ARCO Credit Card / Debit Card Review

Posted by CreditCardGuru

arco gas station signIs an ARCO credit card (which is actually a debit card) really a good deal or just questionable marketing? As a resident of Southern California, there are quite a few ARCO gas stations around here. Their motto is “straight up gas” and they claim to be an average of 5 to 10 cents cheaper per gallon than other stations. But my review which follows shows why it’s not always the best deal. Despite what some people claim, this debit card is NOT a scam (Arco is not doing anything illegal). That being said, it’s not a good way to save money, here’s why…

2013 update

The debit card from ARCO has been permanently discontinued. Right now your best alternative is to get a good rewards credit card and use that for your fuel purchases from now on.

Paper, Not Plastic

Now this is a huge inconvenience for many. They do not accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express credit cards for payment. Besides cash, you can pay with a debit card. But the kicker is that they charge a “convenience fee” of 45 cents to do so.

So let’s do the math. Let’s say they truly are 5-10 cents less for every gallon (they’re not always but I’ll discuss that in a moment). If you bought 10 gallons and saved 5 cents per gallon, that would equal 50 cents total. Now if you paid with your debit, that would mean hypothetically you only saved 5 cents. If you have an ARCO gas card though, they do waive this fee.

Is It The Same Formula Of Gas? (The Rumors)

There are many people out there that seem to believe ARCO gas is a lower quality or a different formula. Personally, I have yet to see any evidence which substantiates these rumors whatsoever. Yet people still seem to allege things like…

  • A car dealer informed me not to use their gas in my car, which is a German sports car. He alleged that if I’m going to use it, I should put an octane booster in right before filling up the tank. No evidence was provided to support this claim.
  • I read a post about how ethanol is commonly added to gas – the blogger suspected the gas ARCO uses might have above-average ethanol concentrations – still meeting the legal requirements, but more than the average amount added at other gas stations. He provided no proof to back up this allegation.

Conclusion: There are plenty of rumors out there about ARCO gas being inferior, but I highly doubt these rumors are true. There’s no evidence to validate these rumors. Do NOT rely on them when choosing where to buy gas. The gas at ARCO is the same quality you would get at any other station.

“Regular” Stations

So how much more do the “other” stations cost? Well I’ve kept an eye on the discrepancies constantly over the years. There are “name brand” stations around me such as Shell, 76, and Chevron and I would say on average they only run 5 to 7 cents more. Being that there are cards that save 3 to 5% (notice that’s percent, not cents) per gallon, that would mean if it were $3 gal., I would be saving 9 to 15 cents. That’s much more than what I would be saving at ARCO even if I paid with cash there.

Last but not least, something else to consider is that ARCO is BP company… are they a company we really want to support right now? I don’t think so.

So is an ARCO debit card going to save you money? It doesn’t look like it. For a better option check out our sponsored listing of the best gas credit cards – save up to 5% at gas stations plus get a great signup bonus!

2012 update: ARCO has terminated it’s debit card program entirely.

Written or updated August 12, 2013

55 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. skiwolf9 April 23, 2014 at 3:40PM

    Used my arco gift card today at the Marysville store on North Beale road. Card scanned and showed the balance. Then the F ing thing didn’t do anything so canceled. Tried again and it said declined. Went inside and the clowns in there couldn’t find of do crappola. Called Arco and after waiting 30 minutes and calling 3 times finally got somebody. They asked for the clowns in the store, They still couldn’t do a thing. arco said it can take 7-10 days to get my money they scammed me out of. Tell me how a freaking station cannot find a transaction of a said amount of money on a pump at a certain time? Brain dead comes to mind.

  2. poa July 8, 2013 at 3:53PM

    I got the arco card thinking Ill save money.. they have charges just for using their card. I had trouble getting on their website and calling them. My payment was late due to their website not working, I sent the payment by mail it got there 5 days late and now I have a $75. fee. on a card that I kept a zero balance on. I call them and want to cancel the card, my printer is not working, they told me to go to the library and print it out. unbelievable crappy service.

  3. toka August 13, 2012 at 7:59AM

    I got a question to Arco. On website it says that they have a 35 cent fee for quick pay charge, but how is it quick pay when you have to go inside to pay and what age is Arco in to charge for using debit? When i started driving i used to fill up for less then $10 but now if you dont want to pay fees just for gas, you need a wad of cash. i plan to stay away from arco if possible im not trying to be cheep, but bugs to see getting charged a fee for using my debit card and dont make sense that money directly into their account would be more expensive.

    arco sucks if you asks me

  4. TJJJC2 May 31, 2012 at 10:57PM

    Because of the fuel injectors, fuel does leave deposits, it’s when the engine stops and any fuel on the injectors start to become covered in a soot. Same for the throttle body, but more of a thicker crust. Because of the additive in Chevron fuels, this does not happen. I use the cheapest gas, but with two fuel tanks, I fill the other with the middle grade. Just before the end of a trip I switch the fuel over to the better fuel.

  5. Ben Kenobiwan August 8, 2011 at 10:42AM

    Never received the email. Thought I was overdrawn on the acct connected to card. Glad i wasn’t in the middle of BFE. Thanks Arco.

