How to Stop Automatic Payments from Your Bank Account

Written by Jennifer PachecoUpdated: 10th Apr 2022
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Enrolling in automatic payments can save you time and money. Most organizations that offer these programs automatically withdraw the funds on the target date each month, making sure you are on time with your payments and sometimes even saving you a percentage of the bill. As an added perk, auto payment businesses typically give you X percentage off the bill if you choose to enroll.

Now, the not-so-bright side about this automatic withdrawal is that when it comes time to cancel or switch over to a different payment method, the process may seem complicated. Good thing we have you covered on next steps.

What Are Automatic Withdrawals?

Before learning how to cancel an automatic withdrawal, we find it best to fully understand what an automatic withdrawal is. Automatic withdrawals can be thought of as a debit and credit switch over transaction. The process works where one account has funds withdrawn from it and the receiving end has those funds deposited into the chosen account.

For example, if you are signed up for automatic withdrawals with your gas company, the system will automatically take your bill payment from your checking account on the chosen day. Once the funds are removed from your side, they will then be deposited into the checking account of the gas company. These withdrawals can be either fixed or variable.

>> More: What is a Frozen Bank Account?

What Are Pre-Authorized Debits?

It is also helpful to know and understand what a preauthorized debit is. Preauthorized debits constitute a temporary hold on a credit card lasting up to five days. The aim with this hold is that companies have a grasp on the money owed to them before it fully leaves your account, ensuring the funds are there when it comes time to pay. Preauthorized debits are helpful for both parties.

How to Stop Automatic Payments

If you do your research, you will find that there are many ways to stop automatic payments. We consider the following three to be the most helpful and efficient.

#1. Disable Autopay Feature

If you are not contracted into the autopay feature, disabling it will be the quickest way to get yourself out of automatic payments.

Simply log onto the platform you are sending auto payments through with your username and password. Once you’re in, look for the option that allows you to stop automatic withdrawals, oftentimes found under settings or account information.

Shortly after you unenroll, you should receive a confirmation email telling you your next payment due date so that you can pay whenever you want.

#2. Contact the Company

Sometimes, an option to disable directly on the internet is not available. In that case, you can try contacting the company directly, first through a phone call.

If you speak to a representative and they’re still not budging, consider writing what’s called a revoking authorization. This letter will need all the appropriate information, including your name, address, routing number, and reasoning for cancellation. Samples can be found online with directions to follow.

#3. Use a “Stop Payment Order”

A last resort method or a more direct approach can be used if you want to immediately cancel automatic withdrawals. This would be considered a stop payment order.

Stop payment orders require you to contact your bank directly. Your bank will request that you fill out a formal document with adequate reasoning for the cancellation and turn it into a teller at your earliest convenience.

When Should You Stop Automatic Payments from Your Bank Account?

Be sure to get any paperwork in or cancellations set up before the next withdrawal. If you don’t complete the requirements for cancellation before the next bill payment, you most likely will not be able to recover those funds and transition payment methods.

Can you Reverse Automatic Payments?

Reversing automatic payments isn’t common, but it’s also not impossible. If you wish to do so, contact your bank and request a reversal. They’ll then proceed to give you a form to fill out with all the necessary information needed and will contact you with a yes or no answer within a certain timeframe.

Will Canceling a Debit Card Stop Recurring Payments?

Most automatic payments are withdrawn directly from a checking account. If you choose to have withdrawals done this way, canceling adebit card will not stop recurring payments.

If your withdrawal account is linked to your debit card instead of your checking account, a recurring debit charge can be made, granting the company transitional access without your approval to withdraw funds from your checking account.

Bottom Line: Stop Automatic Payments

Always go to the root of the problem: Cancel your automatic withdrawals directly with the company online, through telephone, or via mail. If all else fails, contact your bank and see how they can assist in the process. Just make sure you set up a different payment method or mark on your calendar when the payment is due to avoid additional fees of any kind.

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Jennifer Pacheco

Jennifer Pacheco attended the University of Dartmouth, Massachusetts where she earned her degree in English Writing & Editorial Work. She is a seasoned personal finance writer with over 5 years of professional work under her belt, and supplies easy-to-read information that’s educational, engaging, and conversational to help you make the most of your money.