Debit card batching: How to not overdraw -


Debit card batching: How to not overdraw

It's the decision every driver has to make at one point or another, whether or not to pay at the pump or pay inside.

Bobby Rice usually pays inside, but one day he paid at the pump with his debit card.

"Went in the store to get gas. And the inside card reader was messed up. So I used the outside at the pump," he said. "I got $30 worth of gas. But it charged me $120 and held that for four days.

That hold was placed on his funds by the gas station.

"I got the other money back but it was a matter that my $120 was held up for that four days," Rice said. 

It's called debit card batching. And as Carmen Million with the Better Business Bureau explains, it's perfectly legal under a retailer's business rights.

"Most people are not aware of it or don't even know to ask about it until after they feel like they've been victimized," Million said.

The hold fees are similar to the deposits made when renting a car or reserving a hotel room. It's money that's held to make sure you have the necessary funds to complete whatever purchase you're making.

"You need to ask the company, if you're going to pay with a debit card, if they put a hold on your money, not only what amount they're going to put a hold on, but how long that hold is going to last. Because it can last from a couple of days to a couple of weeks," Million said.

For Million, the concern for consumers comes from the varying hold fees.

"If you don't realize what that amount is it could cost an overdraft. They think they have more money than they actually have," Million said.

Rice said now he knows and hopes other will be know too, so they're not surprised like he was. And he says he'll be more mindful when making his decision on how to pay for gas.

"I won't use the card readers at the pump...period," he said.

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