2021 Pay with GasBuddy Review: Yes, You Can Legitimately Save Money Every Time You Fill

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2021 Pay with GasBuddy Review: Yes, You Can Legitimately Save Money Every Time You Fill

I don’t remember what it was like to drive to new places before I had GPS on my phone — how did I get anywhere? Similarly, I don’t know how I survived road trips before I had GasBuddy to lead me to the best gas stations along the way. Given this reliance, you’d think I would have learned about their Pay with GasBuddy feature sooner. Alas, it wasn’t that long ago that it was brought to my attention.

Put simply, the value proposition of Pay with GasBuddy is that you can use a special card that’s accepted at most gas stations in order to save a few cents off of every gallon of gas you buy. That sounds good — almost too good, if you think like me. Plus, the offering has changed a bit since I first signed up. However, after getting a chance to test the service out, I can report that Pay with GasBuddy really does work (for the most part) and could be a great feature for some drivers.

With that background, let’s take a closer look at what Pay with GasBuddy is and how it could save you money on the road.

Signing Up for Pay with GasBuddy and How it Works

The first thing you should know about Pay with GasBuddy is that it is completely free to sign-up and start using the service. All you’ll need to do is either select the Pay with GasBuddy option in the app or go to their website to begin the process. On top of basic information like your name, address, and phone number, as well as less-common info such as your driver’s license number, you’ll also be asked to link a banking account. Keep in mind that the account you select will be the one that’s charged whenever you use the service. To verify this bank account, you can either select the Instant option via Plaid (where you’ll log into your account to securely link it) or you can opt to have micro deposits made to your account — which will take between one and six business days.

After you sign-up, a Pay with GasBuddy card will be shipped to you (again — this is all free). To the untrained eye, these look like any regular credit or debit card except that it lacks an EMV chip or Visa/Mastercard/etc. logo. Before using your new card, you’ll also be asked to create a Driver ID number, which will essentially function as a PIN.

Once your card is activated, you’re ready to go. You’ll be able to insert your card at the pump or most stations and automatically save a minimum of 2¢ per gallon. In theory, however, you could save up to 25¢ per gallon.

GasBack Offers

There is another way to save using Pay with GasBuddy and that is via their GasBack offers. Similar to how Rakuten (formerly Ebates) or Dosh offers result in cash back, taking advantage of deals offered by multiple online retailers in the “Savings” section of the app will deliver a percentage (or flat dollar amount) of your purchase in GasBack. For example, current offers include 4% GasBack from JCPenney online, 3% from Hotwire, $3 from TurboTax, as well as many others.

To earn GasBack, you’ll want to shop at the participating retailers using the links found in the GasBuddy app. Also note the “Fine Print” for each offer that will list what types of items will be eligible, how long your GasBack will take to process, and more. Once you’ve received your GasBack, you’ll be able to spend it using your Pay with GasBuddy card. Plus, these savings come in addition to the per-gallon savings you’d normally receive.

Personally I have yet to try out any GasBack offers but I will say that GasBuddy does seem to have a pretty decent line-up. Unfortunately, since you’ll need to use their link for purchases, these offers would have to take the place of those you’d get from Rakuten or others. That means GasBack is just one more thing to consider when you’re shopping for the best deals online.

Deal Alerts

Before we get into this section, let me admit that I’m still a bit confused by the current version of Pay with GasBuddy. While the original version was straightforward and the updates made seemed worthwhile, my recent experience would suggest otherwise (but we’ll get to that below). 

When you browse gas prices in the Find Gas tab of the app, you’ll likely see red-colored prices above black strikethrough prices. From my understanding, these lower red prices are what you’ll pay if you activate the applicable discount. By tapping the listing and then hitting “Activate Discount,” you should be able to unlock the stated savings when you use your Pay with GasBuddy card within the stated amount of time (typically four hours from when you activated the deal). While it seems like the standard Deal Alert is 5¢ off per gallon, I’ve seen some for as much as 10¢ per gallon.

Pay with GasBuddy Premium

While the regular Pay with GasBuddy product is free, there’s also a paid Pay with GasBuddy Premium product — sometimes referred to as GasBuddy Membership. The most notable perk here is that you’ll get 20¢ off of your first 50 gallons each month (and then 5¢ per gallon after that) with the chance to apparently save up to 40¢ off per gallon. However, the other perks that come with Membership are more akin to what AAA or others might offer.

