How to cancel a direct debit

Zorica Lončar

If you have a subscription or membership you no longer use, you’ll need to know how to cancel a direct debit.

Direct debits are usually recurring payments, set up when you give a company permission to take a certain amount of money from your account on an agreed date. This agreement is called a direct debit mandate. If you no longer want this recurring payment to be taken, you can simply cancel it.

Read on, and we’ll cover everything you need to know about cancelling a direct debit. This includes the information you’ll need and a step-by-step guide to the process. The good news is that it should be quick and easy.

We’ll even give you a money-saving alternative for future payments - the Wise multi-currency account. With this powerful account, you can set up direct debits for free, or for a small conversion fee if you don’t have the currency in your account.

Learn more about Wise

But more on that later. Let’s get back to cancelling those unwanted direct debits.

Why might you want to cancel a direct debit?

There are lots of reasons you may want to cancel a direct debit. Many people do it when they no longer want a product or service, or come to the end of a contract. For example, you might want to cancel a subscription TV service or dating site membership, an unused gym subscription or insurance payments for items you no longer have.

Rather worryingly, some people discover recurring payments they’d completely forgotten about. This is why it’s always worth checking your bank statements and online banking regularly, so you can do a mini audit on all outgoing payments.

If you find that you’ve been making unnecessary payments, get them cancelled right away! We’ll show you how in the next part of this guide.

Cancelling a direct debit with a company - try this first

The most effective way to cancel a direct debit is with your bank, but hold fire before you do this.

If you want to cancel an active subscription, such as a broadband or mobile phone contract for example, it’s usually best to contact the company first. This is because you may still be in contract and have to pay cancellation fees for ending it early.

If you’re unsure, always contact the company to double check. They may be able to cancel the direct debit for you there and then, saving you further effort.

How to cancel a direct debit through your bank

If a company refuses to cancel your direct debit, or you know you’re definitely not liable for any early cancellation fees, the next step is to contact your bank.

If you’re happy that you can cancel the direct debit without the approval of the company, follow these steps:

  1. Contact your bank or building society - you can do this by phone, online or by letter. If you do it by phone or online, you may still need to provide some written confirmation. The direct debit website has a handy direct debit cancellation template letter you can use.
  2. Provide at least one day’s notice of the cancellation¹ - so make sure you leave some time before the next payment is due to come out.
  3. Give the bank all the required information (which we’ll cover in just a moment) - the more information you can give, the easier it’ll be for the bank to arrange the cancellation
  4. No more payments should come out after the cancellation (provided you’ve given at least a day’s notice) but double-check your statement just in case. If you spot an extra payment or other error, contact your bank right away.
  5. It’s recommended to provide the company with a copy of the direct debit cancellation letter you send to the bank, or otherwise inform them.

What information do I need to cancel a direct debit?

Before you call or contact your bank to cancel a direct debit, you should make sure you have all the information you need. This includes:

  • The name of the company you’re paying
  • Your bank details - including your account number, sort code and the name on the account
  • Your customer reference with the company, if you know it - you may be able to find this on your bank statements
  • The amount you usually pay
  • The payment date each month.

If you have all of these details to hand, you should find it quick and straightforward to cancel a direct debit through your bank.

Save money on direct debits and international payments with Wise

If you need to send one-off or recurring payments in the future, your bank may not be the cheapest option. This is particularly true for international payments, where banks tend to charge high transfer fees and apply terrible exchange rates. All of this makes your payments more expensive.

Luckily, there’s a convenient, low cost alternative available. Open a multi-currency account with Wise and you can send money all over the world for tiny fees and the real, mid-market exchange rate.

You can also set up direct debits through Wise. It’s quick and easy - here’s how it works². When you sign up for your Wise multi-currency account, you’ll also get free account details for the US, Australia, Europe, New Zealand and other countries. Depending which country the company you’re paying is based in, you can give the relevant account details when setting up a direct debit.

Direct debit payments are free if you hold the currency in your account. If you don’t, the currency will automatically be converted from the balance with the lowest possible conversion fee, saving you money with zero effort required on your part.

Join Wise today

After reading this guide, you should have all the info you need on how to cancel a direct debit.

Remember that you can do it at any time, and the payments will have to stop once you notify your bank that you want to cancel. Just make sure you check with the company first, so you can swerve any cancellation fees for ending a contract early.

Sources used for this article:

  1. - cancelling payments
  2. Wise - how do I set up direct debits

All other information from: DirectDebit - cancelling payments

Sources checked on 12 March 2021

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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