Stopping a payment - Financial Conduct Authority

Stopping a payment

Last Modified: 26/02/2016
Find out what you have to do and your rights when stopping a payment being made from your account.

What you have to do to stop a payment you arranged to be made from your account will depend on whether it is a direct debit, standing order, regular card payment or cheque.

We explain more about these payment options and what you can do if there is a problem.

Cancelling a direct debit

A direct debit gives a company or individual permission to take money regularly from your bank account.

You can cancel a direct debit by writing to your bank or using your online or telephone banking service. You might also want to tell the company or individual that is taking the money that you have cancelled the direct debit, but you do not have to.

If the company or individual wants to change the amount or date of a payment you have not cancelled, under the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme it has to tell you about the change in advance. You are guaranteed a full and immediate refund if a company or individual, or your bank, makes an error.

Cancelling a standing order

A standing order is an instruction you give your bank to regularly pay a set amount to another account.

You can cancel a standing order by writing to your bank or using your online or telephone banking service.

To cancel a standing order you will have to do this before close of business on the working day before the payment is due to be made.

Know your rights!

If you tell your bank to cancel a payment before the deadline for doing so, and it is still paid, it will be considered an unauthorised transaction and your bank must give you an immediate refund.

You can find out more about unauthorised transactions.

Cancelling other regular payments

When you give your credit or debit card details to a company or individual, and give them permission to take regular payments from your account, it is known as a ‘continuous payment authority’ or ‘recurring transaction’.

These payments might be set up for something like a gym membership or magazine subscription.

These regular card payments are often confused with direct debits, but do not offer the same guarantee if the amount or date of the payment changes (as above).

In most cases, you can cancel these types of regular card payments by telling (or writing to) the company taking the payments.

However, you have the right to cancel these regular card payments directly with your bank or card provider by telling it that you want to stop permission for the payments. Your bank or card provider must then stop the payments – it cannot insist that you firstly agree this with the company taking the payments.

You should be aware that you will still be responsible for paying any money that you owe to the company that was taking the regular card payments.

Stopping a cheque

If a cheque has not been paid, you can stop it by writing to your bank, or using your online or telephone banking service.

Consumer Helpline

Telephone: 0800 111 6768

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External links

Payments Council

Further information on the current account switch guarantee

Money Advice Service

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Financial Ombudsman Service

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Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

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