Prepayment meter payment methods
•Smart prepayment meters. Top-up methods vary between suppliers and tariffs. Generally, you get a payment card which can be topped-up at a PayPoint, online, by text, by phone or via apps. As soon as there is credit on the card, it is transferred remotely to your meter.
•Key meters. You are provided with a rechargeable ‘key’ when the meter is installed. The key can only be used in your meter. You need to charge the key by paying at a charging point (eg, at a PayPoint outlet) or you may be able to top-up at home using the internet and a device provided by your supplier. Your key is electronically encoded at the charging point with the amount you have paid. When the key is inserted into the meter, the amount of fuel you have bought is registered and the key is cancelled. A certain amount of emergency credit is usually available on these meters. Your key may be able to read your meter and pass on the reading when you charge it. Key meters do not need to be manually updated after a price rise.
•Token and card meters.Note: these have almost all been phased out. Electronically coded payment cards or tokens, usually available in units of £5, can be purchased from local shops. Your account is credited every time you purchase a token/card. When the token or card is inserted into the meter it records the amount of fuel purchased and then automatically cancels the token/card. Token meters need to be manually adjusted after every price rise. Your supplier should give you advance notice of a price increase and should take steps to recalibrate your meter as soon as possible.