Why companies are in a mad rush to implement fuel cards
Fuel cards are not a new concept. They were invented by petrol stations and travel centre chains several years ago to build customer loyalty and sell more petrol. In return, travel chains and petrol stations gave customers discounts and other benefits. Trucking firms, which consume more fuel than average individuals, realised this quickly and switched to the cards. Apart from saving lots of money, they also found that fuel cards enable them to easily track fleets and control drivers’ expenses. Today, UK fuel cards are not only provided by travel chains and petrol stations, but also by several national brands. Most of the companies provide prepayment options across multiple retail partners and discounts. As discussed in this article, cheap UK fuel is not the only benefit that a fuel card can give.
How do fuel cards work?
Fuel cards are remarkably easy to use, even for someone that has not used them before. Once the user is signed up with a provider, they will be given several fuel cards that are then given to drivers instead of cash or credit card for paying for fuel.
Many people think that fuel cards limit users to only a few petrol stations. While the fuel card scheme cannot have every single petrol station, most stations are in the scheme. Most providers also include online site locators to help drivers know where the nearest refuelling station is. Others enable drivers to use an app for the same purpose. It is almost impossible to be in a situation where no station accepts the card.
The main advantages of fuel cards
Fuel card providers reward customers for choosing only certain service stations to refuel at. They do this by offering discounts that can translate to massive savings in the long run. Of course, the discounts vary from one station to the next, but even small discounts on each fuelling trip can save a business thousands of pounds. And since real-time data gathering was introduced, many card providers have started to offer updates on the prices of fuel across the country. This enables the drivers to locate the cheapest fuel near them as they go through their trips.
Businesses can also save on other products apart from fuel. Depending on the card chosen, companies can also enjoy discounts on tyres, repairs, maintenance, food and drink, lodging and document scanning, among other expenses.
Security and control
Fleet managers can access convenient, comprehensive and real-time updates about how much each driver is spending. This way, they can budget better and introduce spending caps. The ability to see total spending overviews enables fleet managers to curb fraud. That is because UK fuel cards are an effective safeguard against drivers that engage in fraudulent activities when paying for fuel and other services.
Flexibility and convenience
Drivers have great flexibility when it comes to fuel stations to refuel at. In addition to multiple fuelling stations, fuel card programs also provide sizeable discounts across several retailers countrywide. Also, drivers can know where to get the cheapest UK fuel nearby, which saves the company a lot of money. Most fuel cards also provide other services, like tracking IFTA or International Fuel Tax Agreement. Fleet managers and other staff also save a lot of time they would have spent on administration. They can focus on their core business and improve efficiency and cut costs.
Fuels card makes paying for petrol a breeze. One only needs to present the fuel card for the company at the pay point, and they’re good to go.
There is no need to come with cash, a credit card or any other method of payment. The only plastic required to fill the tank is the fuel card.
After that, the company gets billed directly with an invoice detailing purchases from all the drivers under the scheme. This makes it a seamless payment method for all involved.
HMRC are super strict when it comes to employee expenses. They are especially keen on fuel costs. In the absence of a fuel card, employees will need to keep track of all the paperwork showing fuel expenditure and other expenses. This means keeping receipts on every purchase, which is a sure administrative headache. Since fuel card companies send comprehensive invoices to clients, keeping receipts will not be necessary. That is because HMRC finds these receipts enough for their work, eliminating the need for keeping additional paperwork.
Paying upfront costs is unnecessary
Many businesses find it hard to manage expense reimbursements, as employees need to pay for fuel using cash from their pockets. Even where companies are prompt in refunding expenses, the delay is still inevitable because of the paperwork involved and the time for it to get processed. This deprives employees of cash as they wait for the claim to be processed.
The larger companies usually process claims only once a month. For drivers that drive regularly in a month, it means they will always need to pay for fuel and file for reimbursement later.
With a fuel card, there is no need to submit expense claims, and also drivers don’t have to pay with their money for UK fuel and wait for several days or weeks to get a refund.
UK fuel cards brings innumerable benefits to employers, fleet managers and drivers. They save costs because of the significant discounts they provide, lessen paperwork and administrative burden, and prevent drivers from using their own money to pay for UK fuel and then seek reimbursement later. It also makes paying for fuel hassle-free and alerts drivers of the cheapest and nearest fuel stations. They are an important element in cutting the cost of fuel for businesses.
The editorial unit