According to the site, Pay with GasBuddy Premium also includes Roadside Assistance (powered by Allstate), which offers: 

  • Free towing up to 10 miles
  • Flat tire replacement
  • Jump starts
  • Fuel delivery of up to three gallons (you’ll need to pay for the fuel itself)
  • Lockout service (at a fee of $60)
  • And more

Currently, Pay with GasBuddy Premium comes at a cost of $9.99 per month or $99 a year if you pay upfront. Also notable is that the Roadside Assistance features are available for up to three events per year.

Personally, I haven’t signed up for GasBuddy Membership, so I can’t speak to the quality of their services. However, just looking at the list, I can see some pros and cons compared to AAA. First, depending on where you live, AAA membership may actually cost less. For example, my annual bill in Missouri is $61 — although some of the benefits do differ from GasBuddy’s. 

On the other hand, the 20¢ off per gallon (up to 50 gallons) could change the math if you’re driving a lot. Not only would this rate best anything from my credit cards but might also help make up for that price difference with AAA. Therefore, if you’re not already a AAA member or are willing to try something else, this route might make sense.

Using Pay with GasBuddy

On their website, GasBuddy says that their service works at approximately 95% of gas stations — calling out a few where it doesn’t work while showcasing logos of a few that do. Since my local station was not explicitly listed, I was very skeptical when I went to insert my Pay with GasBuddy card for the first time. 

To my surprise, after swiping my card, the pump prompted me to enter my Driver ID. Once that was done, I was good to select my fuel grade and start pumping. Admittedly, at this point, I still wasn’t 100% clear on how Pay with GasBuddy actually worked, so I printed my receipt to keep tabs on the whole process. 

What I soon discovered was that the price listed on that receipt is not what would end up being debited from my account. Instead, the savings were shown and net balance was deducted from my checking account. It was like magic!

With my first fill-up behind me, I knew the ropes now — or so I thought. The next station also asked me for my Driver ID but then also asked for an odometer reading. Not wanting to take the time to look at the dead-on reading, I entered a nice, round number and that seemed to work just fine. Unfortunately this may have caused some issues down the literal and proverbial road (more on that later).

Since that time, I have noticed that stations that don’t support Pay with GasBuddy are actually noted in the app. For example, next to Sam’s Club, there’s a small icon of a card with a circle and slash through it next to the station’s address. For what it’s worth, Sam’s is one of only a handful of stations in my area that don’t accept the card.

As I alluded to in the Deal Alerts section, Pay with GasBuddy has changed a bit since I first started using it, so I decided to try out the updated service. The first time I tried the Deal Alert feature was at a local Kum & Go where I was supposed to save 5¢. However, even though I had activated the offer, I noticed that my savings were still only 3¢ per gallon. Part of me wondered if this may have been because the transaction showed as Krause and not Kum & Go… but I don’t see how that should matter since the app should know what station it really is.

In any case, I decided to try again at a Cenex — which also was supposed to be 5¢ off. This time around, I did see a Deal Alert bonus listed separately, but it amounted to an extra 1¢ per gallon. This then amounted to 4¢ per gallon in savings when combined with my Membership Savings.

Ultimately, while I don’t mind the new structure in theory, I really want to know what I’m doing wrong or what fine print I’m missing that is causing these issues. At least the 3¢ per gallon works but I’d hate to pull up to a station thinking I’m saving 10¢ a gallon when I’m not. So, I guess take these Deal Alerts with a grain of salt until I can find more info.

The Pros and Cons of Pay with GasBuddy (free version)

First, the biggest compliment I can give Pay with GasBuddy is that, to my surprise, it was accepted at every station I tried it at. That said I should note that the service is only intended to work at the pump itself and cannot be used inside (even if it is just to pre-pay for gas). As a result, if you only want to pump a certain dollar amount, you’ll have to do it manually.

Going back to the odometer reading, I later found out that this is a feature GasBuddy is testing in order to eventually be able to offer you tips for improving your gas mileage. That’s all well and good, but the problem I ran into was that at the station I arrived at, I entered another fake number and was told to see an attendant. This may have been because I added an extra digit (oops) but, either way, I elected to just use another card. While this was a minor inconvenience, I also discovered you can just enter “99” to opt-out of this upcoming service and proceed without issue.

