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Why Banks Deduct RM200 From Your Card When You Swipe At The Petrol Pump

Don't freak out.

Cover image via iMoney

You might've noticed that your bank deducts RM200 from your account when you use the self-service petrol pump

I remember how I freaked out when I found out my account was RM200 short, a day after filling up fuel at my usual petrol station. 

Hundreds of questions and probabilities ran through my head – identity theft and hackers stealing money from my account were just some of them. 

I promptly called up the bank. A soft-spoken customer service representative explained to me why there was a deduction and the RM200 would be released back to me soon.

The "deduction" is actually a pre-authorisation hold and it only happens whenever a cardholder pays for petrol at a self-service pump

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In an FAQ document about PIN & PAY, Public Bank states that "the self-service pump will authorise the fuel transaction before you can start pumping fuel into your vehicle. This is performed by sending a pre-authorisation amount on the payment card to us."

The pre-authorisation hold applies to both debit and credit cards. 

What is a pre-authorisation hold?

CIMB explains that the pre-authorisation sum is a temporary hold of a specific amount from the available credit limit on the payment card. It is used to verify that the card is active and has sufficient credit prior to the transaction

The pre-authorisation happens before the fuel is pumped – when the actual amount of fuel pumped is not known yet. 

In short, your bank wants to know if you have enough cash/credit to pay for your petrol.

The amount of the pre-authorisation is not a charge and no funds are debited from your card account, but the available balance on the card is temporarily reduced

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Once you have completed pumping fuel, the actual amount of the fuel dispensed will be sent to your issuing bank.

At this point, the actual amount will be debited from your card account and the pre-authorisation amount is cleared. However, it might take 3-4 days for the amount to be released back to you.

Is it possible to avoid the pre-authorisation hold?

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To avoid a pre-authorisation hold at self-service pumps, all you need to do is pay at the cashier, where the exact purchase amount will be deducted from your account. 

If you plan to use the self-service pump, the RM200 hold is unavoidable – unless you're a CIMB debit cardholder.

CIMB released a statement last year revealing that the pre-authorisation amount of RM200 for petrol transactions will be removed for CIMB debit cards at all PETRONAS stations.

Now you know! Don't freak out the next time you see missing funds in your account after pumping petrol, ok?

But of course, errors are prone to happen. If the pre-authorisation amount doesn't come back to you in a few days, do contact your issuing bank!

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