How to Stop Automatic Payments on Your Debit Card

By Emily Greenhill Pierce · October 18, 2023 · 7 minute read

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How to Stop Automatic Payments on Your Debit Card

Automatic payments from your bank account can be a convenient way to pay your bills and subscription charges on time. But the day may come when you need to know how to stop automatic payments on a debit card. This could involve changing your account settings, revoking authorization, or contacting your bank.

Canceling your automatic payments with certain vendors and financial institutions can occasionally be a hassle. And sometimes, if you’re not paying attention, months can go by without you realizing that recurring fees are still being deducted from your account.

Here, you’ll learn four effective ways to stop automatic payments when the time comes to do so.

4 Ways to Stop Automatic Payments

If you’re someone who tends to forget to pay bills in a timely manner, automatic payments attached to your debit card can be a financial lifesaver.

Automatic transfers or ACHs (automatic clearing house) can transfer money from your checking account on a specific date to a business, without any checks being written or credit card interest charges being incurred. This method can be used to cover a myriad of life’s expenses, including the cost of a gym membership, cell phone bills, and your favorite streaming services.

But there are some downsides to automatic payments being applied via your debit card. Maybe you accidentally signed up for recurring payments? Perhaps that monthly shipment of protein shakes was initially exciting, but now you’re sick of drinking strawberry-flavored liquids for lunch. Nobody wants to get stuck paying for something they don’t want.

If you want to keep autopay withdrawals from happening, you’ll need to know how to stop recurring debit card payments. Failure to do so can result in a drain on your bank account, and your sanity.

Federal law grants you the right to cancel an automatic debit card payment, or stop ACH payments, even if you previously permitted them. There are generally no fees or penalties for canceling an automatic payment preference.

Here are 4 tips on how to cancel an automatic payment.

1. Turning Off Automatic Payments in Your Account

These days, most utility companies and vendors invite you to automate your finances. When you create an online account, they will encourage you to sign up for automatic payments. This makes it more likely that they will receive your money in a timely fashion and it may allow them to cut down on monthly billing efforts. It also can make it easier for you to stop an automatic payment.

Your automatic payments can usually be set up and terminated simply by switching an option in your settings. Sign in with your username and password and select “opt out of automatic payments” in your personal account. This action is typically performed in the “billing and payment” section in the site menu. If you need help, a customer service representative can often guide you via online chat or over the phone.

Once you’ve turned off your automatic payment feature, it might be wise to document the event. Take a picture of a confirmation message and note the date.

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2. Revoking Authorization from Companies

If you can’t turn off your autopay option through an online account, you may have to contact the company directly and revoke the automatic payment authorization. Some vendors will email or mail you what’s known as a “Revoke Authorization” form.

Once you’ve received the Revocation of Authorization form, fill it out, and keep a copy for yourself before emailing or mailing it back. That way, if the automatic payment charges continue, you’ll have evidence of cancellation to show to your banking institution.

3. Calling Your Bank or Credit Union

Another way to stop automatic payments from your debit card is to contact your bank directly. They may ask you to pen a letter to formally revoke authorization, stating that the company and dollar amount is no longer allowed to be electronically debited from your checking account.

Your bank may also have a Revoking Authorization form you can fill out online or in person. Once the form has been processed, any further attempt by the company to withdraw funds can be dealt with by your bank.

4. Issuing a Stop Payment Order

Instead of filing a form to revoke authorization, you could issue a stop payment order. A stop payment order gives your bank or credit union permission to block a company or vendor from taking money from your account. This process could be done over the phone, in an email, or in person. Some banks may charge a fee for this service.

Keeping an Eye On Your Bank Account

It is possible, even after taking actions to cancel your automatic payments, that you may still see funds being withdrawn from your bank account. While this is frustrating, you may have to contact the vendor or your bank a second time. It’s a good idea to frequently check your bank account to be sure the automatic payments have stopped. Regular check-ins can be part of managing your checking account in a big-picture way too.

Dealing with Unauthorized Automatic Payments

Paying attention to your bank account can also help keep your online accounts safe. Your bank may even alert you to fraudulent charges — automatic payments being made without your consent for things you never signed up for.

Should You Consider Closing a Bank Account?

It’s good to know how to cancel all automatic payments that seem suspicious. One surefire way to avoid recurring fraudulent charges is to close your bank account completely. But this is a drastic measure that could cost you more time and fees.

Instead, contact your bank or credit union. In many cases, they will credit you for the false debit, block the vendor from making future attempts, and suggest further security measures.

Recommended: How to Switch Banks

Should You Cancel Your Debit Card?

If a company keeps making erroneous or unauthorized automatic payments, one way to put a stop to it is to cancel your debit card and receive a new one. In the cases of fraudulent charges by an unknown vendor, your bank will strongly suggest this in order to protect you.

Knowing When to Give Bank Authorization

In order to effectively stop an automatic payment before it happens, be sure and issue the Revoke Authorization form or stop payment order at least three business days before the automatic payment is due, to give your bank time to process the request.

Remember, stopping an automatic payment doesn’t mean you don’t owe money for products received or services rendered. You’ll have to cancel the service agreement completely, or be on top of paying what you owe by the due date through online payments, mailing a check, or other arrangements.]

The Takeaway

Automatic payments from your checking account are a simple and popular way to pay what you owe on time. They can help you avoid late fees and a trip to the mailbox. If you have an online account, you can discontinue an auto payment with only a few clicks. In most cases contacting the company or vendor directly can also get the job done, or you can ask your bank for help. No one can force you to continue automatic payments against your will, and the control of your bank account is in your hands.

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How much does it cost to stop an automatic payment?

There are typically no fees when you stop an automatic payment option in your online account or if you do so by contacting a vendor directly. However, a bank might charge a processing fee for issuing a stop payment request.

What happens if you close a bank account with automatic payments?

If you close a bank account, companies and vendors will no longer be able to automatically deduct monthly payments tied to that account. You will have to make other arrangements to pay what you owe or discontinue any service agreements.

Will getting a new debit card stop recurring payments?

Yes. A new debit card comes with a new number. You will have to contact companies with your new card information to continue automatic payments.

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