There’s arguably never been as much choice out there as there is now, and no shortage of account providers and suppliers looking to attract new customers.
And it’s not just switching companies – with energy providers and mobile phone contracts, your own provider may have introduced new deals that are far better for you than the one you’re on at the moment.
In many cases people are still with the banks they joined as students or even children, as many people think it’s more trouble than it’s worth to ensure all their payments and debits are changed.
And with highly competitive markets like mobile phone, energy, broadband or insurance, once an introductory deal is over many people allow their contracts to roll on to higher rates without even realising it – so they end up paying more each month for the same thing.
Changing could save you hundreds of pounds, with tariffs changing frequently and companies trying to get customers from their rivals and maintain their loyalty.
If you haven’t switched for a few years there’s a chance you don’t have the best account for your needs. Hannah Maundrell, editor-in-chief at Money.co.uk told us: “Loyalty simply doesn’t pay anymore. Sticking with the same bank, insurer or energy supplier year after year means you will generally pay far more for a deal that doesn’t really do what you need it to.
“You never know what you’re missing if you don’t shop around. The likelihood is you’ll be able to get a better deal with fairer terms for less elsewhere.”
So how can switching save you money? With banks, you might get a better deal with interest and charges, or may offer some specific benefits that suit you, such as car breakdown cover, or there may be ‘reward’ incentives such as vouchers or cashback.
Learn more about how to switch bank accounts
Credit cards with interest-free purchase or balance transfer offers can also save money. A balance transfer is when you choose to move credit card debt you already have to another card with a lower rate or no rate at all. A 0% interest-free purchase card can be useful if you want to spread the cost of a major purchase. Just try to make sure you never miss a monthly repayment, and if you can, try to clear the balance by the time the offer rate has ended and it reverts to a standard rate.
Learn more about balance transfers
So what are the best ways to people go about switching? Hannah from Money.co.uk says: “Look at the details of your deal and decide whether it’s giving you what you need. Once you’ve got a benchmark you can start shopping around. Check as many companies as you can and find the one that gives you what you need. “
Of course, in some cases your current provider will want to keep you as a customer and may be persuaded to match or better deals you find elsewhere – as Hannah tells us: “If you’re dead set on staying with the same company then simply use this information to haggle for a better deal that matches the best you can get elsewhere.”