Hold on: Benefits cards can be tricky

To Peter Zwach, a St. Paul father and husband, a prepaid card for unemployment benefits sounded safe, easy and convenient. Full Story

Since: Apr 08

Osceola, WI

#1 Oct 5, 2010
This has been here before. Pay for your gas inside and you won't have this problem.
Meh

Saint Paul, MN

#2 Oct 5, 2010
I always use cash!
cashing in

Minneapolis, MN

#3 Oct 5, 2010
hey, if he's paid for it with "unemployment insurance" stolen by the state, why not get it back sometime?
upfront

Saint Paul, MN

#4 Oct 5, 2010
They (card companies) tell you right up front that there is a hold of 75 when you use the card to pay for gas. They also put a hold of 5.00 over your balance if you order pizza for delivery and pay by credit/debit card over the phone. Best thing is just to take cash out and use cash for those types of transactions.
Moni

Saint Paul, MN

#5 Oct 5, 2010
This is nothing new... I had a debit card that was a gift card YEARS ago and the same thing happened...went to get gas first, then went to spend the gift card and there wasnt enough on there to spend they said. But I do understand why it is done.

Just go inside to pay or take the cash out for these kind of things since there is no getting around it.
sunnydale7

Saint Paul, MN

#6 Oct 5, 2010
cashing in wrote:
hey, if he's paid for it with "unemployment insurance" stolen by the state, why not get it back sometime?
He's not stealing from the State. People who are on unumployment have to have previously worked to build up funds in their account.
Josef S

Minneapolis, MN

#7 Oct 5, 2010
The employee does not pay into an unemployment account where she/he can tap into when needed. It is the EMPLOYER who paid into the pool.

That said, the article does not explain the difference between swiping your card at the pump and swiping your card in the store.

From a technological perspective, there is no reason why there should be a difference. The reader at the pump is as capable of "real time" data as the reader in the store.

From a customer's perspective, there is no reason for the difference as well.

This difference (inconvenience) merely advantages the retailer.

But as the Romans once said, "caveat emptor" (let the buyer beware).

Since: Feb 10

United States

#8 Oct 5, 2010
Informative article, but much of the advice offered is utterly ridiculous. "Anytime a service asks for your card in advance — such as a hotel, gas pump, or car rental service — ask if a block or hold is going to be put on your card, how much that hold will be, and how long it will remain on your card." Not too practical if you're paying for gas directly at the pump. And if you ask the teenage clerk the recommended set of questions, do you really think he or she is likely to know the answers? Or care? I'm not picking on gas stations -- hotel and restaurants employees are also likely to be uninformed on how credit and debt card holds actually work. "If you must pay with a different card or different type of payment, remind the clerk so they can remove the hold sooner." Yep, that's going to be a high priority for the clerk at your corner gas station -- making sure the hold on your debit card gets removed in a timely manner. What fantasy world is the author of this advice living in?
Heres the difference

Big Lake, MN

#9 Oct 5, 2010
Josef S wrote:
The employee does not pay into an unemployment account where she/he can tap into when needed. It is the EMPLOYER who paid into the pool.
That said, the article does not explain the difference between swiping your card at the pump and swiping your card in the store.
From a technological perspective, there is no reason why there should be a difference. The reader at the pump is as capable of "real time" data as the reader in the store.
From a customer's perspective, there is no reason for the difference as well.
This difference (inconvenience) merely advantages the retailer.
But as the Romans once said, "caveat emptor" (let the buyer beware).
When your card is swiped at the pump, it is before the transaction is completed, so the credit company doesn't know exactly how much money you'll spend on your gas, so they put a standard amount ($75 in this case) on hold. If you pay inside with the cashier, your transaction is complete, and the credit company knows exactly how much you spent.
sunnydale7

Saint Paul, MN

#10 Oct 5, 2010
Josef S wrote:
The employee does not pay into an unemployment account where she/he can tap into when needed. It is the EMPLOYER who paid into the pool.
That said, the article does not explain the difference between swiping your card at the pump and swiping your card in the store.
From a technological perspective, there is no reason why there should be a difference. The reader at the pump is as capable of "real time" data as the reader in the store.
From a customer's perspective, there is no reason for the difference as well.
This difference (inconvenience) merely advantages the retailer.
But as the Romans once said, "caveat emptor" (let the buyer beware).
Correct - I did't clarify that it is the employer that pays into the unemploymnt but a person still has to have worked a job where the employer paid in. The State unemployment program is not the same as the County Program where people get cash benefits without working. That is what I was trying to get across to the person who commented on stealing from the State.
Josef S

Minneapolis, MN

#11 Oct 5, 2010
Thanks for the info!

Like I said, there is no technological reason why there should be any difference. The reader at the pump could just as easily transmit the transaction details at the end of the sale.
Heres the difference wrote:
<quoted text>
When your card is swiped at the pump, it is before the transaction is completed, so the credit company doesn't know exactly how much money you'll spend on your gas, so they put a standard amount ($75 in this case) on hold. If you pay inside with the cashier, your transaction is complete, and the credit company knows exactly how much you spent.

Since: Apr 09

Twin Cities

#12 Oct 5, 2010
upfront wrote:
They (card companies) tell you right up front that there is a hold of 75 when you use the card to pay for gas. They also put a hold of 5.00 over your balance if you order pizza for delivery and pay by credit/debit card over the phone. Best thing is just to take cash out and use cash for those types of transactions.
The credit card companies do not make this decision, the charging company (in this case the gas station) decides what amout to pre auth. SA and Holiday both use a $1.00 preauth and BP and some of the smaller stations pre auth for up to $75.00 as in the story. I just go to SA when I need gas on my card.
anonymous

South Saint Paul, MN

#13 Jul 31, 2013
The guy from the story is a jacka** anyways... I don't wish this on other people needing unemployment benefits, but this guy deserves everything he gets!

Since: Nov 12

Davao City, Philippines

#15 Saturday Nov 22
nice thread. thanks for sharing that information. it was very informative.
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