Senior Woman Paying Bills At Home In Her Office

Banking on Savings

“I signed up for your Readers Club emails and one of the articles said it’s cheaper to pay gas and electric by direct debit. Is that true? It seems unfair. I mainly handle my bills in cash so I know where I am with my money.”
Sally D, Nottingham

Dear Sally,

That’s right. Often paying by direct debit means you can access the cheapest tariffs. It does seem unfair but having a bank account can give you access to cheaper deals like paying by direct debits or buying online.

Direct debits work well if you plan the dates so you are sure when it comes out and how much money will be in the account. Otherwise, you might get charged for an unplanned overdraft that might cancel out those savings on your energy bill.

If you are worried about bank charges, you could try a ‘fee-free basic account’ to reduce the risk of unplanned charges. There are other ways to save. If you buy gas and electric from the same supplier, you might qualify for a dual fuel discount.

Those receiving pension credit or disability benefits might qualify for the Warm Home Discount Rebate (ask your electricity supplier for details). From April, a ‘safeguarding tariff’ will be extended to any credit meter customers in receipt of this Rebate.

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