The problem with paying with plastic at the gas pump

March 14, 2012|Eileen Ambrose

Ben Woolsey of warns against the pitfalls of using your credit or debit card at the gas pump.

The first problem:   Woolsey says station owners sometimes put limit on transactions of $75 to $125. Given fast-rising gas prices, it’s possible some gas guzzlers won’t be able to fill up.

The other problem: Your card company can put a block or hold on your card – reducing the credit limit — when you’re making a purchase at the pump. The block is temporary, lasting up to $72 hours, but limits your line of credit by $75 to $100, Woolsey says.

This is a problem for credit cardholders who are near their limit or debit card users who carry low balances. You could trigger fees.

Some solutions: Check out CreditCard’s gas card comparison chart for a gas card that gives discounts on fuel, Woolsey says.

And if you have a supermarket loyalty card, it may be good for discounts at some gas stations. You can save as much as 30 cents a gallon, he says.

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