Rising energy costs? Aussies opt for bill payment services to help
Almost a year on from the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown and Aussie households seem to have gotten back to their regular routine. But one thing that might not have bounced back to normal is our energy bills.
According to bill payment platform Deferit, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Northern Territory all had a 10% - 20% increase in the dollar amount of energy bills paid in the last year.
Founded in 2018, Deferit is an innovative bill payment platform that allows Aussies to guarantee their bills are paid on time. Users upload a bill they are struggling to pay, and Deferit will pay it off immediately on their behalf.
Customers can then pay back the cost in four equal interest-free instalments, similar to Buy Now Pay Later services. There are no late fees; however, customers will need to pay a fixed monthly fee of $5.99.
Deferit co-founder and chief executive officer Jonty Hirsowitz says the rise in energy costs has seen many Aussies flock to the payment platform to keep their living expenses on track.
Interestingly, the payment service found that 77% of energy bills uploaded are paid on or ahead of time.
“We have seen over 150% year on year growth since February last year - so throughout the Covid-19 period,” he said. “That said, we actually found that users had access to more funds than usual as a result of the various government subsidies and access to superannuation.”
Hirsowitz says that energy bills are the most common bill type paid off, with over 30,000 energy bills being paid over the past 12 months. The average energy bill amount being paid on time is $250 and $467 for an overdue bill.
“It's essentially like bill smoothing meeting bill extensions at the click of a button. An average Deferit consumer will upload three bills per month and spread their payments back to us across the remainder of the month according to their income and other household expenses,” says Hirsowitz.
Energy bills prioritised over other household expenses
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) revealed last year that long-term residential electricity debt increased by 21% between 31 March and 2 November 2020, hitting a jaw-dropping $124.5 million.
Because of this, more than 60,000 Australian households took advantage of retailer offers to defer paying energy bills. Meanwhile, Deferit found that energy bills are being paid on the platform well ahead of time and are outperforming other bills by 10.5%.
One way to keep your energy costs under control is by making sure you’re getting the best deal. Our energy comparison tool can help you compare energy plans available within your postcode.