How to cancel a continuous payment authority on a payday loan

posted by in Debt, Payday Loans

UPDATE: 1 July 2014 – new rules from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) means that payday loan companies:

  • cannot rollover an outstanding payday loan balance more than twice
  • must send the debtor an information sheet with contact details for various debt advice organisations. A copy of this information sheet can be seen here
  • cannot make more than two attempts to deduct money from a debtor’s bank account by means of Continuous Payment Authority (CPA) unless a rollover has been agreed.
  • Must now include a prominent risk warning on all financial promotions.

Update 13th December 2012: The OFT have rules that all businesses must ensure that they fully meet their legal responsibilities when using CPAs, including that they:

  • are fully transparent about terms before a consumer signs up to a CPA arrangement
  • ensure the consumer has given informed consent to the use of a CPA, and do not use ‘opt out’ provisions or other means to automatically assume the consumer has given consent
  • provide adequate notice of any changes to the scope of the agreed authority, such as the amount or timing of payments
  • provide clear and prominent information on how to cancel a CPA.

Update 20th November 2012: The Office of Fair trading (OFT) is investigating several payday lenders over aggressive debt collection practices. They will also contact all 240 payday lenders highlighting their concerns over their methods. Some of these companies risk enforcement action.

Payday loans neon sign

Avoid the temptation of payday loans

When you give your credit or debit card details to a company and authorise them to take regular payments it’s known as a ‘recurring transaction’ or ‘continuous payment authority’ (CPA).

They work like a direct debits, but can be very difficult to cancel and they don’t offer the same guarantee if the amount or payment date changes. This means companies can take as much as they like without giving you notice.

They’re sometimes used for gym memberships and magazine subscriptions but we see them most commonly for payday loan repayments.

We’ve come across many cases where payday loan companies have refused to stop taking payments, even if the client is struggling and has already been to us for help.

We’ve also come across cases where the client’s bank or card provider has said that they’re unable to prevent the payments going through. This leaves many of our clients in financial hardship, and potentially means they could be repaying their payday loan instead of their priority debts.

Today we look at what this means for someone who’s struggling to pay back a payday loan.

The FSA and continuous payment authorities

Earlier this year the Financial Services Authority (FSA) confirmed that under the Payments Services Regulations (PSR), a customer can cancel a continuous payment authority by contacting their bank or the card issuer.

Once you’ve told the bank to cancel the authority, it becomes an ‘unauthorised transaction’ and the bank shouldn’t make any further payments.  If the bank does make a payment they’re in breach of the PSR and you’re entitled to an immediate refund (or slightly later if it’s a credit card payment).

The banks have now accepted this as their obligation under the PSR. Unfortunately the technology isn’t in place yet for the bank to be able to stop the payment if the payday lender requests it but the bank must still re-credit you with the payment.

In the future the banks will change their technology so they can stop any payments, but unfortunately we’re not sure when this will be available.

So what should you do?

If you’ve got a CPA set up with a lender and you can’t afford it, your course of action depends on how long you have before the payment is due.

…If it’s the day before…

You will need to speak to your bank by the end of the working day. If there’s not enough time to do this (because the payment’s due today for example) unfortunately you won’t be able to stop the payment in time.

You should still cancel future payments and in some instances you might be able to speak to the lender to see if they will roll the payment over.

…1-5 working days before the payment’s due…

Contact your bank by email and phone. Ask the advisor to record the instruction to cancel and don’t forget to ask for their name and make a note of the date and time of the call.

You should also phone the lender, and also email them using our cancelling continuous payment authority template letter to let them know that you’ve withdrawn your permission from the bank. Again keep a note of the time and date you speak to them as well as the advisor’s name.

…5 or more working days before the payment is due…

You can write to your bank asking them to cancel the CPA. It’s best to send this recorded delivery and keep a copy of the letter and proof of postage. You can call them to double check that they’ve received it and made a note on their system.

Similar to the previous option you should use the continuous authority template letter to inform the lender. If you send this by post you don’t have to send it recorded delivery but keep a copy and ask for a certificate of posting from the post office.

If the bank refuses to cancel the payments you can make an official complaint. If they don’t give you a satisfactory response you can refer your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

There’s also more details about your rights in this leaflet from the Financial Services Authority (FSA)Bank accounts – know your rights (PDF).

