As a business (RV Park) that accepts credit cards, I fully understand why more and more gas stations and other businesses are requiring additional information for credit card purchases. In 2007 I paid $12,449.94 in credit card processing fees.
Many do not realize that all businesses who accept credit cards are billed a percentage of every purchase made on a credit card by the credit card processing company. The credit card processing company is not the company that issues the credit card; it is a totally separate entity; so complaining to the credit card company would not reach the people responsible for the charges. The percentage of a purchase that a company pays for accepting credit cards can and does vary according to how "safe" or qualified the purchase is as defined by the credit card processing company. These levels are usually defined as "qualified" , "mid-qualified" or "non-qualified" according to the amount of information that is supplied at the time of purchase, and the fees for the different qualification levels can range from 1 to 4 percent of the purchase.
Qualified means you give me your card, and I swipe it into my credit card processing machine -this affords me (the business) the lowest processing fee available, because I saw you and I know you possessed the card, and I probably have your photo.
Mid - Qualified means that I do not have your card, but I am able to supply additional information that helps verify that the user of the card or number is actually the person to whom the card is registered. This information, which we request when taking telephone deposits, consists of street address (number only), zip code, and the 3 digit security code from the back of the customer's cards. When the information is keyed into my processing machine, if the information does not match what is on record for that card, the sale is rejected. This provides me a processing fee that is 1/2 to 3/4 of a percent lower than than the non-qualified rate.
Non-qualified means I supply nothing to the credit card processor other than a credit card number, which I hand key into my processing machine via the key pad. That number could have been supplied by anyone with a stolen credit card or a receipt taken out of the trash. This costs the business that accepts such tranactions the highest processing fee, because it is the least safe transaction.
The relatively new and expanding procedure requiring extra info at gas pumps helps thwart the use of stolen credit cards at gas pumps where there are usually no witnesses to the use and results in a lower processing fee to the gas station. A credit card thief will not know the billing zip code of the real owner unless he has also stolen that additional information.
I just returned from from an extended motorhome vacation myself, and I notice that some of the major travel stops have reinstituted the once discontinued practice of charging more for credit card sale than cash sales. I would much rather enter my zip code than pay an additional 6 to 9 cents per gallon for fuel. The new zip code procedures save money and and help protect you as credit card owners.
I hope this sheds a little light. Thanks - Doug