In the 1960s, fuel cards, commonly referred to as fleet cards, were first introduced and subsequently caught the attention of the public & fleet operators in a big way. These cards were first exclusively used by delivery services and were not widely used. With the advent of technology, fuel cards started getting wider acceptance. The automobile boom in the 90s saw an upswing in the usage of fuel cards as the most preferred mode of payment.
What are Fuel Cards?
A fuel card allows fleet managers or businesses to purchase fuel from a network of accredited gas stations and retailers.
Additionally, fuel cards are used, for vehicle maintenance purchases. Based on the guidelines of the fleet operator, you can use the fuel card to access cash and pay for goods and services related to trucking.
Features of Fuel Cards
Some of the standard features offered by most fuel cards are as follows:
Fuel discounts: The main feature of every fuel card is the average discount per gallon. The discount range anywhere from 3 to 6 cents per gallon.
Card-Coverage: The network coverage is another critical feature. Wide acceptance of the fuel card will ensure better service for bigger fleets. The fuel card must consider all vehicle types with various fuel sources, such as electric or diesel, and must be accepted everywhere for each fuel type.
Online alerts: With mobile alerts and online access to their accounts, fleet managers and drivers may review their spending patterns, locate the closest gas station, receive alerts about over-tank purchases, etc.
Fuel analytics: Information recorded in fleet cards about price per gallon, fuel purchases, fuel station details, odometer readings, etc can be used by fleet managers for studying fuel usage and areas of improvement.
Benefits of Fuel Cards
Controlled expenditure: Owning a fuel card gives you greater control over your fuel spending. You can specify restrictions on additional factors, such as how much fuel drivers can purchase. You feel more liberated knowing that no one can spend more than what is allowed. With the pre-set limits, you can monitor your card usage.
Savings: Control over spending translates into savings. Fleet cards, which provide drivers access to additional gas station discounts and can assist lower overall fuel expenses, are widely available on the market.
Ease of payment: Drivers can make payments easily at partnered gas stations without feeling stressed by carrying wads of cash. For truck drivers, using a fuel card is a convenient way to receive the fuel they require when they require it.
Analysis and Reports: A fuel card helps you maintain a more structured record-keeping system, which has many benefits. You may view any transaction, including fuel usage and other specifics, by login into your account. Your account can also be linked to your accounting software, resulting in transparency and saving cost and time.
IFTA Reporting: Fuel card integrations make IFTA reporting quick and easy. Importing information such as location, gallons, total cost, and date/time of the fuel purchase automatically from your fuel card provider expedites IFTA reporting.
Fuel points and rewards: Certain fuel cards have schemes where you accrue points for fueling. Truck drivers can use these points to pay for food or personal expenses, which will serve as a reward and encourage them to work more.
Difference Between Fuel Cards and Credit Cards
The simple difference is that fuel cards are used only for fueling purposes, whereas credit cards to purchase anything. Fuel cards are more descriptive in terms of detailed information about fuel purchases, driver id, odometer information, quantity, place, and fueling time. On the other hand, a credit card will only give the amount and location of the transaction.
Why Do Fleets Choose Fuel Cards Over Credit Cards?
In the present global scenario where oil is the new gold, managing and controlling fuel expenses determines the future of your business. Using a fuel card rather than a corporate credit card or cash for diesel purchases is one of the simplest ways to control fuel expenditures. The following are the reasons why fleets choose fuel cards over credit cards.
- Discounted fuel price
A fuel card company offers fuel at a discounted price based on an understanding of the fuel pump chains. A credit card company can never give such an option. In the long run, the discounted fueling translates into savings and profits for the fleet operators.
- Regulated expenses
Due to their limited features, fuel cards do not give you room for splurging money. In contrast, a credit card gives you access to credit, allowing you to indulge in luxury. This can result in overspending and getting caught in a debt cycle.