    The best thing about having the card was not getting charged $.45 a second time when you go in the AM/PM to grab a Twix and Coke.

  6. AJ Jha July 27, 2011 at 8:11PM

    The reason the discover card and many loyalty cards are being canceled is the fact that CC and debit card companies no longer make any money on interchange fees because on July 21st the Fed enacted key provisions limiting interchange fees because of the approval of the Durbin Amendment. Arco didn’t issue the card some bank did and collected fees for it. I am sure Arco on the back end received payments from First Bank/HSBC ect.

  7. John Barry July 14, 2011 at 11:55PM

    I received the same e-mail message about the ARCO/Discover card being cancelled. I think it’s fair to assume they did this to charge the $.45 fee again for those using debit cards issued by their own banks.

    I’d only had their card a few months and liked the fact that I could use it as a debit card and have the $.45 fee waived. There must be more to it than just the $.45 fee. Maybe the fact that few people with the cards were using it for other purchases? Or maybe that they don’t want to give the cash back rewards for using the card for those purchases?

    Whatever the case, I think it’s a lousy move, especially with so many people having an ARCO card issued to them. What it amounts to now is having to pay about the same for gas using your bank’s issued debit card at other gas stations (assuming that that station isn’t charging a fee for buying gas with a debit card). I guess they figure people will continue to buy ARCO’s gas because they’ll believe it’s still cheaper than filling up at another station.

    I say if it’s possible, pay with cash if you’re filling up at an ARCO station. If their going to cancel all of their ARCO cards, let’s not give them the satisfaction of paying that $.45 fee on every fill-up. Maybe then they’ll issue a new card program.

  8. Michael Maurer July 14, 2011 at 11:04AM

    In todays email I was told that my Discover Debit Card from ARCO will be cancelled.
    This change is effective July21,2011.WOW they gave us a whole week to let us know.Good thing I didn’t go on vacation this week.
    I guess their $.45 charge for our own Debit card is back!
    I guess as long as that program was in effect was all we could expect.

  9. Dick Manford, Esq. July 14, 2011 at 7:33AM

    An email today informed me that ARCO is terminating its Discover debit card program effective 21 July 2011. The reason is pure economics, i.e., to save money and to make more money.

    I have no idea how many of these cards are out there, but let’s assume 300,000, and further assume that those 300,000 cardholders fill up once/week @ $60/tank. First, ARCO saves the +/- 3% fee it pays to Discover per fill-up. So, that’s $60 X 3% = $1.80 X 300,000 = $540,000/week X 52 weeks/year = $28,080,000 per year that ARCO saves.

    Second, let’s assume those same former 300,000 Discover cardholders substitute use of their bank’s debit card rather than paying cash. At $0.45/fill-up, that’s $135,000/week X 52 weeks/year = $7,020,000/year.

    So, bottom line, termination of the debit card program is worth $35,100,000 to ARCO per year. Pure economics.

  10. Luis V May 5, 2011 at 11:41AM

    I have used this gas for years on my toyota corolla 05 now has 100,000 all ways paid cash, saved the plastic charge yeah ive heard the rumors about the quality figured its was just an ego kind of thing.
    Then i decied to try the arco dedit just because of the rewards it was issued by hsbc, i never paid anything actually just made money like 30 bucks in a year. yeah they do charge your bank account like in 2 days after you use it, like a direct deposit i just used it has a credit card always and stoped using my bank card because its the same thing only in makeing money in the arco. Just spend what YOU have in your bank and im sure ull make money, and not lose it.
    So right now i was going to apply for the other card the one they offer for an anual charge and saw this “Arco Debit Scam” and had to check it out. turned out to be this article about some person that actually FINALY did some simple math.
    The arco by my house uselly has the gas about 13 Cents less than other places so that means that has soon has i pass the four gallon mark im saving some money
    Thanks 4 reading this.

  11. Bob from Sacramento May 5, 2011 at 9:04AM

    I signed up in January for the ARCO Discover debit card based on the incentive to eliminate the 45-cent fee using it about nine times over the past five months.

    Unfortunately, the use is this card is not sophisticated enough to read for an account balance before the transaction. This resulted in an attempt to withdraw against insufficient funds while I was out of town. I was charged a $30.00 fee by Discover which they refused to reverse. This negated any savings against the 45-cent fee for more than two years.

    Of course, I cancelled this debit account immediately.

    Thanks. But, no thanks.

  12. judy March 27, 2011 at 2:23PM

    I just got my ARCO Discover DEBIT card with valid date of 3/16. The card is issued by First Bank and Trust pursuant to a license from Discover Network. After reading some of the previous comments I am not sure I want to activate the card. I need to know if I can use at the pump and if so do you need a pin. I was told the amount you use for gas comes directly out of your bank account. NO FEES of any kind…am I being misinformed?

