Gas Stations That Only Hold $1: Chevron? Shell? Valero? etc

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 $125 and can remain on your account for one to seven business days; most charges are released within 48 hours. 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 credit or debit cards, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

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.

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, according to the NACS.

Gas Stations That Only Hold $1

According to the NACS, gas stations are responsible for setting the amount of pre-authorization holds, while banks are responsible for how long the hold stays on the card. 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 on its website that pre-authorization amounts may be as high as $100, but the hold amount must be approved by the card issuer. Costco also states that it is the card issuer’s responsibility to remove the hold once the transaction is complete. Other retailers like Sam’s Club report that the amount of a pre-authorization hold is based on the amount of gas pumped. Most states have laws requiring gas stations to post notices at the pumps about potential holds.

With such varied policies, we were unable to create a comprehensive list of all 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

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

7-Eleven

Shell

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

BP

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

Sunoco

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

ampm

ARCO

RaceTrac / Raceway

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

ExxonMobil

Phillips 66

Costco

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

Sam’s Club

Circle K

Conoco

Kwik Fill

Valero

In Summary

When you pay for gas with a debit or credit card, you may see a temporary hold placed on your account. This hold can be anywhere from $1 to $125 or more, depending on the gas station and your card issuer or bank. Gas stations like Chevron, 7-Eleven, Shell, and BP are known to place holds as low as $1, while stations like ExxonMobil and Sam’s Club typically hold at least $50 to $75. The hold should not stay on your card for more than a few days, but if the hold is placed on your debit card, you will not be able to use the funds until they are released. Most states require gas stations to post notices about such holds at the pumps, and you can usually get around a pre-authorization hold by paying cash or using your PIN.

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.