The best ways to pay bills

Paying your bills on time is a challenging, but essential skill to learn. If you don’t you could end up in arrears and that can leave you in debt, affect your credit rating and even stop you buying a home. We take a look at the best ways to pay bills and give tips on what to do if you’re struggling to keep up and pay on time.

Are you being moved onto Universal Credit? Learn How to budget for a monthly benefit payment.

How to pay bills on time

It can be tough to manage bills, especially if they are starting to pile up. That’s why we’ve pulled together a few tips to help you stay on top of your finances.

  • Get organised. Get a folder and keep your bills in it. If your bills are digital, put them in a file on your computer. Keep track of when they need to be paid.

Need help managing your money? Try our free and easy to use Budget Planner.

  • Choose a payment method that suits you. Direct debit is usually the cheapest and easiest way to pay bills, but there are other options. Find out more below.
  • Check your bills regularly. This means you’ll spot any mistakes and will notice if your bills rise and fall. Pick a day each month and use a calendar or an app to make sure you don’t forget. You can check payments on your bank statements.
  • Don’t let your bills get on top of you. If you’re struggling to pay your bills, don’t ignore the problem, because it will only get worse. Read more about how to deal with arrears below.
  • Make sure you’re not paying too much. Read our guide on How to save money on household bills, to cut hundreds of pounds off your bills.

Ways to pay your bills

Try setting up a separate bank account for your bills and transfer the necessary amount in there as soon as you get paid.

Direct Debit

Paying by Direct Debit means your bills are paid on time, so you will avoid late payment charges. Some companies offer discounts for customers who pay by Direct Debit.

Pay online or phone banking

If you bank online or by phone you can pay your bills directly. It’s quick and easy and you’re in control of exactly what you pay and when. But you have to remember to pay your bills in time.

Other payment methods

  • By post – you can often send a cheque for the bill amount to the address provided by the business. Be aware that it can take up to five days for them to process the cheque and receive the money from your account.
  • Post Office – you can often pay a bill by cash or card at the Post Office. There can sometimes be a fee for using this service.
  • Prepayment meter – gas and electricity can be prepaid by topping up a key or a card which goes into your gas or electricity meter. This is one of the most expensive ways to pay for energy and when you run out of credit, you’re out of energy.

Do you share responsibility for bills with your partner? Read more about managing money as a couple.

Are your bills getting on top of you?

If you are having difficulty paying your bills, talk to the people you owe money to as soon as you can. They may let you make smaller repayments until your financial position improves. There are also numerous free debt organisation that can help.

Find out more in our guide Talk to the people you owe money to.

Did you find this guide helpful?