  13. Jeff February 17, 2011 at 10:26AM

    Arco OptiPay got me to try it out. Dentist over charged $200.00 and credited it back to Opti Card. But they say it as another $200. charge and froze the card, could by gas till they realized it was a credit. Anyone who paid for a year service got ripped off. They stopped servicing Arco before the completion of the year. Didn’t pay it myself only because bying gas for my F-150, Church Ram 3500 van, and work vans, didn’t use enough to justify yearly cost. It was embarassing to find that they canceled all Opti Pay Cards when trying to pump. Had to call in to find that out, after being denied. Supose to be convenient to use one card. But one card works best at Arco, another works best somewhere else and so on. Did not elect to reapply with Discover/Arco, for fear of it not lasting just like OptiPay, or other complications. Just canceled my Discover Card do to treatment from them. Admittedly, I sent payment during holiday season, and they got it 2 days late. Because of those 2 days my interest rate doubled and credit limit cut to half. After over 5 years that was first 2 days late, it shouldn’t have been that complicated. Learning that I don’t need to use credit.

  14. Jeff February 17, 2011 at 10:09AM

    Went to LA Trade Tec., and studied fuels up to racing quality. Back in 1984-86, Arco had a rep for bad gas, so, we studied it. Found that Arco gas had more deposits of dirt in their fuel than any other stations we studied. This study was by monitoring fuel filters and performance. No mater what Arco station it came from, it was dirty. This prompted Auto Dealers to discourage its use. Somewhere around 1990 Arco made a change in their fuel. I was slow to change to Arco. A 1998 Iroc, 1990 Mustang 5.0 and other sport cars ran better with Arco. Since year 2005 vehicles running Arco have rough idles, sometimes missfire. Still not as bad as Valero gas, which cost much more. My church still uses Arco. Best cash by out there. Gas Companies are going to get ya. You can choose how/which.
    Credit Cards only give you anyother way to get got. Even if they pay you to get got. If you do not need to build credit, just by gas you need.

  15. Conway Redding January 30, 2011 at 2:30PM

    I have had no problems using either the Arco debit card issued by Discover, or the one it replaced, which had been issued by Visa; but, apparently unlike some (take note, Maureen), I have always arranged to have enough money in my checking account to cover any debit card purchases. Remember, folks, a debit card is just like a check, except that the withdrawal from your checking account happens much more quickly than it would were you actually to write a check, so manage your finances with that fact in mind.

    Also, I have noticed that, in my area, which is San Diego, CA, Arco’s prices are consistently anywhere from 10 to 20 cents less than those of other vendors. Add to that the convenience of getting cash back when I use my Arco card, of not having to pay the 45 cent service fee that I’d have to pay using another card at an Arco station, of not having to wait for a clerk to process a cash payment, and of easily being able to track, through a website, my gas purchases, and you can understand why, at this point in time, I am a loyal Arco customer. Oh and by the way, I have noticed no performance problems with Arco’s gas in my 6-cyiinder Ford Escape.

  16. MAUREEN January 19, 2011 at 6:41PM

    WE ARE BEING CHEATED BY DISCOVER/ARCO

    On November 02, 2010, I used my Arco DEBIT CAR issued by Visa. In entering the amount to be presented for payment to my account I made a 45 cents transposition. Arco presented the amount to Chase bank as a CHECK for payment from my account. When the CHECK was presented, to my account my balance became -.45 cents’ overdraft. Because a CHECK was presented, Chase assessed an overdraft fee of $35.00, which caused, ANOTHER OVERDRAFT against a CHECK I HAD WRITTEN for my rent. Another $35.00 fee and my landlord assessed ANOTHER OVERDAFT FEE, for $35.00; total $105.00. I called Arco and they waived their $35.00 fee. It had cost me $$70.00 for a .45 cent overdraft.
    My ARCO card and my Chase Debit card were restricted from use until the middle of December. I called ARCO and they said that I had to apply for an ARCO Discover Card. It was issued in December. I used the ARCDO DISCOVER CARD and caused an 11 cent overdraft, another $35.00 to ARCO and $35.00 to CHASE.
    I called Discover they refused to waive the 11cents overdraft. I went to CHASE who explained that the payment was present as CHECK, rather than the way it should have been presented as a DEBIT CARD. She explained that if presented as an ACH TRANASCTION it was presented as a CHECK. She explained that using a DEBIT CARD, were protected by the Federal Government that any overdraft balance of less than -$5.00 overdraft balance the OVERDRAFT FEE would not be accessed. TRYING TO GET MY MONEY BACK.

  17. Diana B December 28, 2010 at 8:14PM

    Does anyone know what the daily limit is on the Discover card? I usually only use the Discover card for gas but I lost my regular ATM card right before Christmas and was needing to use the Discover card for my shopping. After using it for $100 at one store, it was declined at another for $10 (I had plenty of money in the account) I tried to use it online on a different day and it was declined. Are we not allowed to use it online purchases?

  18. Hal Fremming December 18, 2010 at 11:06AM

    I’ve used an Arco card for years with no fee. When I tried to replace the card, I was told to contact the site to apply for a new card on line. I encountered no success yet I still want an Arco gas card. HELP!!

  19. John Rott December 13, 2010 at 6:43AM

    I used to work for Arco in the chemical lab and I can assure you their gas is as good as any out there. In fact the major gasoline producers regularly sell each other gas (by the millions of gallons) and pump it under the streets using connected pipelines. They even produce each others motor oils. So pay more for the other major producers if you wish.

