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How to Choose the Best Fuel Card for Your Small Business

Man inserts the gun into the tank on gas station

Is it all about price and rewards? Yes, of course it is, and those are the two top reasons why you should be looking for a fuel card.

However, there are several other facets to a fuel card whereby a bit of clever shopping may help you avoid extra charges, theft, added costs, and may even offer better value for money. So, by all means you should be looking for the fuel cards with the best prices and rewards, but also consider the points below if you also want the best value for your money. Fuel cards should bring benefits of saving time and money.

Spending And Fuel Purchase Limits

In order to maintain a certain price level or certain amount of reward, you need to maintain a certain level of spending. In other words, you have to spend a certain amount on fuel each week or month in order to maintain your rewards.

There are two ways this can go. The first is that you do not spend enough money and you drop a rewards tier or gain less of a discount for a short amount of time. If that is the case, then that is fine and you should consider getting that card.

The other way it can go is that you drop under a certain spending limit and you get no rewards at all, and/or your rewards are not worth having because they are that low. If that is the case with the fuel card you are researching, then give that card a miss.

If you can find a provider with fuel card discounts, so much the better, because you’ll save money.

Fuel Cards With Clever User Interfaces and Tools

A user interface is what you use to control and monitor your fuel cards. Usually, you go online to a website and you are given all the information you need, and sometimes there is an app or a piece of software you load onto your computer.

Some of the bigger providers will provide you with a user interface and user tools that make your life easier. They may offer invoices that are VAT or tax compliant, so that you can export and import data easily without having to enter the data in manually – a time saving boon for any small business.

Some have tools to help you safeguard against fraud, and some have refueling tools that help you improve driver efficiency. You need to invest a little time in understanding how a fuel card works to help you choose which will most benefit your business.

Pick a Card That Helps Guard Against Theft

You may not be handing over money to give to your drivers, but the fact is that there are many ways a driver can steal from you using a fuel card. In reality, fuel cards do not help stop theft, but they can make theft easier to identify.

Luckily, rather than having to hire a data analyst to see where you are being ripped off, there are some fuel cards that allow you to see where odd behavior is occurring. They have tools that show where shrinkage may have occurred, from places where prices seem too high, or where routes do not match the amount of fuel being bought.

Try to look for fuel card providers that offer theft detection tools and software. Since each fuel card is tracked individually by the card provider, it is easier for them to highlight where theft may have occurred. It will save on your and your staff’s valuable admin time.

Deals on Breakdown Assistance

Take a hard look at how much you are currently paying for breakdown assistance, and even consider how it may be pushing up your insurance costs. If a fuel card offers you a good breakdown assistance deal, and the numbers add up, then you should factor this into your decision about which fuel card to get. As a small business, you may not pay for this kind of insurance as it doesn’t seem cost effective but the right fuel card will save you money should you ever be required to call on breakdown assistance.

Transaction Fees and Coverage

There is a lot of noise made about how some fuel cards do not have the coverage and so should be eschewed to the side, but coverage is not as important as you think. So what if the card won’t be taken in a small village in Scotland, or in an outback station in Australia.

The question should be, “How much will it affect your business.” In many cases, the refueling places that do not accept your card are just down the street from one that does. Plus, in many cases, the refueling places that do not accept your card are so seldom visited by your staff that it doesn’t matter.

A lot of noise is also made about transaction fees, and this is the sort of noise you should listen to. As a small business, even small fees will impact on your bottom line. It is amazing that in this day and age there are still bank cards and credit cards that charge transaction fees, especially those that charge for just looking at your account balance on an ATM.

So, it is even more disturbing that in this day and age there are transaction fees that come with refueling cards. It would be like charging transaction fees for firefighters every time they use a hose. If the fuel card charges “Any” transaction fees, then avoid them.

Published: August 28, 2020
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Andrej Kovacevic

Andrej Kovacevik is an accomplished digital marketing specialist and an avid internet technologist. Throughout his career, Andrej has combined his passion for cutting-edge technology with a keen eye for emerging industry trends to deliver customized marketing solutions to businesses and clients around the globe. He believes that the key to modern marketing excellence is a constant willingness to learn and adapt to the ever-changing digital world. Andrej is a contributor to a wide range of technology-focused publications, where he may be found discussing everything from neural networks and natural language processing to the latest in smart home IoT devices. If there's a new and exciting technology, there's a good chance Andrej is writing about it somewhere out there. Follow him on Twitter @andrejtl.

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