The Best Prepaid Fuel Cards

gas station

By Julia Watts | Content Manager

Have more control over your fuel spend with these best prepaid fuel cards

What are Prepaid Fuel Cards?

Prepaid fuel cards are a good way to cut the time spent squinting over accounts. There are no expenses forms to process, and you don’t need to spend countless hours pondering over lost receipts and unaccounted for items.

Best of all, they’re totally unlike a credit card. There are no fees to consider and no minimums to meet. It’s as simple as having your cash in card form. And, for the most part, you get to cash in on the cash prices, too! (Gas station dependent).

The Best Prepaid Fuel Cards

So what are the best prepaid fuel cards? We carried out research into the plethora of different types of prepaid fuel card available, to help you make the right decision for your fleet.

The best prepaid fuel cards come from Shell, MasterCard, Bento, and ARCO. Let's find out why!

The Best Prepaid Fuel Cards Explained

When it comes to prepaid fuel card options, there are actually several roads you can go down. The list above features three different types of prepaid fuel card. These are:

  • Branded Prepaid Cards
  • Unbranded Prepaid Cards
  • Expenses Management Prepaid Cards

The route you take depends on what you want from your card. Do you want to benefit from cash prices? Would you like greater control over your expenses in general? How about the savings and security of a credit card company?

Read on to discover the differences between the three types of cards. Scroll down to find out about each of our best prepaid fuel cards.

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Gift Cards

Prepaid fuel cards are better known as gift cards here in the US. But don’t be put off by that term. Fuel companies actually recommend small businesses use them to manage their spending.

Most gas companies supply them; it’s just a case of going for the branded card with the largest number of gas stations within your business operation area.

For example, West Coast companies should check out the ARCO Prepaid Fuel Card for great value, quality gas.

Those that operate on a wider scale should check out Shell for pretty solid gas station distribution – certainly in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Indiana, and along the East Coast states.

Unbranded Expenses Management Cards

Bento for Business is well rated on review forums such as G2 Crowd and Trustpilot. Expenses management cards can be limited to just fuel expenditure so employees don’t use them willy nilly.

The only downside to these cards is you have to invest in the expenses management software, too. Prices start from as little as $29 a month for 10 cards. So if you can make that cost up in time gained and better expenses control, an expenses management card is well worth looking into.

Unbranded Prepaid Cards

If you’re looking for a prepaid card that offers you rewards, the Mastercard Business Prepaid is worth considering.

The card is free and there’s no application process so you don’t run the risk of not being accepted. You receive some of the perks of a credit card, including Purchase Assurance and Extended Warranty Insurance – but it isn’t a credit card.

Best of all, you benefit from the Mastercard Easy Savings scheme. Granted, the rebate for fuel offered is fairly limited compared to the Mastercard Fleet Card but money back is money back, right?

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The Best Prepaid Fuel Cards Rated

1Shell Refillable CardBest for fuel station distribution
2Mastercard Business PrepaidBest for perks
3Bento for BusinessBest for expenses management
4ARCO Prepaid Fuel CardBest for gas station coverage and national coverage

The Shell Refillable Card offers good gas station coverage, with over 14,000 refuel locations across all 50 states. Most gas stations will charge you cash price, so you benefit from the security of a pin number without the credit card charges.

You can load up to $300 onto the card at any one time via your online account and track the balance and spending. Most importantly, spending is limited to fuel, so you have peace of mind that your employees aren’t using business money to purchase things they shouldn’t.

Pros:

  • Plenty of refuelling locations
  • Load different amounts onto the card
  • Track spending online
  • Pay cash price (gas station dependent)

X Cons:

  • No rebate on spending
  • Only basic online account management

Granted, a Mastercard Business Prepaid card won’t offer the same level of perks as a Mastercard Fuel Card, but it’s ideal if you don’t want to commit to a credit card.

In addition to receiving a 1% rebate on all Fuelman spends over $100, card holders can benefit from hotel, dining, airport parking and business supplies savings.

Of course, you can limit what your employees use the card for – just fuel, fuel and food, and motels on the road. And you can check up on what they’re using the card for through your online account.

Pros:

  • Receive rebates from participating businesses
  • Extended Warranty Insurance
  • Purchase Assurance
  • MasterAssist Travel Assistance Services

X Cons:

  • Rebates aren’t as generous as the Mastercard credit card
  • Can’t accept payments onto card

If you’re looking for a better way to track your expenses in general, Bento for Business may be the route for you. Use the card alongside their software to check in on what your employees are spending. The best bit is you dictate what purchases your employees make. You can choose from gas or fuel cards, employee cards to monitor expenses or even project cards to keep track of budgets.

You’ll receive an alert each time a transaction is made, plus you can check your accounts on the go with the Bento app. So what are the costs? Well, if there are only two of you, you can have the software package for free. The next package is for up to 10 cards and that’ll cost you $29. Not bad. Unsure if it’s right for you? Get involved with a 60 day free trial.

Pros:

  • No personal liability
  • Funds protection
  • Easy to use tracking dashboard
  • Turn cards on and off instantly

X Cons:

  • No rewards
  • Takes time for funds to register on the card

ARCO is another great prepaid fuel card to invest in, especially if you live on the West side of the US. ARCO gas stations are known for delivering quality fuel at decent prices, so what’s the point in going anywhere else?

This is a no frills card, for sure. It’s easy to top up and you can tap and go at the pump for ultimate ease. But there aren’t any particular benefits, aside from paying cash prices at participating fuel stations.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Access to ARCO’s cheap fuel
  • Only use on fuel purchases
  • Avoid fees associated with credit cards

X Cons:

  • No account management
  • Call up to add funds

Next Steps

Now you know all about the best prepaid fuel card options; it’s time to decide which is best for you.

If you think a fleet card may be better for your business, read our article on the best fuel cards for truckers for more information.

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FAQs

1. What are the best prepaid fuel cards for rewards?

If you invest in a Mastercard Business Prepaid fuel card, you can benefit from the Mastercard Easy Savings Scheme. Receive rebates on fuel, food, travel and more.

2. What are the best prepaid fuel cards for account management?

Branded prepaid fuel cards offer fairly limited account management. If you’re looking to have more control over spending on cards, consider an unbranded one. Both Bento for Business and Netspend have apps where you can easily check in on accounts.

3. What is the best prepaid fuel card for small businesses?

All prepaid fuel cards are good for small businesses. If your company is very small, branded prepaid cards are the easiest way to control fuel spend costs. For slightly larger businesses, prepaid fuel cards that come with account management are the better option. However, there are often small costs involved with these cards.

Julia Watts Content Manager

Specializing in the complex realms of telephone systems, business energy, vehicle tracking, asset tracking, and fuel cards, Julia writes content that cuts through the noise to help you find the right solutions and technologies for your business. Having spent five years working across the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, she loves helping exciting ventures – big or small – to flourish.

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