Whether you’re a start-up or growing business, a fuel card can provide a range of benefits.
Here are some of the key things to consider when it comes to choosing a fuel card:
The first thing to think about when comparing cards is the type of vehicles that make up your fleet.
Whether you’re a haulage business, have a national sales team or or operate a small mixed fleet, the vehicles you use can help steer your decision-making process.
Haulage presents unique challenges so choosing a card that focuses on HGV-friendly sites can avoid unnecessary logistical issues.
If your fleet is made up primarily of saloon cars then flexibility is key, as drivers in more sales focused roles need the reassurance that their card is accepted everywhere as their travelling schedule can be unpredic
The majority of fuel cards are designed for diesel or mixed use but it is becoming more common for companies to have an unleaded-only fleet so this can help you narrow down your options.
You may need to consider whether you would prefer a pump-price or fixed-price card.
If using a pump-price fuel card, you are charged the price shown at a particular station at that time.
With a fixed-price card you will be issued a new fuel price each week and regardless of what the price is at the petrol station you pay the fixed-price. Fixed-prices are typically 2-3 pence per litre below the national average pump prices.
Branded or non-branded
Choosing between a branded or non-branded fuel card depends on the type of driving your fleet will be doing. If journeys are mainly local, a supermarket card may be better than a fuel brand card due to fuel station access.
Coverage and location
The area you work in can affect your fuel card choice. If, for example, your business involves drivers travelling the length and breadth of the country, then a card with extensive motorway coverage would be better.
If you work locally, sites such as Shell and Esso are likely to dominate the area. If you work in a rural location Texaco may be the common station. Therefore you would be better opting for a branded fuel card.
The options vary here and you need to think about how you travel for your business. Local, regional and national fuel cards all have their advantages.
If you operate in a town or city it’s important to think of the fuel stations in your area. There’s no advantage of choosing a branded card if there’s only a few stations as you may have to go out of your way to fill up, minimizing your savings and flexibility.
If you are a local plumber, for example, where you don’t know where your next call out might be then having a strong regional fuel network is a benefit. Check if certain branded service stations are prevalent in your area before you commit to a card.
If your business takes you the length and breadth of the country a fuel card accepted across a wide network can ensure less route deviation. You might also want to consider a card which allows you and you employees to purchase other items, such as food.
Cards can be restricted to fuel or can be tailored in some cases to allow you to pay for other business expenses such as hotels and food. This can help to reduce the time employees spend filling out expenses forms.
Fuel cards can offer extra benefits such as breakdown cover.
Check more than the cost of the fuel, in some cases there will be failed payment fees, charges for paper invoices and card protection. Some cards will also charge a nominal annual fee.
A fuel card can consolidate all fuel use onto one account which can help make it easier to manage and potentially save you time on tax returns and VAT recovery.
Review your cards performance
Reviewing how your card is performing can help ensure its continually meeting the needs of your business.