you have no idea what you risk

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With self-service, we are all used to filling up with ATMs: however, there is some risk, here’s what you need to pay attention to

Gasoline, don't fill up with the ATM
Gasoline, don’t fill up with the debit

With the spread of columns self service the habit of all Italians is to use a credit or debit card to refuel. This is the easiest and fastest way and allows us to put in the amount of fuel we need without using cash.

However, the functioning of the self-service columns can sometimes be detrimental to your own ATM: in order to authorize replenishment, a maximum disbursement sum is blocked on the card in order to avoid speculation. The problem is that some columns, if malfunctioning, can block that sum for days even if you haven’t “consumed” it in full.

How does self-service refueling work and why is money stuck in the ATM?

If you have immediate notifications on your mobile phone from your bank you will notice that immediately after entering the PIN code of your ATM card and obtaining the authorization to proceed with the replenishment you will be signaled a “payment” of 99 or 101 eurosdepending on the distributor.

Self-service ATM
ATM at self service –

The aim is to make sure that there is enough money on the card linked to the account to pay: a kind of “deposit” which therefore allows you to make petrol. Once the operation has been completed, you will receive a second notification which instead concerns the amount you have actually spent: the previous sum is “unblocked” and the charge will only concern the fuel you have regularly purchased.

Generally, this happens for all charging stations but it can happen that you come across a slightly crafty filling station that has not adapted to the latest regulations in this regard. So they are wasted reports of people who have found the amount of the pre-authorisation, of 99 or 101 euros, blocked for days.

We’re talking about a big problem because you don’t notice it right away, but if after a few days you carry out a check and you notice the debit is still active, it’s certainly not a great surprise. What to do in these cases?

First of all it’s fine contact your bank for clarification, but probably the only answer you will get is to be patient and wait for the sum to be “released” and credited back to your account in the 5-7 days following refuelling.

Self-service refueling
Self-service refueling –

Second you can try to contact the gas station where you refueled, but it will be able to do little by inviting you to ask your credit institution for clarification. In short, in the end the reality is that what seemed to us to be a clever filling station may not be entirely to blame and in these cases you should always contact your bank.

Also evaluate the possibility of changing credit institutions if the management of your cards does not convince you, especially when you refuel.