New research from Moneysupermarket.com suggests that collectively UK bank account holders who use direct debits could be wasting large sums of money paying for services they no longer use.
The survey is a reminder to all bank account holders to check through their current account statements to make sure they are not paying for items they no longer use.
The research shows that 91 per cent of current account holders use the direct debit system to pay for goods or services automatically and that 38 per cent of these people are unsure of exactly what leaves their current account each month.
Respondents were asked to remember the last time they checked their account or bank statement and when they did whether they found an old direct debit they had forgotten about.
Six per cent of people noticed that they were still paying for something via direct debit that they thought they had stopped paying for. This equates to 2.68 million current account holders in the UK paying for goods or services that they no longer use. The rate was higher for younger people with 11 per cent of 18 – 34-year-olds noticing a forgotten payment.
Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket commented: "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."