How to Cancel Automatic Payments

Quick Answer

You can stop automatic payments coming out of your account by contacting the company or your bank, or by using a subscription cancellation service.

Women in casual clothing paying using automatic payment machine and scanning through smartphone.

Signing up for subscriptions and services that promise convenience and value is easier than ever, but managing them can quickly become a hassle. And if your financial situation changes, they could become a burdensome expense.

The good news is there are easy ways to cancel automatic payments. Read on to learn how to cancel autopayments and simplify your financial life.

1. Contact the Company

To stop payments from being automatically taken from your account, you should first try connecting with the company charging you. This can be accomplished in several ways:

Go to the Company's Website

Some companies allow you to stop autopay entirely online with just a few taps or clicks. You'll likely need to log in to your profile on their website first, as the option to cancel is typically listed under your profile's account management section. Be aware that sometimes companies make it a little tricky to find the cancellation button. If you need help, visit the company website's frequently asked questions section and check to see if they share directions for canceling.

Contact Customer Service

Some companies only allow you to cancel autopay by connecting with a customer care associate. Depending on the company, you can contact them by phone, email or chat.

  • Make sure you have your account information and specifics about your charges before contacting the company.
  • If you talk to someone by phone, get a reference or confirmation number for the conversation in case you need to follow up.
  • If you connect with customer service by email or chat (or even snail mail), keep all written records of the conversation until you confirm the payments have stopped.
  • If the associate mentions remaining charges or fees for canceling, get clarification about what they are. Ask them to supply documents that detail the charges so you can rest assured your account is paid in full.

Visit the Company in Person

In rare cases, you might have to make an in-person visit. Some companies (like some gyms) require customers or clients to show up in person to cancel. Call ahead to ask what you need to bring to ensure the cancellation process goes smoothly. If you have a copy of your contract, review it beforehand and bring it with you. Be sure you leave with printed or emailed confirmation that the company has stopped charging you.

Be aware that when you attempt to cancel autopay with a company, you might encounter some challenges. Companies want your business, so it's in their best interest to slow (or stop) the cancellation process as much as possible.

For example, a company may offer you incentives to retain you as a customer, such as a large discount or extra perks. If you decide to take advantage of the offer, set an alert in your calendar before the promotion's end date reminding you to cancel it. Most of all, stay focused on your financial goals and remember why you wanted to cancel the automatic payments in the first place.

2. Contact Your Bank

You can also contact your bank or related financial institution to cancel autopay. Usually, you can stop autopay online through the bank's website or over the phone, but check with your specific bank or financial institution first.

  • When you contact the bank, let them know you want to "revoke authorization," meaning you don't want a specific company to automatically take money from your account anymore.
  • Some banks might suggest sending a stop payment order. This instructs your financial institution not to pay a specified company from your account. Note that there's typically a fee to send a stop payment order.
  • Monitor your account moving forward to make sure the payments have actually stopped.

Note that if you owe money to a particular company, they might still be able to collect the debt. If possible, pay the amount you owe so your account is up to date when autopayments end.

3. Contact the Authorities

Sometimes, companies have unsavory business practices that make it unusually hard for people to cancel autopayments. For example, they may require people to visit the business in person on specific days and times or charge extraordinarily high early termination fees. If you're unable to cancel even after going through all the normal steps, it might be time to report the business to regulators.

  • One of the best resources is the Federal Trade Commission's website, where you can report fraud, scams, and bad business practices.
  • You can submit a complaint to your state's attorney general's office through their consumer protection departments.
  • You might also consider submitting a complaint through the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a private organization focused on increasing trust and resolving consumer complaints. Just know that the BBB isn't a government or law enforcement agency, so it can't force a company to fix the situation. However, it does create a public record of the complaint, which can encourage companies to respond.

4. Use Technology to Your Advantage

There are services and apps that help you cancel subscriptions and save more of your hard-earned money, such as Experian BillFixer™. If you decide to go this route, compare the costs of the different apps and tools and research them to ensure they meet your needs. This would also be a great time to create a budget if you don't have one so you can keep track of your money and manage any remaining subscriptions.

The Bottom Line

Taking action to cancel your unneeded autopayments simplifies your life, but it's also good for your wallet. By following simple steps like talking to the company, reaching out to your bank, knowing when to ask for help and using helpful tech, you'll equip yourself with the tools to manage where and how your money is spent.