How to avoid recurring payments on a payday loan

It can be a tricky situation to get out of, so it’s sometimes best to try and avoid it all together. Here are some alternatives you can consider:

  • Change to direct debit: If the company or lender has this facility then use this; direct debits are much easier to cancel and if there’s an error the bank should refund you immediately
  • Pay manually: It could mean remembering to make the payment each month but it’s much safer
  • Standing order: These are easy to set up and cancel because you’re in complete control.
  • Prepaid cards: You top up these cards in advance much like a pay-as you-go phone. Read more about prepaid cards.

If you’re struggling to maintain payments on a payday loan or any other kind of debt, use our online counselling service Debt Remedy for free and impartial advice. We can look at all the options that might be available to you.

Pavan Gata-Aura is a qualified debt advisor with 6 years of experience. She enjoys spending time with her two children, fundraising for charities, has spent time volunteering in Africa and takes part in organised races.

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Tags Debt Payday Loans
  • moneyaware

    Hi,

    Sorry to hear you’ve had problems. I would complain to the payday loan company asking them to provide you with a statement explaining the balance and charges which caused the debt total £800.

    Explain that you are unaware of the debt and you deem the charges to be excessive. Explain that your next course of action will be to complain to the Financial Ombudsman. You could say that by taking 5 transactions in one day they are breaking Office of Fair Trading (OFT) recommendations over excessive charges. Send it recorded delivery so you can prove they received it.

    Payday lenders are under increasing pressure from the OFT and the new Financial Conduit Authority to be transparent with their charges. If lenders are seen to breaking the rules they can be closed down.

    In the meantime you should check with the bank that the payments have been stopped. If you owe your bank money you should set up a basic bank account elsewhere so your income is safe.

    If you are not able to get the money back it’s important that you contact priority payments like rent, gas/water/electric, Council Tax and explain the situation. If you have any unsecured credit debt like credit cards, loans, overdrafts etc you should pay what you can manage – it may be for this month that you offer a token payment of something very minimal until you’re in a stronger position.

    You can contact us http://www.stepchange.org/Contactus.aspx and get registered with us – you’ll be given a reference number to give your creditors and we can go forward with building a budget and getting you to speak to a debt advisor.

    I hope this helps.
    Thanks,
    Jess

  • moneyaware

    Hi Marie,

    A payday loan company would need you to give them permission to take payments from your new account. So you should have no problems with them taking payments from your new bank.

    The only time this would be an issue would be if you gave them your new debit card details or signed a Direct Debt agreement.

    I suspect that you’re not likely to do either of these things, so it’s not a problem.

    I’d recommend getting in touch with us for advice about how to repay this debt at an affordable rate. You can do that by using our online advice tool, Debt Remedy. Here’s the link: http://www.stepchange.org/debtremedy.aspx?domain=www.MoneyAware.co.uk.

    Kind regards

    James

  • moneyaware

    Hi Joan

    If you’ve cancelled the card, then there’s a possibility that the transaction shouldn’t go through. With that said, it’s still advisable to complain to the bank in writing for the reasons you’ve stated. If they don’t give you an adequate response within an 8 week timeframe, you can then escalate your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

    Hope this helps

    Best regards

    Rachel

  • sam

    ive had a pay day loan which I can not pay back in one go they have all details off my cart sort account long number if I cancelled my card and got a new one could they still get the money

    • moneyaware

      Hi Sam,

      I’ve spoken to people who’ve done this in the past and it has stopped the payments going out but I don’t think it’s guaranteed to work. If the payment was backdated to when the card was live or the card was reissued with the same details then it could leave you exposed.

      That is why we recommend the process detailed in the article above. That way you should be able to stop the payments from going out for sure.

      Kind regards

      James

  • Jay Bee

    Hello,
    I wrote a letter to my bank asking them to cancel all CPAs without exception on my account. I used a template I found online. Is this sufficient or would they need me to name the companies I wanted to cancel with?

    • moneyaware

      Hello,

      Our template letter has a space to put in the company name (here it is: http://moneyaware.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/StepChange_cancelling_continuous_payment_authority_template_letter1.pdf) so the bank knows which CPA you’re referring to.

      I’d hope that an instruction to cancel all CPAs would be enough for them to go on but it might depend on the technology the bank uses to cancel them.

      It may be worth getting in touch with them to check, so avoid any nasty surprises.

      Please get in touch with us if you’d like advice on dealing with payday loan debt.

