Cash/debit discount on gas

We take a long trip each fall in our motor home. We are noticing more gas stations offering a discount for paying cash. However, we’re paying $150 or so per fill-up & I don’t want to carry that much cash. I rarely use a debit card but am thinking about using one tied to a separate bank account with limited funds to pay for gas. Is that still too risky? Thanks, Kathy

If you’re thinking of using the debit card to get gas, then I probably would not do that. Debit cards at gas pumps are just too risky. Do you get the discount with a debit card? Otherwise, you could just get cash from cash machines along your trip when you need to get gas, but that sounds like a big hassle. I always use my Costco Visa card to get gas and don’t go to store gas stations (eg. WalMart, etc.) to get the 4% cash back. For gas prices above $2,50, you get more back, eventually, using the Costco card than the $0.10 you usually save per gallon when using cash. If you don’t have a Costco card, then I’d probably just use my 2% cash back card. You’ll at least save that much with less hassle than using cash.

I’m curious. Why is a debit card more risky than a CC?

You don’t want to carry $150 in cash? I typically carry more than that on trips, and I’m far from being able to afford a motor home.

My PenFed card pays 5% back as long as you pay at the pump (even at Walmart).

I’m referring more to that the money comes right out of your account if someone compromises your card. Either can be stolen, but at least you’re not out any money in the short term if someone gets your CC number.

This is an ongoing debate, but my debit card requires a six digit code to use. My CC has the godawful “tap” feature so the thief could rack up thousands $$$ before I even knew it.

Worse, the bank refuses to disable the tap feature.

I agree the debit card debate rages on, I guess your mileage may vary, but my debit card can be used with the pin or as a CC. I never use the pin except at ATMs. I have alerts set on my CC for any charge >=$1 so I’m notified immediately of any questionable charges. I also have alerts on my DC but it takes hours to get notifications from my CU. So, someone could use my DC as a CC for hours before I knew it.

In general, I really just don’t use my DC any more.

Heh, and it will never end…

How is that any different than swiping the card, inserting it into the chip reader, or typing in the number online?

No different, just a faster way to rack up my CC.
What I want is the option to add a PIN to use it.
My bank refuses to offer that option.

Which begs the question: why do banks offer a PIN feature on DC’s but not CC’s?

I’ve asked my bank–they really don’t have a logical answer.

You said “before I even know it,” as though the transaction speed would be the limiting factor. It’s not, so the fact they offer tapping as one of several methods to use the card is essentially irrelevant from a security standpoint. You’re right that requiring a PIN would make it more secure, and that US banks almost uniformly refuse to do that.

My bank offers a debit card with a PIN; but of course, the card can be used without a PIN. Thus, the PIN is useless as a security feature. The bank also (reluctantly) offers a straight ATM card that can’t be used without a PIN. Guess which one I have.

Which is a confounding mystery.

No card is completely safe, but every layer of security helps.

Don’t gas stations normally put a hold on funds when a debit card is used?

You clipped off the most important part: “requiring a PIN.” If a card can be used without a PIN by simply hitting “credit” on the terminal, like every debit card I’ve ever seen, then the PIN is nothing but an annoyance to the rightful owner of the card. Sounds like yours may not allow that, which is good.

Thanks, but that did not answer my Q. My bank says they protect my DC against fraud or theft just like my CC.

So, why are DC’s more risky than CC’s?

I’m always asked for the DC PIN. BTW: I only use my DC for groceries. I like the points on my CC’s.

Getting money back is a good enough reason for me to use a CC, but I will let Clark explain why you should not use a DC. But maybe this doesn’t apply to you

They did say tied to a separate account with limited funds…