All sorts of events can force a person into a situation in which he must stop an online payment. Perhaps you’re dealing with a delayed deposit, an error, an unauthorized transaction or some other emergency that reduced your available funds. Whether it’s a stand-alone or recurring electronic funds transfer from your bank account, there’s no guarantee that you can stop the payment. It is usually possible, as long as you attempt to do it before the merchant or bank finishes processing the transaction.
Stopping the Payments
You can try to cancel a pre-scheduled payment request on your end before the transaction date. Go to the online account where you scheduled the payment and find the function for revising a payment request, then stop it as directed on the website’s payments or FAQ pages. You can also try to halt the payment on the merchant’s end before it’s sent to the bank. Contact the merchant before the transaction is supposed to be processed, explain the reason you need to stop it and ask that it be deleted from the merchant’s payment system. Request a “stop payment” through your bank’s online account tools or local brick-and-mortar branch before the transaction is processed by the bank. Provide the bank with the transaction details, including the payee’s name and the amount.
Create an evidence file in case an error occurs, and you must prove you made the halt request. If applicable, print out, or save in an electronic document, the online cancellation account page or email confirmation. If the merchant or bank stopped the payment for you, ask for confirmation in writing. Additionally, note the date, time and the names of anyone you spoke with at the business or bank. Try to act at least three business days before the transaction date to give the merchant or bank enough time to fulfill your request. If you think you’re the victim of a scam, contact your bank immediately and ask for assistance with stopping the payment and reporting the payee to police.
If you make the request verbally, ask whether you need to submit a written request as well. Note that banks usually require that you confirm verbal authorization in writing within 14 days. Banks also often charge customers a fee to stop payments. Some require a customer to renew a "stop payment" and pay an additional fee after six months. Stopping a recurring online payment can adversely affect scheduled future payments. Always ask the business or bank whether stopping one payment deletes all other future pre-scheduled payments.
- PNC: Customer Service - Frequently Asked Questions -- Need to Place a Stop Payment?
- Citizens Bank: Online Banking FAQ -- Can I Cancel or Place a Stop Payment on a Bill Payment?
- U.S. Department of Treasury Office of the Comptroller of the Currency: Answers About Stop Payment Orders
- Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Information -- Electronic Banking