In terms of cons, I still don’t quite know what to make of my limited experience with the Deal Alerts model. Although it seems that the result would mean bigger savings for users over the previous program, I can’t yet confirm that. 

Lastly, I have seen some users question whether it makes sense to use Pay with GasBuddy at stations that charge extra for credit or debit cards. Put simply, the answer is “probably not” — after all, these stations typically tack on 10¢ per gallon whereas GasBuddy will only save you between 3¢ and 20¢ (if you have Premium). However, while these heightened prices for credit/debit may be popular in some parts of the country, it’s not a nationwide standard. In my case, even though I saw stations all over California charging more for card transactions, I have yet to encounter one in my area of Missouri. 

Also, this dilemma is only a factor if you actually have cash on you. If you do, it is probably a better idea to pay cash and get that discount. However, if you don’t, then I don’t see any harm in using your GasBuddy card instead.

Final Thoughts on Pay with GasBuddy

Overall, I was really surprised and impressed with the Pay with GasBuddy product when I first tried it. After all, it’s essentially giving users free money. That remains mostly true, although I’m a bit concerned and confused about my Deal Alert trials.

Of course, another big disadvantage for people like me is that I’d be missing out on credit card rewards by using this service instead. With one of my cards granting me 4% back on gas, that likely bests the amount GasBuddy would offer for more fill-ups. Meanwhile, the Premium option offers yet another set of factors to consider.

With all that said, if you don’t have a credit card that puts a premium on gas, Pay with GasBuddy could be a good option for saving at the pump given its wide acceptance, ease of use, and GasBack offers. Therefore, I’ll still be taking my Pay with GasBuddy card along with me for future road trips.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pay with Gasbuddy secure?

Pay with Gasbuddy securely connects to your bank account using the API Plaid. Moreover, the card can only be used at gas pumps, limiting the potential impact should your card number become compromised.

Is Pay with Gasbuddy a credit card?

No. Pay with Gasbuddy acts like a debit card, with gas purchases (minues any savings) being deducted directly from a linked bank account.

How does Pay with Gasbuddy work?

Pay with Gasbuddy cardholders can use their card at 95% of gas stations in the U.S. to save on each gallon they buy. These savings — which can be increased through GasBack offers and Deal Alerts — are subjected from the total and funds are directly debited from a linked bank account.

Where is Pay with Gasbuddy accepted?

Pay with GasBuddy is accepted at approximately 95% of gas stations in the United States. However, some notable exceptions include Costco, Sam’s Club, Texaco, Exxon Mobil, HEB, and some others.


Also published on Medium.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and has recently starting publsihing his own personal finance blog at https://moneyat30.com/

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Comments

I drive a lot and this would earn me good amout of savings with my gas in no time. Thanks for the rewiew.

I’ve been using GasBuddy for a while now and so farI am happy with it and will surely recomment it to others.

There are few gas stations where GasBuddy does not work but overall, its works well with most of the gas stations I’ve tried it with.

When I attempted to connect my bank with GasBuddy the bank rejected my credentials, the same credentials I use everyday. Could that be because I set up the GasBuddy account using an email address not associated with my banking?

The problem that I have with the gas buddy card is that whenever I go to a gas station to use it, I find that I’m actually spending $.10 more a gallon than I really need to be. For example, if a gas station is charging $3.00 per gallon cash/debit price and charging $3.15 for credit, and I use my gas buddy card, I’ve just paid $3.10 a gallon for gas because the gas buddy card registers as a credit card even though it’s being debited from my checking account.

Yeah that would definitely be frustrating. Luckily I’ve managed to only use mine at stations that don’t charge extra for using cards. It seems that phenomeon is more prevelant in more populated areas so perhaps the card will help you save on road trips when you hopefully come across stations that don’t add credit card fees.

There’s a place to unlink shop your way from your account. It’s in the app under the wallet tab. Click on settings> shop your way>unlink my account. Took two seconds

When you unlink, does it go back to the gas savings? Shop your way will be obsolete for me as we have no local Kmarts and Sears is going under!

I live in NJ, where we’re not permitted to pump our own gas. This could get frustrating for the attendent, as he will need my PIN each time I get gas.

