Were you attempting to pay for gasoline at the pump, but your card ended up getting stuck inside of it?
Although this is rare, don’t panic – chances are, everything will be fine.
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you step-by-step what you should do. I strongly encourage you to read through each section, as each contains important information that will help get the card out, and prevent your information from being stolen.
1. Notify Someone At The Store Immediately
First things first, if someone is available within the store you should immediately notify them, before attempting to forcefully remove the card yourself.
If this pump is prone to making cards stuck, the person working at the gas station will have the most experience removing cards without damage either to your card, or the pump itself.
Additionally, in the event that pump is damaged due to removal of the card, it would be best if it were caused by a store employee rather than yourself.
In any case, someone working at the gas station should be able to help. In the event that they are unable to get the card out, they may also close the pump, and take steps to ensure nobody else tries removing the card themselves later on.
So, it is really in everybody’s best interest to let them know straight away.
2. Gently Wiggle The Card Side To Side
If nobody is available at the store, you can still try removing the card yourself.
However, there is a ‘right way’ and a ‘wrong way’ to go about it.
To remove the card, grab both sides of the card, close to where it is entered into the pump. Do not grab it at the corners, as this makes the card more prone to break when you begin applying force to it.
Once you’ve got a good grip, then try gently wiggling it side-to-side while pulling gently outward.
Avoid sudden yanks, as this is more likely to break the card or damage the pump.
Additionally, do not bend the card, as this can cause it to break and make it even more difficult to remove from the pump.
Finally, you should avoid using any tools that you may have in your car (like pliers or a wrench) to pull the card out. This is especially true if you were unable to notify anybody in the store about what happened – the use of tools may cause you to appear like you’re tampering with their pumps. While this obviously isn’t the case, it may lead to an uncomfortable situation if you’re confronted about it later!
3. If You Can’t Get It Out, Lock Your Card And Order A Replacement
Unfortunately, it’s possible that you nor the person at the gas station will be able to get your card out right now.
While this is obviously frustrating (especially if you were planning on additional shopping), try to remain calm.
As soon as you’re able, you should immediately contact your credit card company (or bank, in the case of debit cards), and cancel the card that you used.
This will immediately freeze it and make it impossible to spend money on, which is important in case someone else manages to get the card out later.
Then, request a new card be sent out to your address.
Most major credit card companies allow you to do this online, without actually having to contact customer service. The entire process only takes a few moments.
Of course, the real issue is that it takes some time for your new card to come in the mail – which is why it’s often a good idea to have more than one available to use.
Tip: Services like Privacy.com allow you to generate new cards immediately, though they can only be used online. Apple Pay support is coming soon, however!
4. Consider Using Contactless Payment Options In The Future
Gas pumps are one of the most dangerous places to use your credit and debit cards.
Unfortunately, they are one of the most popular targets for credit card thieves. Card skimmers are placed on gas pumps that steal your debit / credit card information, which is then used to make fraudulent purchases.
So, when possible, you should consider using contactless payment options like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay.
These will store your credit card information securely on your phone, and then wirelessly pay for your purchase without ever having to pull your card out in the first place – making it impossible to steal.
And of course, since you’re never actually inserting your card into the pump, it won’t get stuck again either.
Will You Be Billed For Damages To The Pump?
One thing people often get concerned about when their card is stuck, is that they will be liable for any damages, or costs involved with removing the card.
So, is this a valid concern? Are you likely to be billed?
Thankfully, the answer is no.
After reading many reports online from people who have gotten their cards stuck, I have yet to find anyone that has been billed or charged for removal of their card.
This would be a PR disaster for the company in question, and would ultimately cost the company far more money in negative press than they’d get from you – especially since this wasn’t your fault.
However, it’s a good idea to save any dashcam footage you have of the incident just in case, and take photos / video of the situation.
Because many gas stations are franchised and owned by individuals, some of them are more corrupt than others. So, documenting everything is a good idea just in case the situation escalates further.
Again, this doesn’t seem to be likely, but it is good to do just in case.
Getting your card stuck in a gas pump is not only frustrating, but a major annoyance if you ultimately have to cancel the card.
I hope that you’ve managed to get the card out, or someone working for the gas station is helping you with it at this very moment.
I’d love to hear your story, and how this situation was handled by you. Knowing your experience will help me make this article better for everyone, as I regularly update my articles based on new information that I learn.
Thank you, and wishing you the best!
– James McAllister