How to Stop an Online Payment from Your Bank Account

Mistakes, errors or scams can be avoided if you stop the payment.

Mistakes, errors or scams can be avoided if you stop the payment.

Paying online is quick and simple. Stopping an online payment can be just as simple. There are many reasons to stop a payment. It may have been scheduled in error, it might be for the wrong amount, or it may be scheduled to pay from the wrong account. Your chances of successfully stopping a payment are best when you act promptly.

Cancelling the Payment

Cancel the online payment with the company or vendor you scheduled the payment with. For example, if you have set up automatic payments for your car insurance or mortgage, you may be able to cancel the payment up to the day of the scheduled payment. If you scheduled the payment online, login and follow the instructions to cancel it that way. Check the scheduled payments or pending payments screen and look for an option to cancel. If it is too late to cancel the payment online, call the company directly. It might be able to cancel by phone.

Requesting Stop Payment

A "stop payment" allows you to stop the payment on a personal check or a pre-authorized electronic payment. Stop payments only work on a payment that has not already cleared your account. It also does not work on cash-equivalent payments such as money orders, or debit card purchases. If you have initiated or requested an online payment, you may be able to cancel it by notifying your bank and requesting a stop payment. A stop payment may be requested online or by calling your bank. In most cases, the stop payment should be requested three business days before the payment date.

Monitor Transactions

Check your account history to make sure a payment hasn't cleared already, before requesting any action. When you do cancel or stop a payment, check your online statement or transaction history to monitor the cancelled or stopped payment. Report any unauthorized payment promptly, including any payments that you confirmed to be cancelled. If you cancel sending a payment from your bank and it fails to stop the payment, your bank may be financially responsible for the payment.

Expect a Fee

Many banks charge a fee for a stop payment. The fee can vary between banks, and may even depend on the type of account you have with the bank. Additionally, the fee may vary depending on whether the request is for a paper check, electronic check or automated payment. If the payment is stopped by you, without the bank's intervention, you will usually avoid paying additional fees.

About the Author

Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.

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