Written by: Rebecca Robinson
Price Comparison sites exist in many guises, as they can be used to compare prices and quality of almost any consumer product, however when we talk about comparison websites the most common, and altogether best known, are the financial services sites that pepper our televisions, phones and e-mails all day long.
So how do Price Comparison sites actually work?
Comparison sites work by taking your details and flushing them through hundreds of retailers to get a quote from each one based on your details so that you can chose the best in your parameters, usually the best price. For example if you were looking for car insurance, you would enter your personal information and car details, the site would give these details to a host of providers and then list all of their quotes by order of best value, you can then chose the best one, or indeed any one which takes your fancy, relative to your needs as they will often state whether the offer includes extras such as breakdown, remember the top offer may not actually be the best overall value.
In order for these sites to work the companies have to give permission for the comparison sites to access their data and provide and offer on their behalf, which most of the really big names will do as it makes for a more competitive market. It’s worth remembering though that not all companies will allow these sites to access their information so even when you have got your quote from the comparison site it may not be the best realistic deal if there is another company that is not listed and may give you a better deal. In fact some companies base their entire marketing strategy on not being linked to comparison sites forcing you to go to them for the best deal and in the long run making the comparison site itself null and void.
Pros and cons?
Comparison sites do take the leg work out of a lot of financial shopping however they are not without their flaws and a large proportion of people are choosing not to go with these sites and are heading straight to the main dealers for their quotes. Using comparison sites will help you to get a clearer picture of the price you should be looking for but don’t be too quick to click on that link until you have read all the small print and have checked with other companies to see if you can improve on that quote. They are also useful if you are deciding whether or not you can afford to purchase a car as in most cases it will allow you to enter car details without being the owner so you can get an idea of how much it will cost you. This can be invaluable when trying to decide if that big people carrier you want to get is really as economical as they say, and in the same way comparison sites could help you review your finances when making a move to a new area, upgrading your home or looking for new bank accounts.