If you have no credit history or a checkered financial past, you may find it difficult to get a new credit card. For such applicants, gas cards typically are much easier to get. Because gas card issuers report your payment history to major credit bureaus, these cards can help you qualify for other credit services in the future.
How Gas Cards Work
Gas cards work much like other credit cards, allowing you to charge purchases at the point of sale and pay for them later. However, you can use gas cards only at outlets associated with the issuer. If you have a gas card from Mobil, for example, you can use the card only to pay for fuel and other items at Mobil stations.
When you obtain your card, the issuer will establish a credit limit based on your credit history. Once you have the card, you can use it to make purchases up to your credit limit. In most cases, you can settle your entire balance at the end of each billing cycle or pay off the balance over time.
Because you can only use your gas card at the issuer's stores, gas cards are less risky for the lender. In addition, the retailer already makes a profit from the purchases you make with the card. For these reasons, gas cards generally are easier to obtain than regular credit cards.
Because gas card issuers report your payment history to major credit bureaus just like any other credit card or loan, making payments on time can have a positive effect on your credit score. Similarly, missed payments and defaults can damage your credit history. Some gas cards carry high interest rates, so paying your balance in full each month will help improve your credit and save you money over time.
Some gas cards offer benefits when you use them. For cards that do offer benefits, typical rewards include a slight discount on gas or cash back on convenience store purchases. Rewards vary significantly from card to card, and can change frequently, so check with your gas card issuer for a list of benefits available to you.
Keith Evans has been writing professionally since 1994 and now works from his office outside of Orlando. He has written for various print and online publications and wrote the book, "Appearances: The Art of Class." Evans holds a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication from Rollins College and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration in strategic leadership from Andrew Jackson University.