Don’t be surprised if you see a hold for as much as $175 on your credit or debit card the next time you fill up your gas tank.
Both Visa and Mastercard have authorized gas stations to place a hold on your card for up to $175 when you fill up your tank. The hold is released when the final amount has been set, but it can take hours or longer for the hold to be cleared, The Wall Street Journal reported. The holds are usually lifted in a few hours, but could be longer depending on what system the businesses use.
“When you set a hold that is a high number, it increases the likelihood that a consumer will overdraft because of that hold. However, if you set a number that’s too low, you also risk not getting paid for that transaction,” Jeff Lenard told the newspaper.
The credit card companies had previously set the hold at $125 in April but when gas prices climbed, the limit was raised, according to Kelly Blue Book.
Lenard is the vice president of strategic industry initiatives at the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing trade group.
Even though the money does get released, it has the potential to overdraw a person’s account when using debit cards or could max out a credit card.
“The pre-authorization is no big deal if you have enough credit on your credit card or cash in the bank. It becomes a problem when it temporarily limits your purchasing power or puts you in arrears,” AAA told Kelly Blue Book.
While both of the major credit card companies have raised their limits, gas stations are the ones who decide how much of a hold, if any, is placed on a card.
But there are ways to avoid a hold being placed on your card when you’re buying fuel.
Both options require going inside of the store and paying for a predetermined amount of gas, either by card or cash, Kelly Blue Book suggests.
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