Extra step will protect account

2018-05-02 06:01

Many people do not know the difference between a stop order and a debit order.

In South Africa widespread abuse of debit orders prevails and there are plenty of stories about unethical companies or individuals taking advantage of people, getting them to agree to future payments under false or misleading pretences.

Many only realise they have been misled when payments are made from their account for services they do not want or did not know they had signed for.

Marlies Kappers, head of marketing at DirectAxis, said it is important to understand the difference between the two.

She describes a stop order as an agreement between the account holder and his bank, when he instructs the bank to make a series of future-dated repeat payments on their behalf. The bank can be instructed to cancel the stop order at any time.

A debit order is an agreement between the account holder and a third party, which authorises the third party to take funds from his account.

“If you take out a loan, you will be required to agree to a debit order for the repayments. Your bank cannot cancel a debit order, because the agreement is not with the bank but with another company or indivi­dual,” Kappers says.

“Debit orders are an effective way to make loan and other legitimate repayments. The difficulty is when people are tricked or misled into agreeing to have money taken out of their account by clicking a response to an e-mail or SMS from a third party for an additional service on an existing contract for example.”

“When they try to stop the extra payment added to the existing debit order because they do not want the product or service, they may struggle to get a response or even get hold of the service provider.”

People also forget they have signed debit orders or they change their mind after having signed a contract with a product or service provider.

According to Kappers, they then go for the worst option of avoid paying by withdrawing all the money from their account as soon as they get paid.

“This is a very bad idea because, not only will your bank charge penalty fees if there is not enough money in the account to cover your debit orders, but it could also affect your credit score, making it more difficult to borrow money or open accounts in the future.”

Kappers said, to try and protect consumers and legitimate product and service providers, the banks are introducing DebiCheck.

DebiCheck is a joint effort by the Payments Association of South Africa (Pasa) and South Africa’s banks, after a request by the South African Reserve Bank to solve issues on debit orders.

It aims to eliminate unauthorised debit orders by requiring bank customers to electronically confirm new debit orders placed on their accounts.

This will require consu­mers to confirm with their banks any debit orders with third parties before the debit orders are set up.

It will add another step to transactions, but it is hoped that in time the system will help to prevent some of the past issues with debit orders.

DebiCheck is further being implemented for companies wanting to collect money in the early processing window starting by October 2019.

It will only be immoral companies that may be able to process invalid debit orders through the normal debit order system; these will not be DebiCheck debit orders.

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