Sunday, September 04, 2005

Warning: Credit/Debit Card Authorization Holds When You Buy Gas

Due to the latest gas crisis, many more people are driving away without sufficient credit or funds to cover the purchase. And, to cover themselves, gas merchants are placing larger holds on credit/debit cards.

When you swipe a card (or present a card before a purchase), the merchant doesn’t know how much gas you are going to buy, so he puts an authorization hold for a certain amount ($5, $10, or even up to $100) on your card. Now, according to Snopes.com, “An authorization is only a hold on the funds for a possible future transfer. This hold is temporary, and if the transaction isn't settled it will expire without any action.”

Unfortunately, “Your credit card company may still show a temporary authorization hold on the funds after your transaction is completed. It can take several working days for them to process the void on the authorization. The time will vary from one company to the next.” Some merchants can hold the money up to 3 days, and that can really hurt you!!!

Advice from Snopes . . .

“Take your credit card inside and pay after you’ve pumped your gas.” Or, just pay cash.

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