2.68 Million* Brits Sat on Forgotten Direct Debits

Oct 30, 2012, 09:46 ET from moneysupermarket.com

CHESTER, England, October 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

- 38 per cent of Direct Debit users unsure of what leaves their account each month

Brits are being urged to check the regular payments made by Direct Debit from their current accounts after research by MoneySupermarket reveals over one in three (38 per cent) don't know exactly how much money is leaving their account each month.

With 91 per cent of current account holders using Direct Debits to pay for bills, goods and other services, Brits could be wasting large sums of money each year paying for services they no longer use or need.

Research from the number one comparison site found the average monthly amount paid via Direct Debit is £302 in total, while a quarter (24 per cent) of those with Direct Debits are paying out £500 and over through automatic payments each month.

Respondents with a current account were asked to remember the last time they checked their account or statement, and whether they had seen a Direct Debit they had previously forgotten about. On average, six per cent (2.68 million Brits) noticed a Direct Debit they had forgotten about- this was highest for 18-34 year olds where over one in ten (11 per cent) had a forgotten payment.

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.

"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, you should not cancel a Direct Debit without speaking to your provider first; otherwise you may be charged a fee by your bank 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.

"Many companies will offer customers a discount when paying via Direct Debit, making this method a great budgeting tool. Providers will also often give customers a choice of payment dates when setting up a Direct Debit instruction. Think about timing, particularly when pay day falls, and pick a date which ensures there will be money available in the account to cover bills."

Notes to Editors

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2010 UK adults aged 18+ from 2nd to 4th October 2012. Results have been weighted to nationally representative data.

*2.68 million people (5.37% of the total population) have noticed direct debits that they had forgotten when checking their bank statement.

MoneySupermarket.com compares (at 30th August 2012)

  • 107 car insurance providers and 82 home insurance providers
  • 12 broadband providers and 18 energy providers
  • 32 unsecured loan and 6 secured loan providers
  • 62 mortgage lenders and 28 credit card providers
  • 66 savings providers and 37 current account providers
  • Over 1,200,000 mobile phone deals

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Paul Lawler / Nicki Parry
+44-(0)787-237-9545 / +44-(0)1244-370-318
Paul.lawler@moneysupermarket.com / nicki.parry@moneysupermarket.com

SOURCE moneysupermarket.com