It appears there is a new way that gas stations are gouging customers when they fill up. And I’m not talking about near record gas prices, but rather when you use your debit card to fill up at the pump.
Did you know that many gas stations are starting to charge a “hold” on your checking account to make sure you have the funds to cover the purchase?
This happened to my mom over the weekend near Seattle, Washington. Here is an email I received from her this morning:
“I got gas Saturday and when checking my bank account noticed a charge on hold for $126.00 along with the hold of $28.75 which was my purchase. I called my bank this morning and found out many gas stations are hold $100 to $126. from your account to assure you have the funds to cover your purchase. So I found out this hold will be on my account until Wednesday. This is three full working days.
You gotta watch this if you run your funds close to the wire in your account. They said one way to avoid this hold is to go inside the station to pay for it with your card. That is considered a point of service transaction so no hold. He said even Costco, Safeway and other store held pumps are doing this.
This really ticks me off. Think about it, if you filled up twice in a week or two cars you could have $250.00 on hold in your checking account. YIKES!”
I did some googling… and it appears this has happened to people across the country. Bottom line, if you use your debit card and you can’t afford to have your money “held up”, it’s probably best to go inside the station and pay.
****UPDATE FROM MY FRIEND AMY CLANCY WHO IS A CONSUMER INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER AT KIRO TV IN SEATTLE*********:
“Tara, this has actually been going on for years —- and we’ve covered it before. That’s why the gas station payment machine “asks” whether you’re using debit or credit. If you’re using debit —- they put a “hold” on it to cover the expense and more. With credit, they don’t. Annoying, huh? Another reason I very rarely use my debit card. In fact, I never use it for anything other than withdrawing cash.”