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How much do price comparison sites actually help you?

Price comparison sites are huge at the moment, everyone has seen the tv adverts of the meerkats and opera singers, they all seem to do the same thing, find you the cheapest deal on your essential bills.

The biggest misconception about these websites is that they're there solely to help you out. This isn't true, they're all incredibly successful businesses and they're there to make money. They're very good at saving you money but only if you're prepared to switch your insurance/energy every year. For some people (me included) this is enough incentive but for others it may not be.

So how do they make money? The companies that are listed on the sites pay money to be there in the form of commission for every new customer they get. The comparison sites could strike deals with the providers to ensure they get more business, by putting them at the top of the list. Undercutting the competition to be at the top of the list could mean that they make a loss in the first year of the policy, however they're banking on that customer not wanting to change again the next year, where they're costs will shoot up.

Word of mouth is also a key marketing technique for the companies. If someone gets a great deal then they're going to tell their friends and family about it. This means that the person that got told about it may also go on the website to get the same good deal.

Compare the market have the best idea, they have clearly spent a lot of money on their marketing campaigns over the years. Teaming up with cinemas to give customers 241 cinema tickets for a year is a fantastic idea. That was the only reason I bought my car insurance with them.