Saving systems for the lazy

A choice of energy supplier or financial institution is all very well. But often, the hassle of switching accounts makes it hardly seem worthwhile. Thankfully, there are now companies that will do it for you.

Should you try and save money by constantly moving energy suppliers, mobile phone contracts and credit card companies? Should you make sure you make the most of every penny of your savings by moving from bank to bank as rates change? And should you be constantly watching the charges on your current account just in case they rise when you aren't watching?

The answer to all these things should obviously be yes, of course you should. But when people ask me about it, I very often say they probably shouldn't bother because of the hassle factor.

Move current accounts and it will probably be completely fine. But if it isn't, there will be hours of boring admin to do. The same goes for energy suppliers: how likely is it that your first bill from the new lot will be wrong, and how long will you then spend on the phone trying to sort it out?

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And what of savings accounts? If you have to fill in a ten page application form every time you move, is it really worth the bother? Perhaps you value your time and your sanity over an extra 0.01% of interest. I know I do.

But what if you could have your cake and eat it too the ability to switch without any of the admin horror? I'd like that, and I suspect most MoneyWeek readers would, too.

So I was pleased to see a piece in the Daily Mail that suggests the nation's entrepreneurs are getting on with finding a way to find us this Nirvana. A new company called Flipper will automatically compare gas and electricity tariffs for you and move you up to four times a year without you having to lift a finger (or more importantly a phone).

Better still, another new firm SavingsChampion will do the same for savings accounts if you have more than £100,000 to look after. It will monitor deals and fill in forms for you. All you need to do to shift your money is to sign at the end.

It isn't free (it will cost you 0.2% of your pot a year). But paying 0.2% in exchange for making 1.3% a year (the best of the instant access deposits at the moment) has to be better than paying nothing and getting 0.1% (the rate on my savings account at the moment).

I like it. If you have £100,000 in savings that you know you aren't getting enough interest on, go look it up.

Merryn Somerset Webb

Merryn Somerset Webb started her career in Tokyo at public broadcaster NHK before becoming a Japanese equity broker at what was then Warburgs. She went on to work at SBC and UBS without moving from her desk in Kamiyacho (it was the age of mergers).

After five years in Japan she returned to work in the UK at Paribas. This soon became BNP Paribas. Again, no desk move was required. On leaving the City, Merryn helped The Week magazine with its City pages before becoming the launch editor of MoneyWeek in 2000 and taking on columns first in the Sunday Times and then in 2009 in the Financial Times

Twenty years on, MoneyWeek is the best-selling financial magazine in the UK. Merryn was its Editor in Chief until 2022. She is now a senior columnist at Bloomberg and host of the Merryn Talks Money podcast -  but still writes for Moneyweek monthly. 

Merryn is also is a non executive director of two investment trusts – BlackRock Throgmorton, and the Murray Income Investment Trust.