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‘Put me in an unapproved overdraft’: Angry motorists hit out over new £99 Pay at Pump charge

Credit Nick Ansell/PA
Credit Nick Ansell/PA

Motorists across the north have been left “less than impressed” after having nearly £100 withdrawn from their account at the pumps.

Drivers at Asda Portlethen and Peterhead have hit out at the charge – which comes after Visa and Mastercard changed how Pay the Pump transactions are managed.

Previously, cards were pre-authorised for £1 which allowed drivers to fill up to £99, with the final amount charged and the £1 pre-authorisation removed.

But the new rules mean that pre-authorisation has changed to £99 – meaning banks may create a temporary hold of that sum while motorists fill up.

Although the system still should recalculate the spend and cancel the pre-authorised amount, customers have been caught short as a result.

One north-east mum says she unwittingly went into her overdraft – despite carefully balancing how much fuel she put in her car at the end of a five-week month.

‘We are still out of pocket’

A number of people who claim to have felt the sting to their wallets took to social media to see if it had happened to others.

One mother-of-two who filled her car up at the Asda in Portlethen claimed she has now been forced into an “unapproved overdraft”.

She told us: “My husband was due to be paid yesterday, so a five-week month after  Christmas so I just put in enough to keep me going, which was £15.

“Asda formerly authorised £99 but took £1 from your bank account, and then this stayed as pending for three or four days when the amount purchased was taken.

“On Tuesday however, my notification said £99 instead of £1.

“I thought nothing of it as Sainsbury’s authorise fee is also £99, the notification says £99, but then the amount taken is how much you’ve bought.

“However, I checked the bank account on Wednesday evening to see if my husband’s wages were in and that’s when I noticed the £99 out of my account.”

‘This took us into an unapproved overdraft’

“This took us into an unapproved overdraft to the tune of £56.

“It’s now Friday and I’ve checked the bank account and still it’s £99, so we are still out of pocket to the tune of £84. I’m less than impressed as you can imagine.”

The changes have been made at Pay at the Pumps across the country, with many supermarket brands like Sainsburys and Tesco implementing it at forecourts late last year.

Some motorists admitted seeing stickers on the pumps about the change, while the Portlethen mum insists she had not seen any.

She added: “I won’t go back to Asda for petrol now and probably won’t use pay at pump again.

“It’s not ideal when the Portlethen Asda is the only petrol station in the area.”

‘Could be the last some folks have’

Other drivers say they’ve found themselves in similar circumstances.

One Peterhead resident wrote on social media: “We went to top up diesel yesterday at the Asda pumps, we are usually only a pound then the payment comes of direct debit.

“We topped up yesterday and the machine took £99 no warning nothing.

“Think that is a disgrace as that could be the last some folks have.”

Asda has been approached for comment.

However, in an update on their website, they state: “The new rules imposed by Visa and Mastercard mean that the pre-authorisation has changed to £99 which means your bank may create a temporary hold of upto £99 while you fill up.

“On completing the transaction, the actual amount is deducted immediately from your account and the pre-authorised amount is immediately cancelled

“The solution makes it easier for you to keep control of your finances when you pay for your petrol at the pump, however if an issue does arise you should first contact the bank that issued your card.”

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