Using your credit card to ride cross country? Get ready for a shock

Makingitwork6999

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We are moving all our purchases off that card. But not everyone takes that other card. But thank you. The other card carries no interest. No double month billing. We carry few cards to keep things simple.

For now, I am hoping the current bank offers a better program. But I think it is not likely. This bank has been known to do illegal things and get away with it for years before being caught by the feds. After seeing how they handled this... shifting blame... it all seems typical. We are too tied into that bank. We should probably move everything out of that bank to another bank. All services.

I used the bad card a couple times in a row at small gas stations and then I got the shock. Then I called their customer service and was shocked at their recommended solution. I went to a branch... and the manager there was sympathetic. She explained the poor training the customer service had. She explained the poor judgement. She could not justify it. She knew that support for my card is kinda... well... stupid.

I did my homework. I talked to a lot of people. This forum was most helpful.

The lesson to learn here is before you go across several states on a motorbike... do a dry run on your credit card.
 

Makingitwork6999

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This is a state function, and every state has functioning consumer protection groups according to their consumer protection laws.
I had gone down that road after running into a few fraudulent merchants. The system was shockingly tilted to the side of the merchants.

Sadly, it would be like having a chicken farm with a fox problem. The chickens keep getting stolen away.... so you reach out for help... go to an office for help... and the person at the office you visited is also a fox... with feathers in his teeth.

I wont go into a lot of detail about it. But... the more people I talked about it, the more people said, hey yeah, the stolen chicken protection agency is run by a group of foxes who have taste for chickens. When I asked more about it, the answer was something like: The foxes got organized decades ago and now run a large rural organization and keep a database of all the farmers who have a lot of chickens and do not watch them very closely. They field the farmer's complaint and in some ways bury it so they can benefit from their position.

The more I listened to this, the more disgusted I became.

One example was a prominent federal agency that was policing the very same people that they hired from and took payments from. Another was a national auto service chain that was a secret quasi-criminal organization. When you meet people, you learn things. Meet strange people, and you learn stranger things. The world is a deeply strange place.

It pays to get a lay of the land before making tracks across an open field... especially in business. Even the road runner is aware of the coyote with the jetpack.
 
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Makingitwork6999

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A version of this happened to me about 10 years ago. The bank's software noted my card was hundreds of miles from the usual location of use and declined a transaction. I called the number on the back of the card and in a few minutes the situation was resolved. A time or two after that I called prior to leaving home on a trip and noted to customer service my card would travel to XXX states over the next couple of days in order to prevent a recurrence. I haven't had to do this since and I ride typically to one of 8 SE USA states several times a year w/o issue.

Edit to add I don't use debit for transactions since skimmers inserted in or on gas pumps became so common. Use credit and these problems disappear.

That is very well put. We do the same thing. But to be honest, our bank fails miserably when we test their security on our card.

The more international hops we make, the more I question if they are watching out for us at all. The more state hops we make, the more we know we have to watch every transaction every few hours. One of us hopped over to Alaska, and it made sense to use the other safer credit card. We travel often. So we test our credit cards often.

This particular credit card has had a history of terrible problems. It just so happens to work everywhere. Even in kingdoms. Once we told the bank we were going somewhere... but then hopped across an ocean to somewhere else. Then swiped the card. We were expecting the bank to halt the transaction or call us. Nope.
 

Makingitwork6999

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Interesting, and something that never occurred to me. I know that most hotels put a "hold" on an amount on your card usually equal to the reservation, and then supposedly clear it after you check-out, NOT after you check-in. I have a high enough credit limit that this does not adversely effect me, but it is just one more opportunity for Murphy's Law to bite you. I have had bogus charges show-up on my card from multiple European and South American countries in the same day. Some folks tried to buy fork lifts and computers! So, consequently I have had to cancel and issue new cards several times. I would guess that cross-country travel merely multiplies the opportunities for crooks to steal your info and attempt fraudulent charges. I think I may consider a cash stash for fuel and convenience store purchases when I travel further afield. Being careful, of course, not to flash the cash to inquiring minds at the various venues that I may stop. With the almost instantaneous nature of transactions these days, there is no need for the credit card companies to hold these funds, It is just one more rip-off way that they have devised to scam the system and ride the float on billions of dollars daily.
One option is to use digital credit cards on your handheld device such as your phone. They often wont give the merchant the entire credit card number. It is a one-time secure code. So repeat transactions and theft are impossible.

