(WHTM) — You may want to think twice about using a debit card to buy gas these days. Stations are raising the hold they put on cards as high as $150!
Linda Begley stopped to fill up her gas tank. But this time, the gas pump hit her debit card for $125, almost draining her checking account.
“I used my debit card as I always do, and they’ve always taken out just the amount of gas,” Begley said. They put a $125 hold on a $32 gas purchase which was like four times the amount!”
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It’s called a pre-authorization hold, and they are getting bigger as gas prices rise. Luckily, the charge was removed 24 hours later. But, Begley wonders what would have happened had she needed her money that evening.
“It really leaves people in a precarious situation if you need food, medicine, stuff for the baby or something,” Bagley said.
So, why do pump holds exist in the first place?
Experts say it is a security measure, to make sure you can afford that expensive fill-up and are not going to drive away with free gas.
Nathan Grant with “Money-Tips” says a hold can happen with a credit or debit card. There is no industry standard, so holds can range from $20 to $100 or more. The station decides the amount, but your bank is the one that makes the hold.
“When you pull up to the pump they don’t know if you’re gonna be putting in $10, which I know is a rare occasion nowadays with the price of gas, you could be getting a little bit, or you could be filling up the entire tank,” Grant said.
So, how can you avoid it? Grant says pay with cash or pay inside.
“If you park and go inside and pay at the register that will alleviate the hold too. It’s literally just for paying at the pump, using the terminal itself with your card and everything,” Grant said.
The easiest way to avoid all of that trouble is to avoid using a debt card at the gas pump, this way you don’t waste your money.