Credit Cards vs Fuel Cards: What Is the Difference?

Fuel Card Credit Card

The main difference between fuel cards and credit cards can be surmised almost entirely from the name. We all know what a credit card is and how they work – a fuel card is just the same principle, but purchases are only restricted to petrol stations.

Fuel cards are an incredibly useful resource for businesses that rely on vehicles to operate. Whether it’s deliveries, transporting passengers, or long haul trucking, many businesses will contain an element of vehicle use, even if it’s not a major aspect, and being able to save money on your fuel costs can be a huge help.

If you could benefit from a fuel card, take a look at our guide to the best business fuel cards in the UK to find one suited to your business.

What Is a Fuel Card?

For those not in the know, a fuel card is a physical card that allows businesses to fuel their vehicles and fleets at a discounted price. It can only be used at petrol stations, meaning that each employee can be given a card without concern that they have carte blanche access to your business’s finances.

Not only that, but the best fuel cards can aid with fleet management, helping you plan the most efficient routes in order to save even more on petrol costs.

What Is the Difference Between a Credit Card and a Fuel Card?

So getting down to brass tacks, what are the exact differences between a credit card and a fuel card?

Well, a credit card is easy – you might even have one yourself. Credit cards allow you to make purchases and pay them off over time, rather than all at once. And the reliability of your payments allows you to build up a credit score, which can help you when taking out loans.

Fuel cards are the same in principle, just not in function. They’re still little plastic rectangles that fit into a wallet that you can use to pay for goods and services. However, these goods and services are specifically limited to petrol stations across the country.

This can lead to a lot of peace of mind, as you’d have to put a lot of trust into each of your drivers for each of them to have a card with a direct line to your business’s finances. However, if the card can only be used on business expenses, it’s a lot easier to pass them around.

A benefit of fuel cards, however, is that they offer discounts on fuel if they’re used at participating petrol stations. These discounts can range between 2p and 20p per gallon, which can really add up if your business relies on vehicles. They can also provide additional services, like route optimization and feedback reports on each driver/vehicle.

The UK government introduced a plan in November 2021 to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and hybrid cars by 2035, in an effort to deal with climate change.

This means that as more businesses switch to electric or hybrid vehicles, they’ll rely on credit cards as they typically offer cashbacks or rewards.

Did You Know?

UK businesses can save an average of £1,505 per year on fuel when using a fuel card.

How Can I Choose the Right Fuel Card?

There are a fair few fuel card options on the market, so you’ll want to know the right choice for your business. It’s not as easy as comparing prices, unfortunately, as fuel card prices vary wildly based on all sorts of criteria (fleet size, electric/diesel vehicles, etc). So we’ve taken the criteria we can nail down and used it to come up with three of our favourite fuel card providers.

I Am an Independent Driver

Texaco Logo
Texaco Fastfuel
Pricing Bespoke. Savings of up to 10p/litre.
Quick overview

Texaco Fastfuel can be used at around 2,900 UK filling stations, including all Tesco, Morrisons, and Sainsbury's forecourts, the UK Fuels network and over 750 Texaco stations, as well as selected BP sites. Their heavy presence in England and Wales makes it a solid choice for localised business owners who operate in these areas, such as taxi firms and delivery companies, since they don't depend on long-distance travel for their activity.

On the admin side of things, you'll get comprehensive business fuel management reporting, plus e-billing and HMRC-approved invoices. It also enables you to set limits on what your drivers can buy, right down to the types of fuel.

Importantly, Texaco Fastfuel uses a commercial pricing system. This means that you'll benefit from wholesale-related deals for diesel and unleaded, with prices that Texaco fixes each week.

Texaco Fastfuel doesn't charge account fees. Plus, you can collect Tesco Clubboard points when using Tesco forecourts and won't have to pay any transaction fees if you gas up on Texaco sites. It's worth noting that transaction fees are charged if you buy fuel at the card's partnered BP locations.

