GREENSBORO, N.C. — The next time you go to the pump and you pay with a card,
you could be charged a hold fee of $175.
The Wall Street Journal reports the rise in gas prices has stations upping their hold fees. If you use a debit card to pay that means $175 in your account is frozen, for a day, a few days, maybe even a week. It all depends on the station and the bank.
“If you're using a debit card, that money in your actual account is frozen until you check out or make the payment,” said Nathan Grant, MoneyTips, Senior Credit Industry analyst.
In that time, you could be racking up overdraft fees, and have declined payments. There's no way to know what the actual hold fee will be, so here's a way around it.
“If you pay with a credit card, debit card, or obviously with cash, if you go inside and set the amount ahead of time, then there's not going to be a hold. You can avoid that by saying ‘I want to put $20 on pump 2’. It doesn't count for those charges,” said Grant.
So, the trick to avoiding the hold fee is going inside, setting the amount ahead of time, and paying upfront.
WHY DO THEY HOLD MY MONEY?
When you swipe your card, it’s a promise to pay however much you pump. The swiping doesn’t check to see how much is in your account. The hold fee covers whether you’re pumping 5-gallons to get you through until payday or if you’re filling up a big work truck.