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There are two types of recurring credit card payments: bill payments you make TO your credit card company every month, and recurring payments for subscriptions or other merchandise you have purchased with your credit card.
The good news is, in most cases, it’s relatively easy to cancel both types of credit card payments. But CreditShout offers some tips and tricks in case you have any problems, too.
Canceling Recurring Credit Card Payments to Your Credit Card Company
Often, you can eliminate fees, save time and hassle, and even get a lower interest rate by scheduling a recurring payment to your credit card company. You can schedule this recurring payment for:
Your minimum monthly payment
Payment in full each month
Some other amount that you specify
If you are trying to pay down debt, you can schedule regular payments with some specific amount that is more than your minimum payment. If you don’t use your credit card at all, you’ll see your debt dropping quickly. As your minimum payment goes down each month as your balance drops, but your monthly payment stays the same, you’ll be paying more and more of the principle you owe.
To cancel a recurring payment to your credit card company, simply call the customer service number on the back of your card and request to cancel the recurring payments.
MONEY SAVING TIP: If your bank account information changes, you’ll need to cancel any recurring credit card payments drawn off that account, and re-schedule recurring payments with your new bank account information. If you forget to do this, your credit card payment could be rejected and you will pay a late fee and a fine.
Canceling Recurring Credit Card Payments to Other Companies
It is a little bit trickier to cancel recurring credit card payments to other companies, such as for magazine subscriptions, online services or even utility bills. In most cases, you should be able to call the company and ask to cancel your recurring payment. Sometimes, websites bury contact information deep on the site. Check the FAQ page and other places for the phone number.
Sometimes — especially with online companies — it’s impossible to find a phone number to cancel recurring payments. If this occurs, send an email (if an email is provided). You can also use this site to find out who owns the site, although sometimes this will only provide you with information for the Webmaster or the website’s host.
If you contact the company and they refuse to cancel future payments, or if you simply can’t find contact information, you have a few options.
If you can’t find any contact information, dispute the charges with your credit card company. I found myself in this situation once, and had to put a stop on the credit card. My credit card company was able to issue me a new card, and I learned a lesson about making purchases through small websites that don’t publish contact information on the website. Because I acted quickly, I avoided potential issues with credit card fraud or identity theft.
If you can find contact information, send a letter, this time stating that you are disputing any future charges from the company to your account. The company might cease and desist rather than be hassled further.
If the company refuses to stop the recurring payments, call your credit card company. You can file a dispute of the charges, and have a new credit card issued, with a new credit card number, so the company can’t put any more charges on that account.
Be Aware Of Your Contract
Before you schedule recurring payments, read all fine print carefully. Are you signing a contract, where you’ll face early termination fees if you cancel the service before the contract is up? If this is the case and you put a stop on the credit card in order to avoid fees, you may hurt your credit score if the company decides to pursue the money you owe them and take the case to a debt collection agency. If you signed a contract, you won’t have much of a case to dispute the charges, and these unpaid debts can hurt your credit score and result in rejection for a loan, mortgage or credit card.
MONEY AND TIME SAVING TIPS:
1. To avoid hassles, don’t schedule recurring payments. At the very least,, make sure the payments have a specific end-date. (For instance, a one-year subscription where payments are taken out monthly).
2. If you do schedule a recurring payment, record the company’s phone number, email address, and mailing address in advance. Make sure the phone number is legitimate.
3. Only make recurring payment arrangements with reputable companies. You are probably safe scheduling recurring payments with your local utility providers (such as your water or electric company.)
4. Use a pre-paid debit card.
Credit Shout is a community of personal finance experts dedicated to helping you save money and make smart financial decisions. Learn how to master your credit card rewards, improve your credit score and start eliminating your debt.