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Author Topic: Least favorite road trip you have been on?  (Read 9326 times)

webny99

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #100 on: November 13, 2018, 08:08:04 PM »

For those who report not having had any issues using a debit card at the gas pump:  Have you ever tried using your debit card just shortly after having spent almost all your money on gas with it?  Say, for example, you have $120 in your bank account, spend $45 in gas, and then try to spend another $30 shortly after that at the grocery store.  Because, unless you've dropped your card balance low enough to actually make this come into play, then of course you won't have an issue.

I know that I've been authorized for $125 at Safeway when I've had less than that on my account. But that was a very unusual circumstance and I don't usually get that low. I've checked my bank statement within a few minutes after filling up and I don't see anything besides what I paid. Maybe my bank is just quicker.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure my balance has never gotten low enough for an authorization fee to come into play. Of course, that may change if/when I have dependents and/or start incurring household expenses.  :-P

Fundamentally, however, I vastly prefer debit to credit. As such, I don't plan on switching to credit or pre-paying, at least for the foreseeable future. Debit just isn't that risky for me personally.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #101 on: November 13, 2018, 10:58:48 PM »

Yeah, I'm with jakeroot. I use my debit card all the time - almost always - and have never had any problems.

I've never had any problem using my debit card at a gas pump. I mainly try to frequent the gas stations like Speedway, Kroger, Meijer. Kroger has a fuel center at about 80% of their Michigan locations and I never have had a problem with them.

Fundamentally, however, I vastly prefer debit to credit. As such, I don't plan on switching to credit or pre-paying, at least for the foreseeable future. Debit just isn't that risky for me personally.

I'd turn the question around:  why use a debit card at all?  You don't get Fair Credit Billing Act fraud protections and don't build a credit history.  There are just three situations where it makes sense to use debit rather than credit--avoiding credit-card transaction fees, dealing with small merchants, and managing credit-card debt.

It's been years since I carried a debit card and I don't actually have one on any current account.  I use a credit card for the float only, feeling the higher rates I pay at some merchants with differential cash/credit rates is more or less counterbalanced by the increased convenience of not having to worry about whether a debit card will be accepted.
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jakeroot

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #102 on: November 14, 2018, 01:24:10 AM »

I'd turn the question around:  why use a debit card at all?  You don't get Fair Credit Billing Act fraud protections and don't build a credit history.  There are just three situations where it makes sense to use debit rather than credit--avoiding credit-card transaction fees, dealing with small merchants, and managing credit-card debt.

I have several month-to-month debt payments already: my car, my car insurance, and my phone. You could say my reasoning is #3...I have no reason to bring on additional debt, as I have enough as it is to build credit (obviously important at my age). My parents gave me two credit cards starting at 15 ("authorized user"). As they were very responsible debt-payers, my credit was already good enough at 19 to buy a car. It has only improved since then.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 01:28:02 AM by jakeroot »
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J N Winkler

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #103 on: November 14, 2018, 12:20:10 PM »

I have several month-to-month debt payments already: my car, my car insurance, and my phone. You could say my reasoning is #3...I have no reason to bring on additional debt, as I have enough as it is to build credit (obviously important at my age). My parents gave me two credit cards starting at 15 ("authorized user"). As they were very responsible debt-payers, my credit was already good enough at 19 to buy a car. It has only improved since then.

But by using a debit card you are sacrificing fraud protection and dispute resolution benefits; I would feel very exposed in that situation.
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vdeane

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #104 on: November 14, 2018, 12:47:01 PM »

I have several month-to-month debt payments already: my car, my car insurance, and my phone. You could say my reasoning is #3...I have no reason to bring on additional debt, as I have enough as it is to build credit (obviously important at my age). My parents gave me two credit cards starting at 15 ("authorized user"). As they were very responsible debt-payers, my credit was already good enough at 19 to buy a car. It has only improved since then.

But by using a debit card you are sacrificing fraud protection and dispute resolution benefits; I would feel very exposed in that situation.
Same.  Especially since paying by credit card isn't really extra debt as long as you don't spend more than you would have if you didn't have the card and pay in full during the grace period before interest is applied.  If one used a debit card somewhere and then the store was hit with something like the Target data breach, they could easily lose all their money in the bank... if not permanently, certainly long enough to cause problems.
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kphoger

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #105 on: November 14, 2018, 01:43:32 PM »

why use a debit card at all? 

