How To Get Gas With A Debit Card With No Money?

It might sometimes happen that you go out to fill up your car’s tank in a hurry and forget to carry cash. On top of it, you notice that your debit card’s balance is zero. What can be done in this situation? Should you skip taking gas entirely, or should you overdraft? 

Well, there are some roundabouts that you can follow to fill up your vehicle without having anything on your debit card. This article will try to explore how to get gas with a debit card with no money. So stay tuned to find out!

Over Drafting On Debit Cards

Sometimes, it is possible to pay at a gas station using a debit card that has run out of balance. This phenomenon is known as over drafting when your bank allows you to borrow money from it even if it exceeds the amount held at the bank’s account.

However, whether you can overdraft using your debit card or not relies on the contract you have signed with your bank. Usually, the policy set by the gas station does not play any role here. It entirely depends on the bank and how stringent or lax its rules are.

Some banks might charge a high fee when you overdraft using its debit card. Others might provide a cushion to protect you from this expensive charge. It would be best to find this out by asking your bank or going through the agreement you signed with it. 

Policies Of Gas Stations

After talking to different gas stations, we concluded that they do not have much say on whether or not a debit card will be accepted or declined if its balance has dried up. The payment machines usually approve the payment automatically, and it is mainly left in the bank’s hands to handle the over-drafting issue. 

Policies Set Forth By Different Banks

As we have mentioned before, the policies set in place by different banks differ from each other and might even change state to state. But some similarities and common points were found across most of the banks that we have surveyed. 

We saw that most of the highly-rated banks provided coverage on over drafting and secured the user from any unwanted danger. Usually, details regarding this are provided on their websites. But to help you understand things better, we have included the standard policies that most good banks follow:

Option 1: Automatically Disapproving Over Drafting

Depending on the agreement you have signed with your bank, it might outright reject the over-drafting attempt on certain occasions. 

Option 2: Deducting the Over Drafted Amount from Your Savings

If your bank approves the over-drafting, it sometimes deducts the over-drawn amount from your savings account to protect the user from additional charges.

Option 3: Treating It as a Credit 

Sometimes the bank might treat the overdrawn amount as a credit on your balance and add additional interest expenses with it. You may also have to bear the brunt of fees associated with the transaction.

Option 4: Letting You Avoid Fees for Minimum One Day

A few banks don’t charge additional interests or transaction fees if you have paid the credit amount back within a day of the transaction. This is done to give the user some room for protection against unwanted charges. 

Dos And Don’ts Of Over Drafting

You need to follow certain rules if you want the over-drafting transaction to go through the check post. Several banks have the provision to accept such monetary transactions if checks are used during the payment. 

Sometimes, they also allow for the approval to go through if you frequently shop or make transactions from a particular shop or gas station. And if you enter your savings account number, they might temporarily approve the overdrawn transaction. 

But before you decide to use your debit card to make an overdraft, you need to make sure that you had consented to bear the additional charges that might come with it while signing the debit card agreement. 

Otherwise the transaction might get declined. The fee falls within the range between 30 to 35 dollars for each transaction in most common cases.

Things to Keep in Mind

One issue that might pop up while making over drafting payments is the problem of getting pre-authorization holds. This hold can range from anywhere between a dollar to more than 90 dollars depending on the bank. 

If your bank applies this charge to your overdrawn transaction, then along with the gas fee, the additional hold might persist for up to 48 hours. However, there is a risk that the hold might remain on your account for a longer period of time. This will inhibit your ability to make future payments with the card while the hold persists.

So make sure to check for this provision before you decide to make an overdraft. One way to avoid this hold charge is to use the PIN associated with your card while making the payment. 

Use Debit Card Or Credit Card To Pay for Gas?

At this point of the article, you might be wondering, since over drafting might incur additional fees, should you use a credit card instead to make this purchase? The answer depends on a few factors.

It is true that banks provide superior protection against data theft and fraud against transactions made with credit cards. You might also get to earn extra points if the payment is made with a credit card. However, the downside here is that in order to avail a credit card, you need to meet certain stringent conditions.

Comparison Between The Two Modes Of Payment 

To give you a better overview of which type of card would be better to use at gas stations, specifically if your debit card’s balance is zero, let’s make some direct comparisons between the pros and cons of both sides:

Benefits of Using a Debit Card

One advantage of using a debit card at a gas station is the opportunity not to incur any additional interest fees. You will also save yourself from indulgence as you won’t have the option to spend beyond a certain limit. 

Risks of Using a Debit Card

Like there are two sides to every coin, some disadvantages are associated with over drafting using a debit card. In addition to the possibility of having to pay extra charges, you remain under the threat of data thieves. Usually, frauds lurk around places like gas stations to steal the PIN number of vulnerable users.

So when you apply your PIN to pay for the gas at a gas station, a thief might steal it using a device known as a skimmer. This puts your account at great risk, and you might even get all your money stolen.

Benefits of Using a Credit Card

It is difficult to steal your identity or PIN number as banks provide stringent security measures against credit card transactions. Therefore, you will be safer using a credit card in this case. You might also enjoy reward points upon making the gas purchase. 

This reward can come in the form of points and be availed as cash or discounts at different shopping outlets.

Risk of Using a Credit Card

Although credit cards offer a grace period of 25 to 30 days to repay the loan, you will incur a hefty interest charge the longer you take to pay it back after this period has passed. Your card might also get blocked if you take too long to pay the debt back.  

So if you are not diligent with your finances and tend to forget to keep track of such deadlines, it is definitely a better option for you to choose debit cards.


By now, you might have gotten the answer to the question of how to get gas with a debit card with no money. This article has made it fairly clear that it is very much possible to overdraft with a debit card. However, certain conditions need to be met. 

Your bank needs to approve the transaction, and your consent might be required in the agreement signed with the bank to allow such payments. 

Sometimes, an additional charge might be incurred, or the money from your savings account might be deducted. Some banks provide a certain degree of protection against such extra fees.

Lastly, you must be careful while making transactions using a debit card at a gas station since it is vulnerable to data theft. Thieves might steal your PIN using a skimmer and put you in trouble by stealing all your money. 

So if you have decided to pay for gas using a debit card with zero balance, do it with proper care, following all the guidelines and instructions mentioned here. 

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