NEW YORK -- NerdWallet, a credit-card search site, has launched a new tool that allows users to find the cheapest gasoline in their neighborhood. The tool factors in details such as credit-card surcharges at certain stations, and whether consumers can benefit from using fuel rewards credit cards at certain stations to get up to 5% cash back.
By entering a zip code, users can find an "optimal" station and credit-card combination to get the cheapest fuel is in their area, the company said. What makes this tool stand out from other fuel search sites is the fact that it is the only gasoline [image-nocss] tool that tracks how each gas station handles the use of credit cards, it added.
Tim Chen, CEO and founder of NerdWallet, and a credit-card rewards expert, said the tool will better allow consumers to truly find the cheapest gas in their neighborhood, by creating an "apples-to-apples" comparison of gasoline prices, factoring in the following variables: Is the gas station cash only? If not, does the gas station accept American Express, or does it only accept Visa and MasterCard? Does the gas station have a surcharge for using credit cards?
For example, ARCO may be cheaper than Shell in a certain neighborhood, but ARCO only accepts cash; therefore, the consumer may actually get a lower price at Shell: using a Pentagon Federal Platinum Cashback card with 5% back could actually end up being cheaper than paying cash at ARCO.
"Some gas stations don't accept certain credit cards, or may add a surcharge of 6 to 12 cents for gasoline purchased using a credit card," said Chen. "Gas credit cards, in particular, can save you money if you pair up the right card with the right station; however, the best credit-card choice and best gas station choice really depends on the set of gas stations in your neighborhood, and your credit score."
Here are a few things consumers must consider when determining how to pay at the pump, according to NerdWallet:
Costco & Sam's Club: Warehouses may have some of the cheapest gasoline around, but are excluded from the "bonus" gasoline reward rates attached to many credit cards. Gas Rebate Limits: There are often restrictions about how many dollars per month qualify for certain gas credit-card bonuses. Is it cheaper to go to a cash only station: Many discount stations only accept cash, or charge more for credit-card purchases. Sometimes it is cheaper to pay with cash than to earn gasoline rewards at a more expensive gas station.
New York City-based NerdWallet currently tracks more than 1,700 credit cards, offering personalized advice for students, rewards card seekers and more.
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