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Fuel Card Credit Checking: How it Works


Fuel cards
are a valuable resource for businesses with many benefits. When businesses apply for fuel cards, it is common for providers to run a fuel card credit check. The purpose of this credit check is to assess the creditworthiness of the business and determine if they are capable of covering the fuel spend they have requested. For some companies, undergoing a fuel card credit check can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, understanding the process and the likely outcomes can help to ease concerns and provide a better understanding of the decision-making process.

What is a Fuel Card Credit Check?

When it comes to fuel card applications, credit checks play an important role in the decision-making process. A credit check allows the provider to gather information about a company's financial behaviours and account information to determine their creditworthiness. Providers will generally run credit checks when someone has applied for a loan or financial service. For example, a bank account, credit, utility supply, a lease, fuel cards, or a mobile phone contract.

With every fuel card application, we run a fuel card credit check to help us approve applications. Our credit checks are done in-house using Experian credit management software and allow us to define the value rating and risk rating of your company. Although the majority of applications pass their fuel card credit check, it is worth being aware of the factors that risk rating is based on. These factors include:

• Industry information

• Court proceedings

• Direct debit information

• Out-of-character account changes

Woman using a calculator, placed next to a laptop on a desk

Information Required for Credit Checks

In order to run a fuel card credit check, a few key pieces of information are required. This includes the business's trading information, VAT and company registration numbers, bank details, and contact information.

It is important for companies to have this information readily available when applying for fuel cards, as a thorough and accurate credit check is essential for the approval process. Companies with a strong credit history and sound financial management will typically experience a smooth and seamless application process.

In some rare cases, if the fuel card credit check raises any issues, we may ask for additional information such as access to financial management accounts or a form of security, such as a bond payment.

Why We Run Fuel Card Credit Checks

One of the main reasons we run a credit check before issuing approved cards is to check your financial behaviour, that your business is valid, and that your VAT number and company registration number are correct. Looking into this early on saves any issues or delays later down the line. It is also important to run credit checks to ensure the fuel card limit you’re applying for is going to meet your needs based on your previous and current fuel spend. We decide this based on your monthly spend and requested payment intervals.

Our goal is for your business to get the most out of your fuel card arrangement. To ensure this, we run calculations to check your fuel limit will cover all your driver's and fuel requirements. If we find your fuel spend is significantly more than your fuel card limit, we’ll let you know and discuss whether you’d benefit from a higher fuel limit on your fuel card account.

We ask that you allow 48 hours for the fuel card credit check to go through, and usually ask 5-10 days after that for the fuel card application to be processed and the cards to be dispatched.

A speed meter on a car dashboard, currently sitting at zero.

Fuel Cards for Poor Credit

In case of poor credit, we always try to find a solution and a way forward. We may ask for additional information or security measures, such as a bond payment, to ensure that the fuel card arrangement is feasible. However, if the credit check reveals a County Court Judgment (CCJ), we will, unfortunately, have to decline the application.

Security and Bond Payments

In case of poor credit being found during your fuel card credit check, a bond payment or a personal/cross-company guarantee can be used as a way forward.

A bond payment is a one-time payment equal to 50% of the monthly fuel limit, held in an external account and refundable if/when your credit rating improves sufficiently or should you decide to stop working with Fuelmate. The payment is not utilised unless your payments are long overdue. A personal guarantee is a guarantee by the director of the company that they will cover the finance amount in case of any issues, while a cross-company guarantee is a similar arrangement with another company guaranteeing the finance amount.

These options can help mitigate the risk associated with poor credit and ensure the smooth functioning of the fuel card arrangement.

Improving Credit for Sole Traders

If you are a sole trader who is aiming to improve your company’s credit rating with the aim of a positive fuel card credit check, we can help with this.

As mentioned, by setting up an account with a bond payment, you have the chance to use fuel cards whilst improving your company’s score until the bond payment can be refunded. You also have the option of using credit cards within your company, such as the Expensemate card. As long as these cards are utilised correctly and the expected payments are received on time, using a card like this will help to build a history of good credit usage for your business, which will improve your overall score.

Additionally, keeping a track of your company’s financial health and working with a financial advisor can help to improve your credit rating. It’s important to understand that building a good credit score takes time, so being proactive and using available resources to better your financial situation can help to improve your score over time. Improving your credit score can have a positive impact on future financing opportunities and help you secure better terms.

Fuel Card Credit Checks for Limited Companies

If you run a limited company and are wanting to discuss your company’s credit history, how to open a fuel card account, or our fuel card credit check, get in touch with our team today. We will be able to provide you with tailored advice and recommend you a bespoke solution for your fleet usage and spend.

Fuel card credit checks are standard procedure when applying for a fuel card account and we like to keep the process as straightforward as possible. Our team is always ready to help and provide guidance throughout the application process. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to helping your business save time and money with fuel card solutions.

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