Stephanie Faris: How Gas Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score

Stephanie Faris: How Gas Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score

By Stephanie Faris, (TNS)

Gas credit cards have declined in popularity over the past decade as consumers switched to using bank-issued cards at the pump. But for the credit-challenged, gas credit cards have long been touted as a way to quickly build credit, since even those with a less-than-desirable credit history can qualify and use them to build credit.
But are gas credit cards the best option for someone in search of a better credit score? Here are several factors to consider before you fill out that application.



One of the biggest benefits to fuel cards is that they’re accessible to a wide consumer market. While standard credit cards may require a good or excellent credit score to open, a gas card provider will often issue a credit card to someone with less-than-stellar credit or no credit history at all.


Depending on the gas credit card you choose, you may be eligible for cash-back rebates on every dollar you spend at the pump. If you find yourself always fueling at the same gas station on your way to work or you have a fuel brand you prefer, this can be a huge bonus. Some of these cards require a minimum monthly purchase on gas each month to qualify for the rebate, however, so pick a gas card for a company that has a large selection of gas stations in the areas you frequently travel for best results.


When searching for a credit card, the process of applying and being rejected can take a toll on your already-low credit score. Fortunately, some credit card companies allow applicants to answer a few questions to determine if they’ll qualify before applying and incurring a hard inquiry on their credit, which can cause it to dip.


If you have a debit card, you probably already take advantage of the ability to pay at the pump. While gas cards extend this same convenience, many also offer small cards that fit on a cardholder’s key rings, allowing you to always have your payment method handy.



When choosing a gas card, be sure you compare interest rates from one franchise to another. Many gas cards come with interest rates in the 20 percent to 25 percent APR range, reports, and with bad credit limiting your options, you may be forced to pay a higher rate than you can afford. Of course, your best option to build your credit and avoid paying interest is to pay your balance off each month rather than allowing it to accrue.


Because some gas credit cards come with annual fees, it’s important to scrutinize those fees carefully before applying. By being fully informed of the credit card’s terms at the outset, you can avoid unpleasant surprises once you have the card in your wallet.


Some gas credit cards are co-branded by a major issuer like Visa and MasterCard and can be used anywhere those cards are accepted. Others are dedicated gas credit cards are issued by a fuel company and are only usable at the gas stations bearing that brand’s name. On top of finding a card with favorable terms, you will have also have the card is issued by a gas station you’ll actually use.


When your fuel cost is built into the rest of your monthly expenditures, you likely don’t even notice that expense. But with a gas credit card, you’ll get a bill at the end of the month for every gallon you’ve purchased. When you’re suddenly tasked with coming up with the funds to pay for your fuel purchases all month, you may find it’s more challenging to pay off the balance in full.

Fuel cards are an excellent option for consumers facing difficulty obtaining a general credit card. With careful selection, a customer can land a great gas card with low interest rates and rewards.

Stephanie Faris writes for (), a leading portal for personal finance news and features, offering visitors the latest information on everything from interest rates to strategies on saving money, managing a budget and getting out of debt.

(c) 2015, a ConsumerTrack web property. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Image: Thomas Kohler via Flickr


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Fox News Deceives Viewers About Its Own Reporter's Question To Biden (VIDEO)

Lucas Tomlinson

On the November 26 edition of Fox News Sunday, Fox News correspondent Lucas Tomlinson declared, “The oldest president in U.S. history also continues to face questions about his age, even here in Nantucket,” followed by video of President Joe Biden reacting to a yelled question — “Mr. President, are you too old to be running for reelection?” — which was clearly Tomlinson’s own voice. In reporting the story to his Fox audience, however, Tomlinson did not make it clear that he was the one who asked the question.

Keep reading...Show less
Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Many liberal and progressive pundits have been predicting a "brain drain" from red states — skillful, college-educated doctors, university professors and teachers leaving because of oppressive MAGA policies. OB-GYNs are worried about draconian anti-abortion laws; teachers and librarians are under attack from the far-right Moms for Liberty.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ }}