Fleet fuel cards offer unique benefits to business owners who operate trucks, vans, and cars. From small companies with two to five vehicles to full-scale national operations, fleet fuel cards can help businesses save money with real-time reports and advanced spending controls.
These cards also help businesses improve fuel efficiency by providing robust data like time of purchase, vehicle location, driver ID, and odometer readings.
Choosing a Card
Many different card types are available, and you need to think what are fleet fuel cards you need. Some cards are universal, while others are brand-specific or offer discounts only at select locations. Consider the level of control you need and how that will affect your chosen card. For example, there are better options than a card that allows employees to purchase anything for a trucking company that requires strict control over business expenses.
To track expenses and prevent unauthorized purchases, you must look for a fuel card with an online portal with detailed reports and monitoring systems. Some advanced systems can even categorize each purchase and provide the tax information you need to file expense claims. It eliminates the need to keep receipts and saves you money on printing and scanning expenses.
In addition, some cards feature a unique security system that activates the card when a driver uses it to buy fuel. Using the link to the driver’s cell phone, the system verifies that everything is correct before allowing the purchase. It will ensure that unauthorized individuals cannot make purchases with the card if it is lost or stolen. It is conducive for companies that require a high standard of security. Some of the most advanced fleet fuel cards will have a similar system alerting you to exceptions such as over-tank purchases or unusual odometer readings via text message.
Anyone who manages a trucking fleet, including independent contractors and companies with as few as two trucks, can benefit from fuel cards’ time-saving tools and expense control. A card also can lower the risk of costly fees resulting from low cash flow, such as bank overdraft charges and penalties for late payments or bounced checks.
Whether you’re looking for a branded card with a limited network of gas stations or a fleet card accepted at more than 320,000 locations nationwide, there are plenty of options. Look for features like a central online platform to simplify accounting and reduce the need for paper receipts and various reporting options. Some cards allow you to set spending limits for drivers and vehicles, which can help control expenses.
Depending on the card type, some offer point-of-sale discounts where you save one to six cents per gallon and get a check at the end of the month for the total discount. Others use a rebate model where the merchant bills you for the total retail price, and the card company sends you a check at the end of the month. Many fuel cards have other valuable features, such as requiring driver IDs and odometer readings or using GPS technology to prevent fraudulent purchases.
If you manage a team of drivers – whether for delivery services, plumbing companies, or a national supply chain – a fleet fuel card can help you orchestrate your business from the road. The cards offer many features that can make the process easier, including real-time monitoring of employee purchases and data insights to optimize fleet performance.
Consider discounts and how they may affect your financial situation when evaluating options. For example, branded cards often have lower or no fees than universal cards that use major credit card networks. In addition, you’ll want to determine whether there are restrictions on the card’s usage based on region or station type.
Most fleet fuel cards provide real-time alerts for purchases — such as when an employee goes over budget or is refueling in the wrong location. These reports can also reveal other important insights, like confirming mileage at each fill-up.
Fleet fuel cards, including truck stops and convenience stores, can be used at more than 320,000 locations nationwide. You can choose to authorize the cards to purchase only gas or maintenance or both, and you can set up security measures like security code prompting at the pump. The cards can even help you build your business credit by reporting positive payment behavior to the credit bureaus.
Businesses that spend much on gas yearly, such as shipping and transportation companies or limo services, can benefit from fleet fuel cards. These credit cards allow employees to pay for gas and other expenses on the company’s behalf while letting managers oversee and track these purchases in real time.
When shopping for a fleet card, it’s essential to consider the region, discounts, fee structure, controls, and back-end reporting to find what best fits your needs. Some card providers offer mobile apps that help drivers keep tabs on their spending, locate nearby or cheapest fuel stations and make it easy to pay at the pump. Other features include exception monitoring that alerts you to unusual or suspicious behavior, such as exceeding a daily limit or entering an unusual odometer reading.
Many fleet fuel cards also come with advanced fraud prevention tools to protect your business from internal theft and misuse of funds. These include allowing you to restrict the use of certain vehicles or times of day for maximum control, the ability to confirm miles per gallon at every fill-up, and detailed transaction information that helps identify and combat budget busting. In addition, some fleet cards will allow each driver to set up spending limits, preventing over-tank purchases and other costly mistakes.