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Stop Payments


A stop payment is a request made to a financial institution to cancel a check or payment that has not yet been processed. This can be applied to checks, recurring payments such as direct debits, or card transactions before they are completed. The goal is to prevent the funds from being withdrawn from a checking account.


The phonetics of the keyword “Stop Payments” is /stɒp peɪmənts/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Usage: A stop payment is a request made to a financial institution to cancel a check or payment that has not been processed yet. It is commonly used when a check is lost or stolen, or when there is a dispute over a payment.
  2. Cost: Most banks charge a fee for stop payments. The fee can vary depending on the bank, but it is typically between $15 and $35. However, this could be lesser or even waived off entirely for premium account holders.
  3. Validity: Stop payment orders generally last for six months from the date you requested, after which they can be renewed for an additional six months. However, it should be noted that the bank is not legally obligated to honor a stop payment request if it has already been processed.


Stop payments is a crucial business/finance term and an essential tool for managing financial transactions, primarily related to checks and electronic payments. It is important because it allows account holders to halt the payment process on a particular check or transaction, providing them control over their funds and preventing unauthorized or incorrect transactions. This can be particularly useful in case the check is lost, stolen, or in situations of potential fraud. A stop payment order, though sometimes may involve a fee, gives individuals and businesses the necessary control in managing their funds effectively and securely, ensuring they avoid financial loss and potential legal disputes. Thus, stop payments play a significant role in mitigating risks in the conduct of financial activities.


Stop Payments is a significant feature offered by banks and other financial institutions to protect their customers in several scenarios. Its main purpose is to prevent a check or pre-authorized payment from being processed, essentially “stopping” the transaction. This could be necessary for a variety of reasons such as if the customer loses a check, if it is stolen, or if there is any suspicion of fraudulent activities. It can also be used when a customer decides to withdraw consent from a pre-arranged payment or when a dispute arises over the goods or services that a check is written for. This service allows customers to maintain control over their accounts and adds an extra layer of security.The functionality of Stop Payments offers moments of financial reprieve for the bank’s customers, helping them avoid potential overdraft fees or to prevent transactions that they do not wish to complete. Specifically, in cases where a check is lost or stolen, a stop payment order aids in averting unauthorized access to funds. In businesses, stop payment order can be particularly useful when there is a change in contractual agreements with vendors, thus avoiding any unnecessary payment. Besides, if there are always options to dispute a charge, a stop payment can save time and complexity in rectifying a mistaken transaction. On the whole, stop payments play a crucial role in managing one’s personal and business finances responsibly.


1. Loan Payments: A person may have taken out a loan and set up automatic payments from their bank account to pay it off. However, if they want to switch banks or need to otherwise change their payment method, they may need to issue a stop payment request to prevent the loan company from withdrawing money from their old account.2. Subscription Services: Suppose someone subscribes to a monthly magazine. After a while, they decided that they no longer want to receive the magazine. The person contacts the publisher but they say that it’s too late to stop payments for the next few months. In this case, a stop payment order can be placed with the bank to prevent further charges from being made to the account.3. Erroneous Payments: An individual may be a victim of a scam or fraudulent activity, or they may have unintentionally agreed to a recurring expense they no longer want. As soon as they realize the mistake, they can request their bank to wave off the transactions going forward using stop payment. Please note that it’s always good to communicate with the party you’ve set up payments with before initiating a stop payment through your bank. This can help avoid any contract breach or unnecessary aftermaths.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Stop Payment?

Stop payment is a request made to a bank or financial institution to cancel a check or payment that has not yet been processed or cleared. This is typically used when a check or payment is lost, stolen, or a dispute over the payment arises.

When can I use stop payment?

You can use stop payment when you lost a check, suspect it has been stolen, or if you have a dispute with the payee about the payment. Also, you can use it if you’ve made an error in writing a check.

How do I request a stop payment?

You can usually request a stop payment through your bank’s online system, by phone, or in person at a branch. You would need to provide details about the check like the check number, amount, and payee.

Does a stop payment guarantee that the check won’t be cashed?

No, a stop payment does not offer a complete guarantee. It only requests the bank not to honor the check. However, the bank usually honors a stop payment request.

Is there a fee associated with stop payments?

Yes, typically banks or financial institutions do charge a fee to process a stop payment request. The fee can vary depending on the bank and your specific account agreement.

How long does a stop payment last?

In general, stop payment orders last for six months, but this can vary depending on your bank’s policy. Some banks allow you to extend the stop payment order, often involving an additional fee.

Can I stop a payment that is set up for the future?

Yes, a stop payment order can be issued for a payment that is scheduled for a future date.

Can stop payments be reversed?

Not typically. Once a stop payment order has been placed, it is usually final and cannot be reversed. You would need to issue a new check or make a new payment transaction to provide the funds.

What information do I need to provide to stop a payment?

You will typically need to provide your bank account details, the check number, the date you wrote the check, the check amount, and the name of the payee.

Related Finance Terms

  • Check Fraud
  • Electronic Funds Transfer
  • Banking Regulation
  • Account Holder Rights
  • Paper Check Security

Sources for More Information

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