When you go to the gas station lately, you have to brace yourself. Filling up the tank of even the smallest car can set you back $50. It leaves your debit card tearing up a little bit – and your bank account feeling as though it just encountered some kind of corporate heist.
There’s something else you might not realize – gas stations will often place a hold on your account to ensure you have the necessary funds to fill your tank. This is more important than ever since it’s costing so much to fill up.
Visa and Mastercard have the ability to place a hold on the account for up to $175. In the past, it was $125, but it typically wasn’t used. Now, it’s being used more and more.
$175 is a lot for many people. If you only have $100 in the bank, it can lead to overdraft fees and more. Plus, it freezes what money you do have, making it impossible to buy groceries, pay bills, and take care of other financial obligations. All because you needed to put $40 in your gas tank.
Now, the hold will free up after a few days. If you’re going into the weekend, though, the hold can be devastating. It may not free up until Monday or Tuesday.
President Biden clearly isn’t thinking about the trickledown effect of what he’s done by making gas prices skyrocket. And don’t let the liberal dialogue fool you. While he may not have a direct line to the gas prices, his actions in the Oval Office have led to prices that are just too high.
While there’s nothing that can be done about the gas prices, there is something that you can do about the credit cards putting a hold on your account.
You can choose to go into the gas station and specify how much you want on a pump. By prepaying, you avoid that $175 hold entirely.
You can also choose to pay with cash, which also involves prepaying.
It’s a bit of a hassle, but when you don’t have a lot of money in the bank, you don’t want any of it frozen for a few days.
Kelley Blue Book explains that gas stations place holds for those paying directly at the pump because they have no idea how much gas a person is going to buy. They place the hold and charge you for the actual amount of gas you got later on.
But why $175? Who is spending that much at the pump? Unfortunately, you’re being penalized for all of those people who do spend that much, including truck drivers and those with boats.
$175 is actually the median of what’s being spent at the pump. While cars may only spend $50, trucks are spending close to $100. An average pontoon boat has a 50-gallon tank, so that could be about $200. And semi-trucks and moving vans with 100-gallon tanks may be spending $400 or more.
There’s good news in all of this. You’re equipped with knowledge of what’s going on. Gas stations aren’t going rogue. They are being authorized by Visa and Mastercard that they can place these holds. The hold will last for up to 72 hours, so you need to plan accordingly. And remember, not all gas stations place holds, either.
It’s expensive out there, so be diligent in your spending.