If you are a Canadian driving in the United States, you may occasionally run into problems trying to “pay at the pump” at gas stations.

When attempting to pay with a credit card, some pumps may ask you to enter a ZIP code. As a Canadian, you obviously do not have a ZIP code. So this can be the end of the payment transaction. At this point, you would have to pay inside at the counter.

A ZIP Code Workaround

Here is an easy (and legal) trick that allows you to work through the ZIP code step using part of your Canadian postal code. Important: use the postal code from your billing address.

  • For example, if your Canadian postal code is M4C 1B5, take the three numbers from your postal code.
  • M4C 1B5 would give you “415”.
  • Then place two zeros on the end. Your new ZIP code would be “41500”.

When the pump asks for a ZIP code, simply type in the modified new ZIP code derived from your postal code and you should be able to continue through the payment process.

This solution is endorsed by MasterCard and worked very smoothly for us at several US filling stations.