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How to Use Comparison Websites Effectively

If you are seeking services such as a loan, mortgage or insurance, you should start your journey on a comparison website. If done well, using a comparison website can be a highly positive experience and you can certainly get the best deal possible when obtaining finances through one.

Comparison website can provide benefits such as; discounts, nectar points, memberships, free tickets and just generally being able to clearly see the rates of various providers all in one place, saving you having to go through each individual company’s policies.

In fact, in some industries, they have made comparison websites a priority. In the highly competitive, controversial payday loans industry, every lender is required to feature on a comparison website by FCA law and clearly state it on their homepage, encouraging people to compare rates where possible.

Comparing financial products using comparison sites

It is important to check more than one comparison site to educate yourself on the market and save you money in the long-run. Some websites may only show certain providers, or those which they have commercial agreements with. So for the best results, check out a range of comparison sites to see all the deals available to you.

Be aware of how the comparison websites make their money

Realistically, any provider you use is bound to be commercially driven and therefore it is extremely likely that certain products or polices will be strategically placed for a specific reason. As a consequence, you must be aware that the first policy listed is not necessarily going to be the best option for you, so be sure to check out the full list before clicking through to a provider.

Income from comparison usually comes in the form of:

Cost per clicks

This refers to that the commission received by the comparison site each time a customer clicks on a listing. Usually, the higher commissions are reserved for higher positions on the table. This is the method of Money.co.uk

Sponsored listings

These is when companies are featured in a section reserved for advertising. Since this is not usually based on the quality of the product or policy, you should be wary of this.

Paid positions

An advertiser will receive a fixed position on the table exchange for an agreed fee.

A man completing online form

Be careful with the details that you enter

It is common for comparison websites to ask you to enter your personal details so that they can filter the results which come up so that they are best suited to your wants and needs.

If at any point you are asked for your bank details, be aware that there may be an up-front fee or they may simply want to run a credit check. Before using a site, you should always check the small print. If it mentions a hard credit search, this may affect your rating overall, but a soft search is standard for a quotation.

The likes of MoneySavingExpert offers an ‘eligibility application’ so you can put your details in, through a soft search and see what products you could be approved for without any damage to your credit rating.

Be aware of pre-ticked boxes

Often on comparison sites, there are pre-ticked boxes and pre-set filters which will ultimately have an influence on which providers you end up going with for any specific product. In order to avoid this, read through the small print to see whether you are agreeing or disagreeing to marketing opt ins when you are ticking or unticking a box.

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