Should You Buy Heating Oil With Cash or Credit?

The use of heating oil dates back all the way to the 1840s. There hasn’t been a huge change in the heating oil scene for quiet some time, until recently. With the implementation of the Smart Oil Gauge and our FuelSnap website, ordering oil has been as easy as it has been in a long time! But what does that mean when it comes to payment?

Sometimes it can be a little bit tricky. Especially since nowadays, most people don’t carry cash on them. I am guilty of this myself. Although I do like to keep cash on me, sometimes I don’t have time to stop at the bank and can go days without having cash on me!

In this article, we break down what you should use to buy heating oil, as well as what the future will hold for ordering oil with cash.

Heating Oil Discount with Cash

Most small businesses charge a processing fee when it comes to credit card purchases. Depending on the business, there tends to be a $0.30 surcharge, with an additional 2.9% processing fee. This cost makes up for itself by more people coming in and purchasing a product. Some businesses don’t even accept credit or debit cards. For example, The Candlelight Inn, located in Scarsdale NY, is a fantastic restaurant. They have some of the best wings I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, they have a strict CASH ONLY policy. Usually whenever I’m over in that direction, I make sure I have cash on me to get some wings. On the other hand, some businesses opt to have card only purchases. Although, that is very uncommon.

Interestingly enough, oil dealers typically do not have a 2.9% processing fee for card transactions. This is because credit card companies typically treat heating oil as a “Utility”. Utilities are often considered to be either gas or electric. Because home heating is a necessity (especially in the colder months), credit card companies need to be a bit more flexible with their payments and charges. Luckily, sometimes with some persuading, credit card processors will charge a much lower fee. On average, all of the fees come into around 1%. Due to this, there isn’t a massive difference between the cost of using either cash or card.

When you order heating oil, you will often see it delivered in a truck similar to this one. These trucks are designed to fill based upon how much oil was ordered or until the driver hears the whistle stop.

Some dealers do actually have discounts on oil depending on if you’re ordering it using cash. However, if you don’t carry cash you will have to run to the bank and withdraw some. Which can actually be more expensive. With the time and gas that it takes to get to the bank, you might actually be spending more money. But, if you already carry cash with you, then you can enjoy lower prices for oil!

The Pros and Cons

The biggest pro of ordering oil with a credit card, is that as the consumer you are always more protected. The good things is that some dealers will also only accept credit card orders which ensures a little bit more safety. You also don’t have to wait at home to pay the driver. If you have things to do away from home, the driver will still come and fill your tank!

However, there is one major issue with purchasing oil using a card. If you needed to get a refund for ordering oil, then it might take several days to get the full amount. This might not be a problem for most people, but sometimes when you’re in a pinch and need the money, it’s nice to have it.

While ordering with card is ultimately safer, ordering with cash still has some benefits. Although, there are more cons than pros when ordering oil with cash. The first is that some dealers (although not many), will often give you a cheaper price per gallon if you order cash. However, the biggest downside is that you must be at home when the dealer comes to deliver. Additionally, there is no electronic record of cash being given to the driver, which can often prove to be problematic.

Here is a more in depth chart of the pros and cons of using cash and card for your order of oil.

What is the Verdict?

Overall, paying cash and card both have their benefits. However, paying card is the best overall choice. Paying with card has many more pros than cons compared to cash. It’s ultimately more convenient when comparing it to paying with cash. Some dealers are even starting to phase out of cash all together! Additionally, with no digital paper trail to track weather or not your cash was received could prove to be problematic. The money can get lost or stolen which could be a problem, not only for you, but the dealer as well.

Paying credit card is overall safer and more reliable which is why we recommend paying with card instead of cash. It’ll save you the hassle and stress of possibly losing the money that you paid the driver with. When you pay with card, your payment is protected so it will not get lost or stolen.

Happy Heating,