There are many types of fuel cards, with options existing for each fleet. Whether you have a national venture with thousands of vehicles or a local plumbing company with only a few vehicles, a fuel card gives you a powerful way of controlling petrol expenses, minimizing fraud, and offering a better insight into what you are spending on fuel. In this article, we tell you proven tips to enable you to find the best UK fuel cards for your business.
How Does Fuel Cards Work?
Fuel cards are designed specifically to enable motorists to pay for fuel without the need to carry cash. These cards gather crucial fuel detail information that your business can use to monitor fuel expenditures closely and monitor usage. Also, fuel cards give you customized controls that help to prevent fraud and enhance security.
Depending on your selected card, you can, for example, do the following:
- Limit fuel purchases only to pumps
- Set an alert if your employee purchases more fuel than the capacity of the vehicle
- Require drivers to input PINs to know who is purchasing fuel
How to find the best fuel card for your business
When comparing the different fuel card options, there are important features to take into account. These include the following:
- Security Level Offered
You can set up fuel cards in a way that drivers have to input their unique IDs for every single transaction. This way, a fuel card ensures that those not authorized cannot use it. Also, some cards allow you to set limits that the fuel can be filled. It will alert you if a driver tries to purchase more fuel than the vehicle’s limit, or when they enter unusual odometer readings. When choosing a fuel card, ensure that it has features similar to a credit card and not a debit card. This offers more recourse and less access should it get lost.
- Does it Give you Accounting Help?
Many UK fuel cards have an online platform that users can access and see all the purchasing data. The ability to access this information in one central place helps to cut the time used for administration and accounting. When selecting a fuel card, make sure you choose one that offers exceptional reporting capability. This feature tracks the things your company has set as “unusual behaviors”.
You can, for example, set the limit for the amount spent or the number of times the fuel is purchased per day. You will also be able to get a report that shows which drivers hit the threshold. This feature enables you to be proactive and prevent fraud before it happens. Also, requiring that odometer entries are done at the pump ensures that accurate logs about how much your vehicles use on average are kept.
- Customer Service
The right customer service department is crucial to maintaining your vehicles on the road. In case the driver runs into any problems, they can be sure that help is only a phone call away. Make sure the fuel card provider has a dedicated driver support line. Therefore, if your driver forgets their ID or has their card declined, they will always have a number to call to get the support that they need to purchase fuel.
- What Fuel Data Does it Have?
Another thing that a dedicated fuel card gives you is more detailed data about your fuel consumption. Today, the more established brand name petrol stations offer what is known as “level 3 data”, meaning they capture the price per gallon, driver ID, odometer readings, and location for each transaction performed. This gives you a more detailed view of the fuel purchases made.
With this comprehensive data, you have greater opportunities for analyzing your fuel consumption and finding areas to optimize. You can limit your fuel card transaction to only level 3 stations. Not every fuel station is a level 3 station. Therefore, if drivers will be plying rural areas, they may have to fill up at smaller stations that do not offer detailed data. In that case, it is advisable to open your fuel cards to all levels of stations to make them convenient for the drivers.
- Mobile Account Access
Apart from ensuring that a fuel card has an app or any other method that allows mobile access, you also need to ask whether it can deliver an exception alert to your mobile phone in real-time. The ability to receive over-the-limit purchases or any other exceptions through text makes you stay on top of your fuel spend.
There is a good reason companies choose fuel cards over multipurpose cards. This is because it allows users to place detailed controls. The levels of controls needed will dictate the card you choose. Do you want drivers to purchase fuel at pumps only, or do you want your drivers to be allowed to also make in-store purchases? In case your card limits purchases to only certain locations, can your drivers easily locate those locations? Does your business rely on a fleet that has different vehicle types with different fuel capacities, which then require different buying profiles? Doe your fuel card allow drivers to override purchasing limits in real-time in case of emergency? This is an especially useful feature for businesses or companies that handle disaster recovery.
Being in charge of your fuel spending begins with choosing the best fuel card that meets your specific business needs. If you try to search, you will find that the options for fuel cards are endless. Fortunately, we have outlined some of the most important factors you should consider when selecting a fuel card for your business.
Consider things like the ability to access your account via your mobile phone, the level of controls offered, customer service to ensure your drivers can get help in case of emergency, the amount of fuel data you can get, and the security features in place to spot and protect fraud. Paying attention to the above factors will enable you to find a card that matches your business needs.