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Bills, Banking & Exchange Rates

Paying Bills

Paying Bills

There are a few ways that you can pay your bills in the UK:

Post Office

Pay your energy, water, housing, telephone, broadband and other bills, including all major utilities at your local Post Office in most villages and towns.

  • Take in your utility bill and explain how much you would like to pay. They will give you a receipt for your payment. You can pay with cash or debit card at the Post Office and they don’t charge for electronic payments (though some banks may charge – check with your bank if you’re not sure). Cheques are accepted at some Post Offices.
  • To top up pre-paid energy meters take your electricity key and/or gas card.
  • For mobile phone top-ups, take your top-up card or ask for an e-voucher.
  • Convenience stores with a Payzone sign

Whenever it’s open (this will vary depending on location), this may include evenings and weekends (where available).

  • Payzone retailers have a device in their store that enables customers to complete over 200 bill payment transactions in their shop. Simply find your nearest store using Payzone’s Store Locator. Don’t forget to check the opening hours and which bill payment services it offers, as this can vary. Pop into your local Payzone shop, pay your bill and pick up any groceries you need at the same time.

For more information:

Bank Teller:  Possible fee
Many utility companies allow you to pay through a local Bank.  The utility bill may state a specific Bank to use free of charge.  Others may charge you a fee.  Take the payment stub from your bill to your bank. They’ll deduct the bill amount from your bank account and transfer it to the utility company.

Direct Debit

Setting up a regular direct debit is simple, safe and convenient and allows you to spread the cost of your bill over the year rather than paying a lump sum.  Talk to your Bank to determine how to set this up.  You will need a Direct Debit instruction form to complete which is provided by the utility company.  A Direct Debit can only be set up by the organization to which you're making the payment. Normally, you sign a mandate that gives the company permission to take funds from your account in an agreed way – like a monthly mobile phone bill. It normally confirms who's receiving the payment, the account to be debited, the amount and the dates of the payment. You‘re protected under the Direct Debit Guarantee scheme so that any amount debited in error is refunded immediately.

Internet Banking, BACS or CHAPS

Ask your bank how to setup “payee” accounts so that you can pay your utilities online from home. In the memo line of every online payment, ALWAYS include your name, account number and bill number. Without this info your payment could get lost with no way for the payee (e.g. utility company) to track it down.

Online or over the phone via the company website
Companies will allow you to pay your bills online via credit card if it’s been issued by a UK financial institution.

Standing Order

A standing order is a regular payment that you can set up to pay other people, organizations or transfer to your other bank accounts. You can amend or cancel the standing order as and when you like.  If living off base, your landlord is likely to ask you to set this up to pay your rent.

Local Banking

To pay UK bills by means other than cash, you’ll need a local bank account. There are two on-base options at RAF Mildenhall. It is advised that you visit these or call before arrival for the most up-to-date information and to set up your account here.

  1. Community Bank:
  2. Keesler Federal Credit Union:

Off-base options include:

  • Barclays
  • Halifax
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • Natwest
  • Santander
  • Yorkshire Building Society

International Allotment for Rent Pay

  • If you wish to use off-base banks consider setting up an International Allotment this could save time and money when converting dollars to pounds.  You will need to complete some forms with Finance and set up an ITS account in the member’s name.  Submit an inquiry through the Comptroller Service Portal for more details.

Pounds Sterling Account

You are required to obtain a pounds sterling account or bill pay option in order to pay bills pertaining to cell phone plans, rent, and off-base utilities. Opening a pounds sterling account can be accomplished at an on- or off-base bank.

  • To open a pounds sterling account off-base you may need:
    • Copy of orders
    • Passport
    • Proof of address or a letter signed by your unit Commander

ATM Exchange Rates

When getting Euros from an ATM, the exchange rate is generally more favorable if you take out a higher amount in a single transaction, rather than take out smaller amounts via multiple withdrawals.

NOTE: Most debit cards include a foreign transaction fee when converting your foreign purchase or ATM withdrawal into U.S. dollars. It’s usually 1-2% of the total transaction. However, for cards without a fee you may just get a lower exchange rate. Shop around for the best card.