Online banking can save consumers £276 a year

A consumer who refuses to embrace the digital world when it comes to handling their money pays an average of �276 extra a year, the consumer group found. Picture: Rob McDougall

A consumer who refuses to embrace the digital world when it comes to handling their money pays an average of �276 extra a year, the consumer group found. Picture: Rob McDougall

0
Have your say

People who do not want to pay bills online or insist on having paper-only bank statements can be paying hundreds of pounds a year extra, according to a Which? investigation.

A consumer who refuses to embrace the digital world when it comes to handling their money pays an average of £276 extra a year, the consumer group found.

Half of people surveyed by the group said they preferred to keep track of their finances through paper bills – as opposed to going paperless, which saves financial institutions money in printing and distribution costs.

“Deciding whether or not to go online isn’t just about deciding whether you need a physical bill or statement,” said the report, adding that extra costs can be accrued if a householder opts to pay for household utility bills or mobile phone tariffs without a direct debit.

“With some companies also charging up to £60 a year if you don’t want to pay for your broadband by direct debit, you could end up out of pocket here too,” the report said. “In our scenario, a reluctance to embrace the digital world and not using direct debits could potentially be costing you £276 a year.”

Eight in ten of those asked got online bills for their monthly mobile contract, while nearly nine in ten did so for broadband and landline, avoiding charges of up to £2.50 a month.

Utility firms often do not offer customers the option of a paper bill if they are on certain tariffs, many of which offer a better deal than their offline equivalents. However, the report found that if a “paperless” customer needs a copy of a bank statement for identification purposes, six of the 11 banks surveyed – Barclays, Co-operative Bank, Halifax, HSBC, Nationwide and Smile – charge £1 to £5. Royal Bank of Scotland allows customers to request two free paper statements in any 12-month period, while Santander offers free duplicates going back to 2008. Bank of Scotland, First Direct and Lloyds TSB do not charge at all.

Back to the top of the page