Choosing to use automatic payment services for recurring charges can be a convenient way to pay bills, but in some cases, it can also be costly. With automatic payments, you don’t have to worry about remembering to submit payments on time, but if you won’t have enough money in your account when the payment hits, you’ll pay overdraft fees to your bank. You'll also possibly pay additional fees to the merchant if your payment is returned by the bank. You can cancel recurring charges you set up through your bank’s bill payment service with your bank, or you can cancel recurring charges you set up with the merchant directly with that company.
Cancel With Your Bank
Log into your online account with the bank that processes the recurring charge. Go to the “Bill Pay” section of your account. Find the merchant account for which you want to discontinue recurring payments. Delete or change the automatic withdrawal authorization.
This may involve changing the payment frequency from “recurring” to “one-time," deleting and re-entering payment details for the merchant or simply changing the payment date. Your actions will depend on your bank’s online interface and whether you wish to cancel all future recurring charges for the merchant, or are simply canceling one scheduled recurring charge.
Request a Stop Payment Order
You can also try issuing your bank a stop payment order. You can give the order over the phone, in person or in writing. Give your bank at least three business days to stop the next scheduled payment. To stop all future payments, you might have to send the stop payment order in writing. If your bank asks for a written order, make sure to provide it within 14 days of the oral request for it.
If you need assistance canceling a bill payment you set up through your bank, contact customer service or your local branch for assistance. When you set up the recurring charge through your bank’s bill pay service, you don’t need to notify the merchant of your cancellation.
Cancel With the Merchant
Contact the merchant by phone and ask to speak with the billing department. Tell the billing agent you no longer wish to have payments automatically withdrawn from your bank account. Ask for a fax number, e-mail address or mailing address for the billing department.
Draft a letter to the merchant’s billing department that states you no longer authorize automatic withdrawals from your bank account. This letter backs up your oral request made with the billing agent and provides proof of your request in writing. Send the letter to the billing department using the contact information you obtain from the representative. Keep a copy of your letter as proof that it was sent to the merchant with your records.
If you cancel recurring withdrawals with a merchant, the merchant may charge you a fee for not using autopay. In this instance, you'll need to decide whether it is more cost-effective for you to pay the fee than it is to pay potential overdraft or bank fees from having the payment taken automatically from your account.
Follow Up With the Bank
Contact your bank. After you revoke your authorization for future recurring debits from the merchant, let your bank know you made the request directly with the merchant. You may speak directly with the bank’s customer service department or with a branch manager, but it is best to follow up with a written letter to the bank as well. If the merchant tries to debit your account in the future, you can dispute the transaction with the bank if you can prove that you revoked the authorization.
Read More: How to Stop Recurring Credit Card Charges
- If you cancel recurring withdrawals with a merchant, the merchant may charge you a fee for not using auto-pay. In this instance, you'll need to decide whether it is more cost-effective for you to pay the fee than it is to pay potential overdraft or bank fees from having the payment taken automatically from your account.
With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.