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Fuel Cards For Business & Tips To Find The Best Ones

Fuel Cards For Business

For fleet managers, the control and monitoring of fuel expenses is a crucial aspect of their responsibility. It aims to reduce fuel cost while making sure that their drivers have a wide access to petrol stations along their routes.

This is where the utilisation of fuel cards for business becomes important, The card offers a great way to manage fuel expenditures while providing your drivers the convenience required for the availability of fuel on their designated routes.

With a wide selection of fuel cards on the market, choosing the right option can require some analysis.

Fuel Card Overview

Starting with the fundamentals, A driver can use the card to make payment for fuel products such as diesel and petrol. It would also cover repair and maintenance costs of the fleet vehicles since it is similarly designed like a credit card, which is dedicated for the use of fleet automobiles.

Transactions would reflect on your company’s account when a driver uses their fuel card at partner fuel stations and auto repair shops. Purchase records would be recorded every time the card is used which would include purchase information such as date, location, gallon count, odometer reading and the total amount paid for each transaction. A consolidated total of all purchases would also be provided for better accounting of expenditures.

Fuel Cards Vs Personal Payment Cards

In comparison to having drivers pay with cash or personal cards, the use of fuel cards would provide a better solution in managing fleet cost as it allows the availability of detailed information on when and where fleet vehicles are fuelling up.

It also gives wider control in expenses and easily prevents unauthorised use. Among the other benefits that it offers is the allocation of personalised spending limits for each card, provision of comprehensive statistics which would include frequent fill-up locations, average miles miles per gallons and other metrics needed in managing your fleet.

Finding The Right Fuel Card For Your Business

Now that the fundamentals on the use of fuel cards were explained, Let us now review the procedure in finding the right fuel card suitable for the needs of your business.

You must first conduct a thorough analysis of the fleet profile and the fuel consumption trends of your business. Important elements in this case would include:

  • Total quantity of fleet vehicles
  • Types of fleet vehicles such as vans, light trucks, semi-trucks, sedans, fleet cars etc.
  • Fleet’s average monthly or yearly fuel consumption
  • Normal routes travelled by your vehicles which include local, regional, national or even international.
  • Individual vehicles average monthly mileage.

Spend some time gathering comprehensive information about the composition and usage trends of your fleet. This information will be extremely helpful in the future when choosing different fuel card pricing plans.

Next, you should look into the main fuel card companies and their available offerings:

  • Fleet Size (Quantity and kinds of vehicles)
  • Average monthly/yearly consumption of fuel
  • Principal regional areas of operation
  • Unique needs for vehicles

This information will assist in limiting possible fuel card selections.

Research Providers and Plans

Examine offers made by leading fuel card providers in your area.

Important factors to consider:

  • Available locations – Quantity and vicinity of stations accepting the card.
  • Available programs – Different alternatives for varying fleet kinds and sizes.
  • Card limitations – Is it possible to impose limits on the amount, where and when of spending?
  • Terms of billing and payment – Billing frequency, due dates and payment options.
  • Fees – Fees for transactions, late payments, and for initial one-time setup.

Review Network Coverage

Confirm that the card may be utilised at stations in every area where the fleet runs. Finding an accepted station by drivers should never be a challenge.

Examine acceptance sites in relation to your regular routes and gas stations. Keep in mind to plan for future expansion as well.

Understand Reporting Features

Accurate fuel card data can lead to opportunities significant for fleet optimisation. Evaluate capabilities:

  • Can personalised results be produced?
  • How often is data updated?
  • Is it possible to integrate data with telematics and GPS providers?
  • Will driver tracking and spending analytics yield useful insights?

Extensive reporting is essential to optimise advantages.

Consider Additional Features

Certain providers give additional features such as:

  • Monitoring and warning of maintenance
  • Roadside assistance program
  • Towing services
  • Reporting of vehicle tax
  • Electric vehicle charging status

Choose the suitable characteristics that give value to your operations.

Get Recommendations and Reviews

Speak with other companies in your business sector to find out what fuel card they would recommend. Additionally search each provider’s internet reviews and testimonials.

This could assist in evaluating the company’s reputation and client satisfaction.

Compare Overall Value

Examine the entire programs offering – acceptance, network coverage, features, reporting, fees and customer service support.

Choose the supplier who can best meet your business needs and operating profile while providing the most value and benefits.

Managing Your Fuel Card Program

There are best practices for managing your fuel card program after it has been put in place.

Set Clear Usage Policies

Give drivers detailed instructions on when and how to use the fuel cards. This may comprise of:

  • Permitted fuelling locations
  • If required, procedure for obtaining pre-authorisation
  • Personal use policies (if permitted)
  • Documentation requirements while fuelling such as odometer photo
  • Standard protocol for unauthorised use.

Monitor Spending Activity

Analyse fuel card data on a regular basis to spot unusual expenditure patterns. Examine trends over time by:

  • Vehicle – Which fleet vehicle shows increased usage or spending?
  • Driver – Do some drivers purchase a more significant amount of fuel compared to others?
  • Location – Which location has the highest spending?

