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Supermarkets will introduce a new “hold charge” when people fill up their vehicles at petrol stations and pay at the pump. This is to ensure customers have the funds to make the purchase.
Retailers will temporarily charge a customer’s debit or credit card up to £100, then, after taking payment for fuel purchased, release any unspent funds, reports Wales Online.
The new payment scheme, which has been trialled at dozens of petrol stations over the last few months, is set to be rolled out to every petrol station in the UK as payment companies Mastercard and Visa have updated their policies.
Visa said it had decided to bring in the change to help people “keep an eye on [their] finances]” and Mastercard appears to have followed suit.
A statement on the Visa website explains: “The way you pay for fuel at self-service pumps is changing, making it easier to keep an eye on your finances.
“Working with retailers and our payments partners, we are improving the experience at petrol forecourts across the UK.
“Our innovative payments solution means you can make a quick pit stop to fill up your vehicle without entering the shop and keep control of your budget at the same time.
“In the past, when you used a self-service pump to buy fuel, the exact cost would only show up against your account balance one or two days after you filled up.
“This could make it hard to track your daily spend.
“Soon, the way you pay for fuel at self-service pumps will change.
“When you insert or tap your card at a self-service pump, your bank will temporarily reserve an amount from your available balance while you fill up.
“This could be up to £100. But not to worry, once you’ve finished filling up, this will be updated to your bank and you’ll only be charged for the amount you’ve spent.”
The information comes after hundreds of people took to social media to express their concerns that supermarkets were set to introduce new fees for people buying petrol.
Some said they feared not being able to buy any fuel, if they didn’t have £100 in their account for a “hold charge”.
But Visa has confirmed this is not the case.
The financial company explained people would still be able to fill up, providing they had enough funds in their account for the amount of fuel they were buying.
Mastercard shared a five-step process for paying for petrol at pay-at-the-pump locations.
Explaining how Mastercard customers would be affected, a statement reads: “The way you pay for your fuel at an automated fuel pump in the UK is changing.
“Your card issuer/bank will temporarily reserve up to £99 of your available balance while you fill up.
“Then, when you have completed fuelling, you’ll be charged for the correct amount of fuel you have used and the remainder of any reserved funds will be released back to your available balance.”
Asked when the process would be rolled out to all UK petrol stations, a spokesperson for Visa said: “The new pay at pump process is already live at many petrol stations and has been for some time – in fact, the service has been available across Europe for more than five years.
“In the UK, it is already used by many independent petrol stations and rollout is being completed across the major supermarkets.
“Previously, basic bank account users were often not able to pay at an automated fuel pump.
“Pay at pump has been enabled to all cardholders, meaning more drivers can access a more convenient way to pay for fuel and benefit from the new system.
“When you insert or tap your card at a self-service pump, your bank will now temporarily reserve an amount from your available balance while you fill up.
“This could be up to £100 (a standard tank of petrol). Once you’ve finished filling up, this will be updated, and you’ll only be charged for the amount of petrol you bought.
“The funds check will never be taken from your account.
“If your account balance is below £100, for example, £20, this would be communicated back to the fuel pump by your bank enabling that amount of fuel to be dispensed.
“This means the pump will automatically cut out once you have reached the approved amount (or before if you choose to dispense less).
“This is called ‘partial authorisation’ and ensures you can get the fuel you need.
“This should happen almost instantly but occasionally it may take a little longer. Please contact your bank if this is not the case.”
Which petrol stations are affected?
All UK petrol stations are set to be affected by this new rule.
The exact date the change will come into affect has not been confirmed, but it’s understood customers paying by Visa or Mastercard at any UK petrol station will see a “hold charge”.
As the change has been introduced by Visa and Mastercard, people are advised to speak with their card provider or bank if they have any questions or concerns.
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