If you’re looking for the best deal on your mortgage, gas and electricity or savings account, price comparison sites are a great place to start your search. However, there are a few points to remember before you decide to use one.
- General rules
- When should I use a price comparison website?
- Do comparison sites show every supplier on the market?
- How do I use a price comparison website?
- Choosing a price comparison website
- 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 and ensure the product is right for you. The cheapest deal available might not necessarily be best for your specific needs. For example, are you better off choosing a fixed or variable mortgage rate? Should you go for a short or long term fixed price energy deal? Some comparison sites won’t have much guidance available, so it’s best to be armed with a certain amount of knowledge before you make a final decision.
When should I use a price comparison website?
It’s now easier to find the best deal by sharing your banking information. Find out more about this here.
If you’re looking for a way to cut your bills or find out which product best suits your needs, price comparison sites are a good way to get an overview of what’s on offer.
Some money saving websites will ask for details about your needs.
For example how much energy you consume, and use this information to work out which of the available options best suits you.
If you’re not sure if a product is right for you get financial advice or discuss your options with the provider.
Once you’ve checked what’s available using a few different price comparison sites, you can either switch through the website itself or contact the supplier directly.
Bear in mind that some offers are only available through comparison websites.
This is often the case with extras such as cashback or even cuddly toys.
Do comparison sites show every supplier on the market?
Although many price comparison websites will provide you with a wide range of options, they will rarely include every supplier on the market.
Some suppliers might have exclusive deals in place with a particular comparison website, or they might have chosen not to appear on comparison sites at all.
Sometimes a supplier might be new to the market and won’t have been added to the website’s database yet.
For these reasons, it’s always best to run a comparison on a few websites to see what other options are available before you make a decision.
Remember you’re in the driving seat. If you have any doubts about a specific product do some external research – often a quick web search will provide you with up to date information.
If you’re still unsure speak to your current supplier or a broker, depending on what product you’re looking for.
How do I use a price comparison website?
We’ve come up with a list of recommended websites, based on the type of product you’d like to buy.
Simply scroll down and click through to start your comparison.
Many price comparison websites will ask you for personal details before presenting you with a list of providers.
For example, if you want to find a cheaper deal on your car insurance, a comparison site will ask you to fill in details about where you live, your car and how you use it.
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.
Choosing a price comparison website
Many comparison sites highlight sponsored deals at the top of their results page. These are often shown in coloured boxes, or say sponsored result, but are not necessarily the best value.
There are plenty of price comparison sites out there, so it can be difficult to decide which one to use.
Some of the more popular sites include Compare the Market, Money Saving Expert, Money Super Market, uSwitch and Which?.
To help you make a decision, we’ve put together a list of recommended sites to use when looking for a deal on a specific product.
Each of the below provides a representative view of the market and has been chosen based on a combination of criteria, including unique features and quality of information.
Remember, it’s always a good idea to use more than one comparison site before you make a decision.
The introduction of the Current Account Switch Service means changing bank account takes just seven working days.
So if you’re looking for better interest rates, or improved customer service, it’s a good idea to see what’s available.
You can find out more on our guide on How to choose the right bank account.
- Go Compare – This also allows you to use the government-backed Midata tool to securely upload your past transactions for customised current account recommendations.
- Money Saving Expert
You can also use our Bank account fees and charges comparison tool to see all the fees and charges that apply to bank accounts – it shows everything from overdraft fees to foreign cash withdrawal charges.
In Northern Ireland, you can also try the Consumer Council Comparison Tool.
There are lots of things to consider before you decide to apply for a mortgage, so it’s worth reading Mortgages – a beginner’s guide before running a comparison to find the best rate for you.
Get the most out of your savings by making sure you’re signed up to the best account for you.
Make sure you read our top tips for choosing a savings account before you make your choice.
Switching energy provider can save you hundreds of pounds on your utility bills.
Thanks to new rules, many energy suppliers can now switch you in just 17 days, so the whole process is quicker and easier than ever before.
If you get a Warm Home Discount, make sure the supplier you’re switching to offers the discount. Find out more in our Help with heating costs section.
Phone or broadband suppliers
You can make great savings by switching to a cheaper phone or broadband deal.
Try the Ofcom accredited sites first – the accreditation means: “information provided to consumers is accessible, accurate, transparent, comprehensive and up to date.”
- 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.
- Simplify Digital: Search by postcode. Shows prices in monthly and yearly costs.
- Broadbandchoices: Search by postcode. Shows prices in monthly and yearly costs.
- Broadbanddeals: Search by postcode. Prices automatically shown in monthly costs, but can be filtered by year.
Mobile phone suppliers
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.
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. It meets strict Ofcom guidelines.
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 retailers website. It meets strict Ofcom guidelines.
Moneysupermarket.com: Allows you to search the most popular deals on big-name handsets and compare monthly and SIM only contracts. This can be used to help you find a better deal. Not Ofcom approved.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.