Because, with a debit card, you can only spend money you actually have.
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jemacedo9

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #106 on: November 14, 2018, 02:24:33 PM »

I have several month-to-month debt payments already: my car, my car insurance, and my phone. You could say my reasoning is #3...I have no reason to bring on additional debt, as I have enough as it is to build credit (obviously important at my age). My parents gave me two credit cards starting at 15 ("authorized user"). As they were very responsible debt-payers, my credit was already good enough at 19 to buy a car. It has only improved since then.

But by using a debit card you are sacrificing fraud protection and dispute resolution benefits; I would feel very exposed in that situation.

It's this reason why I've just recently started to switch to using a credit cards at gas stations instead of a debit card, especially with the increase of skimming devices. The trick, of course, is to only use the credit card where you know you can pay off the amount of your purchases every month.
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kphoger

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #107 on: November 14, 2018, 02:30:52 PM »

I'll say it again:

The pump always asks me if my card is debit or credit.  I always just hit the button for credit.

Even though my card is not actually a credit card, it has a Visa logo and can be run either as debit or as credit.  For in-store purchases, I choose the debit option because this is generally advantageous to the store's bottom line.  For gasoline, however, I always choose the credit option in order to avoid being over-authorized.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #108 on: November 14, 2018, 02:52:04 PM »

Even though my card is not actually a credit card, it has a Visa logo and can be run either as debit or as credit.  For in-store purchases, I choose the debit option because this is generally advantageous to the store's bottom line.  For gasoline, however, I always choose the credit option in order to avoid being over-authorized.

As others have noted, the standard personal-finance advice is to use a credit card for the float only, i.e., to pay the balance off in full every month.  Another common element of personal-finance advice is to navigate to a situation where the current month's bills (including any for credit cards) are paid with money earned the previous month or earlier.

If a person is banked but cannot get a credit card, or has had to cut up his or her credit cards as part of a strategy for eventually paying off an outstanding credit card balance, that is one thing.  But using a debit card for general purchases opens the door to fraud losses (debit cards have no loss ceiling and no dispute rights) or to one's account being drained by someone else who has gotten the number through a skimmer or by unauthorized copying during unobserved swiping.
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kphoger

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #109 on: November 14, 2018, 02:59:10 PM »

Even though my card is not actually a credit card, it has a Visa logo and can be run either as debit or as credit.  For in-store purchases, I choose the debit option because this is generally advantageous to the store's bottom line.  For gasoline, however, I always choose the credit option in order to avoid being over-authorized.

As others have noted, the standard personal-finance advice is to use a credit card for the float only, i.e., to pay the balance off in full every month.  Another common element of personal-finance advice is to navigate to a situation where the current month's bills (including any for credit cards) are paid with money earned the previous month or earlier.

If a person is banked but cannot get a credit card, or has had to cut up his or her credit cards as part of a strategy for eventually paying off an outstanding credit card balance, that is one thing.  But using a debit card for general purchases opens the door to fraud losses (debit cards have no loss ceiling and no dispute rights) or to one's account being drained by someone else who has gotten the number through a skimmer or by unauthorized copying during unobserved swiping.

That's all well and good.  But not having a credit card prohibits a person from spending money he doesn't actually have.  The ability to potentially overspend one's means too often leads to actually overspending one's means.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #110 on: November 14, 2018, 03:55:58 PM »

That's all well and good.  But not having a credit card prohibits a person from spending money he doesn't actually have.  The ability to potentially overspend one's means too often leads to actually overspending one's means.

By US banking norms, yes, that is generally the case.  But in other countries, e.g. the UK, the debit card actually gives access to an overdraft that is effectively a revolving line of credit.

There is no escaping the problem of self-control.  When it is an issue, I prefer cash rather than a debit card, because in more than 20 years of my own banking and observing family members' banking, I have found that compromise of card data has occurred much more frequently than pilferage of paper money.  And signals don't come clearer than opening your wallet and watching the moths fly out.
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kphoger

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #111 on: November 14, 2018, 04:21:26 PM »

That's all well and good.  But not having a credit card prohibits a person from spending money he doesn't actually have.  The ability to potentially overspend one's means too often leads to actually overspending one's means.

By US banking norms, yes, that is generally the case.  But in other countries, e.g. the UK, the debit card actually gives access to an overdraft that is effectively a revolving line of credit.