Ensure that the transactions correspond with the routes and average MPG of the vehicle.

Enforce Limits

Make sure the cards have proper limits placed on them to prevent excessive purchase. This would typically include:

  • Daily or Weekly number of transactions
  • Maximum transaction expenditure
  • Permitted time period or days of usage

Adjust limitations as necessary in conjunction with analysis of spending trend

Provide Ongoing Training

Teach new team members on the correct way to use fuel cards. It’s also a good practice to periodically retrain current staff members to avoid the formation of undesirable habits. During training, emphasise how important it is to abide by the policies being implemented.

Streamline Integration

To maximise the value of fuel card data reporting, integrate it with your accounting platform, telematics, GPS, and other systems. Manual work by your team can be reduced by automating data flows.

Getting the Most from Your Fuel Card

In order to maximise benefits from a fuel card program:

Choose Branded vs. Universal

Branded fuel cards may reduce specific refuelling stations but could provide a significant discount. On the other hand universal cards would increase fuelling locations but would reduce savings from discounts. Evaluate fleet requirements to select one of the two.

Enable Purchase Controls

Setting limits is one control parameter you can use to stop unauthorised transactions. Receive prompt notifications to monitor possible misuse.

Use Tiered Employee Cards

Provide distinct employee cards with customised limitations. Senior employees may be eligible for higher limitations. This permits operational flexibility while providing detailed monitoring.

Integrate with Other Systems

Synchronise your data systems such as GPS, routing, maintenance software etc. to amplify comprehensive integration benefits.

Sign Up for Loyalty Programs

In addition to the savings offered by fuel cards, take advantage of loyalty and rewards programs offered by field brands. Every cost counts in optimising fleet spending.

Analyse Spending Trends

Significant optimisation opportunities can be unlocked by routinely analysing fuel use patterns. You can modify supply routes, fleet vehicles mixtures, driver behaviour and other factors with the use of this knowledge

Maintaining Compliance and Preventing Fraud

Fuel cards are convenient but they need to be used carefully to avoid abuse. Best practices would consist of:

Document Policies

Provide all staff with written card protocols that are clear and concise. This will facilitate enforcement and guaranteed knowledge.

Require Odometer Entry

Many fuel cards enable the picture taking of the odometer. This aids in enforcing possible disparities in mileage during assessment of spending.

Set Custom Alerts

Collaborate with your provider to set up notifications for any unusual transactions such as

  • Fuelling that exceeds the vehicles fuel tank capacity
  • Purchase occurrence when a vehicle is inactive per GPS
  • Outside MPG range fuel economy

Review Spending Regularly

Analyse all vehicle transactions, mileage and fuel consumption on a regular basis. Suspect unusual trends or outliers.

Suspend High-Risk Cards

Instead of permanently cancelling cards that show questionable activities, suspend them for a short while after investigation has been concluded where any reactivation attempts can easily be spotted.

Report All Violations

Reporting fraudulent card use or policy non compliance to management immediately is highly advised. Penalties should be strictly implemented at all costs.

Fuel Cards Offer Fleet Optimisation Potential

Fuel expenses account for a significant amount of fleet spending overall. Programs for fuel cards offer much more than just convenient payment.

Companies are able to uncover several opportunities for optimisation and would obtain extensive visibility into driver behaviour thanks to the comprehensive data and control capabilities. The savings from fewer incidents and less opportunity for transaction fraud could offset the corresponding card fees.

Fuel cards make payments easier, but their greatest benefit is the access to in depth fleet operations insights which they offer. Making the most of these insights is essential to maximising the benefits that fuel cards can provide.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of businesses benefit most from fuel cards?

For fleets with significant fuel use, such as those in the trucking, delivery, transportation, utilities and field industries. Fuel cards offer the biggest benefit. They are also appropriate for businesses with huge distributed fleets of vehicles.

Can fuel cards be used to track mileage for tax purposes?

Yes, you can use the comprehensive odometer data that comes with every fuel card purchase to accurately record your miles for IRS tax deduction purposes. This data is guaranteed to provide accurate and reliable mileage documentation

How do fuel cards aid in managing the cost of maintenance of fleet vehicles ?

Fuel cards used as payment in partner auto repair and maintenance facilities would have data on all maintenance expenditures using the card, this data trends can be used as reference to identify vehicles that may need more periodic maintenance. Preventive maintenance on these vehicles is crucial to avoid breakdown during operation which may cause unexpected maintenance costs.

What is the standard procedure in the event of a lost or stolen business fuel card?

In the case of a misplaced, lost or stolen fuel card, Immediately contact the fuel card provider in order to have the card suspended. Most providers have a customer service hotline which is open 24/7. Prompt reporting would lower the risk of fraudulent transactions that would be made using the said card..

Besides fuel cards, are there ways to get fuel discounts?

Few other options would include the purchase of fuel in bulk from distributors, gaining incentives from fuel rewards programs and being part of a cooperative handled by trade organisations. Unfortunately these would provide less monitoring and control of tailor fitter fleet management data which business fuel cards offer.

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