What Is the Tesco PFS Charge on Your Bank Statement?

Have you ever glanced at your bank statement or credit card activity and noticed an odd charge from “Tesco PFS” that you don’t recognize? You’re not alone – this vague charge often generates confusion and alarm for many consumers.

This article will explain exactly what the Tesco PFS charge is, why it happens, how to avoid issues with it, and how to get it refunded if necessary. Read on for the full details on this mysterious bank statement fee.

What Does “Tesco PFS” Stand For?

PFS stands for “pay at pump fueling system.” So the Tesco PFS charge on your account indicates a payment related to getting petrol at a Tesco pay at the pump gas station.

Specifically, it is an authorization hold placed on your account when using a debit card or credit card to pay for fuel directly at the pump. The hold is meant to cover the maximum amount of petrol you could potentially pump based on your card’s limit.

Why Does Tesco Place a Temporary Hold?

When using pay at the pump fueling, the payment system does not know exactly how much petrol you will end up pumping when it pre-authorizes your card. So instead, it puts a hold on your account for the maximum amount it anticipates you could spend.

For many banks and cards, this means a typical pre-authorization of £75 to £100, even if you only spend £20 to £30 on fuel. This larger hold amount ensures you have enough funds available to cover a full tank of petrol.

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The Tesco PFS Charge Is More Than I Spent!

It can be alarming to see a substantially larger Tesco PFS authorization than your actual petrol purchase amount. However, the hold will always be higher than what you actually spend since it approves your card for the maximum amount possible.

Even if you only pump £30 worth of fuel, you will likely see a £75 or £100 pending Tesco PFS charge because that is the pre-authorization limit set by your bank and the fueling system.

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Not to worry though – once the real petrol charge goes through, the temporary authorization hold will disappear and only the actual amount you spent is withdrawn from your account.

Examples of Typical Tesco PFS Holds vs Actual Charges
  • Tesco PFS hold: £100
  • Actual petrol charge: £28
  • Tesco PFS hold disappears, only £28 final charge remains
  • Tesco PFS hold: £75
  • Actual petrol charge: £35
  • Only £35 withdrawn in the end

What to Do If You See an Unauthorized Tesco PFS Charge

In some rare cases, you might notice a Tesco PFS charge on your account for petrol you didn’t actually pump. Or perhaps you pumped just £20 worth but see a £200 PFS charge.

If this happens:

  • Contact your bank immediately to report the unauthorized transaction
  • File a dispute and fraud claim if necessary
  • Call the Tesco customer service line to alert them as well
  • Monitor your statements for refunds

Most legitimate errors will automatically refund within 10 business days. If no refund appears, keep contacting your bank and Tesco to resolve it.

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How to Avoid Issues With Tesco PFS Charges

To prevent headaches with Tesco PFS holds and surprises on your statements:

  • Pay inside for petrol instead of at the pump to avoid pre-authorizations
  • Use a low-limit debit card specifically for buying petrol, keeping holds low
  • Check statements frequently to catch errors quickly
  • Set up transaction alerts through your banking app
  • Use online banking to monitor pending charges in real time

The Bottom Line on the Tesco PFS Charge

The Tesco PFS charge or authorization is a standard practice for pay at the pump transactions. The hold will appear larger than your actual transaction amount before clearing. Only the final petrol charge gets withdrawn from your account in the end.

Contact your bank as soon as possible if you see any unauthorized or inaccurate Tesco PFS charges to dispute them. Setting alerts, using low-limit cards, and opting to pay inside can help minimize issues.

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