  20. Topak December 8, 2010 at 11:43AM

    To activate your new Arco Discover card, you need to use Google then type arcoactivate.com. I was using Yahoo search engine and it did not work but Google did.

  21. Sarah H. December 5, 2010 at 2:02PM

    I received a “new” Arco/Discover card to be activated..I cannot activate it since the “NEW”
    Discover card does not have any numbers below ANY bar code …How are you suppose to Activate this ? Or is this a scam? Thanks

  22. james tucker December 2, 2010 at 10:02AM

    I hahe/had an arco debit card. I changed banks yesterday so went to update my info with HSBC to get correct debits for THEM. They say if you change banks you cannot update your card! So now i have no valid debit card for Arco? I’ve used it for one year and find it wonderful. I’ve used the gas in UK (BP) for 15 years and here in USA since 1981 so a total of ABOUT 35 YEARS, IT’S GOOD GAS!
    Anyway changing my personal bank should have no effect on this card, BUT it does……go figure.

  23. Luis November 30, 2010 at 12:17PM

    i got my opticard adn one day i went to used at this ARCO and then by the next day i look it in to my statement bank and i got some charger that i dint used from Pizza hot and D for $124 each from UK yes from UK >???
    so thats wht i wont use this card any more f….k…

  24. Alec November 27, 2010 at 5:02PM

    Amanda,

    It’s odd that they’d already cancelled your card. But HSBC is probably going through a pretty flaky transition. In my case, my debit MasterCard worked up until the very last day it was supposed to (11/23). Two charges I wanted to come through before the cut-off did so – one for an online purchase, one for an Arco gas purchase.

    My debit Discover card arrived from Tempo before then … but I just “sat on it” until the MasterCard had expired … then, just moments ago actually, I activated it online. If you still haven’t gotten your Discover card, it could be that HSBC dropped the ball. In that case, you can get the new Discover debit card from Tempo by applying for it online:

    https://card-program.com/arco/home

    A little humorous side-note. The online purchase made on 11/23 was for an Internet provider I’ll be “dumping” at the end of the current billing period (on 12/18). So, I switched my charge card to the MasterCard debit card on purpose (grin) … knowing only one charge would be billed to it. This Internet provider I’m dumping has a reputation of “forgetting” that people dumped them … rebilling for a new month and saying they didn’t get any termination request. Well (grin), all I can say is that it will be interesting to see if I get an email from the ISP saying, “Hey, your card was declined,” on December 18th. I will NOT be giving them any other card info, either. So, they’ll just have to accept the fact they’ve been dumped.

  25. Amanda November 12, 2010 at 12:32PM

    I’ve had an ARCo debit card for awhile and to my surprise I tried to use my card yesterday and it said my card wasn’t accepted. When I called OptiPay they said the contract with ARCO ended on 10/30/10 and my account was canceled. They gave me a # for Discover to find out what the status of my new account was so I gave them a call and I was told that the new cards were being issued in batches and HSBC was supposed to keep all accounts open until new cards were issued. A little disappointed in HSBC canceling accounts before Discover had a chance to issue new cards especially because I have payments being auto-debited from my ARCO debit card.

  26. Alec November 7, 2010 at 12:39PM

    Just a humorous follow-up. My ARCO debit MasterCard has a 2011 expiration date. When it gets replaced by the debit Discover, and after I activate it, the MasterCard will be canceled. Still (grin), I could have some fun with it. After I’m sure it’s really canceled, I could leave the canceled card in a public place. If an honest person finds it and returns it to the bank, fine. But if it’s found by a dishonest person, their first attempt to put a charge on it might land them in jail (grin).

  27. Alec November 7, 2010 at 12:21PM

    Miss H – I doubt if computers or card companies ripped off your daughter. In all likelihood, it was an unscrupulous clerk. This can happen at any establishment. It once happened to me when I ordered a vintage 78rpm record over the phone from a company in Arizona with a long established history of good service to collectors. But, all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the barrel.

    I had fraudulent charges coming in from all over the world (France, Italy, etc.). And they, too, continued to pop up after the card was canceled. In any card transaction, canceling out a card only stops the charges that were approved “after” the cancellation. Charges approved “before” the cancellation can pop up for days.

    BTW, the 2 month waiting period to getting money back sounds like a policy of HSBC, the issuer of the debit MasterCard. Has your daughter tried to contact MasterCard itself? They might be able to accelerate the process. In any case, HSBC’s policies are no longer a factor since the new debit Discover has a different issuer.

    P.S. Just a short note on my experience with fraud. In my case, while I’m unsure of whether they caught the unscrupulous employee at the record store who leaked my card info, they did catch the person doing the lion’s share of global charges. All the bank’s fraud department would tell me is that his name was Daniel Lee. He lived in Toronto. Cops were able to track him because he attempted to make a charge with an Internet porn site in Texas. Since the site had been a victim of fraudulent charges before, they enabled a sophisticated tracker that electronically “traced” the crook back to his computer. Thanks to cooperation between AT&T and the RCMP, he was arrested and had his computer and peripherals seized in the process.

