Most of the time when you're buying gas, the gas station pre-authorizes your card when you swipe it, before the final amount is determined.
Unfortunately, what they pre-authorize depends on the merchant, as they set their own amounts, and it can be anywhere between $1 and $100. At some gas stations, they won't try to pre-authorize for an amount that is more than you have in your open qube. For example, when you have $100 in your gas qube, Costco will pre-auth $60, but when you only have $40 in your open gas qube, they'll only pre-auth $40. However, not all merchants have the capability to use tiered pre-authorization amounts.
To be sure your card will always work at a gas station, here are some solutions:
- Always keep more than $100 in your gasoline qube just to be safe.
- Check out this list of gas stations that have their pre-authorization amount set to $1 and go there to buy your gas. (This list is not sponsored by Qube.)
- Go inside the gas station and ask them to put $X.XX on your pump number. This will bypass the pre-authorization, and you can spend only as much as you have in your gas qube.
- Turn your Qubeless setting ON for Debit Card Transactions and set the limit to $100. Don't open your gas qube, and let the transaction process as a qubeless transaction, then assign it to your gas qube later.
A note on Payment Processing and Gas Stations
Certain types of transactions in the payment processing world are forced, meaning when we say "Yes" to the initial authorization, we can't say "No" to the final settlement.
For example, when the gas pump "asks" for an initial authorization of $1, $40, $100, etc., and you have enough in your qube to cover their initial ask, the pre-authorization is approved. If the pre-auth "ask" from the pump was $40, and you had $45 in your gas qube, the pre-auth would be approved. If you lost track and let your pump hit $50, we can't say "No" when the transaction settles for $50, therefore, your qube would go negative by $5.
Here's another way to look at this:
- The pump says, "I want $60."
- Your gas qube has $65 in it, so the gas qube replies, "Approved."
- The pump keeps going, because it was really asking if there's AT LEAST $60 in the qube. The pump doesn't know how much money is in your gas qube. That's why it's up to you to pay attention to your gas qube and gas pump, and not go over your qube balance.
- If that same pump asked for $60 and you only had $50 in your gas qube, the pump would not keep going because the gas qube would reply, "I don't have $60, I only have $50."
Unfortunately, there are also some situations where the pump asks for money, we tell it how much they can have, then the pump ignores us and does whatever it wants anyway.
These situations are not within Qube's control, and has everything to do with the gas station itself. Qube only tells the pump "Yes" or "No" when the pump "asks" for a pre-authorization amount. Since the procedures at gas stations can vary so widely, the best idea to make sure your gas qube isn't charged over its balance is to pay attention to the pump while you're there.