Your phone should have a 30 second auto lock if you have this feature. But gosh darnit... A lot of my motorcycle helmet features wont work while my phone is locked. And... there is no way to bluetooth unlock the phone. There was a hack a while back to run a script from Siri to unlock the phone, but that feature wont work now.

I need a way to unlock my phone remotely from my helmet.

I think this becomes a security liability... being able to yell at your phone to unlock it.

Execute Rumplestiltskin!!!! Dammit!!! Execute Rumplestiltskin!!!

... and people will think you are nuts.
 
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Bulitt

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Why don't you simply get a Master card or Visa card from another bank? I'd venture to say that is what the majority of us use that don't have issues using our cards. Get a credit card and not a debit card. A credit card has more protection, and the funds are not taken out of your bank acct immediately. You use their money all month for free. Just don't buy anything on the card you know you can't pay off when the bill comes. You have to be fiscally responsible enough to pay off your credit card bill each month (on time) so as not to incur late fees and interest. If you can't do that, do without whatever it is you wanted to buy until you can afford to pay for it.
Exactly. Even better, get a “reward card” that gives you something back.

I use a Fidelity Visa that rebates 2% on all purchases and monthly deposits into my brokerage account automatically. I use it to pay for anything allowed. Ie: health, auto, motorcycle insurance payments, cell phone, lawn service, pest control, HOA dues etc. etc.
 

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The issue is play on the OP can apply to credit and debit:

Understand what is the difference between a Pending Transaction and a PostedTransaction. A pending transaction is an approved debit or credit transaction that has not been fully processed yet (i.e. has not been posted). ... A posted transaction is a debit orcredit that has been fully processed.

Some vendor like car rental, hotels and gas stations ........will pend a full charge then post the actual charge.
That secures the card is good for the full amount. If they don’t pend they have a remote chance the card might bounce and they have no recourse from the card service.
Perfect example hotel using points for free room........the hotel pends $150 charge ( against the card limit)......day or two later the pending charge drops.

Pilot gas stations are infamous for pending $75.00 on every transaction at the time it swiped.
 
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Makingitwork6999

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Exactly. Even better, get a “reward card” that gives you something back.

I use a Fidelity Visa that rebates 2% on all purchases and monthly deposits into my brokerage account automatically. I use it to pay for anything allowed. Ie: health, auto, motorcycle insurance payments, cell phone, lawn service, pest control, HOA dues etc. etc.
We are firing up such a plan.
 

Makingitwork6999

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What such a plan can do is eliminate the need to balance a checkbook. We write one check a year. Usually to somebody in government. The rest is kept in an account collecting points. We eventually bought a global round trip airline ticket just to test it all out. So such golden or platinum programs for credit cards can be useful. That is, if you travel. If you don’t travel, you can always buy an annual subscription to “Big Guns, Girls and Golf” or something fairly appealing like that. I can imagine what their Calendar would look like. Everyone has something expensive they can buy on a credit card these days.
 
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I've made a solo road trip a few years back and had a related issue with a credit card. One far off gas station put a charge of 1 cent to test the card when I swiped it and then quickly credited it back, then they charged me for the normal fuel purchase. The credit card then company flagged the two small transactions followed by the larger transaction for fuel as a pattern for fraud and put a stop on my card. Of course it happened while I was out in the middle of nowhere with no cell service. I didn't find out about it until my card was declined at the next stop. All the transactions were legit and make sense in hindsight, but at the time I couldn't understand what was happening. Things have improved quite a bit since then with better cell coverage even in way out places and better communication (in the form of emails or text messages) when they flag something and want your approval.

The take-away here is diversify, luck favors the prepared.
 

Makingitwork6999

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I've made a solo road trip a few years back and had a related issue with a credit card. One far off gas station put a charge of 1 cent to test the card when I swiped it and then quickly credited it back, then they charged me for the normal fuel purchase. The credit card then company flagged the two small transactions followed by the larger transaction for fuel as a pattern for fraud and put a stop on my card. Of course it happened while I was out in the middle of nowhere with no cell service. I didn't find out about it until my card was declined at the next stop. All the transactions were legit and make sense in hindsight, but at the time I couldn't understand what was happening. Things have improved quite a bit since then with better cell coverage even in way out places and better communication (in the form of emails or text messages) when they flag something and want your approval.

The take-away here is diversify, luck favors the prepared.

Wow. That is my world. You nailed it. Call customer service.. they say it is suspicious... so they lock the card... then tell you... "oh... sorry. I locked it... Too late now. You will get a new one in three days". You get that one... and it is stolen before you activate it.
 

