What are the best fuel cards for UK businesses?

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What is a fuel card?

Fuel cards are becoming increasingly popular as businesses are looking to streamline their finances and fuel card suppliers are competing with their rivals to offer the best deals. But what exactly is a fuel card?

A fuel card is a type of payment card used specifically to allow drivers to fill up at fuel sites. Unlike credit cards, which are much more versatile, fuel cards tend to be exclusively for fuel, so there’s no room for confusion as to what’s being spent and where. They can sometimes offer other vehicle-related purchases, but this will depend on what the specific fuel card provider allows. Using fuel cards can be a more manageable way of handling fuel charges than cash or a business credit card, for example.

There are a range of fuel cards offered by numerous companies. Some providers are big, recognised brands, whereas others are smaller, more specialised companies. Whichever you choose, the benefits of fuel cards can make a real difference to your business’ finances. Read on to take a deeper look at how it all works.

How does a fuel card work?

When the vehicle needs filling up, the driver goes about this as normal, then uses the fuel card to pay. This will require a PIN and possibly also a unit number as further verification. The business then receives regular HMRC-compliant invoices showing each purchase for that particular period. If you use a Soldo prepaid card, this data can be automatically integrated with your accounts software.

This method of paying for fuel can save a lot of time as it eliminates the need to collect receipts and calculate VAT manually. It also means that employees won’t need to carry cash or a company credit card for their purchases. So not only is it more efficient, it’s more secure as well.

What’s the best fuel card?

Deciding which is the perfect fuel card for your business all depends on what your business’ specific needs are, as there are a range of benefits depending on the fuel card provider. Do you have a large fleet of cars and vans, or just a few drivers? Will you need a petrol, diesel, or combination card?

One consideration you’ll want to keep in mind is fuel usage. A fuel card supplier can establish a minimum spend per month, so if your drivers aren’t reaching this threshold of fuel consumption, you’ll want to go with a different provider.

On top of a minimum spend, there are other charges you should be aware of. Most providers charge an annual card fee, although this shouldn’t be too much, as the median cost is around the £20 mark. Some cards charge transaction fees, too, so that’s another factor you’ll want to keep an eye out for.

One of the biggest draws of a fuel card is that they can offer lower fuel prices than those advertised at the pump. The majority of fuel cards will offer this benefit, and though it may only be a few pence per litre, this can certainly build up over the course of a year.

This can be especially useful if you’re a small business owner and you’re looking to cut down on those smaller costs.

Where can I use a fuel card?

The larger fuel cards are supported by as many as 7,800 fuel stations, which is around 90% coverage, whereas some can only be used at a number closer to 3,500. The types of locations your employees are driving through will affect this decision, too. The stations supported by some providers are more regional, whereas others are better for big cities. It all depends on what you want the fuel card to do.

The issue here, of course, is that having a limit on where an employee can refuel can cost more time, and therefore more money.

An alternative to fuel cards

As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to choosing a fuel card. Yearly charges, transaction fees, and number of fuel stations supported are all important. There are comparison sites you can make use of that will suggest the best fuel card for your business based on the information you input.

But is a traditional fuel card necessary for your business? There is another option. With Soldo, paying for fuel is made easy with our prepaid cards and intuitive app.

With our prepaid cards you can assign a card to an employee, contractor, or vehicle that’s dedicated to paying for fuel at any service station. This means your drivers don’t need to concern themselves with finding specific petrol stations, and their journeys can run a lot more smoothly.

Not only this, but you can extend the use of your Soldo cards to include expenses like parking, toll charges, fines, and emergencies. This is a valuable freedom compared to traditional fuel cards, which can come with limits.

With the Soldo mobile app you can easily capture receipts, mileage, and vehicle number plates. This data feeds into Soldo’s automatic expense reporting, too, so you can say goodbye to long stretches of time balancing the books. Soldo integrates directly with accounting software like Xero and QuickBooks Online, so you won’t have to overhaul your current accounting processes.

Although fuel cards can provide some of the benefits discussed here, Soldo allows you to cover a much larger range of business expenses. Streamline your cash flow by joining Soldo today.

Frequently asked questions

Are fuel cards a good idea?

If your company requires employees to travel, then a business fuel card will almost certainly be beneficial. With reduced fuel prices and easily tracked transactions, a fuel card can save you time and money. If you’re looking to support a wider range of purchases, however, Soldo’s smart prepaid system offers more flexibility than traditional fuel cards.

What’s the best fuel card for small businesses?

Fuel card companies all offer varying benefits, but if you’re a small business owner you will want to go with a card that is more suited to smaller fleets, and will allow you to keep smaller costs, like yearly fees and transaction charges, as low as possible. With Soldo you can view all of your expenses in real-time in our mobile app.

How can Soldo help manage fuel costs?

Soldo offers a complete spending solution with our prepaid cards and intuitive app. You can assign cards to an individual, team, or vehicle, and automatically track what is being spent and where. Soldo cards can be used on more than just fuel, too, giving your employees greater flexibility, whilst giving you complete visibility and peace of mind.