How to Stop an ACH Debit

Contact both your creditor and bank to stop an ACH debit.

ACH stands for "Automated Clearing House." ACH transactions are electronically posted between financial institutions as credits (usually payroll direct deposits) or debits (payments you make to a creditor). Some creditors may not accept credit or debit cards for payment (like some insurance companies, for example), but with current technology they will accept ACH payments giving your bank's routing number and your personal (or business) account number. If you find yourself in a situation where there is an upcoming or in-process ACH on your account and you need to stop it, act quickly. Stopping the ACH process can depend on your creditor or the bank or both.

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Contact Your Creditor

Step 1

Call your creditor. Yes, pick up the phone. ACH debits are fast and if you need to stop one, you want to talk to a person. Look on your most recent bill statement or look up the creditor in an online search engine such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing.

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Step 2

Opt to speak to a representative. Depending on your creditor, you may have an automated choice to speak to a representative at the beginning, or you may have to go through several automated "screens" until you have the "representative" option. Be patient. You want to talk to a person.

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Step 3

Record the date, time, and name of the representative once you are connected.

Step 4

Tell the representative you want to stop the ACH debit. Depending on the creditor and the business day, he may or may not be able to stop it. Even if he cannot stop it, ask him what your options are. If you're trying to stop an ACH debit for car insurance, for example, and he tells you it can't be stopped, ask him what your options are and how to proceed with your policy.

Step 5

Record all results (date, time, representative name/employee number, confirmation number) and retain for your records. Either your creditor's representative was able to stop the ACH debit for you, or even if he was not, you will want a record of your contact with the creditor.

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Contact Your Bank

Step 1

Call your bank. Yes, pick up the phone again. Look on your most recent bank statement or look up your bank online.

Step 2

Opt to speak to a representative. Depending on your bank, you may have an automated choice to speak to a representative at the beginning, or you may have to go through several automated "screens" until you have the "representative" option.

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Step 3

Record the date, time, and name of the representative once you are connected.

Step 4

Tell the representative you want to stop the ACH debit (or that you've stopped it on the creditor end and want to confirm it with the bank). Give her the information you recorded from your contact with your creditor if he was able to stop payment on his end, or repeat your situation with your bank's representative and ask if she can stop it on her end. Depending on the bank and the business day, she may or may not be able to stop it. Even if she cannot stop it, ask her what your options are. If you have a good relationship with your bank, she may be able to reverse a fee(s) for you.

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Step 5

Record all results (date, time, representative name/employee number, confirmation number) and retain for your records. Either your bank's representative was able to stop the ACH debit for you, or even if she was not, you will want a record of your contact with the bank.

Tip

Always contact both your creditor and bank if you want to stop an ACH debit. You may be able to have some fees reversed or at least know what your next course of action is. Each side may offer different solutions for you and you may be able to combine both.

Warning

ACH transactions are attractive to creditors because they are fast. In some cases, you will not be able to "stop" an ACH debit. Still, contact both your creditor and bank—you may be able to have fees reversed or work out other arrangements.

Things You'll Need

  • Creditor account number

  • Bank routing number

  • Bank personal or business account number

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