The words “direct debit” are enough to send a chill up most spines; a nice easy way for companies to take money from your account, and conversely, a pain in the ass for most consumers to actually cancel. Some service providers make it relatively easy to cancel direct debits, but some are notoriously difficult.. and for those, if you’re a Westpac customer, it’s about to get easier.

Westpac Group has introduced a new feature in mobile and internet banking which gives customers the ability to instantly stop certain scheduled direct debit payments. This will place a temporary block on a company debiting any funds from the customer’s account.

The feature is available for consumer and sole trader business customers when they request to cancel a direct debit, by simply searching ‘cancel a direct debit’ in their banking app or online and selecting from their list of direct debits made in the past 90 days.

Westpac Managing Director of Cash & Transactional Banking, Mandy Rutherford, said:

“We know cancelling direct debits can be challenging and we want to make the process easier for our customers.

“With 5.5 million of our customers actively using digital banking, we are giving them more choice in how they manage direct debits on their transaction accounts. Customers can now stop a payment for a future direct debit in their app, giving them greater control over their money,” she said.

“This will be particularly handy if they have multiple streaming services or subscriptions that they decide are no longer needed,” Ms Rutherford said.

If customers choose to block all direct debit payments from a particular company, the block will be in place for three years unless the customer decides to remove the block and reinstate the direct debit earlier. In addition to the block, customers can request to cancel the direct debit altogether and Westpac will notify the company to action the cancellation.

Customers can still choose to contact Westpac for support with cancelling direct debits, by visiting a branch or calling us on 132 032, 8am-8pm Sydney time, 7 days a week.