and check and manage your account and policy.

You can also potentially save money on your insurance by using a comparison site to compare cover. Some of the most well-known sites are Confused.com, MoneySuperMarket, Compare the Market, GoCompare and uSwitch.

Entertainment bills

People often forget the cost of fun when they’re adding up their bills. Fun is important and it’s something we all aspire to and enjoy. The cost of it though, can add up.

With lots of subscription services like Netflix, Spotify, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Apple Music, there’s no surprise that costs can quickly add up. If even have just 2 of these subscriptions, that can be around £20 a month – £240 a year.

Going online can help you to easily cancel, pause or check on your subscriptions. You can also use your bank account to easily see how much you are spending. Some banks even show you your costs based on category. So, you can easily see how much you’re spending on entertainment and find places where you can cut back. You may even have forgotten about something you subscribed to and are paying for, but don’t use anymore.

 

Rent

Your landlord or rental company may provide a portal for you to manage your rent online. If they do have a website like this, they will usually share it with you when you move in.

 

The website may help you to:

  • View the agreement, you have in place between you and your landlord
  • Pay your rent online
  • Change the date of when your rent is due
  • Get help with maintenance issues in your flat

 

Other ways you can manage rent online

Even if you don’t have a website like this for your rental, you can still gain benefits from being online. Using your bank account online means you can check your rent payments have gone out and can make sure you have enough in your account to cover them.This can save you time going to the bank and avoid late payments which can affect your credit score.

 

Credit agreements

To make a large purchase you may have taken out a loan or credit agreement with a bank or retailer. Your provider will usually have an app or website where you can create an account. Here, you will be able to view how much money is still left to pay as part of your agreement.

 

You can also:

  • Make payments – You will be able to use the website to pay your monthly payment or you could choose to pay extra money towards the total cost to pay the loan off quicker. By paying off your loan quicker you could save money
  • Manage your payment date - You will be able to view at a glance when your payment is due. You may wish to change the date and you can do this on the website
  • View how much your credit agreement costs - Some banks or retailers will charge a fee for the duration for your credit agreement

 

Module complete!

Well done on completing this lesson! You should now have an idea what bills you can manage online and how to get started. You should also understand the benefits of doing so. We recommend you go onto our less on ‘Accessing Universal Credit online’. It will help you check if you’re eligible to apply and will help you get started. It will also help you with tools and resources to help you while you apply.

 

Up next for you:

Next module: Accessing Universal Credit online

Back to: Using online services

Scottish Widows Be Money Well is committed to providing information in a way that is accessible and useful for our users. This information, however, is not in any way intended to amount to authority or advice on which reliance should be placed. You should seek professional advice as appropriate and required. Any sites, products or services named in this module are just examples of what's available. Scottish Widows does not endorse the services they provide. The information in this module was last updated on 31st Oct 2022.

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