The problem with paying with plastic at the gas pump

Ben Woolsey of warns against the pitfalls of using your credit or debit card at the gas pump.

The first problem:   Woolsey says station owners sometimes put limit on transactions of $75 to $125. Given fast-rising gas prices, it’s possible some gas guzzlers won’t be able to fill up.

The other problem: Your card company can put a block or hold on your card – reducing the credit limit — when you’re making a purchase at the pump. The block is temporary, lasting up to $72 hours, but limits your line of credit by $75 to $100, Woolsey says.

This is a problem for credit cardholders who are near their limit or debit card users who carry low balances. You could trigger fees.

Some solutions: Check out CreditCard’s gas card comparison chart for a gas card that gives discounts on fuel, Woolsey says.

And if you have a supermarket loyalty card, it may be good for discounts at some gas stations. You can save as much as 30 cents a gallon, he says.

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