Fuel cards have several benefits to businesses. No matter what industry you are in, or the size of your fleet, a fuel card gives you the convenience to fuel and allows you to track your fuel expenditures with real-time reports and data. However, given the plethora of fuel card programs in the market, it can be quite tough choosing the right one for your business. In this article, we share with you some of the things you must take into account when looking for a fuel card program. In the end, you will know how to find the right card for your type of business and industry. Read on to learn more.
Important Factors to Consider When Researching Fuel Cards
1. Convenient Locations
One of the most important things you want to consider is location because the success or failure of your program will be determined by the ease of getting fuel. It is important that drivers find fueling stations easily along their routes. This allows them to get back to work quickly without driving for miles.
As you are researching the different fuel cards, you will frequently encounter the term ‘Universal fuel card. If your company operates across varying routes or a large part of the country, you will be best served by this type of card. A universal fuel card gives your drivers access to hundreds of locations across the country, and this includes big-name oil firms like Exxon, BP, Shell, and Chevron, to name but a few.
But regional cards are also available and they make sense for businesses that operate mainly in one part of the country. The programs include locations meant specifically for commercial vehicles. They also provide wholesale pricing for fuel, which results in savings for your company at the pump. Before you settle for one, take time to compare both options and review nearby sites to get the best fuel card for your business.
2. Choose a Card that responds promptly to customers
With drivers out there on the road, chances are that they will require a quick response if they have any problem that interferes with their fueling. For this reason, you need to explore the duration it takes before one gets help sought. One effective way of running the level of the customer care service offered by each card program is to call and speak to their representatives. Check if you can speak with the representative quickly and not have to go through a complicated phone process. One way to gauge that a fleet card provider is worth doing business with is if they have enough people to respond to your queries. They should also be found on a variety of channels like live chat, email, and phone calls. Another tip is to look up the company on popular consumer sites like BBB and read reviews of customers who have used them in the past.
3. Purchase controls and alerts
As any fleet manager will tell you, it’s not easy to keep tabs on the fuel expenditures for their cars. However, implementing the alerts and controls that fuel card programs give you to make it easy to monitor them. The controls to implement depend on several factors like your industry and your fleet size, but you should at least insist that fueling is only done during normal business hours.
Another limit you can set is the maximum amount of litres of fuel drivers can purchase in one transaction. You may also like to set spending limits per month, week, or day. And for smaller companies, setting up automatic email alerts each time a driver uses a card enables real-time monitoring. On the other hand, larger businesses may want to set alerts for irregular transactions. With these flexible parameters, you will be able to create the perfect blend for simplicity and security for your needs.
4. Online tools
The best fuel cards are the ones that enable you to manage your fleet effortlessly. The work of a fleet manager is cut out. They have to supervise drivers, oversee every job, and deal with a plethora of timecards, billings, and personal changes. A good fuel card comes with online tools for managing your program. Make sure that the program you are considering using can enable you to download past and current invoices to put reference data at your fingertips. You can then share this information with your Accounts Payable and provide past pricing to your executive team. Also, confirm that the tools can allow you to run reports of total fueling by vehicle, driver, and fuel type because this information might come in handy later on. An important feature is the ability to adjust controls and alerts online and also are able to cancel or order cards based on employee turnover. These features will save you time especially in future, which is why you want to ensure that your fuel card provider offers them.
To simplify your fleet’s daily operations, the fuel card program you pick should come with technological features aimed at streamlining your workload. Ensure that your card gives you access to apps compatible with android and iPhone as this enables drivers to check amenities and pricing, as well as turn-by-turn directions using their mobile devices.
The best providers have different options for paying the bill online for customers’ convenience. These include credit card payments and ETFs. This way, you can easily keep your fleet operating smoothly during peak seasons.
Next time you are trying to navigate through the best fuel cards, just remember the points we have talked about here. While fuel cards give you a specific pay point for your fuel costs, it is the bare minimum feature of these programs. More importantly, look for technology offered, the promptness at which the customer service personnel respond, the blend of locations, and online tools that lessen the workload of managing a fleet.