New pay-at-the-pump hold charges have drivers seeing red

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - If gas prices haven't caused enough pain at the pump, some debit card users are now dealing with hold charges of up to $75. If you don't have that money in your account, you could be facing overdraft fees.

Paying at the pump is a convenient way to pay for gas, but for Mastercard debit customers it's a pricey inconvenience. Mastercard says its US debit customers may now see a $75 hold charge on their bank accounts no matter how much gas they pump.

Beth Jaskiewicz from South Carolina Federal Credit Union says their debit card members are affected and the hold can mean fees, for people who aren't really overspending.

"We didn't have the information as soon as we should have that we weren't able to communicate it to members ahead of time, and we were not able to stop the holds from being placed, so yes there is member frustration," Jaskiewicz said.

The Credit Union says this change came in June unannounced from Mastercard, and anyone with a Mastercard debit should beware of the possible hold charges.

To avoid charges a card holder can, pay cash, use a credit card, or set up overdraft protection.

"We are working as quickly as we can to make corrections on our side so that this hold does not even happen, and we expect that in the next few days. In the meantime we are making some things happen internally to release those holds more quickly," Jaskiewicz said.

Mastercard says the rule is to have companies lift the hold within 24 hours, but Jaskiewicz says that length of time can vary depending on the gas station.

The South Carolina Federal Credit Union Senior VP for marketing tells me that any customers who are being charged overdraft fees because of this hold can contact the office for a refund.

Mastercard says it put these changes into effect last month to make sure businesses get the money that people owe.

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