Nearly 20 million Brits have not switched on to switching
2009 will definitely be remembered as the year we tried to tighten our belts. However, according to new research by comparison site Gocompare.com, nearly 20 million UK consumers haven't switched providers for everyday financial services and utilities in the last 12 months.
The research also revealed that 1 in 5 Brits are starting 2010 still seriously worried about their finances and 1 in 4 say they urgently need to make savings.
37.4 per cent of people cited bills and the rising cost of living as likely to be their biggest financial worry in 2010 yet despite this need to save cash, the research revealed that there are still millions of people yet to switch on to switching.
22.7% have switched their car insurance provider in the last 12 months
19% have switched their home insurance provider in the last 12 months
20.6% have switched their energy provider in the last 12 months
18.9% have switched their mobile phone tariff in the last 12 months
10.6% have switched a credit card balance in the last 12 months
14.4% have switched broadband provider in the last 12 months
The research reveals that a potential 21 million drivers could be missing out on cheaper car insurance. An even fewer 19 per cent of consumers switched their home insurance provider in the last year. Gocompare.com customers could save an average of £211 by switching their car insurance after comparing policies from over 120 different insurers and brokers.
Energy companies regularly introduce new price tariffs to tempt customers away from their competitors and it's always a good idea to review your electricity and gas provider at least once a year to ensure you're not paying more for than you need to. In 2009 just 20.6 per cent of consumers switched their energy supplier which means that up to 20 million households could be wasting money every time they switch on a light or boil their kettle.
According to Ofcom there are now 76 million mobile phone subscriptions in the UK, exceeding the number of people in the population. In the last 12 months just 18.9 per cent of consumers switched their mobile phone tariff and although it can be a pain to have to change your number, millions of people could possibly save money by moving to a more competitive tariff.
One of the most effective ways of cutting down your outgoings is to reduce the amount of interest you pay on your credit card balance. According to the Bank of England in January 2009 the UK credit card debt was approximately £53 Billion, of which 72.5% was interest bearing. In the last 12 months just 10.6% of consumers switched their credit card balances. Cards such as the Virgin Mastercard offer a 16 month interest free period and you can use that time to really make an effort to clear your debt or at least pay off a hefty chunk of it.
14.4 per cent of consumers switched their broadband provider last year despite fierce competition between internet service providers. Some like BT even offer freebies such as wireless routers to attract new customers as well as discounted rates for the first three to six months of the contract. Conditions will apply of course but it makes sense to compare the competition and switch if you can find a better deal.
Lee Griffin, business development director of Gocompare.com, said: "Comparison sites make it extremely easy to compare all manner of products and services from car insurance to credit cards. Whilst lots of people have become committed comparers and switchers our research shows that millions of consumers could still be paying more than they should for things like insurance and energy because they stick with their existing provider without checking out the competition. In our experience the only reward you get for loyalty is a higher price than you'd pay as a new customer so shop around for the best deals and if your existing provider seems expensive, switch."