Why is this important?
Stopping debit and credit card payments
This information applies to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
When you make a payment using your debit or credit card, you may agree to:
- a single payment of an agreed amount, for example a payday loan, or
- a series of payments to be taken at agreed dates in the future, for example to pay for a club membership or magazine subscription. This is known as a continuous payment authority or recurring transaction
Giving your card details to someone else doesn't necessarily mean you gave the person permission to take a payment. For example, if you gave your card details to a credit broker who cold called you, to get them off the phone, and the broker then takes a payment, the payment is not authorised and you are entitled to your money back.
This page tells you about when you can stop a card payment, how to stop card payments and what to do if the card provider doesn't put things right.
You'll still have to pay for the goods or service
If you stop payments which relate to another agreement, for example if the payments were to repay a loan or to pay for a club or gym membership or a magazine subscription, you’ll need to make another arrangement to pay the money you agreed.
Stopping a card payment
The law says you can withdraw your consent and stop a card payment at any time up to the end of business on the day before the payment is due.
You can withdraw consent by simply telling whoever issued your card (the bank, building society or credit card company) that you don’t want a payment to be made. You can tell the card issuer by phone, email or letter. It's a good idea to also tell whoever the payment is to, that you don't want them to take the payment.
Your card issuer has no right to insist that you ask the company taking the payment first. They have to stop the payments if you ask them to.
If you ask to stop a payment, the card issuer should investigate each case on its own merit. They should not apply a blanket policy of refusing to refund payments taken when the client gave their account number out.
You should point out to the card issuer that they should follow the FSA guidance available in the FSA Know your rights booklet which can be found on the FSA website at www.fsa.gov.uk.
Cancelling the payment by phone
If you phone, it's a good idea to follow up the call in writing so you have proof of your instruction to cancel. But the company should take your phone call as the instruction and stop the arrangement straight away, not wait for you to confirm in writing.
If the person you speak to says you can't stop the payments, ask to speak to someone more senior. If they still won't stop the payments, ask them to put a record of the call on your account so you can refer to it later if you need to. Make sure you keep a note of the date, time and who you spoke to as well, in case you need to make a complaint.
If the card provider won't stop the payments
If the card provider goes ahead and allows a payment to be taken when you ask them not to, you're entitled to your money back. They'll also have to cancel any interest and charges added to your account because they let the payment go through.
Getting your money back
If your bank, building society or credit card company doesn't refund your money for a payment they shouldn't have allowed, write and ask for your money back under the company's complaints procedure.
If you're still not satisfied, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
You can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service helpline on 0300 123 9 123 or visit the website at: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.
Listen to our podcast about how to manage transactions on your card.