There is no escaping the problem of self-control.  When it is an issue, I prefer cash rather than a debit card, because in more than 20 years of my own banking and observing family members' banking, I have found that compromise of card data has occurred much more frequently than pilferage of paper money.  And signals don't come clearer than opening your wallet and watching the moths fly out.

I once came very close to being mugged.  Having just cashed out my bank account because I was preparing for my wedding and was literally in the process of moving, I had about $3000 in cash on me at the time.

When travelling, I feel quite uncomfortable with a large amount of cash on hand for the trip and prefer to limit the potential bounty a thief could enjoy.  For day-to-day life, though, I agree that cash is good.

As for self-control:  limiting one's own spending options by refusing to have a credit card is a form of self-control.
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inkyatari

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #112 on: November 14, 2018, 04:39:27 PM »


I'd turn the question around:  why use a debit card at all? 

Because my credit rating is so low that I can't get a credit card.
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webny99

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #113 on: November 14, 2018, 09:41:07 PM »

I'd turn the question around:  why use a debit card at all?  You don't get Fair Credit Billing Act fraud protections and don't build a credit history.  There are just three situations where it makes sense to use debit rather than credit--avoiding credit-card transaction fees, dealing with small merchants, and managing credit-card debt.

In my case, it is a combination of all three, but particularly the last one, with the caveat that I really don't want any credit card debt. It is not that I fear overspending, so much as just not wanting the liability and additional follow-up required. I much prefer to settle transactions at the time as opposed to them following me around.

Regarding cash, I do agree with you; I prefer it to debit in most circumstances as well. Gas, specifically, is an obvious exception, as it is a major inconvenience to have to go inside to settle the transaction.

As for self-control:  limiting one's own spending options by refusing to have a credit card is a form of self-control.

Agree wholeheartedly.
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Rothman

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #114 on: November 14, 2018, 10:46:40 PM »

Love my credit card.  Pay it off every month and use the points from its hotel loyalty program to facilitate my own travel.  Have an Excel workbook for budgeting.

Can see how some people would feel the need to not have one to get their finances under control, though.
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kphoger

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #115 on: November 15, 2018, 10:07:29 AM »

Gas, specifically, is an obvious exception, as it is a major inconvenience to have to go inside to settle the transaction.

It's especially a nuisance to me because I don't put whole-dollar amounts of gas in my car.  Rather, I fill it up until the nozzle clicks off.  I don't even top it off after the click.  This is my S.O.P. because I log my fuel economy by the tankful, and it's simplest way of accomplishing a somewhat steady baseline.  This means that, if paying with cash, I have to do the following steps:

(1) Estimate how much my tank of gas will cost.
(2) Go inside, stand in line, and pre-pay knowingly more than that amount.
(3) Go outside to the car again, fill 'er up.
(4) Go inside again, stand in line again, get my change and receipt.
(5) Go outside to the car again, again.

Whereas, if paying with plastic, I have a lot fewer steps:

(1) Put the card in the pump, navigate a bunch of button-pushing stupidity.
(2) Fill 'er up.
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webny99

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #116 on: November 15, 2018, 12:48:42 PM »

Gas, specifically, is an obvious exception, as it is a major inconvenience to have to go inside to settle the transaction.
It's especially a nuisance to me because I don't put whole-dollar amounts of gas in my car.  Rather, I fill it up until the nozzle clicks off.  I don't even top it off after the click.  This is my S.O.P. because I log my fuel economy by the tankful, and it's simplest way of accomplishing a somewhat steady baseline.

I, on the other hand, like to do full-dollar amounts of gas, and therefore tend to top off. I have seen some gas stations - Costco, I think, and maybe others - with a sign explicitly telling you NOT to top off (whoops...).
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kphoger

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #117 on: November 15, 2018, 01:07:39 PM »

I have seen some gas stations - Costco, I think, and maybe others - with a sign explicitly telling you NOT to top off (whoops...).

Probably just to save them some Oil-Dri.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #118 on: November 15, 2018, 01:57:46 PM »

We could have a whole thread dedicated to arguments for and against various protocols for topping off.  The arguments against topping off:

*  It can lead to the charcoal canister ingesting liquid fuel through the evaporative emissions system, which permanently damages it.  Especially in newer vehicles, charcoal canister replacement is an expensive and technically complex operation.

