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Thread: Credit cards at WA state gas station SNAFU

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  1. #1

    Unhappy Credit cards at WA state gas station SNAFU

    Mother Washington has this law that when you try to buy gas at the pump with a credit card you must put in a ZIP code. Something to do with protecting us from identity theft or fraudulent charges to our credit cards. If you don't have a ZIP code, can't remember it, or have a postal code such as those riders from Canada or GB you have to go inside and pay.

    Often they'll ask to hold on to your credit card. Now that seems to defeat the purpose of Mother's legislation. While you're out there pumping gas in the liquid sunshine they can be inside buying a truck load of whisky on your credit card.

    Last year this really nice lady at a station in Forgetwhere WA told me that if I took the numbers from my postal code, in my case 858 (not my real number so just forget about it) and added a certain two numbers as a prefix the pump could be tricked and I could pay and pump away right there.

    It worked like a gas station on fire. Now here's the problem. I forgot the prefix numbers ! What are those damn prefix numbers. Can anyone help me out and all those poor riders from out of state who may be passing through on way to the rally in Oregon.

    Personally I think this is all part of a conspiracy by the gobnent/oil/auto/tire/USPS and pavement industries to track drivers in WA! We know where you've been.

  2. #2
    I don't think it is the state. I think it is some oil companies and or merchants. I have encountered the ZIP code requirement in numerous states, but often not all the time in those states. Maybe the powers that be conned the State of Washington into requiring it for all stations, but ...
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell

  3. #3
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Olympia, WA
    Quote Originally Posted by ROMANY View Post
    ...If you don't have a ZIP code, can't remember it...
    Someone who can't remember their postal code shouldn't be allowed a driver's license.
    If you have a credit card, then that card has a billing address with a postal code.

    For Canadians, I found this online:

    ...take the three numbers that are in the postal code of the credit card billing address in the order that they appear, and then add two zeros onto the end in order to bypass the US zip code. So if your postal code is V8S 3Y1, you would enter: 83100 for the zip code and avoid all the hassles.
    I appreciate that the gas stations are requiring some authentication at the pump. I also appreciate pumps that have separate fuel hoses and nozzles for the different fuel grades so that I know I'm not buying a hose full of low octane at premium octane prices.

    I am frustrated by stations that have one shared payment machine for all the fuel pumps on the property.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by timtyler View Post
    Someone who can't remember their postal code shouldn't be allowed a driver's license.
    Hmmm, good observation yet I know a world renowned lawyer, works at the World Court in The Hague, who makes up a new Posted Code whenever she needs one. It's her way of acting up! She's a wild one. Thanks for the double 00 tip. I don't know why but I thought the zero's came first and never thought to stick them on at the end. Too many hours in the saddle maybe.

    I can imagine that at any given time there must be thousands of out of country tourist visiting WA. It is after all one of the most beautiful states in the Union. So wouldn't it make sense to get out of the touring travelers way when they're trying to spend money. Or, at least inform gas station owners how to help out of country customers how to over ride the system. I've used my credit card all over Europe and many parts of the US and WA is the only place I'm aware of that has this system.

    Didn't know that about Costco pumps either. But, I bet there won't be a Costco within a hundred miles when I hit reserve and need to fill up.

  5. #5
    Registered User rkoreis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Orting, WA
    Quote Originally Posted by ROMANY View Post
    Mother Washington has this law that when you try to buy gas at the pump with a credit card you must put in a ZIP code.
    Out for a troll?

    Can you cite the law in question?

    The Costco pumps don't require a zip code.

  6. #6
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    All the information that I have suggests that the entering of a zip code is as good as can be done (security) when you are talking about an unattended credit card transaction. OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=RKOREIS;870159]Out for a troll?/QUOTE]

    Na that's just my twisted up sense of humor. See I even dropped the u, that's how nice I really am. Seriously though I really love riding in WA. I made my first trip of the year to WA the last week in March and this really started to bug me. I suppose in part because I use to know how to get around this but had forgotten. I kept trying all sorts of series of numbers 0000, 00001, in combination with the numbers from my postal code.

    On a serious note I suspect this security step may have to do with the small state wide nature of many US banks and a less stringent bank regulation regime. Credit card fraud for a small bank or credit card issuer must be a monster of a problem. Still I wonder how long it would take a serious criminal who has stolen your card to get your zip code?

    Anyway I'll pass along the double 00 at the end of the postal code numbers to anyone riding through WA.
    I'll be crossing the line in two weeks myself.

  8. #8
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Surf City, USA (Santa Cruz, CA)
    Most countries are quite insular. In the US, only about 8% of the people have a passport, so they've never been out of the country. Payment systems are designed by the people in this country to work for the people -- as they imagine them. When I set up the online store for the Vintage club's website (, I followed the defaults given by our payment gateway provider, the largest in the industry. Doing this prevented us from taking credit cards from people in Australia and New Zealand (and probably others).

    When I travel in Europe, I often find that my US credit cards won't work in the unattended payment machines. France has their Carte Bleu, a credit card with a chip in it, and most gas stations won't read a magnetic stripe as on our "dumb" cards. I've had similar problems in Switzerland.

    I have a friend from Germany who visits. Most of the time his credit cards won't work in the gas pumps here, but occasionally, his Postleitzahl (postal code in Germany, 5 digits like in the US) does work. No rhyme or reason to it that I can see. He just has to roll with it.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    gig harborr ,wa


    All gas company do this at radem for security reasons. IT IS NOT A conspiracy thing. Also all states do this. Costco is a membership only store so they do not.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by EUGENE View Post
    All gas company do this at radem for security reasons.
    It's more of a money reason than a security reason. The gas vendor pays a fee every time you use a credit card. By asking for a zip code the station can negotiate a lower fee per swipe since the swipes are of a higher quality (less fraud -- the security aspect). It is the machine version of signing your name.

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