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5 things you need to know before you use a comparison website

5 things you need to know before you use a comparison website, with Money Bites
What you need to know before you jump online.

Bite-Size Read:

  • More than 15% of us used a comparison website to get a better deal.
  • These comparison websites can save us time by helping us find and switch to a cheaper provider.
  • Here’s 5 things you need to know before you use a comparison website to make sure you get the best deal that suits your needs.

Have you used a comparison website recently?

More than 3 million Australians or 15% of people aged 14 and over, used a comparison website in 2018. That trend is only going up as more comparison websites become available.

There are many benefits to using a comparison website to get a better deal.

They are great for saving you time in not having to research all the different options because they do a lot of that research for you. You can search for what you’re looking for across multiple products, and many websites also help you switch providers directly. However, it’s important that you use comparison websites fully aware of how they can operate.

 

Here’s 5 things you need to know before you use a comparison website:

 

1. Comparison websites may not show you every product

It can be really difficult to identify every product and every provider on the market. It’s important that you look at multiple comparison websites to see what’s available. This will likely show you a bigger picture of providers and products available to you.

 

2. Some providers pay to be featured on comparison websites

For some comparison websites, there’s a pay to play relationship. Providers can be featured on the site or given prominence if they pay so that you see them as the first option. One comparison website was fined $8.5 million in 2020 for not showing people the most suitable or competitive plan when they looked for the cheapest energy deal.

 

3. Look for the product that meets your needs, not just the cheapest price

When you look for a better deal, you often focus on the numbers to get the cheapest price available. However, it’s important to look at other factors when switching providers, including what features are available for each product and the provider’s customer reviews. You also need to look beyond the initial number when comparing costs. Multiple factors influence the price of utilities like electricity if you’re trying to save money on your electricity bill. That includes the time of day you’ll use the service as at peak times, energy can cost more.

 

4. Know that comparison websites profit when you switch providers

These websites make money when you use their website to switch providers. Many commercial comparison websites do this by earning commissions or a referral fee when they refer you to a provider and sign you up as a new customer. This can affect the market as retailers may pay higher commissions for higher-priced products, potentially creating a less competitive market for products. If in doubt, look at multiple comparison websites or check directly with a provider that you’re getting the best deal.

 

5. Make sure you’re not the product

Many websites use cookies to collect data on you. If you go one step further and give a website your personal details, you are giving away that information. Sometimes a comparison website is owned by a business that is also linked to products being sold. Check the website’s privacy policy and make sure you’re aware of how your data will be used. If you start getting phone calls from providers after signing up, don’t be pressured by these calls and instead remove your data from their site if the repeated contact becomes a nuisance.

Comparison websites can support us to look for a better option to save us money.

These savings help save money in our budget across everyday products like mortgage fees, energy costs and even our phone bill. With full knowledge of how these websites work, you can enjoy saving money and get best the deal that suits your needs.

Written by Kate Crowhurst

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