People use automatic payments set up with a merchant or other service provider to pay bills and other recurring payments from their bank or credit union accounts. Federal law provides certain protections for these kinds of automatic payments, including your right to stop a company from taking automatic payments from your account.
If you decide you want to stop automatic debit payments from your account:
Call and write the company. Tell the company that you are taking away your permission for the company to take automatic payments out of your bank account. This is called “revoking authorization.” If you decide to call, be sure to send the letter after you call and keep a copy for your records. Click here for a sample letter.
Call and write your bank or credit union. Tell your bank that you have “revoked authorization” for the company to take automatic payments from your account. Click here for a sample letter. Some banks and credit unions may offer you an online form.
Even if you have not revoked authorization with the company, you can stop an automatic payment from being charged to your bank account by giving your bank a “stop payment order.” This instructs your bank to stop allowing the company to take payments from your account. Banks commonly charge a fee for executing a stop payment order. Click here for a sample “stop payment order.”
Monitor your accounts. Tell your bank or credit union right away if you see a payment that you did not allow (authorize), or a payment made after you revoked authorization. Federal law gives you the right to dispute and get your money back for any unauthorized transfers from your account as long as you alert your bank in time. See below for a sample letter to report an unauthorized transfer.
How to Use this Sample Letter Use this sample letter to tell your bank or credit union that you found a payment taken out of your bank account that you did not authorize. In the brackets [ ], put your information and select the option(s) that apply to your situation. Mail the letter to your bank and make sure to keep a copy for your records. We recommend that you call your bank and make the same request by phone.
TIP: It is also a good idea to attach a copy of your bank account statement or a screen shot within your online banking portal highlighting the unauthorized transaction. This is not required.
[Bank/Credit Union Name]
[Bank/Credit Union Address]
RE: Written notice of unauthorized debit
To Whom It May Concern:
My account statement or my online account information shows a payment that should not have been made. I am writing to tell you that the payment was an unauthorized transfer. My bank account number is [xxxx-xxxx]. My account statement or other notification sent by you shows that an automatic payment was made to [Company name]. However this payment was unauthorized.
My Name: ______________________
Checking Account Number: ______________________
Payee Company Name: ___________________
Payment amount: __________________
Date(s) the payment(s) appeared on my account statement: _____________
Specifically (select one):
__ I never authorized the debit to this company.
__ I authorized debits to this company but revoked the authorization on _________ date.
__ The debit did not match the terms or amount that I authorized.