What is a fuel card management system?

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Fuel cards are a smart way to manage fuel costs and reduce expenses. By increasing the visibility of your transactions, you’ll bring down business expenses and reduce your administration.

What is a fuel card?

Fuel costs can add up fast, even if you only have a couple of employees who regularly drive for work. A fuel card can make managing those costs far more straightforward by providing insights into fuel efficiency and reducing the administrative burden.

Fuel cards combine the familiarity of a business credit card with the ability to separate personal and business expenses. A fuel card allows staff to buy fuel and, in some cases, other related products, including accessories, parking and car wash credits.

Cards are restricted to the issuer’s network of service stations. However, some can be customised to allow access to supermarket petrol stations or to limit use to a single geographical area.

How can a fuel card work for my business?

A fuel card management system works in the same way as any other payment card. The holder purchases fuel while the company is billed once a month. Some fuel cards offer a discount on fuel, and there is the opportunity to link cards to a vehicle and its driver.

By improving the visibility of these transactions in real-time, you’ll gain valuable insights into fuel economy and efficiency, together with CO2 emissions to keep control of environmental impact. Comprehensive reporting helps you to improve driver and vehicle performance and to minimise your overall fuel spend.

A fuel card management system can give you access to:

  • Real-time insights and bespoke reports on performance and fuel efficiency
  • Additional cards and card cancellation
  • Invoice history
  • Streamlined monitoring fleet and telematics data

Reducing your fuel spend

You may be offered discounted fuel as part of your fuel card management system, but there are other ways in which you can drive down your fuel costs:

Encourage more efficient driving

By accessing data on individual driver performance, you can pinpoint inefficiencies, including poor route choice and expensive filling locations. By encouraging inefficient drivers to adopt better driving habits, there is potential to save on fuel spend.

Pinpoint fraudulent behaviour

A card management system allows you to track individual spending habits. The ability to verify individual vehicles and drivers will enable you to micromanage volume and the correct fuelling type and reduces the opportunities for expenses fraud.

Set limits and locations

A fuel card management system allows you to set weekly or monthly spending limits and can be used to restrict spending in expensive locations such as motorway services.

Raise environmental awareness

Using a fuel card system is a great way to introduce the idea of fuel accountability and to promote the efficient use of fuel across your fleet. The ability to calculate real-time emissions and economies helps you to meet your green fleet targets and initiatives.

Minimising administration

A fuel card management system can make other cost and time savings by reducing the burden of administration through:

  • Comprehensive invoicing and invoice history eliminating the need to gather fuel receipts for HMRC and streamlining VAT claim back
  • Eliminates petty cash so that employees don’t have to travel with significant sums of cash
  • Greater security allows you to cancel cards at any time, reducing the risk of fuel theft and the associated administrative burden
  • Total transparency allowing you to identify individual users via their cards
  • Better intelligence leads to better financial forecasting when you can rely upon real-time data
  • More control of fuel efficiency and cost savings via 24/7 access to the portal with full accounting software integration

What to consider when choosing a fuel card

When you’re considering a fuel card management provider, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s the monthly fuel usage? How is that likely to change in the future?
  • Is it possible to limit purchases? By cost? Category? Location?
  • Are fuel prices discounted? If so are there are any conditions?
  • Is the card supported by the reporting tools you need? Will they allow you to gain insights into your fuel spending and identify possible economies and efficiencies?
  • Does the fuelling network cover your area? Or are you likely to fall foul of convenience charging?

Alternative fuel management option

There are alternatives to fuel cards, such as purchasing a prepaid debit card, like those offered from Soldo, for example. The solution offers the majority of the same benefits as a fuel card management system. However, rather than being restricted to fuel management, it delivers the added convenience of a prepaid business card, relevant across a far broader range of business expenses. The Soldo prepaid card is one of the best alternatives to credit cards as it offers the same type of use.

With a Soldo prepaid card, employees have controlled access to company funds to cover expenses, so they are no longer left out of pocket. Business owners will have the financial intelligence needed to protect the firm against expenses fraud and to drive additional savings.