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2.68m waste money on forgotten Direct Debits

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30/10/2012
Brits are being urged to regularly check payments made by Direct Debit from their bank accounts as research shows that one in three have no diea as to how much is being taken out every month.

According to Moneysupermarket.com, consumers could be wasting large sums of money each year paying for services they no longer use or need.

As it stands, 91% of account holders use Direct Debit to pay for bills, goods and services.

The research found that the average monthly amount paid via Direct Debit is £302 in total, while a quarter of those with Direct Debits are paying out £500 and over through automatic payments each month.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket commented: “Direct Debits are an easy and convenient way to make payments for household bills, subscriptions and memberships for the majority of bank account holders in the UK.

“Households face a huge number of outgoings which they may lose track of, therefore an automatic payment can help to keep on top of managing bills and avoid the issue of missing payments and accruing charges and fines.”

The survey asked consumers with a current account if they remembered the last time they checked their account or statement, and whether they had come across a Direct Debit they had forgotten about.

On average, 6% or 2.68m Brits, noticed a Direct Debit they had forgotten about- this was highest for 18-34 year olds where over one in ten had a forgotten payment.

Mountford added: “Every penny counts right now, especially as we’re heading into a costly festive season and many people may be looking for ways to get a cash boost in time for Christmas.

“Checking all outgoings and making sure you are not paying for products or services you no longer use is an easy step to do just that.

“You should have a clear idea of what is coming in and going out of your account each month – spend five minutes looking at statements and identifying any mysterious payments you don’t recognise.

“You should also consider payments such as unused gym memberships or annual subscriptions, as this could shave excess pounds off your monthly outgoings.

However, consumers are being warned to not cancel any Direct Debits without speaking to the provider first, otherwise the bank may charge a fee if the provider tries to claim the money.

Since January 1 this year, the Financial Services Authority has announced that if a consumer has contacted their bank in time and a payment is still made after cancelling, it will be regarded as an unauthorised transaction and a refund should be made.

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