Thought fleet fuel cards are only beneficial for large businesses?
Well, then, you’d be surprised to see the variety of fuel cards available for small businesses these days. Even if your business has just a handful of vehicles, fleet cards or fleet gas cards can prove useful in managing your day-to-day operations and expenditure.
Hence, in this informative guide, we’ll be discussing the different types of fuel cards for your business fleets, how they work, their benefits, and how to choose the best one.
What Is A Fuel Card?
Also known as a fleet card or a fleet gas card, a fuel card is like a credit card used by businesses to purchase gas, diesel, petroleum, and oil. However, unlike regular credit cards, you can use fuel cards only for vehicle expenses.
Administered by large fuel companies, fuel cards can be used at various fuel stations, depending on your location. But how is it better than simply paying by cash?
Well, fleet cards are often accompanied by discounted fuel rates, making them a cost-effective option for businesses that require fuel regularly. Not to forget, swiping a card is much more convenient than carrying or withdrawing cash every time you make a transaction doithuong.
For easier understanding, here’s a brief list of functions served by fuel cards.
- Preventing the use of cash, checks, or personal credit cards
- Paying for fuel, maintenance (truck/car wash discounts), and emergency repairs
- Controlling costs for individual vehicles or the entire fleet
- Allowing vehicle operators to charge other expenses if necessary
- Safeguarding your spending
- Monitoring charges wherever your drivers are
- Authorizing expenses in real time
So, overall, getting a fuel card comes with a host of benefits for your business, like lowering costs, limiting expenditure, and enjoying discounts and other perks.
How Do Fuel Cards Work?
Fuel cards can be used at certain gas stations which accept the card brand. You may have to top up the fuel card on a monthly or yearly basis.
Thereafter, all you have to do is swipe the card at the pump, and the amount will be deducted from your balance. In the case of prepaid fuel cards, whenever you’re low on funds, simply recharge the card online from your phone.
Hence, if your business requires management of fleets or if you regularly travel long distances for work, getting a fuel card is highly recommended.
What Are The Benefits Of Fuel Cards?
Essentially, businesses of all types and sizes can take advantage of fuel cards, regardless of the types of fleets. So, even if your fleet consists of scooters and motorcycles, or helicopters and airplanes, as long as your business uses a motorized vehicle, it is considered a fleet.
Now, you might be wondering – why use fleet cards when you have a credit card?
Well, although the main function of fleet cards is similar to credit cards, it carries one major difference that makes it a better alternative. Fleet fuel cards allow you to make purchases while setting limits and tracking employee usage. So, once you’ve crossed the set limit, you won’t be able to make any unauthorized purchases.
Other than that, the regular discounts offered to fuel card users serves as a blessing in disguise in an era when fuel prices are at an all-time high. As a result, the more fuel you buy using a fleet card, the more you save in the long run.
These discounts also help you save up on repairs and maintenance, so your fleet is always in top-notch condition.
How To Choose The Best Card For Fueling Business Fleets?
1. Fleet Size
Since certain fleet cards carry minimum spending requirements, you may want to choose one according to the size of your fleet. Beware of companies that do not reveal the suitability of their cards according to fleet sizes.
So, a little homework on your part goes a long way to eliminate associated administrative expenses. Check the requirements of each card, like minimum monthly expenditure/annual revenue, before making your choice.
Considering additional benefits like loyalty programs, rewards, cashback, etc., is essential while choosing the best card for your business fleets. For instance, if you opt for a fleet fuel card with rewards, you could redeem the collected points for free gifts.
Such fuel card benefits can help fleet managers and truckers/trucking services save up and provide better working conditions to their employees.
While some fleet fuel cards are accompanied by discounts of a few cents per gallon, some offer as much as 45 cents. However, check the details of your card carefully, as bigger discounts come with smaller networks.
Additionally, some cards guarantee higher discounts on in-store purchases and maintenance services.
Fleet cards that require driver IDs, odometer readings, Engine Control Unit (ECU) data, etc. should be preferred as these factors can be beneficial in preventing fraudulent activity. Consequently, managers will be able to enjoy better administration of their driver’s usage patterns and behavior and, as such, hold them accountable in case of misuse of company funds.
5. Card Acceptance
Another important factor you must consider is the number of service stations that accept a particular card. Some cards may only be applicable in select stations and may not offer as many discounts as you expect. Also, ensure that you issue a card that covers all vehicle-related expenses.
Fuel usage reporting is another essential factor one must consider with fuel prices rising every day. It is important to choose a fleet card that offers adequate reporting, so you save time and effort and, consequently, track fuel expenditure.
Notably, many fuel cards support IFTA reporting, making it easier for fleet managers to track fuel taxes and make payments accordingly.
Choose The Card With The Best Savings
Choose the card that suits your fleet requirements and is accepted in the fuel stations you usually visit. Other than that, ensure you check what each card requires for initial setup and the level of security and savings it offers in the long run.
By choosing the best card for fuel, you can effectively track expenses, save time, increase profits, and expand your market.