Darn, that’s a really good point. I always forget that about NJ (even though I was born there and have lots of family there). I guess you can always get the card and save it for road trips out of state 🙂

Nope not letting any app connect to my checking account. Way too many hackers out there and your checking account is not protected like your credit card account is. So if someone drains your account you will be responsible for all fees the bank can charge on any bounced item because your account was drained.

Can this be used together with earned fuel rewards from gas stations like Kroger and Shell? Or only one savings method per transaction?

I’m honestly not 100% sure but, based on how the card it utilized, I would think both would still work. The GasBuddy card should work just like a debit card so I’d imagine you’d use your savings card first and then payment. Hopefully that works for you!

“Something else that should be noted is that I’ve been unable to find a way to go back to the regular Pay with GasBuddy savings scheme since “upgrading” to the Shop Your Way offer.”

You can downgrade by going to your settings > Shop your way > unlink your account

it will go back to saving 5c/gallon after unlinking shop your way and pay with gasbuddy

Peter,

Unfortunately, Costco is one of the locations that doesn’t offer Pay with GasBuddy. Here’s what GasBuddy’s site says: “All major fuel retailers accept the Pay with GasBuddy card with the exception of the following brands: Exxon Mobil, BJs, Costco, Sam’s Club, H-E-B, Select Walmart stations, Select Arco Stations.”

Yes, you can use Pay with GasBuddy after entering your Shell Fuel Rewards. This way you get at least $0.10 off each gallon.

Why is it that certain gas stations do not take Gas Buddy cards? We use HEB a lot.

In some cases it’s because the station already offers discounted gas (like Sam’s Club or Costco). Sadly, I’m not exactly sure why HEB is excluded 🙁 Sorry!

Thanks for confirming what I suspected, which is that this discount comes off the credit card price. In my area this would cost SO much more. (Long Island and NYC.)

I’ve only found a few stations near my beaten path that charge the same price for cash and credit, and none of them are really convenient.

I find two things problematic about Gas Buddy in general.

First is that the stations near me with the lowest prices don’t show up. I suspect one must join to get those prices, and I just won’t be manipulated that way.

Second is the fact that it has taken me awhile to find this review confirming that the discounts come off the credit price. Nowhere on Gas Buddy’s website did I find this info.

I also agree with Mark Sterling above in thinking that linking apps to your bank info is a bad idea.

I’ll continue to use it to find gas info but with the provisos that 1) it may not even be showing you the really best prices and 2) some gas station owners game the system and self-report lower prices than they are charging. Be careful out there!

I’ve been using get upside for minths now. but uploading a photo of the receipt is a pain for some reason as pics are too dark mist of the time I’ve given up gonna try gas buddy

We were embarking on a cross-country RV trip and decided to get the GasBuddy discount card to save $.10/gal. on the many gallons of gas we would be purchasing. The first time I used it at a Love’s truck stop and it worked perfectly. I then tried to use it at a Sheetz in PA and there was no discount at the pump. I then tried to use it a several more stations in PA and never got the discount after several tries at each pump. Subsequently I went online to check the WIX network to make sure I knew which gas stations accepted the card. My last swipe was at a BP station in western PA, which is listed as a WIX member and once again the card did not produce a discount. Out of frustration, I left the pump and went to another station and filled up without used the GasBuddy card. That evening I received an email from GasBuddy indicating I had purchased $44.25 of gas. Huh? Apparently the pump did not reset and the next person who came to the pump filled up on my account. I contacted GasBuddy many times, their customer service stinks, to explain the situation, to make a long and frustrating story short, they will not take responsibility for the fraudulent charge and, since I refuse to pay for someone else’s fill-up, have threatened to send it to debt collection. My recommendation is to stay away from the GasBuddy card, it does not work consistently, the customer service is poor and they do not understand the value of a customer.

Debit cards and credit cards are usually charged an extra 10 cents a gallon, so a rebate of 5 cents still leaves you in the hole 5 cents over paying with cash. There are credit cards that pay back 3 to 5%, which at even $3 a gallon would equate to a savings of 9 to 15 cents a gallon, far better than 5 cents a gallon.

