Payment Options

Why are there so many Payment Options?

There are 2 main reasons.

Because different payment methods have different cost implications for suppliers, they will normally charge different rates depending upon how you pay.

What payment method would you recommend?

If price is your main consideration, then monthly direct debit will almost always be the best way to pay, and it is also the most convenient.

What is a Direct Debit?

Direct Debit payments are made automatically from your bank account to your supplier on a pre-arranged date either each month or each quarter. You must have either a bank or building society account to operate a direct debit payment scheme. You will also need to complete a direct debit mandate, which your new supplier will forward onto your bank.

Direct Debit payments are protected by the Direct Debit Scheme, which means that:

You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by writing to your bank or Building Society;

The supplier must give you prior written notice, usually 14 days, if they want to change the date or the amount of the payment;

If your money is ever collected incorrectly, your bank or building society will give you a full and immediate refund, even if the supplier made the error.

Monthly Direct Debit

The direct debit amount will normally be calculated on the basis of your actual or projected annual energy bill and divided into 12 equal monthly instalments. This amount is normally reviewed once a year and your monthly payments are adjusted accordingly.

Advantages

Potential Disadvantages

Variable Direct Debit

Variable Direct Debit is different to Monthly Direct Debit in that your actual energy bill is deducted from your bank account at the end of a fixed calendar period in which you use the gas or electricity. This calendar period varies depending on the tariff, you signed up for, and can be a quarter, a half year or a year.

Advantages

Potential Disadvantages

Cash /Cheque

Also known as Standard Credit, this is where you receive your estimated or actual quarterly bill by post and pay it in the normal way, either by cheque through the post or by cash through your post office. This payment method also includes the option of paying by postal order.

Advantages

Potential Disadvantages

Credit /Charge Card

There are two main ways to pay for your energy with your credit or charge card.

With CAT schemes, your actual or projected annual energy bill is divided into periodically equal instalments (monthly or quarterly) and automatically billed to your card.

The details of which schemes and cards apply to different tariffs are summarised on the tariff results pages.

Advantages

Potential Disadvantages

Charge Card

Charge card payments are administered in the same way as credit card payment schemes. The main difference is that you must clear your charge card account by the due-date; therefore your interest free period is shorter. However, if you pay your energy bill using your charge card, you will benefit from any loyalty schemes offered by the charge card company.

PC Banking / Telephone Banking

This option allows you to pay your bills either by calling you bank, or online.

Prepayment Meter

Prepayment schemes are ones where you pay up-front for the energy that you use by inserting coins, tokens or cards into your meter.