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Buying gas in the U.S. with a Canadian credit card.


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For years we have had a difficult time buying gas in the U.S. and paying at the pump with our Canadian credit cards but we have found a way to make it happen.

Most Pay-at-the-pump stations in the U.S. want you to input a U.S. Zip Code consisting of five number digits. We don't have one.

We found that in many cases, we can use our Canadian Postal Code numbers and get the pump to accept it. Here's how:

Use only the three numbers in your Postal Code and add two zeros at the end. Example:

Postal Code R2M 9T5 Ignore the letters and use the numbers (2,9,5) and add two zeros to give 29500.

When the machine asks for your Zip Code punch in 29500.

It may not work in every case but it works often enough to try it before going into the station and standing in line behind the beer and chip shoppers.


CMC 008

Nanaimo, B.C.

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  • 2 months later...

During the recent Three Flags Classic ride, I travelled with a friend from the Vancouver area. When we came to a station in the USA that required the "Zip code" to verify the Credit Card, the technique mentioned worked in almost every case for me but it only worked in two or three cases for my friend.

It seems that the technique either works in almost all cases or it doesn't work in almost all cases. We concluded that there are some zip codes that work and some that don't so it is essentially the three numbers in your postal code that will determine whether it will work or not.

The only way to find if your postal code works or it doesn't is to try it in a few stations.

Both of us used "financial institution" credit cards (Visa and MasterCard). Oil company credit cards may be a little more user friendly. If you find that Visa and MasterCard type cards don't work for you, it may be worth applying for an oil company credit card and use it in stations operated by that company.

If you use another technique and it works, please add it to this post.

The alternative to "Pay at the pump" is to leave your credit card in the station office until the transaction is completed or pay cash in advance and get a refund of the difference between the amount you pay and the actual cost of the fuel. Both are very inconvenient.



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