Selecting a Fuel Card
Fuel cards help businesses to manage fuel expenses by offering an easy and simple way to pay their employees fuel bills. Fuel cards are given to drivers to purchase business fuel, the company is then invoiced in one payment for the total fuel expenditure on a monthly, weekly or other credit basis. Fleet managers can also view the fuel spent online by driver, fuel card or vehicle, allowing them to run reports to see where improvements can be made. There are a number of factors to consider when researching and selecting the best fuel card for your business needs. In this article we take a look at what factors any business should consider when investing in a fuel card for their business.
Fuel cards can only be used at the designated petrol stations that work in conjunction with that particular fuel card brand. Finding out the location of the usable petrol stations in relation to your driver routes is key to understanding if a particular fuel card will work for your business. Drivers should be able to easily access the petrol stations where the fuel card can be used without needing to go too far out of their usual route. This will help to save time and any unnecessary trips for drivers, saving the business money and being much more convenient for the driver. International travel should also be a factor, some fuel cards can be used across Europe and others are restricted to specific countries such as some fuel cards in the UK.
Fuel Card Costs
The cost of a fuel card can vary significantly between companies, some charge annual network fees, transaction fees, card activation fees, invoicing fees, report fees and more. When researching fuel cards a business should always read the fineprint and consider all of the applicable fees. Even though some fuel cards boast a reduction off the pump price, the fees associated with these cards could completely remove this benefit altogether. There are some fuel cards that are free and have no fees, but these may not have the same functionalities of those who charge to use their services. Each business should consider its current and future needs and what will be beneficial overall.
Features and benefits
Every fuel card offers different features and benefits above and beyond the discount on fuel which most fuel cards offer. These additional features and benefits can be highly beneficial to some businesses depending on their individual needs. Some fuel cards enable fleet managers to restrict fuel cards to only be used on certain vehicles and for fuel only or additional services such as car washes and oil. Other companies offer discounts or rewards by allowing drivers to collect loyalty points from the petrol stations which can then be used on other things.
Online account management is another key benefit that some fuel cards offer for their customers. Each fuel card will have a different system that allows fleet managers to monitor and report on the monthly spend. Available reports may differ between fuel card providers with some providing more detail. A business may wish to get information on exactly what reporting options are on offer before selecting the most appropriate fuel card for the business.
Fuel credit and invoicing
The invoicing and available credit options vary between fuel card companies, some offer monthly invoicing, some weekly and others in between. Your business may need specific credit and invoicing options in order to be able to effectively manage business cash flow. This should be taken into consideration when looking at the fuel cards on offer and making the selection.
Associated partner offers
Some fuel card companies work in collaboration with partner companies that offer services such as breakdown cover, insurance, vehicle leases and more related services that could be beneficial to fleet managers. By signing up to a fuel card with a company who has partners a business could save a substantial amount on related services that would have been purchased anyway.
These are just some of the things to consider when looking to sign up to a fuel card for your business, the key thing to consider is your business and driver needs and find the best fuel card that fits both criteria.