The Benefits of Fuel Cards
With the cost of fuel at an all-time high, businesses are scrutinising their fuel bills closer than ever in a bid to stem rising costs. As road transport is a necessary commodity for most businesses, cutting the costs of diesel and petrol is paramount for protecting the business’s bottom line.
One option businesses are favouring is the use of a fuel card to keep track of their fuel spending. Not only do fuel cards offer a cashless method of paying for fuel, but most providers also offer detailed drawing and transaction reports, so monitoring fuel spend is simple and transparent. In addition, many fuel card providers offer fixed price fuel which offers significant savings off the price displayed at the pump.
With a range of fuel card offerings available to businesses, it’s worth considering the top priorities when it comes to managing the company’s fleet. If cutting costs is paramount, it’s worth considering a fuel card that offers a fixed weekly price, as these usually offer significant savings off the price displayed at the pump.
Well known brands such as BP offer a fixed price card known as the BP PLUS Bunker card. This card offers savings of up to 4p per litre off the usual pump price, and around 10p per litre off motorway prices. And with BP accounting for almost half of the entire UK motorway network, even long distance journeys can become cost-effective with a fuel card. However it’s worth bearing in mind that the fixed price may only be available at designated sites.
Alternatively, a pump-priced card may be a more feasible option. With many providers offering cross-acceptance – for example the BP card can be accepted at Total and Texaco sites across the UK, giving access to more than 3,200 sites across the UK – pump-priced cards offer a convenient option for many businesses.
Some fuel card providers do charge for non-usage, so it’s worth checking all the conditions before signing up to a provider. Some also have a minimum usage stipulation. In addition, some charge an annual fee for their cards, ranging in price from £7.25 for 3 years, to over £30 per year. But with significant discounts offered at the pump, the savings may well stack up despite the card fees.
Not only do fuel cards eliminate the need for drivers to carry cash, thus reducing security risks, fuel card providers also offer VAT-friendly receipts for all transactions, so there’s no need for drivers to keep their receipts and claim back the VAT at a later date. And with some providers, including BP and Esso, offering PIN-enabled cards, fraudulent transactions are almost entirely eliminated.
Many providers of fuel cards such as Be Fuelcards allow businesses to monitor their account online. This means transactions, spending and invoices can be viewed 24/7, ensuring greater control of the company’s fuel spending.
Businesses can also keep close track of their driver’s activity by viewing fleet management reports, offered by their fuel card provider. With cards being personalised by driver name or vehicle registration number, fleet managers can monitor how much each driver is spending, how frequently they are filling up and which sites they are using. Drivers can also be given various purchase options depending on the business’s need. For example, extras such as car washes and lubricants can be bought with a fuel card, or they can be restricted to fuel purchasing only.
Fuel cards offer a range of benefits for business users, but it’s worth spending the time comparing a range of providers before committing. With careful consideration, fuel cards can offer significant cost savings, greater convenience and simplified fleet management solutions for your business.