Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pay Inside with PIN Debit at Gas Stations!

A month ago (June 10th) I submitted a post entitled: Use PIN Debit to Buy Gas and Save Big!!! in which I hypothesized a scenario whereby an individual bought $25.00 in gas and because they swiped at the pump, instead of paying by PIN Debit inside, were charged $105 in overdraft charges.

Well, apparently (and unfortunately) one Mr. Stanley Allen from Miramar, FL doesn't know about and therefore doesn't read the HomeATM PIN Debit blog...or he would've paid inside using his PIN and saved...$105!

Here's his real life story which closely (he only bought $20 in gas) mirrors my hypothetical one... The link to the video of the story is here and below (along with a YouTube Video on the same subject...bounced check fees from debit holds).

Using a debit or credit card to buy gas could diminish your bank account quickly...

MIRAMAR, Fla. -- Using a debit or credit card to buy gas could diminish your bank account more than you realize. Stanley Allen knew gas was expensive, but when he recently bought $20 worth of gas with his debit card, he found out that it cost even more.

"Later on that afternoon, I got home and I checked my account, and along with the $20 worth of gas that showed, there was a $100 hold put on my account," Allen said.

The $100 was not technnically gone -- it was just off limits. But what happened next was painful.
"Everything that came in after I pumped the gas bounced, so I ended up with $105 in overdraft fees," Allen said.

Allen called the gas station owner. "He said he wasn't responsible for it. He said check with my bank," Allen said. "I checked with my bank. The bank said, 'Check back with the gas station.' So I basically got the runaround for about a week."

Because the system does not know how much a customer is pumping, a hold is placed on the account. In the past, $50 was common, but the hold has been increased to $100 as the price of gas has risen.

Even if you only pump $20, the hold is not removed when you drive away. It remains in effect for several hours to several days. In Allen's case, his account had a hold for four days.

The bank determines the length of the hold while the gas station determines the amount. Neither is required to tell the customer.

The American Bankers Association advises that consumers should use their debit card PINs to minimize the likelihood of holds. It said the banking industry is working to improve the system to eliminate all holds, and it suggested that if the hold causes an overdraft fee, customers should ask their banks to remove the fees.

Center for Responsible Lending said consumer relief could be on the way. "The Federal Reserve is actually trying to address this issue right now, and they are proposing to put an end to any kind of hold resulting in an overdraft fee being charged," said Leslie Parrish of the Center for Responsible Lending.

Until that happens, Allen said he would use cash so he won't be held hostage by an account hold. "I don't know exactly how it works," he said. "I just know that right's right and wrong's wrong."

Here's the link to watch the video on NBC6:

Below is another video on the subject of debit holds and gas stations I was able to embed into this blog.

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All's Not OK in OK

It's payment related, it's web related, it's fraud related and it's PIN related, so I'll bring you this from 66 Federal Credit Union...

Local credit union works to shut down fraudulent Web sites 

By Special to the E-E

A local credit union has submitted nearly 50 fraudulent Web sites and 40 phone numbers for shutdown in the aftermath of a scam that targeted financial institutions.

66 Federal Credit Union and several other financial institutions across the country were recently the subject of a widespread attack from fraudulent entities enticing members to disclose personal financial information.

The attacks were in the form of mass e-mails, automated and live phone calls, as well as text messages to members and non-members alike. Officials say the similar characteristic in all of the fraudulent messages is that it directed the recipient to respond and give their personal financial information including account numbers, credit card or debit card numbers, expiration dates and PIN numbers. The fraudsters appear to have obtained home phone numbers, cellular phone numbers and e-mail addresses from publicly available lists and are using this public information to obtain more sensitive account information, say officials.

“We are diligently pursuing all of these criminals, and in the last two weeks alone we have submitted over 45 illegal Web sites to be shut down, and over 40 phone numbers to be discontinued,” said Marty O’Connell, chief information officer for 66 FCU.

In addition to reporting suspicious activity to the credit union, individuals who suffer losses are encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI at their Web site, and call (800) VISA-911 to review and block transactions on their credit card.

“All members should be reassured that the database that stores our members’ e-mail and phone records is the same database that contains their financial information,” O’Connell said “And if our database was in fact compromised, then there would be no need for these criminals to send out fraudulent messages, since they would already have all the information that they are requesting.”

Members are advised not to respond to any phone call, e-mail, text message, or other communication asking for personal information such as user names, passwords, PIN numbers, or account numbers including credit or debit card information.  If making any call to the credit union, members should only use the phone numbers listed on the 66 FCU Web site at, or call (918)336-7662 and (800)897-6991.

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