I know this doesn’t apply to everyone but if you have been thinking of moving to the UK or indeed have just moved and are still finding your way around, one of the trickiest yet most set of tasks you have to do is sorting out the amenities and services you need for your new life in the UK.
Well, in a bit to save you time and money, I’ve put together a quick set of recommendations on which service providers to go for and why they’re notches ahead of the competition. I have no affiliation with any of these organisations, I just have first-hand experience of having used them (along with the competition).
1.) Banking – HSBC. Banks don’t always get it right but on the occasions when they do get it wrong, HSBC is fairly quick and adept at sorting the problems out for you. Also, being an international bank, they’re much better for travelling around using your Debit Card. Once, I had my card blocked in New York due to suspicious activity (i.e. I had spent way too much in Century 21, much more than my bank was used to) and so to unblock it, I simply walked into an HSBC branch (which was down the road from my hotel (and from Century 21) and had it unlocked fairly quickly. The global network of branches can prove quite handy.
2.) Groceries – For convenience Tesco stores are littered everywhere! They vary in size though the smaller ones (Tesco Express and Tesco Metro) are usually slightly pricier (and expense you par for the convenience I guess).
My recommendation is Morrisons as they have lots of fresh stuff for really decent prices – their downside is that they’re slightly harder to find than Tesco (which isn’t too bad if you have a car but if you live in London for example and don’t have a car, chances are you will be a lot closer to a Tesco than you would a Morrisons store.
If you are less sensitive about prices, however, then head over to Waitrose. In my experience, Waitrose is a lot more expensive than the others but the quality here is impeccable!
3.) Broadband Home Internet – Talk Talk. They’re amongst the cheapest and most reliable. The speed is pretty good and it doesn’t drop off and disconnect as BT does. Virgin Media sounds promising but there’s never fibre optic internet coverage wherever I’ve been so unfortunately, I’ve not had the chance to try them out (except once in Edinburgh and they were pretty good back then).
4.) Mobile Phone– Three. So many reasons – You can use as much data as you want. No ridiculous fair usage policies. You get lots of call time. You get free-roaming (calls and data) for quite a few countries (the numbers of which are steadily increasing). You also get 4G speed… You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal anywhere else.
5.) TV – Sky is perhaps the most comprehensive service but Netflix is a fraction of the price and on-demand. I stopped using Sky when I realised I was basically switching it on, scrolling through a list of programs that I didn’t want to watch and promptly switching it back off. Netflix is on so many platforms and can be used in lots of different counties so you get to take your TV with you wherever you go.
6.) Home Phone (Landline) – The simple answer to this one is to get your landline service with whoever you get your broadband with. Phone service is pretty reliable across all providers and also very similar in price. The best deal is always available if your phone service and broadband service are provided by the same company so whoever you decide to go with from your broadband should be who you go with for your phone service.
7.) Energy Service – Currently, EoN has great deals at the moment but seeing as this is one of those services that either is there or isn’t (there’s no real “good” or “bad” electricity, all that matters now is the price), I’d say check with uSwitch or a similar price comparison site to make you have the best deal available. Always check this when you move in, don’t stick to the default provider!