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

When buying gas with a debit or credit card, pre-authorization hold amounts vary by gas station. Some gas stations hold an amount based on how much gas is purchased, while others hold amounts specified by the card issuer or bank. Pre-authorization holds can be avoided 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?

Using a debit or credit card to purchase gas often prompts a pre-authorization hold on your card. A pre-authorization hold reserves funds to ensure that the gas station is paid in full. Pre-authorization hold amounts typically range from $1 to $125 and can last for one to seven business days. Gas stations have no choice but to utilize pre-authorization holds 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). But it’s unclear if hold amounts are determined by gas stations or card issuers and banks (more on this below).

While holds are generally made on both debit and credit cards, you may see a lesser hold (and sometimes no hold at all) on credit cards purchases. That’s because a line of credit can typically cover the purchase amount without affecting future spending, whereas a debit card tied to a bank account is limited to the funds in the account, according to the NACS. Pre-authorization holds can frustrate consumers who primarily use their debit cards because the hold can tie up funds and prevent users from making others 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 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.

Identifying Gas Stations That Only Hold $1

It is unclear if gas stations or card issuers and banks set hold amounts. According to the NARC, 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 reports the amount of a pre-authorization hold is based on the amount of gas pumped. With such varied policies, we were unable to compile a list of gas stations that only hold $1. Below, we’ve provided the list of gas stations we spoke with and how their hold amounts are determined.





Circle K



Kwik Fill

Phillips 66

RaceTrac / Raceway

  • Amount held: Depends on the card issuer/bank
  • Find a RaceTrac / Raceway near you




In Summary

And that’s the best we can do for formulating the list of gas stations that only hold $1. Gas pre-authorization holds can be seen when paying with a debit or credit card. The amount of the hold varies by gas station and is set by the gas station or the card issuer/bank. (A similar policy holds for gas station overdrafts. For more details, see our article answering which gas stations let you overdraft.) You can get around a pre-authorization hold by paying cash or using your PIN. Above, you’ll find the list of major gas stations we were able to contact and information on how their hold amounts are calculated. For the list of gas stations that accept credit cards (and those that don’t), see our article.

And, for information on other payment methods, see our article: Gas Stations That Accept PayPal: Shell? BP? Texaco? Phillips 66?

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