      Kind regards

      James

  • Paula

    Hi, I have currently have a loan out with Pay day express. It is due to be paid on Friday which is also the day I am due to get paid from my employer. Due to my contract finishing I am not getting a full wage therefore I cannot pay the full loan amount. I have emailed the company telling them but I have heard nothing back. Can I go into the bank and ask them not to take this money out?
    Thanks

    • moneyaware

      hi there Paula

      Call up your bank and tell them you’ve emailed the lender saying they’re not to take payment out of the account and you just want to instruct them not to honour any attempted deduction from that

      Tell the bank to record the instruction to cancel. Take down the name of the advisor and make a note of the date and time of the call.

      It’s also worth phoning the lender to confirm that they’ve definitely received your email. If you haven’t already, email them using our cancelling continuous payment authority template letter so they know that you’ve withdrawn your permission from the bank. Again, it’s really important that you keep a note of the time and date you speak to them as well as the advisor’s name.

      Please write again if you have any further questions

      Best regards

      Rachel

  • Joseph

    Hi, I have 3 outstanding payday loans due to come out my account on the 20/12/2013. I am unable to repay these right away as need to take care of rent and other obligations first. If I cancel the CPA’s for these payday loans tomorrow, what happens then, would I then need to speak to the payday companies regarding a alternative payment plan or would I be best off signing up to a debt advisement plan who could then deal with theses companies on my behalf.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Joseph,

      I’d recommend you follow the instructions on how to cancel a CPA and then contact us for more advice.

      We can look at what debt solutions are available for you or just give overall advice on the best way to proceed.

      The payday lenders will start the normal debt collection process once you don’t pay, we can also give advice on this.

      Before you contact us it’s best to gather details on your income, expenditure and debts.

      Our free phone number is 0800 138 1111.

      Please get back to us if you need more advice.

      Kind regards,

      Mat

  • Amanda

    Hi
    I have a pay day loan which is crippling me; so much so I can’t pay my mortgage this month.
    I contacted the company last month (Quick Quid) and asked if I could change my payment plan, to enable me to pay less.
    I was told this wasn’t possible and they could only devise a payment plan once I’d defaulted on payment.
    The next payment on the loan is due on 27 December; I spoke to my bank this morning and requested them to cancel the CPA (which they confirmed) but they said that the pay day lender may try to take payment again, as a different amount to what is due and the payment could go through – have you heard of this happening?
    Should I cancel my debit card, will this stop any future payments?
    Thanks

  • Louise

    I applied for a payday loan and now a company wants £69 fee charges how do I stop them taking this ive cancelled my card but they have my old bank details

    • moneyaware

      Hi Louise,

      If you’ve cancelled the CPA you could also speak to your old bank and request they don’t give any payment over.

      Get back to us if you need more advice.

      Kind regards,

      Mat

  • jcar

    I had a wonga loan, when I needed to cancel my bank debit card as I mislaid it I did not think I needed to notify wonga, I got an email from them saying they were unable to take the due payment, so had to give them my new card details, a year or so later I had a couple of loans and my van broke down so could not repay them, I asked the bank to cancel the CPAs and the bank said they cannot, so I called my bank and told them my card was lost, they replaced my card and no more money left my account, I no longer live in UK so not sure what happened after :)

  • Ali

    Hi

    I have a payday loan which had been trying to set up a repayment plan for but they took the full amount out. I disputed this with my bank and they have refunded the money. Should I now contact the lender and ask to set it up or should I wait till they realise and contact me?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Ali and thanks for your question.

      It’s best to contact the lender and make an arrangement that you can afford. This will avoid the debt escalating.

      Thanks,
      Pavan

  • sara

    Hi, if the bank refunds me because I cancelled a CPA do they get the money back ftom the loan company or is it the bank that refunds it? Also I canceeled my CPAs on the morning before my payday but one company must have tried later that evening so I can’t get a refund from that payment is this correct

    • http://moneyaware.co.uk StepChange MoneyAware

      Hi there,

      Once a bank refunds you the money via cancelling a CPA, then they would be reimbursed by the loan company.

      If a payment is taken out of your account before a request to cancel a CPA is made, then unfortunately this money cannot be reimbursed. With that said, if the payday lender takes the money earlier than they were meant to, then it may be worth contacting them over this as you could get this money refunded in this circumstance.

      Hope this helps

      Best regards

      Rachel

    • http://moneyaware.co.uk StepChange MoneyAware

      Hi Sara and thanks for your question.

