9/30/2005

Gas, even more expensive than you thought

Using your debit card at the pump can be more of an expensive hassle rather than a convenience. I learned this a while ago but was just unsure of how it works. Basically the minute you swipe your card at a prepay pump, the gas station's computer talks to the bank's computer to authorize -- or freeze -- a sum of money. When you swipe your debit card, the gas station is legally able to put a hold on your account, sometimes up to as high as $100. This enables the gas station to confirm a valid bank account. But the hold can remain on your account for a few days. Even if you were to purchase only a few gallons worth of gas, you could have a hold on your bank account for around $100. If you only have a few hundred dollars in your account, this could cause you serious grief later on. This is benefiting the gas company but is hurting the consumer. How many people using their debit cards are actually aware of this going on? My guess would be not very many. If the company is allowed to do this, it seems like a warning or disclaimer should be in place to inform the consumer about what is going on.

8 comments:

sara said...

I didn't even know this type of thing was going on. I never noticed that it was a problem. Do They always hold one hundred dollars? It seems more logical that they would only hold the amount that you pumped.
Have you seen those commericials for a new type of credit card where you simple hold a little chip to the gas pump and it charges it to your credit card. It doesn't seem like a huge change other then you can carry it around on your key chain, but I'll bet someone is going to make a fortune off of the idea.

Elijah said...

Is it really that big of a deal? I can see it being a problem if they put a hold on your account for a long enough time to hurt you, or if they actually took your money and then repaid you for it or something like that, but in reality, they are just looking out for themselves. What about stolen credit cards? Or people who really can't pay for the gas? i think that it's just a safeguard that the gas stations are using to make sure that they are getting the money they should, since it's not always a guarantee like it would be if each of us paid cash.

destiny said...

I see what you are saying elijah about it not being too big of a deal, but it does still cause problems. Last year I tried to buy gas late one night and my card was declined because of the buffer they were trying to put on my account. I was too close to my credit limit for that month and the amount they were trying to put on my card took it over the limit. So I wasn't able to get gas and ran out of gas down the road and had to bum a ride with some creepy jerk. Actually I made up the part about running out of gas, but I was pretty upset and embarrassed at the time. It's not really a big deal in a sense that you are being robbed of money in any way, it's just that it causes minor problems that I don't want to deal with.

Mia said...

Having a credit card is a priviledge. That's why they don't just give them away, you actually have to apply for it. I don't fault the card company for holding on to extra cash for a limited time to protect themselves. Those who have cards just need to be more responsible and manage there funds more efficiently. Especially you Destiny.

taylor said...

I had no idea that this was going on while I am out pumping gas. This doesn't really bother me though. The credit card companies are just trying to protect themselves and I always have a pretty good idea of how much money I have in my account.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Sara's comment for a spelling error.

-1 on Mia's comment for a spelling error.

This is interesting.

On the flip side, when you use a debit card you are asking the store to assume the risk that you are not good for the debt, and also to assume the risk you avoided by not having to go to the ATM, and the further risk of carrying cash.

So, I'm a little miffed at this, but I can let it slide.

heropoo said...

I have a credit card genarator site. It pretty much covers credit card genarator related stuff. Check it out if you get time :-)

startonline said...

Your blog is excellent - keep it up! Don't miss visiting this site about credit card. It pretty much covers credit card related stuff.