How to Choose the Best Fuel Card for Your Small Business Fleet

July 25, 2023

 

Choosing the right fleet fuel card can mean significant daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly savings. To find the best one for your business, consider the region, rebates, fees, controls, and back-end reporting.

A top-tier business fuel card also helps to reduce manual data entry errors by tracking every purchase in real-time. It makes your accounting processes much more efficient and effective.

Cost-effectiveness

When choosing the best fleet fuel card for small business, there are many factors to consider. You want to look for a card that offers a wide range of features, including open-loop networks, spending controls, and data tracking. Choosing the right card can help you save on gas expenses and reduce your fleet's overall operating costs.

The best fuel cards also offer a variety of other benefits that can increase productivity and efficiency for your business. For example, some cards offer GPS trackers that provide real-time information about fueling locations and vehicle movement. It can detect drivers theft, fraud, or card misuse. Additionally, some cards will automatically capture relevant accounting data for each transaction, making it easy to manage expense details.

The fee structure is another vital factor when choosing a fuel card. Some cards may have hidden fees that can add up quickly. Check the fine print and look for a company with fair and transparent terms and no high credit risk fees or higher late fees.

Convenience

If you're running a fleet business, the right fuel card can help you manage your expenses and increase productivity. You can also save on fees and get a flexible cash flow guarantee. Choose a card with detailed reporting to track expenses and prepare regulatory reports more efficiently.

When choosing a fleet fuel card, carefully research each option. Some cards have minimum spending requirements and may only work for larger fleet sizes. Others offer a wide range of fuel discounts. Generally, cards branded with specific gas station chains tend to have higher fuel discounts. However, a universal or fleet card based on a major credit card network can be used anywhere and is often less expensive.

Besides fuel, a fleet fuel card can be used to pay for roadside services, vehicle maintenance, and convenience store products. It can also be used to track mileage and other odometer data. Many cards allow you to set purchase restrictions and receive a real-time summary report. They can also manage refueling policies, ensuring drivers only purchase fuel when needed.

When choosing a fuel card, ensure it offers the best customer service. Some fleet cards require specific qualifications. In addition, some cards charge a monthly card and account fee.

Tracking

Whether you own a fleet of semis or a smaller fleet of cars, trucks, motorcycles, forklifts, ATVs, or bulldozers, you can benefit from the added convenience and cost-savings that fuel cards offer. A sound card also allows you to track fuel usage and IFTA reporting, helping you make informed decisions about purchasing vehicles and maintenance services.

When choosing a fleet fuel card, you should heavily weigh card acceptance and coverage at fueling stations and service locations. Branded cards often have limited coverage, whereas fleet and universal cards are typically accepted at more stations nationwide.

Some fleet cards have advanced controls to help you manage spending and prevent drivers from using the card for non-fuel purchases. For example, some cards allow you to set controls based on driver and vehicle, day of the week, time of day, transaction amount, and more. They also provide granular real-time monitoring that helps you spot exceptions, such as over-tank purchases.

Another critical consideration is whether the card provides odometer and driver ID information in the consolidated transaction report, as this can be helpful when tracking mileage. Additionally, you should consider the terms and fees of each card. Many fuel cards have no annual, monthly, or setup fees, but some charge an interest rate if you carry a balance.

Security

Fleet transport companies often struggle with poor credit, making it difficult to get the benefits of a fuel card. But poor credit can be something other than a permanent roadblock. With the right cards, your company can save on fuel costs while avoiding security risks and fraud.

The best fuel cards for small business fleets offer security features like anti-theft measures and vehicle ID verification. They can also track and manage driver spending by vehicle, day, time of purchase, transaction amount, and more. These cards are also fully integrated with IFTA reporting, making tracking and paying fuel taxes easy.

Some fuel cards allow fleet managers to block specific states or stations where fraud occurs. These controls help reduce fraud by blocking non-fuel purchases and unauthorized odometer readings. These controls are a great way to prevent fuel theft, and you can customize them for your business.

Many fuel cards also report to the business credit bureau, which can help fleet owners establish a strong business credit line. It can help them obtain better rates and terms from suppliers, lenders, and landlords. Other cards use GPS and black box data to verify the location of a truck during a fueling transaction. This technology compares the truck's location with the fuel station's and alerts the fleet manager if the two locations need to match up.

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