Five bill paying apps to help you pay and manage your bills

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There are a range of bill paying apps available, designed to help you pay and manage your bills. How do they work and what do you need to know before you use them?

Five bill paying apps

We’ve looked into what bill paying apps are available in the UK and tested five that we thought might be worth further investigation. We’d like to hear your thoughts if you’ve had experience using any of these or other bill paying apps. Please leave comments at the end of this post.

SAVVY TIP: Open Banking (where you can share your banking data with other companies and manage a range of accounts via a single app or website – essentially, what the following apps do), came in on 13th January 2018. This means that, in the event of a hack, you should be protected if you opt into open banking via your bank and share data with an FCA regulated third party app or website.

Bill paying app for eating out

Zapper is an app you can use to pay your bill at restaurants, retail stores, pubs and coffee shops. You can also collect loyalty points and redeem vouchers.

Over 1,500 sites around the UK currently accept Zapper. They have over one million global downloads.

SAVVY TIP: Zapper is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The company says that the way it’s set up means it doesn’t have to be approved by the FCA.

Zapper works in participating venues by scanning a QR code, for example this would be printed on your restaurant bill. The bill can then be paid in full or split between you and your friends.

When you download Zapper, you will be asked to give your name and email address as well as your card details and mobile telephone number.

You will need to let Zapper access your camera to be able to scan QR codes.

Available on the App Store, Google Play and Windows Phone.

App Store rating: 4 out of 5

Google Play rating: 3.7 out of 5

Fees: Free

Bill paying app for paying friends

Circle is an app that helps you to send money to a friend in the UK or abroad, split bills, chip in for group gifts or request money in the form of a text or an email.

There are no fees, even when you transfer money abroad.

Circle are backed by $140 million in venture capital from investors including big names such as Goldman Sachs and have been named as 2017 Best Non-Bank Competitor at the Retail Banking International Awards.

They are registered as an Electronic Money Institution by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They also say their technology, compliance and accounting practices are audited regularly and users details are encrypted with two levels of AES 128-bit symmetric encryption. They say they will never share your personal information with third parties.

When you download Circle, you will be asked to set up an account and provide your bank details.

Available on the App Store and Google Play.

App Store rating: 4.7 out of 5

Google Play rating: 3.9 out of 5

Fees: free

Paym: Paym is the banking industry’s app to pay or receive payments from friends. Fifteen participating UK banks and building societies currently offer Paym.

You will need to register your mobile number to the current account you want payments made into by linking through to your bank or building society via their ‘How to register’ page. To send a payment, you log in to your existing mobile banking or payment app, select your friend’s number using your contacts or enter a mobile number manually. You don’t need a sort code or account number. Enter the amount you want to pay and press send and your app will confirm your payment has been sent.

Bill paying app for parking

PayByPhone Parking pretty much does what it says on the tin; it’s an app that lets you pay for your parking via your smartphone in cities across the UK.

When you download the app you will be asked to create an account. To pay for parking you will need to add your card details to your account (card number, start date and expiry date).

The app is easy to use. You tap in the location code you wish to park in as advertised on the street signage, add the time duration you wish to park for, check the details then confirm your selection.

You can add more time from wherever you are by opening the app and adding time to your current parking meter.

SAVVY TIP: you may get a 20p extra charge depending on where you park and up to 15p if you want a text message receipt. And if you want to extend your parking it may cost an extra 20p on top of your car park bill.

Available via Blackberry, Google Play and App Store.

App Store rating: 3.6 out of 5

Google Play rating: 4.2 out of 5

Fees: free

Bill paying app for gas and electricity

Gas and electricity providers including British Gas, EDF, EONFirst Utility, N PowerOVO Energy, Scottish Power, have designed apps to help customers manage their account.

Key features of these apps include: submitting gas and electricity meter readings; paying bills and viewing account details; monitoring energy usage and booking an engineer.

We haven’t tested all of these Apps, but they are available on the App Store and Google Play.

App Store and Google Play ratings: various. It’s worth noting that EDF energy only gets 1 star out of 5 on the App Store.

Fees: free

Bill paying app for petrol

Pay for petrol in your car at Esso stations. Not all Esso stations have this feature, but the list where it is available is here and Esso say they are also rolling it out to more stations.

When you download the app you will be asked to create an account and set up Apple Pay or PayPal.

The app needs a 3G, 4G or Wifi signal, so if you don’t have a good signal, then you will need to pay with a card or cash in the shop.

You drive up to a participating Esso station pump, open the app and either select your pump number or scan the QR code at the pump (you will have to give the app permission to access your camera) and start fuelling. Payment is automatic.

Don’t worry! There is a symbol that will appear on the cashier’s screen, so they’ll know which pumps are using the mobile app for payment. When you see the ‘Transaction Complete’ screen showing the amount you have paid, you can drive away (without feeling guilty about going on the run!).

If you need to keep receipts for work purposes or for your own files, they are emailed to you and also stored in the app in ‘Transaction History’.

SAVVY TIP: you can link your Tesco Clubcard to the Esso App to earn points.

App Store rating: 3.2 out of 5

Google Play rating: 2.5 out of 5

Fees: free

SAVVY TIP: Shell also offers a similar app, but they have been getting bad reviews on the App Store since a recent upgrade.

Related articles:

What is open banking – open banking explained

Five money management apps to help you take control of your finances

Mobile banking – how to bank safely

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