      The bank will get the refund back from the loan company. And you’re right that because you cancelled the CPA after the loan was taken you won’t get a refund.

      Thanks,
      Pavan

  • moneyaware

    Hi Justin,

    Things are still a bit up in the air with this. Microlend have an opportunity to appeal the decision and they’ve got until the 24th of March to do this.

    I’d recommend cancelling the CPA anyway, to make sure they don’t take money you can’t afford them to take. Then it’s a matter of seeing what happens.

    The debt won’t disappear even if Microlend were to stop trading. Either they’d carry on collecting their existing debts themselves or they’d sell accounts to another company, like a debt collector.

    My understanding is that the OFT announcement only affects their ability to arrange new loans rather than collect payments for existing loans. But clearly this is likely to have an impact on the day to day running of the company too.

    I’ve tried to log onto Microlend’s website to see what they say but it appears to have been taken down.

    I’m sorry there’s nothing more I can tell you but I hope this has been helpful.

    Kind regards

    James

  • MCL

    Hi, I have taken out a payday loan with Wonga i owe them 1,500 this month and it is due to go out on the last working day of the month. usually i would have no problems paying this back however i crashed my car and now have to pay my 500 excess i won’t be able to afford to pay Wonga back, can i contact Wonga to set up a payment plan with them? do i have to wait until Wonga can’t take out the money. or do i ring them and try to set one up?

    thanks

    • moneyaware

      Hi there MCL,

      I’d recommend speaking to Wonga as soon as possible. That should give you the best chance of getting something arranged with them for this debt.

      If the discussions don’t go well and it seems they’re going to attempt payment then you can use the template letter linked to in the above article to stop the Continuous Payment Authority for the loans.

      Kind regards

      James

  • http://www.dealfeed.co.uk Gordon McNevin

    Great article and some quick advice on dealing with some payday loan issues.

    @MCL, as MA said, don’t delay in speaking to Wonga, they have to take measures if you are unable to pay back on the date agreed. Speak to them, it’s the best thing you can do.

  • Sammy Fourboys Fullerton

    I have a loan with wage day advance but carnt afford to pay them and have got my self in to a debt management plan but loan still took derral amount out off my bank even tho I cancelled direct debt so I now no they done it threw CPA my bank sent me a new card out with new long number but same sort code and account number will loan still be able to get took or not what should I do this us due to be taking 27th June I’ve sent 2 emails asking them not to take money as I’m in debt plan but they have Neva replied

    • moneyaware

      Hi Sammy,

      If you’ve got a new card for your account then they may struggle to take payments from it, particularly if the card number has changed.

      To be sure I’d still recommend using the template letter mentioned in the article above, which you can send to your bank to make sure they won’t let any payments from Wage Day Advance come out of your account.

      You mention that you’re starting a DMP. Lots of companies charge for this kind of service, if you are paying a fee for yours then I’d recommend getting in touch with us for some advice.

      We provide free DMPs when they’re the best option to deal with a debt problem. You can find out if it’s right for you by using our Debt Remedy advice tool: http://www.stepchange.org/Debtremedy.aspx.

      Obviously, if you’ve already got a free DMP with us here at StepChange then you can ignore the two paragraphs above.

      All the best.

      James

  • moneyaware

    Hi,

    You should cancel the CPA with the bank and then complain to Weight Watchers in writing. If they refuse a refund or you are not happy with their response you can escalate your complain to the Financial Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will want to see that you’ve given them the chance to settle the issue before they’ll take it up.

    http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/consumer/complaints.htm

    I hope this helps.

    Thanks,
    Jess

  • moneyaware

    Hi Dryas

    We have another article that you may find helpful as it explains what your creditors can and can’t do once you’ve cancelled the CPA payments. You can read this article here http://moneyaware.co.uk/2011/08/you%E2%80%99re-in-debt-but-what-can-your-creditors-actually-do/

    If you’re struggling to repay your payday loans then we can help. You can use our online Debt Remedy tool for free, anonymous debt advice and solutions or speak to us over the phone. Please visit http://www.stepchange.org/debt-remedy for further advice.

    Hope this helps

    Rory

  • Darren Mc Colgan

    hi, i am currenty setting up a dmp but have payday loans due to come out next week. If i was to report my bank card lost would this stop the payday loans comapanies from taking thier payment? thanks