Bill sharing websites and apps work by combining household bills into one monthly payment. They are aimed at students or those in shared accommodation. But are bill sharing websites and apps as good as they sound?
Bill sharing websites and apps – how do they work?
Bill sharing websites and apps have been designed to take the “hassle” out of paying bills if you live in shared accommodation. They work by combining utilities such as broadband, energy, water, TV Licence and TV packages into one monthly payment. Some companies charge a fee to split the bills, whereas others make their money from referring you to their preferred partners.
We asked Jake Butler from Save the Student what he thinks about bill sharing apps and websites. This is what he says: “Bill splitting companies may sound like an easy to use service in your shared accommodation but it might surprise you that they make money doing something that’s so easy to do yourself.
Each company differs slightly but some charge money to split the bills for you and others make their money by referring you to their preferred partners. In the first instance, you’re paying for something you could do yourself in very little time, and in the second instance it could mean being locked into overpriced broadband and energy contracts with no ability to get exclusive offers or switch your provider.
You should always take control of your own bills and split them in a way that you think is fair between your housemates. It won’t only save you from being overcharged but could also help with learning how to manage bills for the future.”
We’ve looked at four bill sharing websites and apps. This is what we found (in alphabetical order):
SAVVY WARNING!: The Times reported that hundreds of students posted negative reviews online about Glide and Split the Bills, complaining of poor service and high costs.
One Utility Bill (see below) is also trading as Fused. It makes money by using preferred suppliers and works by combining utilities (broadband, energy, water, TV licence and TV packages, if required) into one fixed monthly payment. They offer a monthly rolling contract; you just need to give them 30 days notice if you want to cancel it.
How does it work? You sign up online. Payment comes out once a month via a card payment. This can either be from the lead tenant or split between housemates. If you miss a payment, this will be divided across the remainder of your payments.
You need to submit meter readings, ideally every month. If you don’t submit readings within four months, they will send a contractor to collect your readings. They will charge you for this.
SAVVY TIP: Fused has a refer a friend scheme. You will get a £20 Domino’s voucher if you refer a friend and they sign up. Your friend will also receive a £20 Domino’s voucher when they sign up.
How much does it cost? Fees are all lumped into one monthly payment. So if, for example, if you are quoted £10 per week, you would pay £43.34 per month (10 x 52 / 12) If you miss an engineer appointment (to install your broadband, for example) you will be charged.
SAVVY WARNING!: If a housemate is unable to pay, then all other housemates may have their payments increased to pay the monthly amount.
Is there an App available? No.
Trustpilot: Fused is rated 8 out of 10 on Trustpilot.
Glide is aimed at students who are renting shared accommodation. Glide told us that they make money by buying energy as wholesale and then providing it to customers. They combine all utilities (broadband, energy, water and TV licence) into an equal split monthly bill for each tenant. They will charge you an additional fee if you want them to manage your water or TV licence (see costs below).
How does it work? You get one fixed bill every month, which you are responsible for. If your housemate is late in paying, they will receive a late payment fee of £10 – other housemates won’t be charged.
You can access Glide via an online portal, and also via an App. Here you can see how much energy you’re using and get money back at the end of your tenancy, if you are under budget. You can also make payments, though Glide will automatically take payments on the due date (1st of the month), so you’ll rarely have to make payments yourself. You will be given seven days notice before payment is due each month.
Glide told us they use their own Glide Broadband. If you have problems with it, there is help available 24/7.
How much does it cost? For four people sharing at a house in Manchester with gas, electricity and fibre broadband, it costs £10.43 per person, per week. If you want Glide to manage your water, you will have to pay an additional monthly management fee of £5.99, plus water charges. If you want them to manage your TV licence, you will have to pay the Licence fee of £150.50, plus a monthly management fee of £2.98.
There are also charges for late payments (£10), returned cheques, missed engineer appointments (£120) and early contract termination.
Is there an App available? Yes. You can download the Glide app on Apple and Android devices. Here you can see your energy usage, check your latest payments and stay informed about what’s going on with your utilities.
Trustpilot: Glide is rated 7.4 out of 10 on Trustpilot.
One Utility Bill makes money by using preferred suppliers. It works by combining utilities (broadband, energy, water, TV licence and TV packages, if required) into one fixed monthly payment. It’s aimed at letting agents, landlords and tenants.
How does it work? Payments are split equally between housemates. You will only be responsible for your portion of the bill. Payments are fixed throughout your tenancy and collected monthly via a debit card, either from each tenant or from one lead tenant. One Utility Bill told us that if payments are missed, they will contact you to arrange an extra payment, or distribute the cost across remaining payments.
You manage your account on a tenant dashboard. Here you can monitor your energy usage, upload meter readings, refer friends and view your next payment date. You can also update your card information, add housemates and upload bills that may have been received to the door by third party suppliers (i.e. previous tenant bills).
How much does it cost? Fees are all lumped into one monthly payment. Meter readings are requested monthly and these requests are sent to all tenants. If meter readings are not uploaded after four months, a ‘meter reading operative’ is sent to the property. This will cost you £38 (including VAT).
If you miss an appointment, such as when an engineer is required to instal your internet, you will be charged by the third party company.
Is there an App available? No.
Trustpilot: One Utility Bill is rated 8.5 out of 10 on Trustpilot.
Aimed at students, Split The Bills combines bills (internet, energy, water and TV Licence) into one monthly payment. The energy supplier they use provides 100% renewable electricity.
How does it work? You get a free quote online. Once you are happy with your quote, they will ask for a few more details about you and your house. Payments are taken once all housemates have joined and a chosen start date is reached. Each housemate is responsible for their own payment, and Split The Bills will chase them up for you.
SAVVY TIP: Split The Bills say that they are the only bill management company that don’t charge a daily fee for gas and electricity. They say scrapping these charges could save you up to £500 on average a year.
How much does it cost? Plus bills, it costs £1.50 a week for each housemate and a one-off £14.99 set up fee.
If any monthly payments bounce, a £5 fee will be added to your account, however this will be removed if you make a successful payment within the following seven days.
If you cancel your direct debit instruction when you are still due to make a payment, a £10 fee will be added to your account, however this amount will be halved should you then make the payment within seven days of the original direct debit date.
All fees are applied to the individual directly.
Trustpilot: Split The Bills is rated 7 out of 10 on Trustpilot.
Photo by Fox from Pexels.
SavvyWoman email newsletters: If you found this information useful why not sign up now to receive free fortnightly email newsletters with money saving tips and help? You can sign up at the top of any page on the website and your details won’t be passed to any other company for marketing purposes.