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> Gas Prices - Cash Or Credit, Opinions on Gas Stations who have different cash and credit prices
drmcleod
post Aug 23 2008, 02:53 PM
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I'm not sure if this topic has been addressed before, but here goes.

Gas Stations who charge differently for cash and credit.

The worst offenders are the ones who prominently display the cash price and hide the credit price. Normally, I boycott the stations which do this. However, when you make your way off the expressway and follow the exit to the gas station while you're pulling a big trailer, and finally maneuver into the gas station only to find out that you've been duped... It's hard to pull out and find another station. Especially when the majority of stations are doing it and the next one might be the same. Any one else feel this way?


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RLM
post Aug 23 2008, 05:52 PM
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ďAny one else feel this way?Ē
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I might if I havenít already figured out a way to win at that shell game. I usually check fuel prices online at places like Gas Buddy or the Flying J site. Having that info available usually sorts out the cash vs credit prices on the signs. It helps also for planned stops where one has a better chance of getting the lowest price without having to be a victim of signage. Not only that, but if I have an idea of what the best price is, I can recognize a bargain if I happen to pass by it.

If I pull off the highway to do a restaurant, I first usually drive a few more miles past it. Iíve found that the farther off the highway, the cheaper the fuel is.

Iíve got rebate credit cards, but sometimes itís actually worthwhile to just pay cash. I know thatís not the American way, but itís one less hassle I have to deal with. In the end itís all the sameÖ.money out of my pocket.
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DXSMac
post Aug 23 2008, 06:51 PM
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ARCO is the one that does that the worst in the West. I try to get my gas at Costco if there is one, or Fred Meyer or Safeway (loyalty cards with gas discounts). I don't go to the "no name" ones.

JJ


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John Blue
post Aug 23 2008, 07:15 PM
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We use the Flying-J for diesel and gas. Download prices off web site. Cards are same prices as cash plus use Flying-J card to turn pump on plus 1 cent discount. Works for me. We have a large tank and can pick what state we can find best prices in. TA has the same plan.


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Kirk
post Aug 23 2008, 07:44 PM
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There is a cost to accept credit cards so there is validity to a lower cash price but, it is only fair if you clearly post that information for everyone. I have used such stations, but since I usually pay by card, I don't do so today. To charge less for cash, and not make customers aware of it is of questionable ethics.

To publicly advertise the fact that you sell to cash customers for less should be acceptable since the credit card services charge from 3 - 5% per transaction to the merchant. On $3/gallon gasoline that is 9 - 15 cents/gallon. It would be more fair to a cash customer if you had at least a 10 cent saving.

On the ARCO stations, when we were in California last fall, they charged the same for both credit cards and for cash, but the credit card user was charged a 45 cent fee for each credit card transaction. If you buy $10 in fuel that is pretty steep, but if you buy $50 or more, it becomes quite reasonable. My only issue with the process was that there was nothing posted where it could be read to let you know about that fee, until you were actually at the pump. It was posted on the pump. I only used ARCO in southern CA so I don't know about other places but all of the stations that I was in were that way.


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drmcleod
post Aug 23 2008, 08:29 PM
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QUOTE(Kirk @ Aug 23 2008, 09:44 PM) *

There is a cost to accept credit cards so there is validity to a lower cash price but, it is only fair if you clearly post that information for everyone. I have used such stations, but since I usually pay by card, I don't do so today. To charge less for cash, and not make customers aware of it is of questionable ethics.


I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. There is no validity to a different charge for credit. Could you imagine going to McDonald's and when you're told what your total is and you pull out your credit card the register worker says "oh, I'm sorry, you're paying with a credit card so your Big Mac and Fries will be cost more"? Or what about checking out of a Wal-Mart? When you pull your plastic out your total goes up?! Ever eat at a restaurant and have the hosted tell you that your food will cost you more if you pay by card?! Not!

Every business who accepts credit does so to offer another payment option for their patrons. More payment options = more patrons. Charge more for credit? Less patrons (hopefully).

Not only is it unacceptable, it is illegal. I live in Michigan and the Attorney General here is cracking down on stations who use this illegal "bait and switch" tactic.


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Glenn Norton
post Aug 23 2008, 09:32 PM
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What I do not like about Arco stations in California is that a lot of their stations will not accept credit cards only debit and cash. Then when you use the debit you have to tell them what amount and you pay first. It is sure hard to fill up the tank that way I can tell you.
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BBear
post Aug 24 2008, 12:26 AM
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I only pay cash for gas, so I never really took notice if paying with credit is more or not.
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pianotuna
post Aug 24 2008, 09:24 AM
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Hi all,

In Canada the FlyingJ discount seems to vary from station to station. The only one in Regina offers 2 cents off per liter (About 7 cents per US gallon) when using their card. By the way most FlyingJ's in Canada are branded Shell.

I am hoping to do some short trips in September and October before the really cold weather comes. I'll probably winterize the RV 3 or 4 times this year. The worst part of travel in winter is having to remove all the canned goods after each trip.


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Lindsay Richards
post Aug 24 2008, 05:32 PM
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QUOTE
Every business who accepts credit does so to offer another payment option for their patrons. More payment options = more patrons. Charge more for credit? Less patrons (hopefully).


It cost money to process credit cards and if you use one, you must accept that you have to pay for the service. My understanding is that the major credit card companies charge about 2% to the major station operators and I don't mind paying for the service. The station is making the same on each puchase, the customer is just paying for the service charge of the credit card company. We sometimes do cash or Wal-Mart 3 cents off, but mainly don't like to carry that much cash around. My experience is that the difference is about 6 cent. I understand why I pay it, I just don't like that it is not advertised to the consumer. I have read that some states have required that both prices be displayed on the sign. In the Michigan example, I would expect that many stations would just charge everybody the higher credit card price. Not a good move for the consumer by the state government.