Unfortunately, its savings of up to 10p per litre puts it in line with most of its competitors, but its coverage is a major setback, since it's accepted in way less stations than The Fuel Store Card (8,700) and Allstar One (7,700).


Benefit from fixed wholesale pricing for petrol and diesel

No transaction fees on Texaco locations

Tesco Clubboard points can be accrued when using Tesco forecourts


Limited to UK fleets only

Coverage isn't extensive

I Own a Small Fleet

Fuel Store Logo
The Fuel Store Card
Pricing Bespoke. Savings of up to 10p/litre.
Quick overview

With access to over 8,700 UK stations, the Fuel Store Card has one of the most extensive coverages among the providers we researched, but the number of stations actually available to you will depend on the payment scheme you choose. The plentiful options of those schemes are a key asset of the company, but they're bespoke so you'll need to contact the provider to know what's in store for you.

Continuing the simplicity long after the setup, with the Fuel Store Card you'll benefit from fixed weekly prices, helping you to budget and better manage the businesses cash flow. You'll also receive a single, HMRC-approved VAT invoice at regular intervals, and get 24/7 instant access to transaction and fuel reporting. You can also restrict what your drivers can and can't buy with these cards. And don't forget – these cards offer 14 days of free credit. Not a bad deal!

The Fuel Store Card doesn't charge account fees nor transaction fees. It does charge a one-off bespoke setup fee when you sign up, but apart from that, you'll also just pay for the fuel you use. However, if you’re drawing less than 300 litres of fuel a month, you’ll be hit with a £10 minimum usage fee.


No account fees nor transaction fees

Benefit from fixed weekly fuel prices

14 days of free credit


Its range of features is more limited compared to bigger brands

You'll need to buy more than 300 litres of fuel a month to avoid a fee

I Own a Large Fleet

BP Logo
BP Supercharge
Pricing £12 - £24 per year. Bespoke savings.
Quick overview

BP Supercharge is a business fuel card that does away with transaction fees, which is a major draw for fleet managers. While it does charge account fees, the provider's pricing structure reduces these as your fleet grows. This means that larger fleets - 200 vehicles or more - are the ones most primed to benefit from this fuel card.

As well as this, BP’s intelligent online tool enables you to set limits on how your drivers can use their cards, while direct-to-email e-billing takes care of the books. Plus, BPme Rewards points, earned for every BP transaction, will see frequent card users given rewards.


Can be used at almost 90% of all UK fuel sites

Larger fleets get cheaper card fees

Doesn't charge any transaction fees

Earn rewards with every BP transaction


Pricier annual card fees for businesses with smaller fleets

Next Steps

If you’re interested in a fuel card, you’re in the right spot! We know all there is to know about fuel cards, whether you’re looking for the most affordable options, or the absolute best fuel cards on the market, we look at all the options worth considering.

If you’re ready to invest in a fuel card but aren’t sure on the specifics just yet, our fuel card comparison tool is a great place to start. By filling out some basic info pertaining to your business and its needs, you’ll receive zero-commitment quotes for fuel cards that can help your business save on petrol.

Written by:
Duncan Lambden
Duncan (BA in English Textual Studies and Game Design) is one of Expert Market's local Software Experts. His articles focus on ecommerce platforms and business software that allows small businesses to improve their efficiency or reach, with an emphasis on invoice financing, project management, and customer relations.
Reviewed by:
Maïté Bouhali
Maite began her career with Expert Market nearly four years ago as a writer. She quickly developed a passion for the challenges faced by small businesses and now endeavours to help them make informed decisions for their future. In her current position as Business Software Editor, Maite works closely with writers to ensure that each article is informative, well-researched, engaging, and actionable for readers. With extensive knowledge of CRM, vehicle tracking devices, and fuel cards, she is meticulous in her review of each article and provides detailed feedback before publication. Whether you're seeking to stay informed on the latest trends in business software or need guidance in selecting the most appropriate software for your organisation's needs, Maite is here to help. With her sharp eye for detail and commitment to quality, she is dedicated to supporting businesses in achieving their goals.