    BTW, I had all fraudulent charges reversed within 48 hours after the last approved charge came through.

  28. Miss H November 5, 2010 at 4:59PM

    ***************** FRAUD ALERT *********************** DO NOT APPLY FOR THIS PAY POINT CREDIT CARD!!!!!!!!!! My daughter used her ARCO and has been ripped off by people using a card reader and accessing money out of her account by using multiple transactions on the same day to bleed her bank account DRY!!!!!! The bank says that because this is an ARC transaction- they cannot help. ARCO credit card was contacted and the card was supposely cancelled and she is still getting debits from this thieves after the card was cancelled!! ARCO says that it will take 2 months to receive the money back!. DO NOT APPLY FOR THIS PAY POINT CREDIT CARD!!!!!!!!!! This is a total SHAM !!!!!!!!! Stop at the back and NEVER use a debit card at ANY ARCO!!!!

  29. Alec November 4, 2010 at 8:17AM

    UPDATE!

    I’ve been doing some online sleuthing regarding OptiPay ARCO cards. Here’s what’s about to transpire.

    HSBC, current issuer of the OptiPay ARCO debit MasterCard is getting out of the business. Effective November 30th (according to their website), all ARCO debit MasterCards will be canceled. The new issuer of the ARCO debit card will be Tempo. Tempo is an affinity company that allows “branded” cards to be issued based on the preferences of the branding entity. ARCO, for reasons only they know, chose to affiliate with Discover.

    Here’s what appears to have happened. In 2007, HSBC attempted to break into the decoupled card market (a debit card that draws funds from an existing checking account unrelated to the issuer’s bank) … allowing companies to issue a “branded” card. It was supposed to be the dawn of a new era in debit card marketing. But, it seems that ARCO was the only company that took the bite from HSBC. So, they’re giving up the ghost.

    Tempo, on the other hand, has a small handful of companies with “branded” cards – and they’re already issuing ARCO debit Discover cards:

    https://card-program.com/arco/home

    So, since the HSBC debit MasterCards will die on November 30th, I expect ARCO OptiPay customers will be contacted quite soon with their new Tempo-issued ARCO Tempo debit Discover card.

    A visit to the http://www.tempo.com site will reveal the other “branded” cards. There aren’t many. But, I suspect this is a whole new line of business in the debit card industry.

  30. Alec November 4, 2010 at 12:21AM

    Gary,

    I got the same notice you got – that my ARCO Optipay card was going to be switched from a MasterCard debit card to a Discover debit card. But, I didn’t see any “date” when this was going to take place. I’m assuming this will be soon, though.

    The thing I like about the Optipay card is that it allows for a “backup” access to my checking account. Not long ago, I lost my wallet. Since I don’t carry checks around with me anymore, my checking account itself was not in danger of being compromised – EXCEPT through my bank’s debit card. So, I simply called my bank to report my regular debit card as lost – and was able to continue buying stuff with my Optipay card until my bank’s replacement debit card arrived. Otherwise, I leave my Optipay card at home – using it only for trips to the ARCO station (grin).

    FWIW, I’m going to mention a tip/trick to use with a debit card that isn’t specific to Optipay. But, my Optipay card will factor into this tip/trick shortly.

    First, I’ve only done this once before – but it works. A lot of online merchants who do regular monthly billings actually prefer doing it via debit/credit card. Many such merchants even give a discount for setting things up as automatic. But there’s a danger in that. There are a lot of merchants who do things that are borderline “shady” – and that’s where this tip/trick came in handy.

    Years ago, I was a customer of Vonage – the broadband telephone service provider. And, I became a customer during a time when they allowed people to buy the converter equipment as opposed to leasing it – in lieu of paying an activation fee. So, it was almost like getting a free converter device and I took the option. After 18 months, I decided to drop them due to poor service – switching to another VoIP provider. But, I’d read many complaints in their user forum from ex-customers who kept getting charged for stuff after they quit. So, I decided to do the following.

    After they charged me for service one month and after that charge cleared my bank, I called up my bank to report my debit card as lost. It wasn’t REALLY lost (grin), though. In a week, I had my replacement card. At the same time I reported my debit card as lost, I called up Vonage to tell them I was canceling my service at the end of my current billing period. Sure enough, at the end of that billing period, they sent me an email saying my card was declined. I replied, “Declined for what? I’m no longer a customer – so you shouldn’t be charging me anyway.”

    We went back and forth on that for a while, hehe. They kept telling me to update my card info so they could charge me for not returning the equipment (remember, I bought it) and for terminating my service in less than 12 months (remember, I’d been a customer for 18 months). Finally, I threatened to report them to my state attorney general’s office for attempted fraud – and they finally relented and said I was paid in full.

    Anyway, here’s where Optipay figures in. I’m now a customer of Clear/Clearwire – a WiMAX wireless internet provider. They bill by the month to debit/credit cards. They also had to option to buy their equipment (I did) and sign up as uncontracted (I did) – which eliminates my responsibility for an early termination fee. But like Vonage, I’ve seen complaints by ex-customers in the Clear forum – saying they got charged for things after their service terminated. And as it happens, I’m getting ready to dump Clear due to poor service – the same reason I dumped Vonage for.

