It has been confirmed that some retailers are charging a £99 pre-authorisation payment for those purchasing fuel at the pump rather than inside the kiosk or station. The charge has been brought in by Visa and Mastercard in order to ensure that drivers have enough cash in their accounts or credit to cover the amount of fuel dispensed. The money doesn’t go to the retailer but is instead held by the bank prior to the correct amount being debited.
Asda started the trend last month but has been hit by a variety of complaints in relation to the charge. It hasn’t been widely picked up it would appear by the media, however those hit by the charge had publicised the fact on Facebook. The charge can take anywhere between 20 minutes or up to 3 days to return back to the customer’s bank account.
Tesco, Sainbury’s and Morrisons haven’t yet introduced the charge but it could well be that they follow suit sooner rather than later. Previously, a ‘pre-authorisation payment’ of only £1 could be actioned but this wasn’t deemed sufficient to cover the risk of bilking (making off without payment) crimes.
Our recommendation? To avoid the £99 temporary pre-authorisation charge we’d suggest paying in the kiosk/garage and by cash to be doubly sure of not being hit in the pocket for up to 3 days. Let us know if you have been affected by this issue and how much of an impact it had on you.