The lockdowns of the last year or so have given many of us more time (and motivation) to think about our household budgets, and where we can make some savings. A good place to start is to look for a cheaper energy deal – especially if you’re working from home more and therefore using more power.
An auto-switching service, which automatically swaps you to a new provider if it finds a cheaper deal, makes a lot of sense as it can save you time as well as money. However, with an increasing number of providers offering this service, it can be difficult to know which one to choose – especially when they all appear to offer the same thing.
In response to demand for more guidance on how to choose between different products, Good With Money has introduced ‘need to know’ product and provider reviews.
Here we look at Flipper – an auto-switching service that will ‘flip’ you to a better deal every time it finds a saving of more than £50 compared to your current one.
Flipper started the auto-switching ball rolling when it launched in 2015. It constantly searches the market and will automatically swap you to a cheaper deal whenever it finds a saving of more than £50 compared to your current one (after exit fees are taken into account).
Rather than relying on estimates, Flipper uses data from your existing energy bills to ensure you’re always getting the best possible deal. It claims to save the average customer £385 a year on their energy bills.
It takes just a few minutes to sign up to Flipper and then you’ll never need to worry about comparing energy providers again – so it definitely scores highly on user-friendliness. It does all of the annoying and time-consuming work for you, liaising with and closing down your current provider and setting everything up with your new one.
To get started you’ll need to enter your postcode and tell Flipper who provides your gas and electricity (you may have different providers for these). Next, enter how much you spend on each of these per month – you can estimate these if necessary. Flipper will then search the market for you and tell you how much you could save.
If you decide to sign up, simply enter a few more personal details and Flipper will handle the switch for you. It will then monitor the market every month and ‘flip’ your provider whenever it sees you can save money. You’ll receive an email to tell you a ‘flip’ is going to happen. If you’d prefer to stay with your current provider, you’ll need to contact Flipper within 14 days of receiving the email.
Is it safe?
Yes, Flipper is completely safe to use. The website is secure and your personal details are not passed on.
You can opt for Flipper to search ‘green tariffs only’. If you haven’t done this at the sign-up stage you can do it later through your Flipper dashboard. It will then only look for tariffs that are “100 per cent green” when running your market checks. Currently there are more than 50 of these to choose from. Flipper says around one in five of its members are on a green tariff as these are some of the most competitive deals available.
Unique selling points
- Big savings. Flipper says it will save the average customer £385 per year.
- Green energy option. Choose to compare only renewable energy providers.
- Access to whole energy market. Flipper doesn’t receive a commission for referrals (it charges a yearly fee instead – see below) and therefore won’t restrict the tariffs it shows you.
- Poor customer service screened out. Flipper only uses Ofgem-approved suppliers with good customer service ratings.
The plus points
- Hassle-free. Save on your energy bills while letting Flipper do all the work for you.
- Frequent flipping. Flipper will search the market every month and automatically switch you if it finds a total saving of more than £50. You don’t have to wait until your current deal comes to an end as Flipper will take exit fees into account when it calculates savings.
- No need to wait. You can sign up even if your current deal hasn’t ended.
- Flip if you’re not happy. If you don’t like your existing provider because of poor customer service, simply email Flipper and it will start a switch for you.
- Frequent meter readings. To get the best savings, you will need to choose “all suppliers and tariffs” which could mean providing regular meter readings (depending on how often you flip). You can opt for “large suppliers only” which would require fewer meter readings, but the savings you make could be substantially less.
Cost of use
Flipper charges an annual fee of £30, although this won’t be charged until it has saved you at least £50. Despite the fee, the site claims that it saves the average customer £71.54 when compared to other comparison sites. This is because it doesn’t receive any commission from energy suppliers and therefore won’t restrict your results, as many comparison sites (and some auto-switching sites) will. Your membership auto-renews after 12 months, but you can opt out at any time.
How do these costs compare to competitors?
Look After My Bills is a free service, meaning you will never have to pay to switch energy deal. However, as it receives a commission from suppliers, you may not be given access to the cheapest deals on the market. Look After My Bills will only search for a cheaper deal when your current one is due to end.
Switchd offers four pricing levels ranging from free (which will only turn up suppliers it gets a commission from) to premium (where you can access the whole market and get dedicated customer support for £4.99 a month). Switchd searches the market every day, taking exit fees into consideration.
Similar auto-switching services worth considering are:
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