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Paying at the pump could cost you more

Gas is expensive enough. But paying at the pump with your debit card could put your checking account at risk.

If you swipe the card at a gas station that doesn't require you to enter a personal identification number, or pin, that station may block out more cash from your account than what you paid for gas.

Dianna Preece, Professor of Finance

"The company is trying to protect itself. They don't know how much gas you're going to buy so they take out an exact amount… The problem is you could end up with account troubles, like an overdraft."

Dianna Preece is a professor of finance at the University of Louisville. She says customers don't lose the money, it's just frozen for a certain amount of time to make sure the card is active.

Each oil company has a different policy. Some block as much as $75. Others hold as little as a buck.

And the amount of time that cash is blocked could be a few days, which could affect how you use your checking account.

Preece continues

"The safest thing to do is to go inside and use your debit card and punch in the pin. Or just use cash."

Preece says it's a simple "buyer beware" so you'll know what's happening in your account.

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