Fuel Cards: What Are They & Should I Get One?

Fuel cards are intended to be a useful tool for monitoring fuel spend and consumption within businesses and organizations, but there’s often a lot of confusion and misconception surrounding them.

Find out below how fuel cards actually work, and whether you should be using one:

What is a fuel card?

Essentially a fuel card is a credit card that can only be used to pay for fuel. They work by allowing individuals to fill up their car at a network of petrol stations, but instead of paying with a regular card, you use a fuel card and the company pays for the fuel directly.

While they are often associated with large corporations running a fleet of company cars, there are actually benefits in using a fuel card for companies of all sizes.

Save money with a fuel card

With a lot of economic uncertainty and regular changes to fuel prices, fuel cards offer a good way to stabilize and even reduce your fuel costs. Each card is different, but many will offer savings or a fixed weekly rate on fuel prices - making it easier to predict how much you’ll be spending.

For example, the Applegreen Fuel Card allows drivers to fill up at an extensive network of service stations, which all offer the same price for fuel so drivers don’t need to go further for cheaper prices. The Applegreen fuel card guide outlines exactly how companies can use the fuel card to save money and increase efficiency.

Fuel cards will also provide a better long term overview of just how much your company is spending on fuel. You can access online account management software that makes it easy to see your fuel costs, and they can be broken down by month or even week. This helps identify how and where travel costs could be reduced, and improves future budget planning.

While most fuel cards will charge an annual card fee, that cost is offset by the savings you make by being able to track and monitor your fuel spend.

Reduce admin with a fuel card

Admin takes up a lot of valuable time in all businesses, and managing company vehicles involves its fair share of sorting through paperwork. Organizing and reconciling expenses forms and fuel receipts can take hours, and there’s always the chance that something’s missing or overlooked.

Using fuel cards can help to streamline your vehicle management and minimize time-wasting admin. You’ll be able to go cashless with your fuel payments, without worrying about handing over a company credit card to every employee. The fuel card can only be used for fuel-related purchases.

Drivers won’t need to save receipts, track what they’ve spent, or claim back expenses - they’ll pay with the fuel card and then you can view what they’ve spent through the online account management. Fuel cards will also make it simpler to reclaim VAT as you can access all transactions on HMRC compliant invoices for tax submission.

Added security with a fuel card

Protecting your business against threats and ensuring you operate securely is always a priority - and fuel cards are one of the ways you can improve business security. As well as being restricted to purchasing fuel-related products, detailed invoicing, and online account administration, fuel cards provide added security in a number of other ways.

It’s possible to set up alerts for unusual transactions, for example when fuel is purchased outside of a certain area or out of hours refueling. It’s also possible to place daily transaction limits on fuel cards to stop them from being used excessively or to fill other vehicles.

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Fuel cards are an easy, reliable way to save money on fuel and reduce admin when it comes to managing company cars. With lots of different fuel cards available it’s important to do some research and find the one most suited to you or your business.