How to find the best deals for gas and electricity and financial products on price comparison websites

If you’re looking for the best deal on your gas and electricity, broadband supplier or to find a bank account, price comparison sites are a great place to start your search. But there are a few points to remember before you decide to use one.

Golden rules to using comparison sites

Don’t use a single price comparison site

Individual price comparison sites don’t all give you the same results, so check out a few before you decide to switch lender, supplier or buy a product. This might take you a bit more time, but it’s worth doing as it could save you a lot of money.

Make sure the product fits your needs

Do some research before you make a final decision to make sure the product is right for you. The cheapest deal available might not necessarily be best for your specific needs. Should you go for a short- or long-term fixed price energy deal? Does this bank account have all the features you’re looking for?

First isn’t always best

Comparison sites don’t give ‘regulated advice’.

That means they provide you with product information but not whether a policy has the type and level of cover suitable for your needs.

So, don’t assume the first result is the best. Especially because the first result in the list might be ‘sponsored’.

Comparison sites make their money from you

Comparison websites don’t sell products themselves; they show you details and prices from insurers and make their money in several ways:

  • They get paid from advertising which appears on their site.
  • From ‘click-throughs’ where the site earns commission when a customer clicks through to the insurer’s website and buys a product.
  • Some sites earn money from sponsored listings, where companies pay to have their products appear at the top of the search results.

Using a price comparison site

How you use a price comparison site differs depending on what you’re using it to search for. Here we run through where to start your search.

Energy (gas and electricity)

Changing energy supplier is easier than ever and can save you hundreds of pounds on your energy bills.

The whole process shouldn’t take more than six weeks and you won’t be cut off at any point. The only change you’ll notice is a new supplier sending you your bills (if you switch supplier) and lower rates.

Price comparison websites help you compare the different energy deals available and they’re a great way to see what’s available.

They don’t all work with the same suppliers, so use a few to make sure you don’t miss out on the perfect deal.

We suggest using sites that Ofgem recommends and that have been accredited with the Confidence Code.

Can I switch supplier if I rent my home?

If you pay for your own gas and/or electricity, it doesn’t matter if you rent or own your own home, you can switch supplier.

If you rent and your landlord pays your energy bills then they have the right to choose the supplier. 

Can I switch my gas and electricity if I’m on a prepayment meter?

Yes, but not all energy suppliers offer a prepayment tariff so make sure you switch to one that does.

You should be able to filter these when searching on a price comparison website.

Can I switch supplier if I’m getting the Warm Home Discount?

If you get the Warm Homes Discount and you’re switching energy supplier, make sure your new supplier offers the discount. If they don’t, your bills could go up.

What is an energy switching club?

Energy switching clubs offered by reputable brands like Which? and MoneySavingExpert are basically comparison sites just for your energy bills.

The website will hold your hand through the whole process, from filling in details from your current energy bill, to searching the whole of market to find a better deal for you, and liaising with your chosen new supplier to carry out the switch.

What about my water bills?

Unlike gas and electricity, you can’t switch who supplies your water. But you might save money by switching to a water meter.

Find out more in our guide How to save money on water bills.

Broadband, landline phone and TV

You can make great savings by switching to a cheaper phone, TV or broadband deal.

It’s a good idea to start searching websites accredited by Ofcom. Despite their names, the following sites allow you to search for paid TV, landline phone as well as broadband deals:

  • Broadband.co.uk Search by postcode or phone number for relevant deals in your area. Splits prices into monthly and annual cost and displays a reliability score
  • Broadbanddeals Search by postcode. Prices automatically shown in monthly costs, but can be filtered by year
  • Broadbandcompared Search by postcode

If you’re looking for a package deal of broadband, phone and/or TV, you can also try the ‘Bundle’ search offered on the MoneySavingExpert website

Mobile phone contracts

Making sure you’re on the right deal and not paying for calls, text and data you don’t use, or regularly going over your allowance, is a great way to cut costs.

As with broadband, there are a few comparison sites that Ofcom approves.

Billmonitor: Will analyse your online bills or allow you to enter your regular or required limits manually. It will then find the most suitable offers on the market and direct you to the relevant retailer

HandsetExpert: Select the handset you want and then enter your calls, text and data requirements. The website will then display the best offers available and you can go directly to the retailer’s website

Mobile-phones.co.uk: Allows you to search by phone and SIM-only deals

Bank accounts

Comparison websites can be a good starting point for anyone trying to find a current or savings account tailored to their needs.

Here are a few websites that compare current and savings accounts:

Be aware that comparison websites won’t all give you the same results. So make sure you use more than one before deciding.

It’s also important to do some research on the type of product and features you need before making a purchase or changing supplier.

Mortgages

Taking out a mortgage is a big financial decision that shouldn’t be made lightly.

While comparison sites can be useful to get an idea of the best rates on the market, it’s best to make sure you know exactly what you’re searching for and decide if you need to use a dedicated mortgage broker.

Find out more in about applying for a mortgage in our guide.

General shopping (like furniture or technology)

Comparison sites aren’t only useful for bills and bank accounts. They’re also useful to find bargain prices on everyday essentials and gifts, as well as more expensive purchases like technology or furniture. However, there are so many sites offering reduced prices, it can be difficult to be sure you’re getting a great deal.

Comparison sites can help you cut through misleading sales and discounts by tracking an item’s price over the years and showing you which site is really giving you the best deal.

  • CamelCamelCamel Shop regularly at Amazon? You can use CamelCamelCamel to set up price alerts and track price history
  • Idealo Will compare current prices across trusted e-tailers and high street stores like Currys, Argos, John Lewis and Amazon. You can also see past prices and set up email notifications for when prices drop

How do I use a price comparison website?

Many price comparison websites will ask you for personal details before presenting you with a list of providers.

Be as accurate as you can with this information, as it will be used as the basis for the quotes you’ll be shown.

Some price comparison websites have contracts with select suppliers and receive a commission every time you switch or take out a product.

Beware of pre-selected tick boxes, pre-set filters and any questions which ask if you want to run a whole of market comparison.

Some websites use these techniques to try to guide you towards picking one of their partner suppliers, even if they aren’t necessarily the best choice for you.

Some products don’t provide a link through to the provider’s website.

If this is the case, you’ll need to go directly to the supplier’s website.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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