    So now, I’m preparing for “dump day” (grin). Yesterday, I logged onto my Clear account and updated my debit card info to show the Optipay MasterCard. But, I won’t have to “lose” my Optipay card later, hehe. The letter from ARCO Optipay said that the MasterCard will continue to function until the coming Discover card is activated – and that after activation, the MasterCard will automatically be deactivated.

    When I receive the Discover debit card from Optipay, I’ll just “sit” on it for a couple of weeks. I’ll allow Clear to make one charge on the MasterCard. Once that charge clears my bank, I’ll activate my Discover card – which will automatically deactivate the MasterCard. THEN, I’ll call up Clear to cancel my account with them at the end of the billing period.

    Hehe. I suspect I’ll get an email from Clear (like I did from Vonage) saying my card was declined. And I’ll probably go through the same brouhaha with them as I did with Vonage. One difference, though. I own a domain and gave Clear an email address I set up on that domain – forwarding mail to my real email address. If they send me email telling me to update my card info so they can dump improper charges on me, I’ll give them the same threat of reporting them for fraud to the state attorney general – and also tell them (grin) that I’m deleting my email account so I can no longer receive email from them. Phoning me won’t work since they still have an “old” phone number for me on record. And if they send me snail-mail complaints, I’ll just refer them to my prepaid legal service (grin).

    Moral of the story. When it comes to debit/credit card transactions, always remember that the person with the money in their possession is ALWAYS in a position of strength in any dispute. And given the choice of me arguing with them over an “overcharge” or them arguing with me over a perceived “undercharge,” I’ll choose the latter.

  31. Mercedes November 2, 2010 at 8:40PM

    I’ve been using the ARCO free debit card for 4 months now, and I absolutely love it. Mostly becuase I love the gas, and I love being able to pay for it without the $.45 fee. I drive a 2007 Honda Accord, and have been using ARCO for it since I bought it (along with other gas brands). I think ARCO is pretty good for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot on gas (like me, a grad student). And, it good for someone who understands that the card links to a bank account and you have to balance your checkbook everytime you use the ARCO card just like when you use your regular debit card (or, am I the only one who does that?!). I admit that it sucks that the card debits your account a few days after you buy the gas. But, if you do online banking then you can tag/rename the debit so you will know when it is debited. Also, you know you bought gas a few days ago, and how much you had in your account. So, if you overdraw its your fault, not the card’s.

    Overall, I like using the card.

  32. GARY October 29, 2010 at 7:40PM

    I have always had good luck with ARCO. Much of the time their prices are 5 to 10 cents a gallon cheaper than the “majors”. Sometimes they have been as much as 20 cents a gallon cheaper. Their prices seem to be more at par with the “low rack” stations.

    I use their Optipay card, not only at ARCO, but other stations as well when ARCO is not convenient, including Costco and Sams Club. When I received notice of the changes to come I wondered why they would want to go with Discover rather than stick with MasterCard. Most places accept VISA & Mastercard only, but not all places accept Discover. I did not know until today that there was such a thing as a Discover debit card.

    When the new card arrives I’ll use it and then decide if it’s any better or worse than what I’ve been using.

  33. Steve October 28, 2010 at 10:27AM

    I use Arco gas exclusively in my cars and motorcycles and have never had a problem at all. I monitor my mileage, and the cars and bikes do as well with Arco as anything else. Where I live (Seattle) Arco is consistently and significantly less expensive than other gas. I got the Optipay debit card and have used it for several months with no problem. However, Arco no longer offers that card, although as of today they are still accepting previously issued cards. So if you don’t already have an Arco debit card, your only non-cash option now is prepaid cards. Somebody gave me one as a gift and it worked fine. As for Arco being part of BP, I was really impressed with the engineering that went into sealing the well, and in general with BPs response to the blowout. I’ve got no problem at all doing business with them.

  34. Art October 16, 2010 at 3:21PM

    I have the ARCO Debit card and never paid a cent for it. Also when I use this card at ARCO the 45 cent charge is waived.

    IT IS A GOOD DEAL!!

  35. Mike October 5, 2010 at 9:37PM

    Marco, I have an ARCO card, It is not a credit card, it is a debit card. If you read the card application it tells you that their regular debit card is free but a preferred card costs you about $25.00. People need to read what they are signing for before they sign. If you don’t read the print and get a charge you didn’t expect it’s nobody’s fault but your oen!

  36. Roberto Angell August 26, 2010 at 10:24AM

    Geez, give it a break people. Just use cash
    and everyone’s happy. No charges, no credit or debit cards to get lost or stolen and no ID.theft. I’ll type this real slow you’ll understand; Give yourself a break. Just use cash.

  37. Denny July 30, 2010 at 1:32AM

    I tend to use cash a lot at Arco for two reasons. One is because over the period of a year I lost about $1,000 to overdraft fees at $25 a pop due to not tracking my account. So by withdrawing $80 every week when I get paid I know I’ll have gas money for the week. I also use cash cause I didn’t want to pay the 45 cent fee for debit. I recently got the Arco card but like others have expressed there can be a delay in the charge going through and sometimes that has caused my account to overdraw too. Mostly I just stick to the cash.

