How to Stop Recurring Payments: All the Best Ways in 2022

Learn how to stop recurring payments from your credit or debit card, PayPal, or your bank account. It's easy to do if you choose the right way.

To stop recurring payments before your next bill comes due, all you need to understand is how to cancel a subscription via a service provider or revoke authorisation through your bank or card issuer. The good news is that both of these options can usually be done online or by phone. In this post, we’ll walk you through the exact steps you need to take to cancel recurring payments with different online payment methods so you can stop any future charges quickly and easily.

Types of recurring payments

Before delving into the different types, it's important to understand the actual meaning of recurring payment. Recurring payments are payments where customers authorise a company to regularly withdraw money from their account at specific agreed-upon dates for services they receive on an ongoing basis. There are two types of recurring payments:

Fixed recurring payments

With fixed recurring payments, the same amount is charged for every payment over a set period. Common examples of these types of payments are gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and online services like Netflix.

Variable recurring payments

With a variable recurring payment, the amount charged each time is different. These types of recurring payments are usually for usage-based services such as electricity, gas, and water bills.

Here’s how to stop recurring payments on a credit card or debit card

Suppose you're receiving recurring debit or credit card payments for things like your monthly gym membership, Netflix, or magazine subscription. The best way to stop these payments is to first cancel the payment with the company directly by contacting them by email or phone and requesting a cancellation. If this doesn't work, you should contact your bank or card company online or by phone at least three days before the next scheduled payment to avoid having another amount charged. 

In general, you should be able to withdraw your consent and stop a future payment at any time up to the day before the payment is due. Your card issuer must stop the payment when asked. If further payments are taken after you requested a cancellation, the bank must refund them. Of course, this doesn't mean you can just break your contract with your provider. If you have signed a minimum contract or an agreement that doesn't allow you to cancel your subscription early, you'll likely need to pay your outstanding balance.

How to stop recurring payments on PayPal

One of the most useful tools PayPal offers is the ability to sign up for and cancel subscription services on the go. This saves you time and energy, especially if you have a lot of recurring monthly subscriptions. All of your subscriptions are organised on your account, so it's simple to find what you want and cancel it whenever you need to. To cancel a recurring payment or a subscription, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Click the gear icon in the upper right of the page and head into the settings menu
  3. Click Payments
  4. Click Manage automatic payments
  5. Click Cancel or Cancel automatic billing and follow the instructions

After cancelling a payment or subscription, you will still have to pay the company for the goods or services you've received. Canceling a subscription can be done up until the day before the next scheduled payment.

How to cancel recurring payments for online subscription services and apps

If you've signed up for an online subscription service, it's usually pretty quick and easy to cancel them if you don't want to use their service anymore. Many companies today have flexible policies that enable you to cancel at any time. Although the process of cancelling your subscription online will depend on each company, the general steps will look something like this or very similar.

  • Log into your account
  • Open settings and go to the manage subscriptions page or similar
  • Click the subscription plan you want to cancel 
  • Select cancel subscription

Most service providers will keep your account or subscription open until the next date of the following payment. 

How do I stop automatic payments from my bank account?

Automatic payments are a convenient way to pay for bills and different services. But sometimes, you may need to stop payments for a short period or permanently because you just no longer need or want to use a service. Whatever the reason is, stopping automatic payments is something you can do by following these steps.

Call and write the company

If you want to stop automatic payments but cannot do so easily via a company's website, you'll need to call or write to the company to request an end to your service. Contact the merchant's billing or customer service department by phone and request that you no longer want your bank account to be automatically charged. Ask for a fax number, email address, or mailing address for the billing department. Follow this up by sending a letter stating that you no longer authorise automatic withdrawals from your bank account. Keep a copy of this letter so you have proof of your request should the company fail to stop charging your account. 

Call and write your bank

You can also contact your bank to revoke authorisations for recurring payments. Different banks have different methods of how to do this. Some provide an easy online form, but others will require you to call, email, or even visit a local branch to make an official request to stop an automatic payment. 

Send your bank a "stop payment order"

Your final option is to ask for a stop payment order. A stop payment order is a request that directs your bank to stop making future payments to a company. Stop payment orders can be made for various reasons, including insufficient funds in a bank account or a dispute over a purchase or services. You can give the order in person or over the phone, but whichever you choose, it's always best to get it in writing and do so promptly before the next payment is scheduled. 

Some banks will charge a fee to file a stop payment order, so you may want to check this before sending it. Additionally, it's important to note that although your stop payment order will stop a specific payment, it doesn't release you from any contractual obligations you might have. You might be subject to anything from late fees to legal action if you break a contract.

Monitor your accounts

Whatever action you decide to take to cancel your recurring payments, it's always crucial that you closely monitor your accounts because mistakes happen, and sometimes charges will continue. If you notice a withdrawal after revoking authorisation, contact your bank immediately to dispute the charges and get your money back. You may also want to contact the company directly for an explanation.

Related Content


Can you put a stop payment on a recurring payment?

In general, you have the right to stop recurring payments from being withdrawn from your account even though you previously authorised the payments. Most banks will allow you to revoke authorisation or request a stop payment order to prevent a recurring payment that hasn't been processed yet. You can also contact the company providing the service to stop future payments.

How do I stop or cancel recurring payments on my debit/credit card with the merchant/service provider?

You can start by contacting the company you are paying directly. Most legitimate companies will accept your request to cancel unless there are specific contract obligations. You can also stop recurring credit or debit card payments by contacting your bank or card company directly online or by phone. To avoid another payment charge, this should be done at least three days before the next scheduled payment date.

What if I'm in a contract with the merchant?

If you've entered a contract, a merchant can refuse to cancel your payments until the end of the contract period. In this case, you'll need to continue making the recurring payments or pay a one-off lump sum of the remaining balance owed, or you may be in breach of contract. Of course, if the merchant has failed to deliver the agreed-upon services or misrepresented an offering, you can officially let the company know that you're disputing the transactions. You will need to have a valid case and proof to back up your allegations to be successful.

How do I stop a recurring payment on an app?

If you want to cancel recurring payments for an app like Netflix, Spotify, or Apple Music, you should first need to read the service agreement terms and conditions. Once you understand the terms, the process of actually canceling your subscription will differ depending on the app. That said, the process should be relatively simple and look something like this:Log into your accountOpen settings and go to the manage subscriptions page or similarClick the subscription plan you want to cancel Select cancel subscription

Can I block a company from charging my card?

The short answer is yes! You can block a company from charging your credit card. BUT, it depends on the terms of your service agreement. If you signed up to a minimum contract, you'd likely have to continue paying according to your agreement. In the case where there is no minimum contract, you have every right to block a company from charging your card. The best way of doing this is to contact the provider in writing to request an end to your service by registered mail. Alternatively, you can contact your bank and card issuer directly to revoke authorisation or request a stop payment to block any future payments.

Meet the author
Anthony Back
Anthony is an experienced fintech analyst, content marketer, and copywriter based in Tel Aviv, Israel. With a deep understanding of payment technologies, he has worked with leading financial institutions and fintech companies worldwide.

Ready to boost revenue for your business

Sign Up