Makingitwork6999

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The issue is play on the OP can apply to credit and debit:

Understand what is the difference between a Pending Transaction and a PostedTransaction. A pending transaction is an approved debit or credit transaction that has not been fully processed yet (i.e. has not been posted). ... A posted transaction is a debit orcredit that has been fully processed.

Some vendor like car rental, hotels and gas stations ........will pend a full charge then post the actual charge.
That secures the card is good for the full amount. If they don’t pend they have a remote chance the card might bounce and they have no recourse from the card service.
Perfect example hotel using points for free room........the hotel pends $150 charge ( against the card limit)......day or two later the pending charge drops.

Pilot gas stations are infamous for pending $75.00 on every transaction at the time it swiped.
Perfectly said. In my case, the pump failed, the card declined. Then, I saw four $75 charges. After the first two, I went there and bought a drink and snack, then two more showed up. So I knew it was that gas station. But I had not been there in many days. So all the pending transactions were delayed quite a while. Then the bank support team did not know what to do.

It is important when calling not to say "Fraud". Certain key words will initiate the locking process. They will click away without telling you. Then... it is too late. Be very careful about your verbiage when calling the bank.

My bank uses the terms "pending" and "hard post" which is the same as "posted". Sometimes a bank person cannot tell if a charge will "roll off" or "roll back" or not. There is no solid lingo for this.
 

Scwood

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When I would use my credit card to buy gas with my car, I might fill up once a day at a QT or RACETRAC or VALERO when driving across country. But on my NC700, I might fill up three times a day or even four. Yes, that is a lot of riding. And I sometimes fill up in the middle of nowhere at a family owned gas station. You never know what you are gonna get. It is like a box of chocolates.

I am on a budget. And the NC700 goes and goes and goes. Sooner or later, I gotta fill up.

Here is the shock. Sometimes the gas pump won't even start. My card is declined. I ride away to the next station. I get an e-mail on my phone for a charge for $75. Then another, then another, then another. Wow. Four of them over three days.

Sometimes the charge goes through and I pump the fuel. I get an e-mail for a $1 charge, an e-mail for the gas purchase itself, and a final e-mail for $99

Holy crap! What is going on here? Usually, it is just a buck or two.

Doing some online research, the issuing bank for the credit card, i.e. CHASED, CITIBLORP, AMERICAN DEPRESSED, CRIMINAL ONE, or WELLS FARGAIN, etc... They all hold a charge for up to three days. And... then release it before it hard-posts. What you see is that the largest charges simply vanish. In a way, this assures the issuing banks get paid while processing behind the scenes catches up to reality.

We have all heard it. It takes 2 seconds for them to take the money, and three days to put it back. These charges hold something called a "Pending" state before "Hard Post" which is when you get truly dinged. Three days later... they "Roll off" and disappear.

When you are on a motorbike... this can be very noticeable and painful if you have little money in your account. Your ATM card may say you only have $4 available... then may or may not tell you your fee is $5.... and then ask you if you want to withdraw the money anyway. So you are out on your bike, you are hungry, and you now have -$1 in your account.

Long ago, MATERCARD...heh heh... Dat dare is fuh...nee.... pushed for a 2 hour hold on such cash. No such luck. Your money is gone for three days. Pretty much. For me, that is a lot of moolah. If you watch your bank every 5 minutes like I do, I get itchy and phone them up and give them hell.

Do not hesitate to call your bank. Sometimes these glitchy charges do not roll off... and guess what? You just paid $100 for that little fill up.

There is something going on in the communications network. It seems to be failing in all sorts of ways. When it does, some computers retry. It is not some guy pressing a key repeatedly. I swear it isn't. But darnit, computers are dumb!

When you call your bank, do not use the word "fraud" because you will wind up losing your card immediately. I mean, instantly, and that person on the phone will tell your your card is inactive and it is now too late to undo that. Shortly after you stop screaming... you get a dial tone. You have 3 gallons of gas and no credit card.... and you are in the middle of nowhere. Wow. Be polite. Repeat the words... "Do not lock my card... do not freeze my card".

This is entirely the bank's fault. It really is. But you need to play it smart when it happens.
Use a debit card. They don’t charge the holding charge when you do that.
 

MZ5

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The issue is play on the OP can apply to credit and debit:

Understand what is the difference between a Pending Transaction and a PostedTransaction. A pending transaction is an approved debit or credit transaction that has not been fully processed yet (i.e. has not been posted). ... A posted transaction is a debit orcredit that has been fully processed.

