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Company Fuel Card Benefits Guide

Company Fuel Card Benefits Guide

A business which relies heavily on transportation for its day to day operations is at the mercy of fluctuating fuel prices. Even a small percentage change in the price you’re paying at the forecourt can have huge long term ramifications for your bottom line. It therefore makes sense to take advantage of any available opportunity to cut fuel related costs. Company fuel cards are a low cost and convenient way to do just that.

A company fuel card looks like a credit card. One card is allocated to each driver in a company so they can pay for fuel at service stations on the fuel card provider’s network via chip and PIN terminals. The company either pays for the fuel up front or in arrears and detailed invoices including VAT are provided.


Company Fuel Cards: The Benefits

Fuel cards provide a range of benefits to businesses and vehicle fleets whether big or small. A common misconception is that benefits are limited to just cheaper fuel prices or the convenience of the card when in-fact there are a range of benefits your company will enjoy by using a fuel card including time, money, security and more. Here we have a look at these in more detail and further make a comparison between using a credit card or a fuel card for fleet fuel purchases.

Detailed purchase records

With a fuel card all your fuel purchases are made by your driver using a fuel card. You receive a detailed record of all purchases made along with additional information that can help you improve the overall efficiency of your fleet. With certain cards you can also use them to pay for items such as road, bridge and tunnel tolls and ferry charges. If you wish you can authorise the purchase of food and other items. It’s up to you to allow or restrict what your drivers can use the card to purchase.

Reduce fleet management overheads

Fuel cards also simplify your fleet management overheads, saving you money. Most cards will provide you with consolidated, itemised invoices - often on a weekly basis. These are far easier to process than driver receipts and credit card statements. Furthermore, they will almost certainly be provided in a format that has been approved by HMRC and will make it simple to claim back all your VAT.

Cheaper fuel

Some fuel cards will allow you to purchase fuel at wholesale prices that are fixed on a weekly basis and bought at special ‘bunker’ sites. Generally this applies to diesel fuel, but fuel cards may also allow you to purchase petrol at wholesale prices.

Increase efficiency

Fuel cards also provide you with tools to improve the efficiency of your fleet. Each time a driver refuels their vehicle they can add odometer information that allows you to record the vehicle’s fuel consumption. This can identify inefficiencies that can be corrected. For instance you might find that some drivers use more fuel than is normal for your fleet, suggesting an inefficient driving style that could be corrected by driver training.

Improved security

All transactions are recorded, which makes it easier to spot any fraudulent activity. Cards are registered to specific drivers or vehicle registration numbers, which reduces the chance of them being used fraudulently. Also any deviations from established spending patterns are easily detected. Some fuel card providers do this automatically, checking every individual transaction against their data base and sending SMS or email alerts if suspicious activities are identified.

Fuel card networks

The one restriction with fuel cards is purchases can only be made at filling stations that belong to the specific network. This is less restrictive than it might seem. Some networks are huge, including up to 90% of all UK filling stations. It really is a matter of choosing the network that suits the way in which you do business; there are many options from which to choose.



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Fuel Cards vs. Credit Card Comparison

Unless you want to send your drivers out with large amounts of cash, the alternative to fuel cards is company credit cards. However, companies that purchase fuel on credit cards are creating potential problems while missing out on many benefits. Below we compare the important features of both. It is clear that fuel cards are by far the better choice.

Discounted Fuel Prices

  • Fuel Card: Yes
  • Credit Card: No

Rewards

  • Fuel Card: Possible
  • Credit Card: Possible

Security

  • Fuel Card: Better security and fraud prevention
  • Credit Card: Greater security risk

Supplier Network

  • Fuel Card: Limited supplier network
  • Credit Card: No limits

Online Card Management Tools

  • Fuel Card: Yes
  • Credit Card: No

Restricted Purchasing

  • Fuel Card: Yes – as determined by business
  • Credit Card: No – holders can buy anything

Monitoring filling patterns

  • Fuel Card: Yes
  • Credit Card: No

Fleet Efficiency Tools

  • Fuel Card: Yes
  • Credit Card: No

Simple VAT Invoicing

  • Fuel Card: Yes
  • Credit Card: No

Need for Receipts?

  • Fuel Card: No
  • Credit Card: Yes – receipts must be kept

Interest Charges

  • Fuel Card: No interest on purchases
  • Credit Card: High APR if not settled in full

Points of Sale

  • Fuel Card: Fuel restricted to fuel card network
  • Credit Card: Fuel can be purchased anywhere

Company Fuel Cards: Choosing a Supplier

As long as there aren’t extortionate standing charges, a company fuel card scheme can only save you money so they make sense for companies with anything from one car upwards. Most fuel cards don’t require you to sign up to any minimum terms so you’re also free to switch providers as often as you like. In fact, the best rule is to compare as many different providers as you can. The extras and benefits vary so much that a seemingly insignificant thing could mean the difference between a decent deal and a great one.


Company Fuel Card Quotes

The benefits of using a fuel card are clear, but discovering the best one for your business isn’t easy. To receive further information appropriate to your business, please complete the quick quote form and receive free quote comparisons from leading business fuel card suppliers.


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