    But the station near my house that I use most of the time has started closing at night, probably to save money by cutting the night persons hours. They have it set up where the automated payment machines only accept cards at night cause no one is there to give change. I mostly use my card when there’s no attendant. I have to fill up anywhere from 2-3 times a week. When I used to use my debit card all the time what I would pay every month in debit fees would be anywhere from $4-5. But considering the money comes out pretty quick after a fill up it’s nice to know there won’t be an overdraft cause the money is taken the same day, usually within hours after filling up.

    Have always used Arco in every car and truck I’ve owned. For about 6 months, 7-8 years ago, I switched from Arco to Safeway gas because Safeway would give a discount of a few cents for using the member card. At the time I was driving a 1978 3/4 ton F250 it was a Camper Special, 1 ton suspension with dual gas tanks holding 30+ gallons of gas and getting probably less than 10 miles to the gallon. This truck was built like a mini tank weighing in at 5,000+ lbs or over 1.5 tons. I was filling both tanks about once a week and wanted to save every penny I could. Anyway, after about 6 months of using Safeway gas the engine was running rough. I took it to a dyno shop to have it tested. The guy detirmined there was carbon build up on one of the heads and said it was from the gas. He gave me a couple bottles of an additive to put in with the gas to clear out the carbon. I immediately switched back to Arco and didn’t have anymore problems. I also have never used Safeway gas since. Like someone else said above it’s possible the gas system could be contaminated at a particular station. But Arco works for me and has for many many years, so why switch.

    I drive 100+ miles a day, mostly to and from work and for work. I work a nightshift 35 miles from my house and than when I get off work in the morning I start my 2nd job as Traffic Flagger. As a flagger I have to drive my own vehicle sometimes 50+ miles on the clock and depending where I am when I get off work it could be 60+ miles to get home. Than repeat the next day. On my time off 2-3 times a month I also take long day trips to go hiking and biking, and sometimes those are even more driving than what I do during the week for work. My last car was an ’07 Focus that I had for 2 years and put 62,000 miles on it, average of 31,000 miles a year. It would have taken the average person 4 years to put that many miles on a car and I did it in 2!! I didn’t even remember to change the oil regularly and the car ran awesome! But, I totaled it, with over 73,000mi on the engine, and had to let it go and got this Caliber.

    I tend to do a lot of freeway driving, and use my cruise when I can, so that helps cut down on wear and tear. But still with as much as I drive if there was a problem with Arco’s gas I would know it.

  38. Hari Mahalingam July 6, 2010 at 10:26AM

    ARCO credit card is scam.I was told no fees when I applied charged $20 every month in fees. I had a charge in my account when I was out of state and when inquire customer service said valid charge somebody used my card while I am out of state. They are robbing people in the name of save $45 cents.

  39. Craig June 18, 2010 at 10:00AM

    ARCO is owned by BP so we shuold boycott them for what they have done in the gulf

  40. Saver April 23, 2010 at 1:56PM

    I used Arco in my 1991 vehicle and have not had problems with it since I bought it. It now has 200 thousand miles and runs great.

  41. Brian April 13, 2010 at 1:18AM

    Arco uses the same gas as all other stations. Gas stations/companies actually trade fuel between each other. If there is an Acro that is low on fuel, well they will buy it from their competitors. Chevron is the only station that does not do this. Chevron is Chevron .Everyone else will trade between each other.

  42. michelle February 26, 2010 at 12:21PM

    i have been purchasing arco gas for years. My Porshe,Ford Expedition, Chevy Tahoe, including my boat with a chevy 454 motor ext…
    great gas, never a problem.
    The debit mastercard card is free, and no 45cent charge.
    I use that one.
    the mastercard/ credit card is a $24.99 charge.

  43. fortygeek February 8, 2010 at 8:22AM

    One other note regarding ‘cash back’ credit cards. There is typically a yearly fee associated with them. Do some very careful math before signing up. Most people do not buy enough gas for the cash-back bonus to negate the yearly fee.

    Nobody, especially a bank, gives you money for free. Your best bet is to swear off credit cards altogether…but that’s an argument for another forum. ;-)

  44. fortygeek February 8, 2010 at 8:15AM

    1. Been using ARCO fuel in Oregon and Washington for more than two decades and have never had any problems. I typically drive trucks or 4X4s…rigs that take 30+ gallons to fill. The 5-10 cents lower cost per gallon is real and makes a real difference for someone like me.

    2. I don’t use credit cards for personal transactions…swore off them years ago. I use debit cards exclusively. The ARCO debit card works just like my bank debit card, but as mentioned above it does take an extra day or so to show up. No big deal if you know how to balance a check book and track your money.

    3. If you got denied an ARCO debit card because of your credit history…don’t blame ARCO. Blame HSBC, the bank that issues the debit card.

