Fuel cards give businesses that operate vehicles a smarter way to pay for fuel. Check out our guides and reviews to learn everything you need to know about them and compare top UK fuel card programs. You can also get tailored fuel card prices using our free quote-finding tool.
Also known as fleet cards, fuel cards make paying for petrol and diesel and tracking fuel spend easy. Most fuel cards work like credit cards: your employees use them to pay for fuel at stations, and at the end of each billing cycle (usually each month), you’ll pay off the amount they’ve spent. Alternatively, you could choose prepaid fuel cards instead. These work more like gift cards – you load them up with a sum of money, which your employees then use to pay for their fuel.
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Different fuel card providers charge a variety of fees. Most charge a monthly card fee (that’s usually a few pounds per card, per month), but the other fees charged can vary a lot between providers.
Some cards, for example, will be locked to a particular fuel network, such as Shell. With these cards, if you buy fuel from a station that isn’t run by Shell, you’ll also pay an out-of-network fee. Other potential costs include setup fees and late payment charges.
Fuel cards are most typically used by businesses that rely heavily upon fleets of vehicles for their operations, such as transport, haulage, and construction businesses. But really, fuel cards can be used by any business, even those with just one vehicle.
First off, fuel cards make paying for fuel much easier and more efficient. They cut out the need to reimburse employees’ receipts, and negate the security risks associated with giving employees company cards or handfuls of cash.
In fact, fuel cards give you near-total control over your fuel budget. You can set controls, including how much employees can spend, what they’re able to buy, and even the times and days on which employees are able to use their fuel cards. You can also keep a log of transactions, and track fuel spend with data and reports.
Another benefit of fuel cards is that they can reduce your fuel costs directly. Some fuel card programs give you access to cheaper wholesale prices, while others offer rebates, helping you save as much as six pence per litre.
To choose the best fuel card program for you, you’ll want to look at three factors, the first of which is fuel station coverage. This involves looking into the stations closest to your employees’ typical routes, and finding a fuel card that can be used at those particular station brands. If you’re operating all over the country, you should opt for a universal fuel card, which can be used at almost all UK stations. If your team often travels internationally, you should look for a card that can be used in the relevant countries.
The next factor to investigate is benefits. How large a fuel rebate would you like? Would you benefit from any extras, such as discounted maintenance services, roadside assistance, or integrated vehicle tracking? Look out for a fuel card provider that can offer the benefits you’d like.
Finally, you should consider your budget, and look for a fuel card supplier that charges fees you can comfortably afford. Remember to consider how many cards you’ll be using, as some fees will be charged per card rather than per account.