Consumers can use direct debits to make regularly scheduled payments to creditors' accounts right from their personal checking or savings account. Scheduling a direct debit can help you avoid missing payments and accumulating late fees and penalties. It also eliminates the need to write checks or pay the bill in person. But when you have cash-flow issues, you might want to manage your funds differently. To stop direct debits, you can -- most of the time -- cancel this function by accessing your account online.
Access the account online where you have scheduled the payment to come out of your bank account. Type in your user name and password. If you forget either, click the link that says "forgot user name" or "forgot password." The creditor will either send you an email to remind you of your user name or a link to reset your password. Some creditors may have you answer security questions you previously established.
After getting access to the account, access the area that links to your payments. Most credit card companies, utilities and banks have an area that displays current payment due dates, payment history, pending payments, payment profiles or auto payment. When a payment is pending you can cancel it as long as it hasn't posted. Select the "cancel payment" option and hit enter. A screen may pop up asking if you are sure you want to cancel the payment. Hit the button that confirms you want to cancel the payment.
Go to the area for managing automatic payments. Depending on the creditor, it might say "Payment Options," "Manage Auto Pay," or "Manage Direct Debits." Select the option that allows you to change your settings for automatic debits. Check the box that stops the automatic payments on your accounts, as it varies depending on the creditor.
Monitor your account beginning one week before the next direct debit is scheduled to hit your account. Ensure that you catch any unauthorized payments quickly.
If you set up the direct debit in person or via a letter, you might have to write a letter or visit the creditor directly to cancel this, especially if they do not offer this feature online.
Follow up with the bank or the creditor. Call the creditor to verify that it has canceled the direct debit. Ask the operator for an identification or operator number and name. Check your bank account online to verify the direct debit has not occurred.
If you signed a contract that requires direct debit, you may not be able to eliminate this feature from your account. It all depends on the way in which you set up the direct debit.
- gold bank image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com