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Consumer Advice: Ask before you pump gas

Published On: Apr 23 2013 08:28:05 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

When you're paying for gas with a debit or credit card, you should expect that your bank is going to hold a little extra money.

Maybe it's happened to you. You got to the gas station to purchase gas, but the amount on your online bank statement looks different from what you bought.

Truck driver Bill Howard has had this experience at the gas station. He swiped his card at the pump and was charged an authorization fee.

"I get another message saying they withheld another $55, so that $10 cost me $65 and it said they'll give it back after one or seven business days," said Howard. "Which is wrong. It's theft."

Howard is concerned not only for himself but for others who don't have a safety net. For instance single mothers and fathers.

"They're going in the store after buying $10 worth of gas and then they're going into the grocery store to feed their little baby and there's no money in their bank because of Allsup's."

Allsup's directed KTXS News to their Corporate Headquarters who did not provide a statement.

A few of the bigger banks said the additional authorized funds are actually gas station orders. This is part of the reason the authorization hold varies from gas station to station.

Howard said he wants more transparency from gas stations about the additional charge.

"The only thing that will make me happy is putting a sign on that pump, because everybody out there lives paycheck to paycheck including me," said Howard.

Going over the limit in your credit or debit cards can cost you up to $35 in overdraft fees from some of the bigger banks. Depending on the individual card rules, many banks will allow customers to choose whether they would prefer to have the transaction denied rather than face over over-the-limit fees.

If you go inside the station to pay for your gas with a debit or credit card, you won't be charged the additional authorization fee. It's best to plan when you go to the pump. Each station has different policies.