Pay at Pump Changes

Visa, American Express and Mastercard have changed the way Pay at the Pump fuel transactions are made.

Previously when filling up fuel at any petrol station, if you paid at the pump, your card would be pre-authorised for £1, then allowed to fill up to £99 with fuel, only being charged for the fuel you use, with the £1 pre authorisation removed usually the day after.

The new rules, which are nothing to do with supermarkets, have been installed by Visa and Mastercard themselves, specifically for “Pay at the Pump’ transactions. Designed to limit fraud, the new pre-authorisation amount is £99 or £100 (depending on your card), which your bank may put a temporary hold on whilst you fill up. Once the transaction is complete, you’re only charged for the fuel you use and the pre-authorisation is entirely removed, usually by the time you print the receipt.

Of course, you’re only charged for the fuel you use.

The process has actually been in place for quite some time, but being rolled out more throughout Central Scotland at present. The transaction is supposed to be instant but some people are finding that if its near the weekend, it can take up to the next banking day for the pre-authorisation to be removed, appearing as though the money has left their account.

If you encounter these pumps, the machine should inform you first.

The easy option to avoid the £100 card reservation is to go into the garage and pay the cashier directly, rather than pay at the pump. Here, the £100 ring-fencing won’t take place. Of course, you may not be able to do this if it’s out of hours and the kiosk is closed.

To be clear, this is nothing to do with supermarkets. It is YOUR Bank Card provider who has installed this process.

Further Information for those interested.

  • If there’s less than £100 in your account or on your card balance then whatever is available will be reserved. Again, you’ll then be billed for the actual amount used with the rest of the funds returned. The pump will cut off automatically once you reach your available balance, meaning you shouldn’t be taken over your spending limit or pushed into an unarranged overdraft. 
  • If you don’t have any money in your account or left on your card balance then you cannot use that pump.

If your available balance is lower than what it should be due to reserved funds taking too long to be returned (more than 1 day) and you urgently need to spend the cash, here’s what to try: 

  • Contact your card issuer to ask it to speed up the reversal or ask for your overdraft/credit limit to be temporarily increased. By card issuer we mean the bank, building society or credit provider, such as Barclaycard, Capital One, HSBC or Nationwide (not Mastercard or Visa).


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