- Discounted fuel
The majority of gas stations accept fuel cards. In a fiercely competitive market, gas stations give aggressive rebates and discounts of up to 20 cents off every gallon. Additionally, there are waivers or low charges as transaction fees. No credit card business can compete with this.
- Control fuel transactions
This function restricts the number of gallons a driver can purchase, setting an upper limit on the purchase amount and the number of charges. They have additional restrictions on the fuel type for which they can be used such as diesel, etc.
- Cash advances
Withdrawal of cash advances is a unique feature of fuel cards. You and your drivers may access ready cash from handy locations with the right card. Every withdrawal made by your drivers is monitored, tracked, and managed by the accounting department.
- Vehicle/ Driver specific cards
You can select a driver card or vehicle card when using a fleet card program to determine how to use the cards. As the names imply, each card type is associated with a driver or a vehicle. If your driver drives the same vehicle always, a driver’s card might be your best solution. However, a vehicle card uses driver PINs to enable you to readily see which driver filled which vehicle when they switched vehicles. By adding or deactivating driver PINs, you may turn driver access on and off, making it simple to handle employee turnover or schedule changes.
- Easily approved
Getting authorization for a high-limit company credit card is difficult, especially if you have a lot of big loans or other debt. Even more difficult will be persuading a financial institution to give you enough cards for each driver in your fleet. Your chances of being authorized for fuel cards are significantly higher than credit cards. Additionally, the application procedure for fleet cards is quicker.
- Automated process
Having a fleet card eliminates the laborious task of combing through paper and receipt reconciliations. By choosing a technology-savvy fleet card supplier having an advanced business payment automation process and simple expense reporting, you will be much at ease operationally and can focus on expanding your business.
- Protection against fraud
Using a fuel card to pay for fuel is the safest option. Fuel cards employ a driver ID/PIN at the point of sale to improve user security. Fleet executives are the only individuals with secured access to account information and the power to deactivate lost or stolen cards.
- Data dissemination
Trucking businesses have access to a wealth of data through fuel cards and the compatible management systems used to improve fleet management. Smaller fleets with fewer trucks and constrained technology resources may value the fuel card data-gathering features. Utilizing them allows businesses to learn important information about the trends in fuel consumption and adjust lower overall expenditures.
Comparatively speaking, credit cards offer less useful data. Statements for business credit cards are similar to those received by regular customers. To put it in simple words, they have more transactions overall, and their spending thresholds are often significantly higher
How to Choose the Best Fuel Card?
It is a difficult decision, especially with a wide range of fuel card providers in the market. Your requirements research has to be thorough before selecting the best card for your fleet. Although, there are a few vendors who offer all the advantages of a high-quality fuel discount card.
The ideal fuel savings card will have offers that will add value to your bottom line, regardless of the size of your fleet. In a fuel card, keep an eye out for the following advantages.
- Providing reasonable discounts without any transaction fees.
- Wider acceptance at gas stations in different states.
- Adaptable and accommodating to any fleet size.
- Easy retrieval of fuel transactions history.
- Provision of rewards such as cashback, loyalty, and reward points.
- No ambiguous or obscure terms and conditions.
- Reliable security controls and checks before approving each transaction.
The Matrack Fuel Card is simple but efficient for drivers and fleet operators. Greater control over fuel purchases and hassle-free online transactions are both provided with the Matrack fuel card. A 1.5% early pay discount, a payment option with no interest for up to 60 days, real-time fraud warnings, and many other features are all included with the card.
Matrack Fuel Card is a great option with lots of benefits.
Fuel cards are the best option for fleet owners trying to save expenses, tighten their budgets, and streamline the fuel purchasing process. They need to be aware of the geographic area in which their fleet operates because, even with the highest discount offered by the fuel card provider, it would be meaningless if the fleet were not utilizing the same region. The most suitable fuel card provider must be only chosen, after considering all the variables. A wise choice will enable your fleet and drivers to profit from the fuel card in a way that benefits both parties.
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