Keeping your card from getting locked on gas routes

Hey all,

Anyone have the same issue I often run into- my credit card declining after about 10 gas shops? Usually 2 transactions each shop (inside and outside) and it probably looks pretty fraudulent to my bank. I have 3 cards I cycle through, discover chase and capital one but by the end of my route they are pretty much all declining. None of them are remotely close to their limit.

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I would set up a travel alert with each company before the route. You can also speak with customer service in advance to let them know you are going to be driving for work and that it requires you to make purchases at multiple gas stations. I know from having had my card information stolen that typically thieves will charge $1 or $2 first to ensure the card is working then charge hundreds of dollars and it is usually at gas stations. Hopefully a quick call or mobile chat with customer service can resolve the issue.

Briana Baca
Senior Field Director
Curinos

Formerly, Informa's CXR Team (formerly Informa Financial Intelligence and Informa Research Services)
Briana.Goldman@Curinos.com

“Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.” —Jane Wagner
My experience is that each gas brand will allow two credit trasnactions per day per card. Inside and outside both count as a transaction. No limit on debit transactions, except each brand also has a cumulative daily limit on gas purchases. The amount varies per brand, but it is around $70. So after a dozen or so gas purchases in a 24 hour period, your card will stop working. It is possible the inside purchases count too, but I pay cash inside so I don't know. These limits have nothing to do with the bank.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/27/2022 01:13PM by mystery2me.
Many shop guidelines state "have cash with you for the inside purchase". This does cut down the number of transactions on your card by half.

Also, I have found travel alerts to be absolutely useless with Capital One, Wells Fargo, and American Express.

Also, if you buy very small amounts of gas (a $2 reimbursement, say what? ), often cards detect that as possibly fraudulent, and block the card.

It turns out if a cc is stolen, the thief will often try a small amount of gas to see if the card is functioning.
Also, I don't use travel alerts. I have my banks set up to send me text and email alerts when they block my card due to suspicious activity, which happens on almost every route. I can quickly reply to the alert confirming my activity, and they instantly unblock the card.
Most brands want you to make the inside purchase in cash. I use branded gift cards at the pump so I don’t run into a problem. Just don’t lose them, or lose the receipts! Then I use a credit card occasionally if my gift card runs out before I can get a new one, or for the very occasional location where gift cards don’t work at the pump.
If you have a credit card where you earn points on travel purchases, that is the only downside because it won’t be marked as travel when you buy the gift card unless maybe you buy them at a station. I usually buy them at grocery stores. Also if it’s an unmanned location, be sure to use a credit card and not a gift card in case you don’t receive a receipt and need to use your statement as proof. Most brands give the cash price if you use their branded gift card for times that may matter.
Appreciate the input. Sounds like a gift card for the brand will be my best bet. Has anyone used gift cards on the Phillips 66 shops?
It's not the credit cards. It's the gas brands that put a limit on how many times you can use a card at their brand in 24 hours. For example, since Chevron and Texaco are the same company, you can only use your card twice whether it is for two Texacos, two Chevrons or one of each making two. Same with Exxon/Mobil. I keep 9 credit cards, just for this purpose. If it's a really long route, I have to resort to my debit card.

sestrahelena
That would make sense. When I call my card issuers while the cards are declining they tell me it isn’t declining on their end, it’s a merchant issue. Wonder if the gas brands also impose that transaction limit on their gift cards?
You'll have to check your guidelines, some of the gas brands do not allow using gift cards at all. And all of them say to use cash inside the store for your inside purchase. Most won't call you out or deny payment if you do use a card inside, but some will, and a lot depends on the editor too.

My cards are debit cards with a credit card payment option. So with my two cards i can do 2 debit and two credit transactions before I have to make a repeat transaction. And every once in a while, I do an account opening shop, which gives me a 3rd card to do gas station shops with for a couple weeks.
Has anyone used prepaid Visa/MasterCards successfully? They cost roughly $3-$5 to load. Maybe a couple of those with $100 loaded on them could increase the number of cards I can use during a single 24-hour period, since they have a set of unique numbers.
Why use those instead of gift cards? Gift cards are free and reduce the price of gas. Once you learn where to buy them in your area it’s easy. And some stations for each brand sell them as well. You can use the same card 20 times in a day.

