14 December 2017 : 

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Fuel Cards

What is a fuel card?

Fuel cards are plastic cards which look and feel much like credit or debit cards. They offer businesses the ability to easily track purchases of fuel and maintenance of vehicles and can save money at the same time. Fuel cards can be used much like a credit card, whereby the card can be used to pay for fuel interest free (normally at predetermined filling stations). That way fuel doesn’t have to be paid for right away but can be paid off at a later date.

Businesses are able to tailor the card to their specific needs from:

  • The size of the fleet of vehicles.
  • Type of vehicles.
  • Fuel type, petrol or diesel.
  • The range of location for driving, from local to national or even international.
  • The monthly budget spent on fuel.

All of these can impact the type of card that is best for the business, and the criteria needed to obtain a fuel card.

What are the benefits of using a Fuel card?

There lots of ways a Fuel card can be beneficial to one’s business, these include:

  • Discounted fuel purchases, either at a fixed rate or ‘beat the pump’ price.
  • Better security, as a card can be locked to a vehicle registration or a driver. So limits can be set on the amount spent.
  • Less paperwork and administration time. As all transactions are automatically logged, you don’t need to sieve through receipts.
  • Transaction receipts can be requested to be compliant with HRMC regulation. So VAT is much easier to invoice, and no need to worry about holding onto or missing paperwork.
  • Can keep track of all transactions made in the business, so budgeting can be made easier.
  • Removes the need to pay for fuel with cash or credit card.
  • 24 hour online management, check all transactions or download fleet report/invoices.
  • Can make businesses more fuel-efficient, whereby a company can check the fuel consumption of the fleet, so can single out any drivers that seem to be using more fuel than others, and give them lessons in more fuel-efficient driving or find a more efficient route.

Who provides fuel cards?

Most fuel cards are supplied by the fuel companies themselves, and are therefore effectively tied to their sites. With this in mind, careful consideration is needed when selecting a fuel card, to determine the best fuel sites for your fleet routes.

However, independent issuers are able to provide fuel cards, as they have partnerships with most of the big suppliers. Therefore they are able to offer multi-site refuelling, which can offer greater flexibility for businesses.

Obviously finding the best fuel card for the specific needs for your business is best achieved by comparing the best deals, but there are elements you should watch for.

  • Credit is available for less time than it might be offered with a standard credit card.
  • Limitations regarding the specific filling stations in which one can fill up.
  • Usually an annual fee needs to be paid per card. There will also be a minimum monthly amount needed to be spent on the card.

By taking all these factors in for consideration, finding the best fuel card for your business should be achievable.

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