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How to Stop a Credit Card Payment

Whether you obtain a credit card via a major financial institution or a card store, chances are you will be using your card to make regular payments to take the hassle out of doing so face-to-face. Most banks have their own policies on how this can be set up, waiting periods and how to stop credit card payments. As a rule, all major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard and American Express (Amex) provide automatic payments regardless of the bank through which you obtain them, although, you are urged to check with your bank for specific regulations.

If for any reason, you choose to stop a payment requested to your Amex card it is recommended that the request be made at least 2 calendar days before the scheduled payment is due however, immediate payments cannot be stopped or changed. Mastercard allows you to stop payments at anytime however this applies only to recurring payments that are to be charged to your card. For Visa, a credit card stop payment is left up to the merchant for the most part.

According to Visa’s Frequently Asked Question sheet (FAQs): “Simply contact the merchant or service provider, and you'll be advised as to the procedure for cancelling or changing the method of payment. Some merchants require advance notice to discontinue Automatic Bill Payments, so allow advance time for this”. Visa uses the same approach for incorrect billing. In the event that an incorrect payment is charged to your account, you will have to contact the merchant directly to rectify the issue.

Visa, MasterCard and Amex credit cards can be obtained via Scotiabank, CapitalOne Bank Canada, Citibank Canada, Laurentian Bank Canada, RBC Royal Bank, BMO Bank of Montreal, National Bank, Caisses Desjardins, CIBC, TD Canada Trust, HSBC, Home Trust, ICICI Bank and MBNA Canada.

For one time or immediate payments, stop payments are harder. Under the Fair Trading Act, stop orders on credit card payments are mainly for:

1)Payments incurred from the unauthorized use of a credit. For example, if a lost or stolen card is reported immediately the holder may not be liable for the damages.

2)Breach of merchant user agreements. In this case, the merchant tendering the card failed to verify user.

3)In cases where a company’s terms and agreements are vague.

Credit card agreement conditions will differ from bank to bank and often the loss for unauthorized use is suffered solely by the card holder. However, some banks have clauses that will assist with transactions done after the card has been reported. The liability will differ based on when the dispute is reported with full liability being the holder’s after 60 days unless it can be proven that extenuating circumstances prohibited the holder from notifying the bank. With many, once day two passes the loss will be greater than $50. Visa, MasterCard and Amex all have contact centers that can be contacted from anywhere in the world.

In provinces like Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba the courts tend to find a way to rule in favor of the holder. There is at least one noted instance in which Alberta has stopped payments and reversed charges because a merchant failed to verify that the use of the card is authorized (merchant agreements mandate that users must be properly verified therefore the error was the merchant’s).

Also, under the Fair Credit Billing Act if you purchase faulty goods or services, a stop payment can be requested to allow time for a resolution. If you have notified the merchant and he or she refuses to compensate, a letter of complaint concisely and comprehensively detailing the issue, should be sent via mail to the merchant so you can have tangible proof of an attempt to resolve the issue. Also, send a copy to your card company who will more than likely inform you of the necessary avenue(s) to take. Oftentimes the item has to cost more than $50 and the purchase should take place within 100 miles of where you live.

Where the fault is the company’s, a detailed letter with dispute, account information, amount and any other relevant information should be sent. Make any undisputed payments and wait for the result of your query. If it is found that they are reluctant to assist under the provisions necessary then it can be brought to court for the matter to be settled legally. For this it is best to consult a lawyer with expetise in this area.