I've always been a little skeptical of deals that businesses offer that seem too good to be true. I usually assume that there’s a catch somewhere.  

 

The other day (okay, a few weeks ago… I’ve had this post on my to-do list for awhile, haha) I got an email from my cousin’s cousin. {side note: Is there an actual word for that— cousin’s cousin? Let me know if there is.} Anyway, Emily emailed me with an AWESOME money saving idea… but I was skeptical.

 

She told me about a gas station near her called Cumberland Farms and a program they do called “Smart Pay”. If you sign up for their program, you save 10 cents (!) per gallon on every gallon of gas.

 

10 cents off each gallon? That’s like, a lot! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

 

But since I’m kinda-halfway related to her, I decided to look into it rather than just writing the idea off.

 

{not a Cumberland Farms, but I had to work with what's near me!}

 

 

How is that possible?

Turns out, it IS possible. The way the program works is that you link your checking account directly to your Smart Pay card/app. Whenever you buy gas using your Smart Pay account, the money comes straight out of your checking account, saving the gas station the usual 1-3% (ish) credit card processing fee. So basically, the gas station is saving itself some extra fees, and is just passing those savings along to you. {And this probably also drums up extra business, so its a win for them!}

 

Is this better than credit cards that give you cash back for gas?

So let's say that 10 cent savings comes out to be about 3% off (which, if your gas is $3.40/gallon, that's pretty accurate). That's a good savings! BUT… I’ve found credit cards that give you 5% cash back per gas transaction, which is a bit better than 3% (duh).  {I don't really have experience with credit cards that give you airline points and things like that, so I'm not going to mention those}

So does that mean these types of programs aren't as good as using a credit card? Ehh, not necessarily.

Honestly, it comes down to the type of person you are. If you religiously pay off your credit card bill each month and you can handle charging all your gas (and you get a better cash back return than 10 cents per gallon), then the credit card wins.

But if you’re the type that sometimes struggles to pay off your credit card bill, it might be best if you pay for your gas straight from your checking account until you can feel more secure putting things on your credit card.

 

Keep an eye out!

I bet there are programs like this at other gas stations, so if you see something advertised with a too good to be true deal, don’t write it off like I did! Take a few minutes to look into the program. You never know— you might see that it would save you money!

 

 

Are you a skeptic of good deals like me? Have you ever signed up for something like this at your gas station?