Regulation  

FCA: Banks have to cancel recurring payments if requested

Consumers who have set up a regular payment from their account will now be able to successfully cancel that arrangement by contacting their card provider, the Financial Conduct Authority said.

The FCA has been examining how easy it is for customers to cancel Continuous Payment Authorities (CPAs) due either to payday lenders or for other regular payments such as subscriptions or gym memberships.

CPAs, which are also commonly called recurring transactions or recurring payments, are relatively easy to set up but can be hard to cancel, causing problems for consumers trying to manage their finances,the FCA said.

Now, following the FCA review of how the largest high street banks and mutuals process requests to cancel CPAs, they have agreed that they will ensure that when a customer asks for a recurring payment to end, that will be sufficient to cancel the arrangement. They have also confirmed that should a payment go through by mistake following cancellation by a customer the customer will be refunded immediately.

In addition to securing this commitment, the largest banks and mutuals have agreed to review every individual complaint they have received about the non-cancellation of a CPA and to pay redress where payments have continued to be made despite the customer cancelling the arrangement. This applies to all complaints since November 2009 when the Financial Services Authority, the FCA’s predecessor, began regulating banking conduct.

Clive Adamson, the FCA’s director of supervision, said: “It’s important that consumers are confident that banks are meeting their everyday banking needs. Today customers can be confident that when they ask for a Continuous Payment Authority to be cancelled – it will be cancelled - and that it can be done easily.

“We recognise that historically this is an area where some customers have struggled but the banks and mutuals have responded positively to our work on this issue. From now on we expect them to be getting this right. In addition, they have committed to review past complaints.”