I feel like it’s only certain stations that charge extra for using cards. I know lots in L.A. did but I don’t see many in the Midwest that do. In any case, yes, there are plenty of credit cards that are better options.

I got a new Samsung S10 and now gasbuddy app doesn’t work. All I get from gasbuddy help is a canned response. I have sent about a dozen emails explaining what I need help with and get another canned response. .I look for stations and it comes back with none in my area..or anywhere. I very deleted and re installed many times.. good luck if you get a new phone!!

Do you have any idea why Gas buddy requires your driver’s license number in addition to a banking account? The process to Join for their Gas buddy card only says because they are required to do so not explaining why it is a requirement.

What happens if the pump I use has a “skimmer” on it? Has anyone covered that? I try and use gas gift cards, not by bank card for fuel because I have had my debit card cloned locally and we get warning every 6 months that there are skimmers being attached to gas pumps in our area. (Largo FL)

Hopefully you don’t fall victim to skimmers but, if you do, the good news is that the theif will still need to enter your Driver ID in order to use the card and it can only be used at gas pumps. Therefore I’m thinking they probably wouldn’t get much out of it.

That’s a good question and sadly I don’t really have an answer other than basic identity confirmation. Sorry I can’t be more of service.

Just a note that in California it is legal for gas stations to charge a different higher price for use of a credit card so gas is already .05-.10 cheaper by using good old fashioned dirty paper cash money or debit by entering your pin with the debit card you already have linked to your checking account. Since the GasBuddy card is charged as credit this makes it’s use in California null.

awwww, so thats how it works, gas buddy collects 3.5% on the sale and give the user $.05 back per gallon. They have no risk since they simply take the money out of your checking account. Diesel is currently $2.80 here so gas buddy makes $.098 on the (per gallon) sale and gives back $.05 so they pocket $.048. multiply that by oodles of customers and multiple gallons purchased and you have a racket. I agree with the author, it makes more sense to use your rewards credit card where you would get back $.14 per gallon vs $.05 per gallon

Gas buddy says you could save .25 cents a gallon or more but what I’m reading here the discount is .05 cents.
What’s the difference?

Shell fuel rewards can be combined with 3% back from a rewards credit card and at $2.50 / gal save 7.5¢ plus 5¢ fuel rewards or 15¢ if you have T-Mobile for a total of 12.5¢ or 22.5¢ savings per gallon, better than the 10¢ or 20¢ you’d get with pay with GasBuddy.

Dave, I believe the 25 cents refers to the GasBuddy Premium. The free version’s savings per gallon is lower. Hope that helps!

Steevo, that sounds like a good deal. As I said though, there are plenty of credit cards that could save more but I think GasBuddy could be an option for those who don’t want or can’t get credit.

I was sold on the “up to $0.25 off per gallon”. After signing up for the service, connecting it to my bank, waiting for, and activating, my card, I now realize $0.25 is a pipe dream. Even if there were a station offering a discount of this amount, in the app, for pay with gasbuddy members, there would probably be a cheaper station, closer to you, with no discount. I guess my main gripe is that I already get 3% back, from gas stations, with my primary credit card. $0.25 off per gallon would have made Pay with Gasbuddy competitive, but in reality you will only save, on average $0.05 per gallon, making it less competitive to a credit card offering 3% back at gas stations. Hope this helps!

Couple of things:

1) You do know that to get the discount price at a station showing a discount, you have to click on the station in the app and click “Activate” before you swipe your card, right? Once it’s activated, then you get the special price.

2) To those who say they get a better discount with a cashback credit card, why not set up your GB account with that card to get the discount on top of that card?

3) Shop your way now offers gift cards through Raise as an option to redeem your $.15/gal. I travel for a living and max out my GB each week. I saved enough in 6 months last year to get enough gift cards to buy a 65″ big screen tv for Christmas.

Hey there,
Yes, I did activate the offer but the result still didn’t match (only 3 cents instead of 5 the first time and 4 cents instead of 5 the second). Also, Gasbuddy can only be linked to a banking account and not a credit card, so you have to choose between the savings.

As for Shop Your Way, you’re right. I just assumed that, given Sears’ decline, most people wouldn’t have much use for those points, but your idea is a great one! Thanks

thank you for that review, it was very useful – because I was trying to look at their terms and conditions before signing up and couldn’t seem to get to them!

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