Also known as fuel cards, fleet cards are used by consumers and businesses specifically for the purchase of gas.
They are most commonly used by businesses with fleets of vehicles, allowing for easy tracking of expenses specific to company cars. In addition to paying for gas, a fuel card can also be used to pay for vehicle repairs and maintenance, including oil changes and tire purchases.
Much like department store credit cards, fuel cards function like any other credit card with the major limitation that they can only be used at designated locations.
This has its advantages and disadvantages for businesses, so it's important to know as much as possible about the benefits of a fuel card before making the decision to sign up with a provider.
Here are a few benefits fuel cards have over regular corporate credit cards:
By working with one fuel card service, businesses can often achieve discounts on each purchase.
Fuel cards are usually less likely to fall victim to fraudulent activity.
All fleet-based transactions are limited to one account, so expense tracking is easier.
Employees can only use the card at locations that accept it, reducing the risk of personal purchases.
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Unlike large businesses, smaller organizations often can't promise a high monthly fuel expenditure. This eliminates the bulk discount that can be achieved by much larger organizations. However, that doesn't mean that a small business can't achieve low interest rates and perks.
Many fuel cards now offer rewards points for each dollar spent, which can give business owners extra money that can be put toward other areas of their budgets.
In addition to finding a card with minimal fees and low interest rates, businesses should also look for solutions that offer monthly reporting options to help gain insight into how your money is being spent each month. A business should also place high priority on cards that are accepted at a wide number of locations in the areas its employees frequently travel.
Fleet Cards for Large Enterprises
Businesses that manage a large fleet of vehicles with high monthly fuel costs have an advantage in the negotiation process. Many major fuel card companies have plans specific to large organizations, including rebates on each gallon purchased that can pay off for high-volume businesses.
In addition to rebates, businesses can also set up controls on fuel cards to monitor employee spending. If a business needs to set policies on transactions, alerts can be set up to let the appropriate parties know when an employee spends outside of those boundaries.
Fleet Card Providers
Numerous companies offer fuel card services for a variety of business types and sizes. Here are a few notable fuel cards on the market today.
Visa Fleet Card
With acceptance at more than 1.4 million merchants, the Visa Fleet Card is ideal for fleets in need of flexible spending locations. Cards can be customized with spending limits and restricted to specific merchant categories.
BP Business Solutions
BP offers three separate fuel card solutions customized for large, mid-sized, and small businesses. For fleets that have local access, the small business plan is more ideal, while companies in need of national usage should steer toward the solution designed for large businesses.
Circle K is a leading fleet card provider. Every time you fuel up at a Circle K location you save up to 5¢ per gallon. And with over 5,000 locations across the U.S. those savings add up quickly. Circle K's reporting also doesn't disappoint. Track your spend in real-time, plus view beautiful weekly, monthly and year-to-date reports anytime from anywhere.
Arco offers both prepaid fuel cards and business fleet cards for use at ARCO locations. Detailed reporting and individual spending controls help businesses manage their fleets.
MasterCard Corporate Fleet Program
With use at more than 560,000 fuel and maintenance locations, MasterCard's fleet card program is a great choice if convenience is a priority. The company uses smart data to create web-based reporting that helps business track every dollar spent.
Chevron and Texaco
With acceptance at thousands of Chevron and Texaco locations across the country, this fuel card includes reporting and rebates of up to six cents per gallon with its Business Access Card.
Marathon Petroleum is one of the oldest suppliers in the USA and as such, comes with a wealth of experience. With two varied card options available, Marathon caters to businesses with a number of different needs.
WEX is a leading provider of fleet cards for businesses of all sizes. They also offer cards in partnership with leading U.S. fuel and retailer brands — so no matter where you are or what type of fleet you own, there’s sure to be a match for you. WEX cardholders will also benefit from over 180,000 locations included in the WEX fueling network.