If you have a pre-pay meter, this works by paying money onto your gas or electric meter as a ‘top up’.
You may have a card or a key to pay money onto your meter. This can usually be done at your local post office or shops, or where there is a designated ‘Pay-Point’.
Whether a pre-payment meter will benefit you or not will depend on your circumstances.
When a pre-payment meter works
- Having a pre-payment meter can help you if you're on a budget. You will only use as much as you spend, which can help avoid large bills.
- If you have gone into debt with your supplier, they may install a pre-payment meter to help you manage your bills. This can help you to pay off a debt in small chunks rather than in one big payment.
Where a pre-payment meter doesn’t work
- A pre-payment meter can usually have a higher tariff than a standard one. You can end up paying more on your meter than you need
- A great way to get cheaper gas and/or electricity is through comparison websites. But the best deals on the market aren’t usually available to those with a pre-payment meter.
- If you have an old-style meter, the price you have to pay for your gas and/or electricity will need to be changed manually by your supplier. This might mean that your price may not be updated for a while, meaning that you could be paying more.
- If you want to move away from a pre-payment meter to a standard meter, there is usually a charge.
- If you decide to move away from a pre-payment meter to a standard one, you will usually have to meet specific criteria. Some of these criteria could be having a current account and not having a deficit for 3 months.
Although the best deals aren’t available if you’re on a pre-payment meter, you may still be able to find a cheaper deal if you switch suppliers. You can do this through comparison websites. Find out more about switching energy suppliers.