Debit card 'batching': how you can protect yourself and your mon - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Debit card 'batching': How you can protect yourself and your money

(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)

Sulphur's Bobby Rice learned about debit card 'hold fees' the hard way after $120 was held after a $30 gas purchase. 

"I got the other money back," said Rice. "But it was a matter that my $120 was held up those four days."

It's called debit card 'batching'. Carmen Million, Director of the Better Business Bureau in Lake Charles, says it's perfectly legal under a retailer's business rights. 

"Most people are not aware of it or don't even know to ask about it until they feel like they've been victimized," Million said. 

The hold fees are similar to the deposits made when renting a car or reserving a hotel room. It's money that's held to make sure you have the necessary funds to complete a purchase.

"You need to ask the company - if you're going to pay with a debit card- if they put a hold on your money, not only what amount they're going to put a hold on but how long that hold is going to last," advised Million. "Because it can last from a couple of days to a couple of weeks."

For Million, the concern for consumers comes from the varying hold fees. 

"If you don't realize what that amount is, it could cause an overdraft," said Million. "They think they have more money than they actually have."

Rice says now he knows and hopes other will be know too so they're not surprised like he was. He says he'll be more mindful when making his decision on how to pay for gas.

"I won't use the card readers at the pump, period," he said.

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