Stop paying phantom subscriptions

Britons are wasting millions on long-forgotten standing orders that are being needlessly stripped from bank accounts every month. So it’s time we all had a banking spring clean
Nearly everyone has a story of a gym, magazine, dating site, white goods guarantee or other subscription that they have forgotten about but continued to pay.

Britons are wasting millions on long-forgotten standing orders that are being needlessly stripped from bank accounts every month. So it’s time we all had a banking spring clean.

This is easiest if you do online banking. If so, log in to your account and click on the button that lists all standing orders and direct debits. If you can’t see that, then look for these terms on your statements.

Don’t just look over the past few weeks, since many payments are made only yearly, or come out of accounts on a quarterly or even annual basis. If you don’t do online banking, just go into a branch or call the telephone banking line and ask for a list of all standing orders and direct debits.

Common culprits might include gym membership - you joined in a fit of goodwill four years ago, but while your good intentions fell by the wayside, your direct debit did not. And don’t forget those subscriptions to paid-for TV channels or magazines that you no longer need or use, and memberships to long forgotten clubs or societies.

Look out, too, for online subscriptions to things like music services or dating sites, paid-for current accounts (are you getting value for money on those so-called benefits like insurance or airport lounge access? If not, cancel the direct debit.)

Maybe you were once stopped in the street and agreed to sign up to charitable donation with a “chugger”. Do you still want to agree that commitment? If not, cancel it, and if so, it still might be worth investigating whether donating through another route would see more of the money going direct to the charity.

But before clicking ‘cancel’, make sure doing so isn’t in breach of contract. Check whatever you signed at the time of agreeing the contract, or if you don’t have it, get in touch with the company direct.

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