Banking Category Banking: the easy, simple banking guide

How to stop a debit card payment

Under federal banking regulations, a consumer can stop payment on a pre-authorised transfer by notifying the bank orally or in writing three days before the transfer date. So if you use your debit card to make pre-authorised payments, you should be able to stop those payments by contacting your bank and ordering a stop payment (there will likely be a fee). However, when you use your debit card to make retail purchases, it is not likely that you can stop payment because debit card transactions are processed very quickly, usually with in 24 hours.

Cancel recurring debit card payments with the entity you are paying. If you have entered into an agreement intentionally allowing recurring debit card payments from your account, you will most likely need to sign a form stating you wish to cancel the debit. For example, you sign up for a credit monitoring service and agree to a debit card payment of £9.70 a month. Later, you decide it is not worth the monthly payment. In order to cancel, you will need to contact the company and follow their procedures for cancelling, which will probably require you to complete and submit a form (cancellation form) with your signature authorising them to cancel the subscription and the debit payments.

Fill out the cancellation form completely. The form will require your full name, address, phone number, date you enrolled for the debit card payment, account and routing number, your signature and a reason for cancelling. You can mail the form to the creditor, but to speed up the cancellation process you should fax it or deliver it in person. If you fax it, keep documentation of the fax, and be sure to keep a copy of the original completed form.

Call the company you want to stop debiting your account to start the process for stopping the debit. It may take up to two weeks to stop the debit to your account, so call as soon as possible after a debit to avoid the next debit. Keep a record of when you called the company and who you spoke with and, if allowed under state law, record the call. Also, the phone call will be logged on your phone bill so retain a copy of that as third-party documentation of the call. If the company does not act and you end up disputing the charge with the bank, having the documentation will help the bank complete the investigation and decide in your favour.

Contact the bank to let them know you are stopping the debit, they will note your account and tell you approximately how long it will take to stop the debit. You should follow up to make sure the debit was cancelled. If it was not cancelled, you will need to dispute the charge, which will involve an investigation from the bank, for which you will provide copies of your documentation.