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Guide to Canceling a Credit Card Payment

Guide to Canceling a Credit Card Payment
Jason Steele
Jason SteeleUpdated January 10, 2023
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
There are times when you need to cancel a credit card payment you’ve already made. For example, perhaps the payment was made by mistake. Or you want to discontinue a recurring payment. Fortunately, there are ways to stop a credit card payment. Here’s how to do it.

Can You Stop a Credit Card Payment?

Yes, you can stop a credit card payment. But exactly how to cancel a credit card payment will likely depend on why you want to stop it. You may be able to reach out directly to the merchant you made the purchase from to cancel your payment. In other instances, you might need to contact your card issuer.

Ways to Cancel a Credit Card Payment

These are three common methods you can use to cancel a credit card payment, depending on the circumstances.

Ask the Service Provider

One way to stop a credit card payment is to ask the merchant to cancel it. For instance, if the payment was made in error, once you explain what happened, the merchant might either cancel the transaction or reverse the charge. If you are unsatisfied with the goods or services you bought, tell the merchant the problem, and ask for a refund. Before making purchases it can be helpful to read the refund policy of the merchant in question so you’ll know how long you have to cancel payment. Generally, the more promptly you can do it, the better. 

Ask the Bank

If the merchant is unwilling to cancel the transaction or reverse the charge, you may have to request a chargeback from the bank that issued your credit card. With a chargeback, the card issuer credits you for the amount of the charge. The merchant has an opportunity to dispute your claim before the credit becomes permanent. A chargeback is one of several important credit card terms that you should understand.If you believe the charge is fraudulent, you should contact the bank or credit card issuer right away. Many credit cards provide fraud protection with zero liability as long as you report the charge in 30 days. This is something that is helpful to know if you’re looking for a new credit card so that you can compare credit cards to see what protections they offer.

Stopping a Prearranged Payment Before It Happens

You can usually stop a prearranged payment by contacting the merchant. Many vendors, such as streaming entertainment companies, allow you to stop payment online. That’s how credit card payments work.For instance, if you subscribe to a streaming service and you want to cancel your subscription, log into your account and click on the option to cancel it. That should prevent your card from being charged. You should be able to do this with other forms of prearranged recurring payments as well. 

What to Do if Your Credit Card Payment Is Not Stopped

If you can’t reach the merchant, or the merchant won’t help you, try one of these strategies to stop payments on credit cards. 

Understand Your Rights (FCBA)

Whenever you’re using a credit card, it’s important to know how credit cards work. For example, there are several credit card advantages compared to other forms of payment. The Fair Credit Billing Act of 1974 (FCBA) permits you to request a chargeback from your credit card issuer when a vendor won’t reverse a charge, or when you didn’t receive the goods or services you paid for. You can also ask for a chargeback if the goods or services you received weren’t as described.  The FCBA limits your liability to $50, but virtually all credit card payment networks waive this by offering zero-liability guarantees, as mentioned. Be aware that you generally need to make chargeback requests within 120 days, starting from the date of purchase.Recommended: Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, Explained

Attempt to Resolve the Dispute With the Seller

But first, before requesting a chargeback, attempt to resolve the dispute with the seller. Inform them of your intent to file a chargeback if they won’t help you. Chargebacks can be very costly to merchants, and they may want to settle the issue with you before things reach that point. 

Contact Your Credit Card Company

If you are unable to resolve the dispute with the merchant, contact your card issuer to ask for a chargeback. You may be able to do this over the phone, or through the card issuer’s website or mobile app. After you make your request, you might be asked to provide additional documentation to support your claim. 

What to Do in Case of Non-reversal of Funds

If the charge is not canceled or refunded to you, despite your efforts to resolve the situation, you may have to take the merchant to court. 

Limitations to Payment Cancellation

When a credit card payment is made, it is often listed as pending for a few days. Once a payment is no longer pending, it is considered posted. After a payment is posted, it can’t be canceled. Instead, the payment must be refunded at that point so that you can get your money back. 

The Takeaway

There are several ways you can cancel credit card charges, including directly through the merchant or by contacting the credit card issuer. If the merchant won’t reverse the transaction, federal law allows you to request a chargeback for the amount in question. When choosing a credit card, it’s important to shop around to find a card with good customer service in case you ever need help with canceling a payment or anything else.  Lantern by SoFi makes it more convenient to find a card that fits your needs. In our online marketplace you can easily see all the options that may be available to you so that you can compare rates and terms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you cancel a credit card payment at any time?
Can I call my bank to block a credit card transaction?
How long does it take for a pending transaction to go back into your account?
iStock/Phiromya Intawongpan

About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.
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