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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.

Find out more about saving money on your gas and electricity.