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  1. #1
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default A Growing Trend or Just A Phase?

    Well, I thought I had seen what I would call the worst of fuel transaction shenanigans when Mobil would pre-authorize my Debit card for $75, requiring me to go in, withdrawl cash from the ATM (if it didn't put a hold on the card), and stand in line for $20 worth of fuel. Needless to say, I don't buy gas from Mobil anymore. However, while I was down at the local Subway/Shell getting myself some lunch on my break, I noticed they were putting up signs on the pumps denoting a $.07 discount for cash only.

    Typically I hate using cash, especially for fuel, because I always fill it up to the top, so I don't know the exact amount, but it is usually around $35-40, then you have to go back inside and get change, which includes waiting in line a second time.

    I typically use QuickTrip which doesn't put much of a Pre-Auth on their charges and they usually have the least-expensive gas in my area.

    I was wondering if others are seeing similar trends? Do tyou bypass high pre-authorization places, or do you just use cash to pay for fuel?

    More articles on the subject:
    USAToday: Paper or Plastic?
    NPNWeb: Pre-authorizations explained.

    -Brad

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default prepay optional

    Thankfully, most places around here still let you pump then pay, at least during the daytime.

    I've never had a problem with getting an "over-authorization" on my debit card, and I usually use it at a Mobil station.

    I don't see many "cash discount" places anymore, however the one I've found that you really have to watch out for is the places that list your price if you also buy a car wash, only to find out that the "real" price is actually 10-20 more per gallon.

  3. #3
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default No post pay, at least here

    I haven't seen any pump-then-pay stations in Arizona at all. I guess we're more of a 'flight risk'.

    -Brad

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Never, Ever use a Debit at the Pump!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Brad View Post
    ...when Mobil would pre-authorize my Debit card for $75,
    As a general rule, no one should ever use a Debit card when using a pay-at-the-pump service. Using a credit card at a pump enables a level of consumer protection and in the event that a bogus-card reader is intercepting the card data from the card reader interface, the credit card company, (not the consumer), is 100% liable for all charges. However under US banking law, a debit card does not offer any form of this protection to the consumer. The only "safe" transactions when using Debit cards are 1) making deposits and cash withdrawals from a bank; 2) and this is a distant second -- using the card without entering any sort of PIN.

    Pre-authorization charges, excess or not, should be the least of your worries when you use a debit card in a public area...

    Mark

  5. #5
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default On the flip side

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    Using a credit card at a pump enables a level of consumer protection...
    It also enables a level of interest bearing charges that, at least for the credit cards I qualify for, is more problematic than the slight risk it's a bogus credit card reader. It's not to say I'm not cautious, but that also applies with cash or credit.

    -Brad

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default If you pay it off (as if it were a debit)...

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Brad View Post
    It also enables a level of interest bearing charges that
    Um, if you pay off the charges every month -- there are ZERO interest charges....

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    Gosh, I always use a debit card at the pump. Everywhere, in fact.

    I didn't know there was some kind of safety issue. I've never seen any kind of hold on my card either.

    Am I just really naive?

  8. #8
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default It's relative

    Depends on how you look at it and what you qualify as an acceptable risk. For me, I haven't had a problem. I don't like to carry cash and without going into details of my credit situation, that's really not an option, so I'm just fine with my debit card. Yeah, there's a risk, but the way I see it, I run the risk of falling down the stairs every morning when I leave for work at 5:30 AM, but I still do it.

    Just comes down to personal preference and acceptable risk. I know Mark disagrees with me on this, but different strokes for different folks.

    -Brad

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Prefer pay at the pump

    I prefer to pay at the pump with a credit card, though with a diesel passenger vehicle, those places are hard to come by, although I have yet to figure out why that is. Where I usually stop has a pump then pay policy on the diesel pump.

    I, too, dislike paying with cash ahead of time then having to go back in and wait in line again behind the "three Lucky Crapshots, five Fistfull of Dollars, one of those $20 tickets, and a pack of Chesterfields" crowd.

    In the gassers, I use pay at the pump with credit whenever possible. Standing in line between people who want to buy cigarettes and scratch tickets is not my idea of a productive use of time.

  10. #10
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Interesting on the Diesel

    Out here, except for truck stops, places that sell Diesel from the same pumps as Gasoline all allow Pay at the Pump. Maybe an east-coast thing?

    -Brad

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