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Old 12-08-2010, 10:09 PM   #1
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Default Is it getting harder for "Canucks" to pay at the pump?

Hi everyone,
I tried googling this, and searched this forum, but can't find much about it.
Whenever I stop for gas, I try to use "pay at the pump" stations so I can use
my Visa or Mastercard. It's easy, I get a receipt, and it's always been our
preferred method of payment.
Something seems to have changed in the last 6 months or so. On our last 2 trips,
I started to notice more and more filling stations in the US have their pay
at the pump "enter zip code" security check for Visa and Mastercards turned
on at their pumps. Unfortunately, my cards are from Canada, and I don't
have a zip code. I found myself constantly having to go inside to get the
attendant to pre-authorize me a guesstimate amount of fuel, then if it didn't
take the amount I guessed, Id have to go back inside and get another receipt
with the proper amount on it, for our records.
Is the recession that bad that there are more pump and runs going on in the US?
Has anyone else noticed they're being challenged more at the pumps?
Anyone have a work around for this?
On several occasions, I hung up the nozzle and hose and drove to another nearby
station to try them, with varying degrees of success. It was a very frustrating
situation for the most part.
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Is it getting harder for "Canucks" to pay at the pump?

On our US west coast travels I found that more times than not, pay at the pump required a US zip code. And that is going back a couple of years now. Maybe the requirement is moving west to east across the US. I haven't been down the the US since we moved to the east coast.
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is it getting harder for "Canucks" to pay at the pump?

I've since found some hits on RVNet about it and some people suggest using the
3 numerics from your postal code and adding 2 zeros at the end and it sometimes
works. I have my doubts. The practice of moving on to to another gas station
worked more often than not. Or putting up with standing in the "slurpee" line
sometimes twice, once for the pre-auth, and again to get the accurate receipt.
The only other probable appears to be open a US bank account with a no fee debit card,
and use that at the pumps for your gas needs.
I've sent a note to Visa to see how aware of this they are and to see if they have a
reasonable work around.
We've been all over the US on our last 2 trips, doing the State Capitol thing, and
it seemed less common out west. Strange? Inconsistent? I think many stations have
control over when the zip code test is applied and even on which pumps. I think
it helps them primarily after dark as well as to weed out stolen or otherwise
invalid cards.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Is it getting harder for "Canucks" to pay at the pump?

You could move to the U. S., Mike. I'll trade addresses with you/

I, too, have found the prompt for a Zip Code showing up more and more as the price of fuel goes up and "drive offs" become more prevelant. We expect $3 US a gallon by Christmas here in the Ozarks. Pushing that price level now. Sources say $5 a gallon can be expected by next summer. It was $8 in Alaska, a friend up there wrote some time back and he has a couple of airplanes to keep topped off too.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is it getting harder for "Canucks" to pay at the pump?

We actually ran into the reverse situation a couple of times when we visited Canada (we are from the US). We would run our card at the pump, and it would say to go see the attendant, who said that it was because the card said were weren't Canadien.
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is it getting harder for "Canucks" to pay at the pump?

I got a reply back from Visa and they've sort of confirmed the postal code numerics with appended zeroes
should work. I asked a follow up as to whether/if it was published anywhere, and am waiting for a response.
We're going to try it next time we're south of the border.
I'll post up our rate of success/failure when I can.

I'm surprised the CC companies haven't come up with something to fix this, as it really is a pita
for everyone in North America. I like the increased emphasis on fraud control, but not when it
causes me grief!!
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is it getting harder for "Canucks" to pay at the pump?

Postal code with zeros didn't work for me. I push the help button and say I am from Canada. They say pump and come in to pay when you are done. Maybe because I am pulling a trailer or driving a motorhome but in most cases it works for me.
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is it getting harder for "Canucks" to pay at the pump?

Thanks Steve, I did find differing opinions on the topic at various websites.
Is your card a Visa? The Postcode+00 was a reply from a "Big 5 Bank" Visa representative.
Here's a site that suggests it works with Visa, but hasn't tested MC much to verify it.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=594871
Also, not really anyone getting back on to say yes, it definitely worked, except one guy who
said it does (Hockeygod?)

This site seems pretty comprehensive in it's suggested options. And there aren't many.
http://www.i75online.com/CreditCardWorkaround.html

UPDATE: From the same "Big 5 Bank" Visa representative, try 99999 also.
Not terribly scientific, is it?
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is it getting harder for "Canucks" to pay at the pump?

UPDATE: 2 weeks ago I tried the postal code trick when paying at the pump with my Canadian Big 5 Bank Visa
card, and it seems to work at all Pilot/Flying J truck stops now, as well as the few gas stations I tried. I boldly
experimented with random strings of 5 digits, like 54321, 12345, and 55555 which work too. I don't know
what's changed, or whether it's just the truck stops, but I'm less annoyed by pay at the pumps in the USA now.
We were all over the map, but not west of Texas, so western stations may still have problems, I don't know
yet. I'd guess they've had so many complaints they've modified their software to ignore the zip code check
for foreign cards. Might have been easier than figuring out how to blend all our postal codes with the zips.
I must also add a caveat, that I also obtained and use Pilot/Flying J loyalty cards at the pumps as well.
It may be responsible for the relaxing of the zip code cc checks for "members".

Points and credits and discounts can be obtained by using these loyalty cards when you fill up. You must
register the cards either online, or at the card kiosk machines in the truck stop store for it to work. The
Professional Driver card requires a minimum 14 gallons per purchase, and I think the RV card is probably
the same. The RV version gets the dumping fee waived at their RV islands ($10 value) among other things,
and the Pro Driver card gets shower credits, 1/2 a shower per 14 gallon fill up. This feature is the one we
use the most. We tend to tour which means we have more showers than we can use. They only stay on the
card for 5 days, so use 'em or lose 'em is the way it works, but we accumulate so many it's not a problem.
Also, according to the CSC person I corresponded with at Pilot/Flying J (they're merged) anyone can get a
Pro Driver's card, you don't have to have a CDL or an 18 wheeler. Both cards also get you discounts on food
and other stuff, if you're interested.
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