With all the interest in gas and gas prices these days, which is often infused with anger and disgust, you probably don’t need any more reasons to get upset when it comes time to fuel up. But, there is one more reason for you to be a bit nervous when you pull up to the pump – particularly if you are planning on using your credit card.
This is one of those instances where all of the security measures credit card issuers put into place can work against you when they come face to face with rising gas prices and gas shortages. You see, most credit cards send up a red flag when someone makes a very small gas purchase at one of the pay-at-the-pump fueling stations that are not attended by a real person. The reason? Small gas purchases are commonly made by people running around having a good time on a stolen credit card. Sounds great, right? The credit card companies are watching out for your best interest, aren’t they? Well, yes, they are – unfortunately, many honest cardholders are finding themselves making small purchases at the pump when they start fueling up only to discover the pump is empty. When this happens, your credit card company sends up a red flag on you – and may not allow you to complete the next transaction you complete. This is particularly true if you follow it up at a jewelry store or an electronics boutique, which are common fraud playgrounds for credit card thieves.
To make matters worse, these symptoms cannot necessarily be opened back up quickly. In other words, it may be awhile before you can use your card again if the system puts a block on your card due to a small gas purchase. Nonetheless, your next plan of action if you find your card is denied after a small gas purchase is to contact your issuer to get the problem resolved.
On the other end of the spectrum, some cards and even some gas stations are placing caps on the amount of money that can be spent at one time on a gas purchase. Often, this cap is $75. A few years ago, this cap may not have seemed so bad. But, today, if you are driving a gas guzzling RV or SUV, $75 may not be enough to get you filled up. To add to the troubles, some cards won’t let you make another gas purchase immediately after completing one. The result? You drive out of the gas station with a tank that still isn’t full.
Credit card companies aren’t likely to change these practices any time soon. After all, these precautionary measures are put in place to protect you as well as the credit card company. Therefore, be sure to always carry a second card with you – particularly if you are going on a long trip with a vehicle that really burns up the gas. Otherwise, you might find yourself having one more reason to scream at a gas pump.