*  Newer gas pumps are designed to backswallow fuel that won't fit in the tank.  Since the components responsible are downstream of the fuel meter, this leads to the customer paying for fuel that has not in fact been dispensed into his or her tank.

The arguments for topping off:

*  Owing to foaming in the tank, backpressure can develop that trips the shutoff before the tank is actually full.

*  Owing to unhandy geometry of the filler neck or other limitations in the design of the fuel tank, the shutoff can trip even when the tank is almost empty.

Personally, I don't want to risk damage to my evaporative emissions control system, but on the other hand, I don't want to close a dispensing operation until I am satisfied that the tank really is full, because I also track gas mileage on a per-tank basis and rely on filling to a consistent level to obtain figures I can trust.  Although none of my current vehicles has this particular problem, I used to have a 1986 Nissan Maxima that was capable of tripping pump shutoff when just two gallons had been pumped into a nearly-empty tank with nominal capacity of 15.5 gallons.

So, here is my fillup protocol:

*  Pump handle locked open (using a hold-open detent) for bulk fill at the slowest available setting until first shutoff.

*  Hand feeding of additional fuel (at a variable but generally slow rate) until second shutoff.

*  Further hand feeding of fuel until third and final shutoff.

If the feeding time to third shutoff is shorter than the feeding time to second shutoff and the amount of fuel dispensed between first and third shutoff is about 0.25 gallon, I conclude the tank is full and close the dispensing operation.  Since I typically pump more than 10 gallons to first shutoff, my maximum potential loss due to fuel reflux is 2.5%.  Since fuel tanks are designed with voids equal to 20%-25% of their total volume when full in order to accommodate expansion of the fuel, an extra 0.25 gallons in a tank designed to hold more than 10 gallons (my Saturn holds 12.5 gallons while the Toyota holds 17.5 gallons) will not put me at noticeably greater risk of flooding my evaporative emissions control system.  A slowest-as-possible dispensing rate for the bulk fill also minimizes the risk of premature pump shutoff.
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kphoger

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #119 on: November 15, 2018, 02:09:59 PM »

*  Owing to foaming in the tank, backpressure can develop that trips the shutoff before the tank is actually full.

*  Owing to unhandy geometry of the filler neck or other limitations in the design of the fuel tank, the shutoff can trip even when the tank is almost empty.

In my experience, it's pretty easy to tell if this is happening long before the tank is anywhere close to full.  Unhandy geometry tends to make the nozzle click off almost right away, which is a dead giveaway.  Foaming is only an issue for pumps that dispense very fast, which should be apparent by just watching the readout as you pump.  I treat these as special scenarios and don't bother worrying about them in my normal routine.

*  Pump handle locked open (using a hold-open detent) for bulk fill at the slowest available setting until first shutoff.

A slowest-as-possible dispensing rate for the bulk fill also minimizes the risk of premature pump shutoff.

Slow filling is indeed useful, but I only employ it in two situations:
 1.  Filling a small canister for the lawn mower
 2.  The unhandy geometry or fast-fill foaming mentioned above.

Other than that, I don't want to wait any longer than I have to.  Part of that is because I don't often use the handle lock, instead keeping the lever depressed with my hand.  There have been enough times that I've seen a gas station island covered in gasoline because the shutoff didn't work, that I generally choose not to trust them.  I only use it when I need to wash the windshield and I'm confident I have enough time to finish the washing job and return to the handle before the pump shuts off.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Least favorite road trip you have been on?
« Reply #120 on: November 15, 2018, 02:21:39 PM »

I have had my own experiences with shutoff failures, though I have managed to escape lasting paint damage from them.  I find they are more likely at high-flow settings, which is another reason I choose the slowest dispensing rate available.  I do continue to use the detents because they allow me to position myself where I can watch the pump nozzle without inhaling any of the fuel vapor.

If I can smell gas while the pump is running, I don't care what the EPA says--the vapor recovery is not good enough.  My understanding is that while the CARB continues to require vapor recovery collars in California, the EPA has declined to pursue a similar requirement for the US as a whole in the expectation that onboard evaporative emissions control systems will pick up the slack.  They do that very well now (to the extent that a pinhole air leak in the gas cap is enough to set a DTC), but not while gas is being pumped, and of course the evaporative emissions system in my daily driver is designed to the very loose regulatory parameters applying a quarter-century ago.
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