Gas Stations That Only Hold $1? Pre-Authorization Holds Shown

Man pumping gas

When you buy gas with a debit or credit card, the gas station may place a pre-authorization hold on your card, and the amount of the hold will vary by company.

Some gas stations hold an amount based on how much gas is purchased, while others hold amounts specified by the card issuer or bank.

You can typically avoid pre-authorization holds by paying with cash or by making a PIN-based transaction.

For more information on gas stations that only hold $1, see below.

What Is Gas Station Pre-Authorization?

A pre-authorization hold reserves funds to ensure that the gas station is paid in full regardless of how much gas you pump.

Hold amounts typically range from $1 to $175 and can remain on your account for one to seven business days; most charges are released within 48 hours.[1][2]

Gas stations must hold the funds per the rules set by major card issuers. The majority of debit and credit cards are issued by Visa and Mastercard — both of which require retailers to place pre-authorization holds on gas purchases made using a credit or debit card.[1][2]

Gas stations are typically responsible for setting the amount of pre-authorization holds, while banks are responsible for how long the hold stays on the card.[3]

However, we were told by several gas station chains that the amount placed on hold is determined by the card issuer or bank.

For example, Costco states that pre-authorization amounts may be as high as $150, but the hold amount must be approved by the card issuer.[4]

Most states have laws requiring gas stations to post notices at the pumps about potential holds.

Avoiding Pre-Authorization Holds

Pre-authorization holds can frustrate consumers who primarily use their debit cards because the hold can tie up funds and prevent users from making other purchases until the funds are released.

Here are a few ways to avoid pre-authorization holds:

  • Pay with cash: Stop at an ATM on your way to the gas station and use your debit card to take out enough cash to cover your fuel purchase.
  • Make a PIN-based transaction: It is possible to avoid a hold by using your PIN when you pay with your debit card. PIN-based transactions are registered almost immediately with the bank, prompting a release on any holds.[5]

While holds are generally placed on both debit and credit cards, you may see a lesser hold (and sometimes no hold at all) on credit card purchases.

This is because a line of credit can typically cover the purchase amount without affecting future spending, whereas a debit card linked to a bank account is limited to the funds in the account.

Hold Amounts by Gas Station

With such varied policies, we were unable to create a comprehensive list of gas stations that always hold just $1.

However, we contacted individual gas stations and researched customer reports to get a typical range of holds at several of the major U.S. gas stations.

We’ve ordered the list below starting with the gas stations that are reported to hold the lowest amounts.

Chevron logo


  • Amount held: Between $1 and $100; typically less than $20
  • Find a station

7 Eleven logo


  • Amount held: $1 to $100, depending on the card issuer/bank
  • Find a station

Shell logo


  • Amount held: Typically $1 to $75, depends on the card issuer/bank
  • Find a station

bp logo


  • Amount held: $1 to $100, depending on the card issuer/bank
  • Find a station

Sunoco logo


  • Amount held: Anywhere from $1 to $100, depending on the card issuer/bank
  • Find a station

ampm logo


Arco logo


RaceTrac logo


  • Amount held: Up to $75, depending on the card issuer/bank
  • Find a station

Raceway logo


  • Amount held: Up to $75, depending on the card issuer/bank
  • Find a station

ExxonMobil logo


  • Amount held: Between $50 and $100, depending on the card issuer/bank
  • Find a station

Phillips 66 logo

Phillips 66

  • Amount held: Up to $100, depending on the card issuer/bank
  • Find a station

Costco logo


  • Amount held: Up to $100, depending on the card issuer/bank
  • Find a station

Sam's Club logo

Sam’s Club

Circle K logo

Circle K

Conoco logo


Kwik Fill logo

Kwik Fill

Valero logo


A similar policy holds for gas station overdrafts. For more details, see our article explaining which gas stations let you overdraft.

We also list the gas stations that accept credit cards (and those that don’t).

And, for information on other payment methods, see our article about gas stations that accept PayPal.

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