Running a fleet is an expensive and time-consuming business. It’s no wonder then that anything that saves time and money is a hit with fleet managers.
That’s why fuel cards are so popular. Often, they shave a penny or two from forecourt prices, and with single invoices taking away the pain of processing individual fuel receipts, they save time as well.
Or at least, that’s the theory. Sadly, it doesn’t always work out that way.
The fact is, some less ethical fuel card providers levy a host of hidden fuel card charges on their customers, meaning they pay vastly inflated prices for fuel. Or they convince them to stump up for a premium product with national coverage when their fleet would operate just as effectively with a less expensive, more tailored solution.
The Scoop on Fuel Card Hidden Costs
There are a huge range of hidden fuel card charges that some leading providers bolt on to the cards they supply, which serve only to bolster their bottom line. Yet they can increase the annual cost of running a fleet by tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of pounds.
Take the network service fee, for example. Some providers charge an exorbitant fee of £3.00 per transaction simply for using their card.
Putting this in context, an average ‘same day delivery’ van driver will fill up around four times per week. Therefore, this fee adds £12 per week to his or her fuel costs, which equates to £624 per year.
A company running 10 vans would pay almost £6,240 each year in network service fees alone.
That’s before we consider the ‘convenience charge’. Charged at 6p per litre excluding VAT, it might be a convenient way for the fuel card provider to rake in more cash, but it is anything but convenient for fleet operators.
Based on the average capacity of a Fiat Ducato of 90 litres, filling up four times per week would cost £21.60 in extra charges. Across a year, a fleet of 10 vans would amass £11,232 of extra fuel card charges.
Added together, the network charge fee and the convenience fee mean using a fuel card from one of these leading providers is anything but cost effective. In fact, quite the opposite; you’ll find yourself paying way over the odds for the fuel you use.
Frighteningly, however, they’re not the only hidden fuel card charges businesses need to be wary of. Others often charged but rarely talked about include:
- Annual card fees.
- Charging for replacement cards.
- Extra charges to have your company name on the card.
- Charging for copy invoices requested by phone or email.
- Charging for paper invoices.
- Additional, risk-based fees.
- Underused account fees.
- Late payment fees.
- Non-standard invoicing fee.
- Exceeding credit fee.
The list goes on, but leaves you with one simple question. Are you sure fuel card hidden charges are not driving up your monthly bill? Perhaps it’s time you checked, because if they are, it’s definitely time you changed.
Full Coverage Fuel Cards – Do You Need One?
Some less-than-ethical fuel card providers often put supplying a higher value card before the needs of their customer. This is particularly the case in relation to premium cards which enable drivers to use any forecourt in the UK.
But just in the way very few people needed PPI, very few businesses need this level of coverage, especially SMEs. Of course, they will convince you that you do, and then charge you handsomely for the pleasure.
However, our own research debunks the myth that even businesses with a national footprint need an expensive card that provides national coverage.
Our figures show that, on average, drivers with a national coverage habitually use the same 30 or so fillings stations, out of a UK total of around 8,450. This means they don’t need expensive cards that are accepted everywhere. An optimum coverage at a competitive rate can be achieved by mapping their journeys and issuing them with relevant fuel cards that don’t incur a premium fee or any hidden charges.
Take advantage of our no obligation fuel card audit to see if you could save money.
Don’t Be Caught Out By Unethical Fuel Card Providers
These extra fuel card charges are called hidden for a reason. Often, companies don’t realise they are paying them until they closely check their invoices or ask their provider. When they do, they’re rightly annoyed. Just check out the Trust Pilot reviews of some of the big-named providers to see what we mean.
Thankfully, however, you don’t have to put up with these fuel card hidden charges. At Fuelmate, all our fee structure is transparent so you know exactly what you’re getting for your money. We don’t levy hidden fuel card charges or try to sell you a premium product when a less expensive alternative will work just as well.
If fairly-priced fuel and fleet efficiency is what you’re driving at, speak to us about changing fuel card provider.