Today we live in a world where almost everything can be automated. Coffee makers can be set to automatically brew your morning cup of energy, DVRs can record your favorite shows without you having to remember to set it for each episode, And bills get paid while you sleep (among a ton of other things). Every month, money is coming into your bank account and leaving it in a number of different payments. Before the days when you could open a bank account online and have access to internet banking, it was difficult to keep track of all these transactions.
Nowadays, instead of trawling through reams of paper bank statements at the end of the month, most of us can simply log into our online bank accounts to see what’s going on. Despite how easy it is, however, it’s surprising how many people don’t keep an eye on their direct debits and standing orders.
In many cases, direct debit payments are leaving bank accounts without the account holder even noticing. What’s more, many of these direct debits were set up long ago and the account holder doesn’t need to pay them any longer but has forgotten to cancel them. This is especially true in the case of people who always sign up for free trial offers.
If you haven’t cancelled old direct debits, it’s time to streamline your bank account. You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save by cancelling gym memberships you don’t use or insurance payments for assets you don’t have anymore. Or how about that membership to the credit monitoring service you never wanted in the first place but just forgot to cancel?
Simply follow these steps:
- Do an audit of your standing orders and direct debits for the last year, via online banking or by requesting a full list from your banking institution
- Identify all of them – if you can’t identify a payment, do an online search for the company
- If you don’t use or need the thing you are paying for, cancel it directly with the company or with your bank
- Before cancelling, check that you won’t be breaching any contract terms or will be liable for cancellation fees.
With the increase in the availability to use technology in our everyday lives, we tend to take things for granted. This is especially true when it comes to making sure what goes through our bank and credit card accounts (for those who use them of course) is what should be running through them. Taking the time to review your accounts will not only save you money, but can also help to catch identity theft before it gets too far out of hand.
When was the last time you went through the transactions in your accounts? Ever come across something that you didn’t even realize was still being paid?