Yes, this is important to understand, but so is separating the lie that “the money is gone” with a credit card from what some merchants actually (and improperly) do. I think the OP doesn’t grasp several things he’s talking about, well enough to explain (or quite understand?). He’s sure trying to become a social media ‘influencer,’ though.
 

Makingitwork6999

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I was certainly confused when I first explored this years ago. So many ways it is done as described above. I had to take notes and listen to a lot of experts before I calmed down. I had to take a lot of notes to understand what lingo was synonymous.

To the uninitiated, it all seems like a gigantic broken system out to give someone a grand screwing.

At the end of the week when all this settles down... I will need to go back and look at which transactions posted and which did not. I am betting that some did not roll off as anticipated.

I have gotten accustomed to the $1 postings and the $100 ones. And now the new $75 ones. I am not so sure about the four in a row after a cancelled transaction. That is super fishy.

Everyone is welcome to comment no matter what their feelings about it all are.

I am gearing up for a rain ride. Time to soak the chain in wax.
 

showkey

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This is text from bank on the debit card transactions
Use a debit card. They don’t charge the holding charge when you do that.
No to beat this to death.......but........depending on the bank debit may not be the answer.

This the bank text on debit transactions...........

“We've authorized these transactions, but haven't processed them yet, so they may not be reflected in your available balance. When you use a debit card to pay a merchant, or you initiate a deposit, withdrawal or transfer to your account, you authorize the transaction amount.

Pending credits from a purchase return may not be reflected in your available balance. Pending transactions typically post within 1–3 business days.

Once we process a pending transaction, you'll see the posted date and amount reflected in your balance. The final dollar amount may vary from the pending transaction once we process it. This is common for merchants that put a temporary charge on your account before finalizing the amount (for example, hotels, restaurants, gas stations and car rental merchants).”

Then there’s the:

present balance
available balance
 

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mzflorida

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The merchant decides how much the hold is going to be and communicates that amount to the payment processor. Processors can place limits on the amount a merchant holds as a pre auth. It can be arbitrary, but it is usually between 1 and 4 standard deviations from the median purchase. So, if you stay at a Marriott in Small Town versus a Marriott in BigTown, the preauthorization hold will not be the same even though it is the same company because Big Town Mariott and Small Town Marriott each have unique merchant codes and set their own limits. Preauthorization holds do not occur when you use your PIN. The transaction is settled at that moment. So, when you swipe your debit card, but choose the credit option, and the merchant has a pre auth hold for 500 bucks established with the processor, then your cash available for purchases, withdrawals, etc. are reduced by 500 bucks until the transaction fully settles, sometimes days later. The banks have a "fall off" clause that you agreed to when you signed up for a debit card. It says that if the merchant fails to process the actual payment within X number of days (sometimes 24 hours where others are as long as eight days), the authorization drops off and the full amount of the hold is returned to you as available funds. Credit card pre auth fall off periods are longer than debit cards used as credit. It is a combination of factors that contribute to the hold; the account agreement you signed with the bank, the bank's policies, and the merchant's pre auth hold amount created with their processor. Retired cop, worked economic crimes for a long time, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and now run the anti-fraud program for the third largest insurer in America. You can trust this response as the essence of the current conditions. There is more to it than just what is stated above, but you get the drift. Banking is complicated, debit transactions transfer more risk to you than do credit transactions, credit transactions offer you more protections and transfer a greater amount of risk to the merchants and the banks.

EDIT: The above is for card present transactions, meaning the presumption is that the card holder is physically present at the time of the transaction with the card. Card Not Present transactions presume the opposite and have some different rules.
 
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Makingitwork6999

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This is text from bank on the debit card transactions

No to beat this to death.......but........depending on the bank debit may not be the answer.

This the bank text on debit transactions...........

“We've authorized these transactions, but haven't processed them yet, so they may not be reflected in your available balance. When you use a debit card to pay a merchant, or you initiate a deposit, withdrawal or transfer to your account, you authorize the transaction amount.

Pending credits from a purchase return may not be reflected in your available balance. Pending transactions typically post within 1–3 business days.

Once we process a pending transaction, you'll see the posted date and amount reflected in your balance. The final dollar amount may vary from the pending transaction once we process it. This is common for merchants that put a temporary charge on your account before finalizing the amount (for example, hotels, restaurants, gas stations and car rental merchants).”

Then there’s the:

present balance
available balance
I can see the app is trying to explain what is going on. Wow. I wish a gas pump would do that.
 