  45. Tony & Lynda Ruiz January 20, 2010 at 3:06PM

    By the way, don’t tell us about ARCO gas. Lynda worked for Unocal for 23 years. They claim to be as good as the best, but I left out the part about their being liars as well.

  46. Tony & Lynda Ruiz January 20, 2010 at 3:02PM

    I’m in the construction business and my truck was repo’d last year. We had a WAMU credit card with a $4500 limit we hardly used, then Chase canceled it because we paid off our bill monthly and had this one negative. ARCO declined me for their stupid debit card because we’re weren’t good enough for them, but now ARCO isn’t good enough for my entire family. Let’s ALL boycott them because they’re moronic, unethical and mercenary. They can stick their little “card”

  47. Ed January 10, 2010 at 6:47AM

    Wow…lot of misinformation going out here about gas quality, especially the guy saying Arco gas ruined his truck, I think everyone knows that was a stupid statement. And Marco, he finishes his rant by saying “I am not a stupid person”, but previously said $25 overdrew his account…in my book, if $25 overdraws your bank account, you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  48. Karen Oden December 15, 2009 at 2:12PM

    I have been using ARCO since 20 years in about 5 diferent cars that range from BMW, F-150, Ranger, Sentra, and Tercel. I never had a problem. I also was not charged a fee for the Arco debit card. I also use the Arco debit card whenever I go to the grocery store etc. the points accumulate and contribute to more savings as a credit gets applied to the debit card that you then can apply when using it at the gas pump. There’s about 1 day delay from when I use the Arco debit card until the charge comes through to my bank account. Then again – I know how to manage my money and dont’t drain every penny out of it so that a charge of 24.99 would overdraw me. I don’t have a lot of money but I always leave 50.00 security in my bank account. Sometimes yearly dues come through that I forgot about (i.e. AAA membership, NRA, AMA membership). This way I don’t overdraw. I never had a problem and I have the card ever since they offered it.

  49. Jeffrey Miller December 15, 2009 at 1:38PM

    First, I have no axe to grind for or against any one fuel supplier.

    The idea that ARCO gasoline is ‘watered down’ or somehow lower in quality is absolutely ludicrous. While every fuel retailer has it’s own additive mixtures, the fuel is the SAME. If you want to see this for yourself, go to a refinery and watch the various branded fuel hauling trucks come and go, all getting their fuel from the SAME PIPE.

    Anyone who says their engine was ruined by using ARCO fuel is either crazy or it was caused be a particular retailer that had a contaminated storage tank/delivery system. This can happen anywhere, with any brand.

  50. davey shepherd December 5, 2009 at 10:56PM

    i read somewhere that arco doesn’t use middle-eastern oil, so that if you want to make a minute contribution to peace in the world (logic too convoluted to follow) then arco is the brand to choose. having read the above comments regarding whether or not arco is ripping us off on their debit cards i have come to the conclusion that trying to ferret out the truth regarding any oil company’s business is certainly going to be difficult and probably going to be impossibe.

  51. Jackie December 4, 2009 at 11:28PM

    I use Arco gasoline as well as the debit card…I not only save on the gas price, I also dont ever pay the convenience fee or any fee for that matter.

  52. Marco November 26, 2009 at 7:38AM

    Arco Scam

    I signed up for what I thought was a “free debit card” to save the .45 fee. I was assured there there wasn’t an annual fee, but, I chose a preferred
    card there was a $24.99 fee. I declined.

    I was then directed to apply online again choosing the free debit card. I got my card and tried to activated and contacted customer service for assistance. I was assured it was free and no annual fees. The rep helped me activate the card and was good to go.

    I checked the bank I had linked the free debit card to and discovered I had been debited $24.99 for the card! I called Arco and was told I could cancel the card but the fee was non-refundable.

    I explained I had not used the card yet and they agreed but still refused to make a refund. The rep suggested that I keep the card open and cancel it before it expired in 12 months.

    To make matters worse the account I linked it to was overdrawn….my point being had I been aware that I was being charged a fee, I would never have authorized a charge that would but my account into a negative balance…I am not a stupid person…This reeks of bait and switch!!!!!!

    Has this happened to you?

  53. Al October 4, 2009 at 12:05PM

    I read that Arco’s higher ethanol content is good for the environment but lowers mpg. Track for yourself and see if it’s worth it for you.

  54. Bruce September 26, 2009 at 3:26PM

    You guys are morons do you even know how gasoline works?

    Unless your car specifically needs a higher octane it wont make any difference, newer cars have a timing sensor which delays the spark so lower octane will work.

    Using Premium gasoline in a car that doesn’t require it doesn’t give you any boost, it will just cost you more.

    Fuel cant me watered down since just like the food industries there are regular test being done to insure that they follow regulation.

    Also the best way to pay is cash, using a credit card introduces service fees to a store, plus it should just be good habit to use cash when possible, this is why everyone is struggling with the economy, they spend money they don’t have like idiots. Out of sight out of mind.

  55. Robert Anstead September 25, 2009 at 10:17AM

    I’m not standing up for any gas station but i’ve been using arco gas in my 1993 Suburban (195,000 miles)and it still runs as good as the day i got it. Doesn’t use oil and have had no engine problems.

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