Here is a new one we hadn’t heard about previously with plastic money from GUARDIAN reader Mike:
“I got gas on my debit card at a station on Vista May 13th in the amount of
$30+. When I got to work I checked my online bank transactions and they had put a
hold of four $100 amounts on my account as well as the amount of fuel. I called and
they said they do that with smaller banks and credit unions. They said not to worry
about it that it would drop off tomorrow.”
There is no excuse for this practice regardless of the size of the sponsoring bank. As a frequent traveler, the GUARDIAN is accustomed to a “hold” on rental cars and hotel rooms because there is the potential for additional charges. When a charge is fixed–like at the gas pump we say… “NO DEAL!”
Anyone else had similar experiences?
AND THE ANSWER IS…
Here is a logical explanation from GUARDIAN reader Chuck who didn’t invent the internet, but did create some gas pump credit card software:
This is actually called prenoting It used to be 50$. While $100 seems excessive you must realize gas is much more per gallon than it was when 20 years ago when I wrote the software for the pumps.
Here is how it works: a transaction at the pump starts with a prenote to insure that there is enough money in account to pay for ANY size gas tank… then there is a post note that is the actual amount of gas purchased. This is due to the fact that you can’t easily put gas from tank back into the pump if your account is low.
The prenote is not released immediately for several reasons… most common is that there are smaller banks (or just most) that do not have real time transaction processing with the rest of the world’s card system. They deal mostly with a “trust but verify” status on each account.
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