43% of Consumers Changing Gas Station Payment Method to Avoid Pump Skimmers


Gas skimming is a growing threat to consumers at the gas pump, so much so that it has made an impact on how Americans pay for gas, according to a survey commissioned by CompareCards of American consumers who had purchased gasoline in the last 30 days. Forty-​three percent of Americans said they've changed the way they pay for gas because of skimming concerns.

"One huge driver of this phenomenon is the fact that gas station pumps don't need to be converted to accept EMV cards until October 2020," said Matt Schulz, Chief Industry Analyst for CompareCards. "That makes those pumps low-​hanging fruit for fraudsters."

Key findings:

  • Fifteen percent of Americans said they've been a victim of skimming at the pump.
  • Forty-​three percent of Americans said they've changed the way they pay for gas because of concerns about skimming.
  • Millennials are most likely to have changed their gas-​paying habits (48% versus 43% for Gen Xers and boomers).
  • Women are slightly more likely to have changed than men (43% versus 48%).
  • Paying inside versus at the pump is the most common way (20%) people have changed their habits because of the risk of skimming.

According to AudienceSCAN, 8.6% of American adults stop at a gas station three to four times a week and 5.3% stop by more than five times per week. Of these Frequent Gas Station/​Convenience Store Shoppers, 31.2% are between the ages of 25 and 34. This puts quite a few in the millennial age range. When this generation is looking for a place to stop for gas, they're likely using a mobile device. In the past six months, 33.1% used a mobile device to get directions to a retail location.

The younger you are, the more likely you are to claim you've been a victim of gas skimming.

Millennials seem to be the top target of skimmers. Of the millennials surveyed, 21% said they've fallen victim to gas skimming, while 15% of Gen Xers and 8% of boomers said they've had their credit or debit card information stolen at gas stations.

More people opt to pay inside versus at the pump. 

To avoid having their credit card information stolen at the pump again, roughly two-​thirds of those who claimed to be victims said they had changed how they pay for gas.

Of the victims who changed the way they pay, 45% said they use credit cards more, and 39% said they choose to pay for gas inside the gas station more. Another 16% said they use cash more.

"I think that ordering is really interesting," Schulz said. "It shows that the message that 'credit cards are safer' is getting across. It also shows that people are taking this seriously and making changes when necessary."

Gas stations that have already begun accepting EMV card payments can advertise their safer transaction capabilities to Frequent Gas Station/​Convenience Store Shoppers both digitally and traditionally. According to AudienceSCAN, this group is 74% more likely than other adults to take action after seeing ads in both online and printed directories and, last year, 67.2% took action after hearing an ad on over-​the-​air or online radio. About 76% also took action after seeing a TV commercial last year. 

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Analyst, specializing in audience intelligence, at SalesFuel. She also helps to maintain the major accounts and co-​op intelligence databases. As the holder of a Bachelors degree in English from The Ohio State University, Rachel helps the rest of the SalesFuel team with their writing needs.