But to answer your question, I’ve used a Greendot card at the pump before I started mystery shopping. But that would be just one additional card; it’s different from the others. But you can transfer from your bank account for free and there’s no monthly fee if you transfer a certain amount each month.
I’m pretty sure that prepaid cards work like my PayPal debit card, which means that once the balance is lower they no longer work at the pump.
(Another card to get is a PayPal debit card if you don’t already have one. That will add one card to your collection and works at the pump as long as it has at least ~$40 on it).
@ColoKate63 wrote:

Has anyone used prepaid Visa/MasterCards successfully? They cost roughly $3-$5 to load. Maybe a couple of those with $100 loaded on them could increase the number of cards I can use during a single 24-hour period, since they have a set of unique numbers.
Phillips 66 guidelines don’t say anything about using cash inside. They also don’t say to NOT use a gift card, so wondering if that would work.
I wouldn’t use a gift card inside since it’s pretty rare. Unless you’re out of cash and that’s all you have. Inside there’s no problem with prepaid cards. Also if you don’t use cash there shouldn’t be a problem with a debit card at the register where you have to put in a pin. I’m pretty sure those transactions don’t have the same limit tho I’m sure it would get flagged by bank eventually.
@ARittel1130 wrote:

Phillips 66 guidelines don’t say anything about using cash inside. They also don’t say to NOT use a gift card, so wondering if that would work.
@sestrahelena wrote:

It's not the credit cards. It's the gas brands that put a limit on how many times you can use a card at their brand in 24 hours. For example, since Chevron and Texaco are the same company, you can only use your card twice whether it is for two Texacos, two Chevrons or one of each making two. Same with Exxon/Mobil. I keep 9 credit cards, just for this purpose. If it's a really long route, I have to resort to my debit card.

I'm not so sure with the E/M gas stations. But maybe its the debit cards versus credit cards? For instance, I talked to my bank that holds my debit card regarding how I use my debit card at gas stations. I advised them that as part of my self-employment work, I need to use it multiple times in a day. They allowed me to do just that. So, on a given day, I've used my debit card at 10 E/M gas stations in one day plus using it at a grocery store a fast food place and often a Shell gas station without difficulty.
Have you tried using Apple Pay or Google Pay? I had trouble with my Discover card being declined while I was performing a route - called customer service and was assured that nothing was locked with the issuer, so it was the gas brand. Apple Pay generates a different account number each time you process a transaction so that your transactions are more secure. This ensures that the gas brand is not seeing the same credit card number multiple times in a day. It is free, more secure than swiping a card, and you can still get a receipt.

[support.apple.com].

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2022 05:20AM by patman9760.
Some instructions specify debit/credit at the pumps. Unless other options are eventually included in the guidelines, I would not take the chance. They still want to know if card readers work and print receipts.

sestrahelena
@MMMM wrote:

Did you try calling the credit card issuers?
That eventually works for some cards if you are persistent.
I had that problem years ago when I had fewer cards. If you have a debit card, you can charge 2 transactions on credit and 2 transactions on debit per day. That gets you 4 transactions per card per day.

I now have cards from issuers that do not have that issue.
SoFi (2% cash back)
Greater Nevada Credit Union (if you DL their app and keep your phone near you) No, you don't need to live in NV to get this card.
Zions Bank Card
Agreed. Some shops allow for payment using apps, however, but warn that excessive app pay can lead to a locked card. The receipts with Apple Pay list the payment method as ‘contactless’.

**Edited for grammar

@sestrahelena wrote:

Some instructions specify debit/credit at the pumps. Unless other options are eventually included in the guidelines, I would not take the chance. They still want to know if card readers work and print receipts.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2022 07:21PM by patman9760.
In my experience in getting cards blocked, it was due to the brand not the bank.

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