With gas prices rising all the time, keeping your business' fleet moving without breaking the bank can be a challenge. As if soaring prices weren't enough, it’s also easy for your drivers to overpay at certain stations without realizing it.
So, all this considered, making sure your finances are kept in order by monitoring and regulating your gas expense could make a huge difference in your total costs.
That’s the value of a gas card. Also known as fuel or fleet cards, they offer discounts on fuel at certain stations, provide rewards for using the card, and provide detailed reports on all spending locations and amounts, enabling you to save money and keep your finances organized.
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How to Apply for a Gas Card
Getting gas cards for your business' drivers to use isn't as difficult you'd think – in fact, it can all be done online.
The process is fairly straightforward – and it's a system that has improved substantially over the years. Once you’ve decided on the right gas card provider for you, it’s as simple filling in some basic information – like details about yourself, your business, your fleet's vehicles, your business' requirements, and some contact information – usually either over the phone or online.
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How to Choose the Right Gas Card: 5 Top Tips
Of course, before you apply, you'll need to find the gas card program that suits your business best. Here are our top tips for finding the right card program:
1. Do Your Research
Most gas cards offer the same basic packages, but the rewards and incentives offered by each provider can vary. Before you apply for a gas card, you'll need to determine the benefits you’re looking to gain from using it. These might include:
- Rebates for every gallon of fuel your drivers purchase, or every dollar they spend
- Discounts on products and services at particular stations
- Access to real-time reporting that lets you see where and when your drivers are spending cash, and on what
- The ability to set restrictions on spending or products that can be bought, so your drivers can't make unauthorized purchases
You should also take a program's coverage into account – in other words, the amount of stations your drivers can use their cards at, and where in the US they're located. For example, if your fleet mainly operates in the Northeast of the country, you'll want to discount any card programs that only have participating stations in the West.
2. Shop Around For Options
Rather than going for the first suitable card you find, it’s important to take your time and shop around. Stepping out of an agreement will be far more difficult than spending a little time on comparing your options.
Plus, by delving into what the industry is offering, you may discover needs you didn’t realize your business had, and change your opinion on the requirements for your card.
3. Get Recommendations
First-hand accounts are really valuable. By visiting blogs, checking out review sites, and consulting with others who use gas cards, you might discover which options have a pretty face but poor service, or which are lesser-known but offer a fantastic service. You could even try asking other local businesses if they use gas cards, and whether they would recommend their provider.
Our honest reviews of gas card providers are a great place to start! Be sure to check out our guide to the top fleet card services of 2020, our list of the best fuel cards for small businesses, and, if you run a fleet of trucks, our guide to the best fleet cards for truckers.
4. Make Compromises if Needed
If you're struggling to find a card that suits all your needs exactly, take the time to decide which of your needs are more important than others. It may be that you need to choose a provider that offers excellent service in your priority element, but lacks in others.
For example – perhaps one card company has more participating locations in your fleet's area, but fewer discounts on the price of fuel itself. Which is more important to you?
5. Get Multiple Quotes Before Choosing
Collating quotes is an important part of the comparison process – so you should take the time to get multiple quotes from multiple providers before setting your heart on just one.
The majority of card programs will come with either monthly or annual fees, while others come with both. Meanwhile, some card programs will require upfront admin fees, while others won't. Some gas card programs are even free. The amount you'll need to pay to integrate the gas card program into your business – and how you'll be required to pay it – are important factors to consider.
Getting quotes to compare is something we can help you with. Simply tell us about your business and its fleet via the form at the top of this page, and you'll receive tailored quotes from approved suppliers that can cater to your requirements. The process is fast, free and easy – give it a try!
Are You Eligible For a Gas Card?
Of course, you'll need to be eligible for the cards you want in order to get them. Eligibly can differ depending on the provider you select, but overall, the requirements tend to stay the same.
Before you apply for a gas card, ask yourself whether you meet the following general requirements:
- Are you over 18 years of age?
- Do you have a business bank account and savings account?
- Do you have a telephone number you can be contacted by?
What Might Make a Provider a Bad Choice
You Disagree With the Provider’s Policies
Each provider will have their own polices restricting which locations you go to, how you use the card, and how much you can spend on each individual card. Some only allow you to use it as a prepaid card, while others are exclusively pay-as-you-go.
Overall, these terms and agreements are usually very similar from company to company. You'll need to read through them in depth to determine whether an option is appropriate for you.
You Lack the Right Credit
Since fuel cards are very similar to credit cards, of course you'll have to make sure you qualify with the right kind of credit.
But don’t panic if your credit history isn’t something to be proud of. There are several providers that embrace poor credit, so searching out multiple options and comparing them to each other will ensure you get a card despite your credit past.
In any case, though, all companies will process your card application faster if you have excellent credit.
What Happens Next?
After you apply, the card company will verify the information you submitted. If it's accepted, you’ll be given your cards and your personalized PIN numbers within a few weeks, and you can share these out with your drivers.
Along with this, you’ll be issued all the necessary lists of emergency numbers, instructions on how to use the cards, registration, and a list of fueling stations at which your cards can be used.
Remember, at Expert Market we can help you find the right gas card provider for you. Simply answer the questions at the top of this page, and you'll receive tailored quotes from the fleet card providers that can cater to your unique needs.