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Questionable $1 Credit Card Charges

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 6:33 PM
From NerdWallet
If you’ve been previewing your credit card statements online, you’ve might have noticed a random $1 charge among your list of purchases by now.

Some fraudsters do a trial run on victim’s credit cards, charging $1 to see whether anyone notices before they run up larger charges. But sometimes, a $1 charge is legit – at least temporarily.
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Ken TuminKen Tumin5,473 posts since
Nov 29, 2009
Rep Points: 125,800
1. Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 7:08 PM
I noticed this $1.00 charge for just a local gas station we normally use for our gas.  As you indicated, it does disappear when the final charge shows up on the bill.  I called my credit card about this months ago when I first noticed it and they did not make a big deal of it and just said it has to do with charging gas.  As long as it doesn't go beyond this, I guess it isn't a problem.
paoli2paoli21,406 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,152
2. Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 8:52 AM
A couple of years ago on my way home from a long road trip, I stopped to buy gas on the highway and was surprised to find a $75 hold on my card when I returned home.  I thought it might be fraud, since it wasn't the usual $1 hold, but the credit card company told me that it is the hold amount for many truck stop operators. 

On reflection, it makes sense due to the scale of the purchase.  Fillups for semis can be anywhere from 50 to 200 gallons per tank and many have a tank on each side,which doubles the capacity.   On a potential 400 gallon purchase, it makes sense that most operators would feel more comfortable placing a hold larger than $1.   Another difference was that the $75 hold stayed on the card for almost a week, although that wasn't a problem for me. 

For those who use a debit card at the gas pump, the hold issue can be tricky, because it ties up one's funds until the charges are settled. 

As far as holds on hotels and rental cars, many use a separate seldom-used credit card at hotel check-in and at auto-rental time even if it is not used to pay the final charges.  The holds vary by chain, but can be sizeable and they do not always clear immediately after your transaction concludes.  Someone who has been on a long trip and placing all charges on a single card may be in for an unpleasant surprise of having their card denied when they thought they had enough credit. 
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,491 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,490