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kcmoedoe
post Aug 25 2008, 03:24 PM
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I'm 100% with Lindsay on this one. If the government takes away the option to give a cash discount, everyone will be paying the higher credit price. And yes, credit card fees are 1 - 3% of the transaction amount. (depends on type of card, whether it is from out of the country, whether it a signature transaction or an electronic transaction only such as pay at the pump) This means on every gallon of fuel you buy, a credit card processing company somewhere makes a dime!
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drmcleod
post Aug 25 2008, 04:04 PM
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QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ Aug 24 2008, 07:32 PM) *

It cost money to process credit cards and if you use one, you must accept that you have to pay for the service. My understanding is that the major credit card companies charge about 2% to the major station operators and I don't mind paying for the service. The station is making the same on each puchase, the customer is just paying for the service charge of the credit card company.


Do you really believe this?!

We should pay for the business' extra cost of the using credit card terminal?!

Don't we pay the credit card company enough for the privilege of having a piece of their plastic in our pocket?! Isn't the extra 6%-26% finance charge enough? We should pay for the gas stations extra expense in processing too?

I'm sorry, but the any percentage I pay on a credit card is high enough without adding an extra 2% on the processing end.

Listen, I am a business owner. I accept credit cards. I realize that in order to do so, I'm going to have to pay a percentage to the processing company. I accept this because I know that it gives my customers an additional payment option. It makes good business sense to do so. I don't have to accept credit cards, but I choose to. Therefore, I also choose to pay the fees. If I ever charged more for credit purchases than cash, I would loose customers instead of gaining them. I just wonder why people accept this lunacy from gas stations.

I'll repeat myself. Would you pay more for at Wal-Mart for your purchase if you used a credit card instead of cash (or would you go to K-Mart instead)? Would you pay more for your Cracker Barrel bill if you had to used credit (or would you go to Bob Evans)?


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Kirk
post Aug 26 2008, 06:11 PM
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QUOTE(drmcleod @ Aug 25 2008, 05:04 PM) *

Do you really believe this?!

We should pay for the business' extra cost of the using credit card terminal?!

Don't we pay the credit card company enough for the privilege of having a piece of their plastic in our pocket?! Isn't the extra 6%-26% finance charge enough? We should pay for the gas stations extra expense in processing too?

Listen,.............................

I'll repeat myself. Would you pay more for at Wal-Mart for your purchase if you used a credit card instead of cash (or would you go to K-Mart instead)? Would you pay more for your Cracker Barrel bill if you had to used credit (or would you go to Bob Evans)?

To pay more, perhaps not, but for a company to give a discount for cash, which is that the marketers who do that call it, is a viable business tactic. In most cases the credit price at stations who do this will be pretty much the same as the price at stations that do not have two prices and the cash price is usually several cents per gallon less.

If this kind of pricing did not work the merchants would soon stop doing it or they would go out of business. If you don't like it, vote by taking your business somewhere else! Making angry posts on public forums does nothing to penalize the merchants. This is no different than what many other discount merchants do. The ones who are willing to pay cash to save a few dollars will do so and those who want to use a card will not.

As a fulltimer, I usually also use a card so I seldom get the cash price and I don't patronize stations that charge more than others when I use my card. But it does not offend me at all if I happen to buy from a competitive station and they give some other customer a discount for buying with cash. And I sure won't pay more to go to another station that don't give cash discounts!


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Lindsay Richards
post Aug 26 2008, 09:09 PM
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QUOTE
Do you really believe this?!


Would not have said it if I didnít

QUOTE
We should pay for the business' extra cost of the using credit card terminal?!



It is a service that we decide to use. Gasoline sales is a very low margin business. They can lose about 25 % of their margin with credit cards processing fees. I accepted credit cards in my former business, but it was a much smaller % of the margin. The Cracker Barrel and Wal-Mart analogy donít apply as the margins are much higher. Gasoline margins are very small and they must recoup their credit card fees to stay in business. They can do it in one of two ways. They can charge more for credit card purchase and give the cash purchers a break on the increased cost they are not buying or they can charge a little more to everybody based on the % of credit card purchases. I pretty much use pay at the pump especially if I have my toad which is almost always. I am nearly 60 feet long and want to get in and get out without hanging out in the aisle. When I buy gasoline, I am paying for the light bill, the employees, and all costs. When I am buying breakfast at Cracker Barrel, I am also paying for all costs. They just figure it in when setting their prices. When you pay cash at Cracker Barrel, you are paying a little towards the average of their credit card fees, you just donít get it identified separately. If I have a margin of 30 cents on a gallon of gas, I canít afford to eat 10 cents of processing fees.


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drmcleod
post Aug 27 2008, 09:31 AM
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QUOTE(Kirk @ Aug 26 2008, 08:11 PM) *

Making angry posts on public forums does nothing to penalize the merchants.


I agree with you Kirk, and if I offended you, Lindsay and/or anyone else, then I apologize profusely! My intent was not to show anger toward anyone on this forum. My discontent comes from the (I believe) unfair practices that are being used by the stations who do this. I don't think that my views are shared by all. In fact that's why I started this post. I value all opinions and I love this forum for that.

However, I do still believe that this type of bait and switch tactic is unfair especially to RVer's who are pulling long trailers and toads, etc. When we finally get our rigs into the appropriate spot to pump gas just to find that we've been duped, it is very difficult to leave and we end up paying the higher price.

Again, I apologize if my comments were misguided... can you forgive me? sad.gif


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