Be Sure to Press "Clear" at the Gas Pump to Prevent Being Overcharged-Fiction!

Be Sure to Press “Clear” at the Gas Pump to Prevent Being Overcharged-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

The writer of the email says a friend found two $50 charges on her credit card from a gas station—when there should have been just one. She said it was because she did not press “clear” after finishing the transaction and an employee at the store was able to use the same pump to get gas for himself.

The Truth:


Several things to consider about this story.

1. It is not true that the “clear” button needs to be pressed to finish the transaction. We checked with the folks at PayPoint, the organization that provides all the ATM machines at Arco stations, which accept only ATM/Debit cards. They confirmed that the transaction is completed as soon as the gas is dispensed and the nozzle is returned to its place on the gas pump. There is no need to press the “clear” button.

2. We have found no evidence that the story in the eRumor is true. This could be a fictionalized account created by someone who has theorized that pressing the “clear” button at an ATM is necessary to finish a transaction. Many eRumors are fabricated from fears based on ignorance.

3. If it is true, there can be more than one explanation for the extra $50 charge including fraud by an employee at the gas station. 

4. Some transactions with debit cards for a fill up for an unknown amount will pre-approve a charge of $50 or $75 on a card.  The funds for that pre-approval plus may not be readily available until the end of the business day when all transactions are reconciled by the vendor.  

Posted 02/01/09   Updated 05/19/14