Top 10 Fuel Card Benefits
Originally published on April 16, 2019
Many fuel card benefits bring efficiency to your business regardless of the size of your fleet.
From a single vehicle to hundreds, there are several reasons why fuel cards are better than any other form of payment, including cash and credit cards.
In this blog, we examine the top 10 benefits of a fuel card to your business.
Save Money At The Pumps
Cost-effectiveness is one of the top fuel card benefits as fuel cards offer the only method of payment that offers discounts on fuel.
The reason for this is, when you select a fuel card, you commit to a specific supplier to provide all the fuel you need to run your fleet. In exchange, they reward you with a price which is usually 1-2 pence per litre below the forecourt price. It might not sound a lot, but these savings add up across a year, mainly if you run a large fleet.
Even if you run a small fleet or single vehicle, the savings are still worth having. After all, every little helps. So why pay full price at the pumps if you don’t have to?
Although the benefits of fuel cards are many compared with credit cards, one thing they both share is an efficient payment mechanism; chip-and-PIN. That’s good news because the longer your drivers spend behind the wheel, the more productive they’ll be.
Fuel cards are as quick and easy to use as credit and debit cards, but they come with lots of added benefits. So, if driver efficiency is important to you, fuel cards offer the best solution.
No Need For Cash With A Fuel Card
Carrying cash comes with inherent risks. Firstly, and most obviously, drivers can forget to pick up a wallet or a purse, leaving them stranded when the tank gets low. The same happens should the driver lose their wallet or purse.
In extreme cases, if the driver is expecting to travel long distances, they might carry a lot of cash, and this could bring them to the attention of thieves. If this were to occur, not only would it be incredibly distressing for the driver, it could have ramifications for the company too, for not safeguarding its employees appropriately.
One of the major benefits of a fuel card is that it avoids these problems. Using one, and storing it in the vehicle but out of site, means drivers avoid carrying a lot of cash yet always have the means to pay. Paying cash can also add significantly to company paperwork, but we’ll discuss that further in our next point.
Avoid Excess Paperwork
As well as saving businesses money, another of the top benefits of a fuel card is dramatic savings in time.
This is because drivers no longer need to invoice you for the fuel they bought on your behalf, and you don’t have to process those invoices and pay the drivers.
Instead, you get a single invoice from your provider, which covers all the fuel your drivers bought in a specific period. What could be easier than that? No processing, no working out driver payments, no collecting receipts, just time back to work on more productive things.
Keep The Taxman Happy
Invoices prepared by your fuel card provider should be an HMRC-approved VAT receipt, which will enable you to recoup 100% of the VAT you are owed.
Compare this to submitting individual receipts. Firstly, your drivers have to collect them and not lose them. Then, they need to get them to you so you can process them. It is a long, drawn-out, and inefficient task that could mean you claim less VAT back than to which you’re entitled.
With an online customer portal, managing your fleet when away from the office couldn’t be easier. Simply sign in from your laptop or mobile device and have access to the dashboard and all the information you need to make decisions.
Correct Inefficient Driver Performance
Monthly fuel card reports make calculating the efficiency of your fleet straightforward. Compare this figure with the stated MPG of your vehicles, if you have a single-model fleet or the average MPG of a mixed fleet, and you can begin to assess how efficiently your fleet is operating.
If there is a large discrepancy between the two, maybe it is time for your drivers to undergo eco-driving training, which can have a significant, positive effect on fleet efficiency. Another benefit of collecting this data is that it can be used to reveal individual driver behaviour and again if some drivers are consistently returning a lower MPG than the average, driver training could be the answer.
No interest on purchases
Unlike credit cards, when you buy fuel or other items with a fuel card, there are no interest charges. This means that when you receive your invoice, you’re paying the quoted price for fuel and the over-the-counter price for any other items.
Of course, one problem that does blight the fuel card industry is hidden charges, which we’ve talked about in a previous blog post. However, by choosing an ethical provider, you will avoid these costs.
Enhanced security is another of the benefits of a fuel card, achieved by features such as:
- Chip-and-PIN protection
- Odometer reports
- Reporting of unusual transactions
- Area usage restrictions
- 24/7 online card blocking
- Daily transaction limits
- Daily volume limits
- Real-time text or email receipts
All of these features mean that identifying and tracking any fraud is easier and quicker than any other payment method.
Manage What Your Drivers Buy
With retail outlets attached to most services stations, it can be tempting for drivers to go on a small shopping spree when filling up. With cash or a company credit card, you’re powerless to stop them from doing this and charging their purchases to the company.
However, an excellent fuel card benefit is that they enable you to take control of their spending. Fuel cards can be restricted to buying fuel only, or they can be opened up to allow the purchase of other essentials their vehicles, such as AdBlue, engine oil, windscreen wash or small repair items.
Whichever way you configure your cards, you can be sure your drivers are not able to purchase personal items for which you pick up the cost.
If you run company vehicles, you’ll find there are lots of fuel card benefits that will help keep them on the road. They offer a vast range of advantages over cash and credit cards and are the only payment method to provide discounts on fuel.