Tips for Selecting and Using Fuel Cards
Posted: Nov 16, 2016
Most modern fleet managers are aware that fuel cards are a smarter choice- much smarter than credit cards or plain old cash- for fueling their fleets. However, it is important for fleet managers to understand that not all fuel cards are created equally. Some are better than others; thus, choosing the right fleet card is of the utmost importance.
And furthermore, once a quality fuel card has been chosen, there are still ways to use it more effectively and efficiently that fleet managers should be aware of.
Being able to choose the right fuel card and then to use it in the best way possible is absolutely essential for the modern day fleet manager.
Selecting a Card
Fuel cards have gained in popularity over the years, and, as they have become more popular, many companies have started offering them. However, it is always best to go with a company that has a long history in offering fuel cards- not one that just thought it would "get in on the action" to make some extra cash. One such company is FleetCor, which is well-known for providing high quality cards in the United States, Europe, and beyond. Some of its most popular cards include the EuroShell Card Kompakt, as well as cards from FuelMan, The Fuel Card Company, and FleetCards USA.
Whether FleetCor is chosen or not, however, fleet managers should always go with a company that specializes mainly in fuel cards and/or other industry relevant ventures. This is a mark that the company truly knows its stuff when it comes to meeting your fueling needs.
A card should also offer nice discounts and/or rebates. FleetCor’s European cards, for example, offer great rebates on the Value Added Tax (VAT). One of the main advantages of a fuel card that offers these types of rebates is that it will save you and your fleet money, both in the short-term and the long-term, so you definitely want to look for one that has the potential to do just that. The right card will come with a host of available discounts, preferably discounts for each liter of fuel purchased, perhaps even in addition to available rebates for fuel purchased.
Setting a Credit Limit
Once you have chosen a good, money-saving fuel card, one of the next steps is to set up the "controls" for each card, or, if you prefer, for all the cards that will be used by your fleet. It is wise to set a credit limit for the cards, especially with newer drivers whom you cannot fully trust just yet.
Setting a credit limit also ensures that you will not go over budget for a given time period. Remember, too, that you can always change these limits later if you need to, or you can even lift them entirely, but, in the early stages, as you are still getting used to dealing with fuel cards, setting a limit can be a smart choice.
Tracking Statistics, Analytics, Etc.
One of the main advantages of having fuel cards available for use is that they will supply you with a wide range of information about each transaction that takes place using these cards. Take advantage of the easy access you have to this information. Do not just file it away or ignore it.
With any good fuel card, you will receive information about when purchases were made, who made them, the odometer reading at the time of the purchase, and more. If you carefully study and analyze this information, you can very easily make assessments about which employees are being as efficient as possible and which require improvement. You can also gather information about which vehicles perform the best and which vehicular members of your fleet may need some maintenance or even a replacement.
As you can see, there are a lot of benefits to fuel cards...if you choose the right card and then train yourself to take advantage of those benefits. Getting used to fuel cards and using them as well as possible can take some time, but it definitely can be done...and will most certainly be a better choice than cash or a standard credit card.
This article is written by Tom Nutt, a public relations consultant of PR Point. PR Point is a leading global public relations and communications firm dealing with major oil companies and providing counsel and program development.