Beware When Changing Direct Debits

Written by Karen Bryan

santander 123 credit cardI make the minimum monthly payment to my Santander 123 Credit Card by direct debit.

Initially, the direct debit came out of my Santander 123 Current Account. Recently, I changed the direct debit so it would come out of my Halifax Reward Current Account. I changed the direct debit details when I logged into my Santander 123 Credit Card online account.

As a precaution, I made a note in my diary to check that the direct debit payment appeared in my Santander credit card account on the due date.

It’s really important to make all credit card payments on time. If you don’t, you can be charged a late payment fee, plus any promotions such as the 23 months 0% on purchases and balance transfer on the Santander 123 Credit Card may be withdrawn.

On the due date there was no sign of the direct debit payment into my Santander 123 Credit Card account. I immediately made the payment by debit card, thereby avoiding any penalties.

I sent Santander a secure message to ask why the direct debit had not been taken from my Halifax Reward Current Account. They replied saying that “When you set up a direct debit to your credit card, the first payment will not debit your account until the next statement has been issued to you which will confirm that the direct debit has been set up.”

What made me angry was that when I went to change the direct debit payment details in my Three Mobile online account, a message appeared informing me that “We can’t allow you to change your direct debit details online until after the next payment date, this is so that we bill you correctly.”

Why can’t the Santander 123 Credit Card system issue an alert like this and block changes to the direct debit until after the next payment date?

Obviously, it’s technically possible. I can only suppose it’s to catch out and penalise Santander credit card customers who miss a payment.

My advice is to be very careful when changing, or setting up new, direct debits, and check that the first payment has been made.