US Road Trip Gas Pump Tip…

13 10 2011

Tired of having to go inside to pay with a Canadian credit card in the US?

I road trip in the US a lot. One thing that bugged me was having to go inside to pay for my gas with my Canadian VISA card because the pay at the pump machine wanted my US 5 digit zipcode – which I don’t have. Not only is it a hassle to walk inside to pay and then come back out to pump the gas you have to give them a fixed amount you want to pump. Not easy when your goal is to fill up your tank so inevitably you have to walk back in and stand in line a second time to get a refund.

Well there is a solution:

  • my VISA card’s billing addy has the following Canadian postal code – V8Z3S3
  • I swipe my card at a US pump and it asks for a 5 digit zip code
  • I enter 83300 and it starts pumping
  • Just use the 3 digits in your Canadian postal code and pad with 2 zeros at the end
  • Works everytime

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10 responses

13 10 2011
Basil Yokarinis

Interesting… I’ve had a similar problem on occasion paying for things online where the postal code input field just won’t accept letters or won’t accept more than 5 digits. I’ve sometimes had success just using a random zip code (90210 comes to mind) or 99999. I wonder if what you have there is an actual formula or a fluke?

Sometimes even when an online merchant simply won’t accept a non-US card at all you can just fake the entire address – but I’m pretty sure this won’t always work.

13 10 2011
thelazyrando

It’s worked for me too many times and for too many other people to be a fluke. You can’t use a random zipcode because the gas pump is verifying the code you enter matches your card for security purposes.

13 10 2011
Basil Yokarinis

Great find then! I will have to try this formula when I run into online purchase issues of this kind. Thanks for sharing.

It would seem, at least with online vendors, that they don’t always verify the address you enter, but there’s no way to know when they will or won’t.

13 10 2011
thelazyrando

I haven’t had the issue using a Canadian CC buying stuff online. If the site worked for Canadians it worked 100% or they wouldn’t ship to Canada in which case not having a US zipcode was the least of my issues!

13 10 2011
Basil Yokarinis

Yes, but I have the special situation that I live in Mexico, buy stuff online in the US, have it delivered to a friend or client in the US who then brings it down to Mexico for me. Great way to get the best price on stuff, and tax free!

13 10 2011
thelazyrando

I’ve done that as well for companies that won’t ship to Canada. As long as I have a valid US addy it works. I have had two companies that simply wouldn’t sell to a Canadian no matter where that product was shipped…crazy!

13 10 2011
Steve Fuller

Interesting. I’ve never had a gas pump ask me for a zip code ever. Then again, I don’t live near any border or any coast.

13 10 2011
Chandra

That’s good information for a lot of people, I bet!
Paz :)

7 11 2011
hriday

Ever tried any other random 5 digit number?

8 11 2011
thelazyrando

Hriday – yes and it doesn’t work as they need to be related to your billing address as the reason the machine is asking you for a zipcode isn’t to see if you can hit 5 buttons. The numbers you enter have to confirm you are the credit card owner.

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