Makingitwork6999

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The merchant decides how much the hold is going to be and communicates that amount to the payment processor. Processors can place limits on the amount a merchant holds as a pre auth. It can be arbitrary, but it is usually between 1 and 4 standard deviations from the median purchase. So, if you stay at a Marriott in Small Town versus a Marriott in BigTown, the preauthorization hold will not be the same even though it is the same company because Big Town Mariott and Small Town Marriott each have unique merchant codes and set their own limits. Preauthorization holds do not occur when you use your PIN. The transaction is settled at that moment. So, when you swipe your debit card, but choose the credit option, and the merchant has a pre auth hold for 500 bucks established with the processor, then your cash available for purchases, withdrawals, etc. are reduced by 500 bucks until the transaction fully settles, sometimes days later. The banks have a "fall off" clause that you agreed to when you signed up for a debit card. It says that if the merchant fails to process the actual payment within X number of days (sometimes 24 hours where others are as long as eight days), the authorization drops off and the full amount of the hold is returned to you as available funds. Credit card pre auth fall off periods are longer than debit cards used as credit. It is a combination of factors that contribute to the hold; the account agreement you signed with the bank, the bank's policies, and the merchant's pre auth hold amount created with their processor. Retired cop, worked economic crimes for a long time, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and now run the anti-fraud program for the third largest insurer in America. You can trust this response as the essence of the current conditions. There is more to it than just what is stated above, but you get the drift. Banking is complicated, debit transactions transfer more risk to you than do credit transactions, credit transactions offer you more protections and transfer a greater amount of risk to the merchants and the banks.

EDIT: The above is for card present transactions, meaning the presumption is that the card holder is physically present at the time of the transaction with the card. Card Not Present transactions presume the opposite and have some different rules.
Ok. I absolutely loved that. Now, here is the rub.

For harmony in society, there has to be proper handshaking between people and devices, such as gas pumps. But in the real world, that does not happen. The people who write POS systems feel that they can become annoying if the transaction is delayed [Best Buy is the clear exception here, because it takes me 5 minutes to check out any purchase at Best Buy].

Nobody wants an annoying POS system, such as a gas pump. So I will demonstrate a proper handshake at the gas pump for you all to understand complete harmony in the modern world as I experienced it.

I pull up to the pump and insert my card and follow the prompts, and select the gasoline grade. The pump locks my card into the slot.

The pump chimes and speaks. Cha-ching! "Don't worry! I will unlock your card at the end of the transaction. "

I don't like this but I begin pumping. I finish at $5 for my bike and hang up the pump.

The pump chimes again and speaks. Cha-Ching! "Thank you for your five dollar purchase." Cha-Ching! "I am now charging you $75 more because the merchant decided to do so arbitrarily. You cannot reach this person, and they won't tell you how to contact this person under pain of death. Don't even try."

So I yell "WTF!" and try to pull my card out of the slot. It wont release. I press cancel. The pump chimes and speaks. Cha-Ching! "I am sorry, that is an invalid selection. The $75 will remain in pending until the transaction settles. This may be 3 to 5 days because of the possibility of holidays, weekends, or mortgage bond crisis because we all invest your money in the same poorly rated investment cool-aid." The card slot clicks. The card spits out into my hands and I nearly drop it.

The pump chimes and speaks again, Cha-Ching! "Your remaining balance in your checking account is reduced by $80."

I start cursing and stomping. I bang on the pump. I put my bank card away and burn rubber out of the station leaving a smoking trail of rubber 3 feet from a small pool of gasoline.

The pump chimes again Cha-Ching! "Another $75 payment has been added to your account..... Another $1 payment has been added to your account. " I am already a mile up the road.

The next person, a single mother of three with limited cash in the account, pulls up and reads this and is confused. And that person calmly presses CLEAR and inserts her card. She is worried that she has $41 in her account. She wants to pump $30.

This above scenario clearly shows human-to-machine clarity. Something we all strive for in a society where people and technology co-exist. I always think about this whenever I use the toilet in Tokyo and get the buttons confused.
 

the Ferret

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wow, that has never happened to me. If I buy $5 worth of gas (which I did this morning on my Mastercard filling up my CB). The pump says $5 and gives me a receipt for $5 and when my bill comes, it says I bought $5 worth of gas at the station in Amelia, Ohio on 6/5/21. That's it. I pay the $5 when I get the bill and the cycle (pun) continues.

Do all people in Texas have this problem or just you?
 
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