Guide to fleet fuel cards

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Businesses in the shipping and transportation industries can spend a lot of money on gas each year, but they’re not the only ones. Any company with delivery drivers would also fall into this category, as well as businesses that work in certain sectors of tourism. A limo service or a company that provides airport transfers are also excellent examples.

Fleet fuel cards are offered as a solution for businesses that spend a significant amount on gas each year, both because they make it convenient for employees to pay for gas purchases, but also for the expense tracking and reporting they offer.

If your business spends a lot on gas and you want to make tracking this expense considerably easier, signing up for fleet cards could be the right move.

What are fleet cards?

Fleet fuel cards are a business-facing product that let companies purchase fuel and maintenance for their “fleet” of vehicles with ease. Once a company signs up for fleet cards for their employees, they can utilize a network of gas stations and merchants in order to fuel up and take care of maintenance on the road.

To be clear, a fleet card is a credit card employees carry with them as they perform driving work. Employees will use their credit cards to pay for gas and other authorized purchases and the employer can monitor and oversee all these purchases in real-time.

How do fleet credit cards work?

As a business owner, you would likely sign up for fleet fuel cards to get more organized and save money on gas and maintenance. Applying for fleet fuel cards for your employees can help you avoid having to manually keep track of gas and maintenance purchases by various employees.

Fleet fuel cards come with expense tracking and reporting perks, so you’ll be able to see all the purchases your workers make on the road. Fleet fuel cards also let employers set up alerts that might let them know about fraud or misuse right away. Many of these cards also come with additional incentives that can help you save money, such as fuel discounts or rewards.

Employees with a fleet fuel card can use the card to pay for gas and other authorized purchases, like vehicle maintenance.

Who can get a fleet fuel card?

Fleet fuel cards are for businesses only, meaning that individual consumers cannot sign up for these products. Individuals probably wouldn’t want to anyway, given that these cards are geared to companies who need to oversee and manage gas purchases and vehicle maintenance across an entire fleet. An individual who works as a freelancer within the shipping or transportation industry wouldn’t need complex tools to keep track of their own spending and maintenance of a single rig.

With that being said, there are plenty of credit cards that let consumers earn rewards on gas. Many of the best gas credit cards for individuals and businesses also come with no annual fee.

Fleet fuel card benefits

Business owners who sign up for fleet fuel cards have the option to determine which purchases to authorize. Some fleet fuel cards are only for gas and maintenance, while others let employee cardholders pay for purchases in gas station convenience stores. This can be a nice feature if you want to cover drinks or snacks for your employees on the road.

Most importantly, fleet fuel cards help business owners track and minimize their transportation-related expenses. It’s easy to imagine how signing up for a traditional business credit card and handing out employee cards would create a headache for whoever had to track and reconcile all purchases made by employees.

Fleet fuel cards are also tied to each individual employee or vehicle, and they often have to enter their Driver’s Identification Number at the pump. This lets you know who is purchasing fuel and where, as well as the date of each purchase. If one of your employees is consistently filling up with more gas than normal, the reporting feature of these cards can alert you to this behavior.

Not only that, but fleet fuel cards come with expense tracking and reporting that business owners can use to monitor expenses for the long haul. This reporting can be used to make important business-related decisions, but it can also save you time and energy when it comes time to file your taxes each year.

Best fleet fuel cards

The best fleet fuel cards let you gain valuable benefits when your employees fuel up. If you’re hoping to streamline gas purchases and tracking for your business, the following card options are worth considering for your fleet.

Axle Fuel Card™

The Axle Fuel Card™ is made for fleets that use the Pilot Flying J and One9 Fuel Network to fill up on fuel. This card is available for fleets of all sizes and there are no transaction fees or monthly fees required. Employees who use this card can also earn rewards they can redeem for in-store purchases like drinks and snacks, which can help improve morale.

On the business end, owners can streamline their gas purchases and receive money-back rewards for commercial diesel and DEF purchases. Applicants who are approved will also get access to a dedicated account representative to answer questions and resolve any issues.

Wex fleet cards

Wex offers specialized fleet cards for small businesses, large fleets and fleets managed by the government. Their fleet cards come with the benefit of advanced analytics and reporting—you can even access GPS vehicle tracking and a mobile app that helps you oversee vehicle movements and fuel purchases.

Wex fleet cards are widely accepted at 95 percent of retail fuel locations and 45,000 maintenance locations, which means you don’t have to commit to a specific fuel brand. You can also secure rebates on fuel purchases, and some of their cards let you carry a balance.

ExxonMobil™ BusinessPro™

If your business fuels up at Exxon and Mobil stations, the ExxonMobil™ BusinessPro™ could suit your needs. This fleet fuel card offers savings of up to 6 cents off per gallon, and you can also earn Exxon Mobil Rewards+™. With this program, employees can earn rewards that are redeemable on convenience store and fuel purchases.

Business owners can also access up-to-date reporting and analytics 24 hours a day, which can help when it comes to tracking fuel purchases and reducing wasteful spending. One interesting component of the ExxonMobil™ BusinessPro™ is the fact that you can expand your fuel network to include 95 percent of retail stations nationwide if you are willing to pay a one-time setup fee of $40 and a monthly card fee of $2.

The BP Business Solutions Program

The BP Business Solutions Program includes two different fleet fuel cards to choose from—the BP Business Solutions Fuel Plus for small to mid-sized fleets and the BP Business Solutions Mastercard for mid-sized to large fleets. Each card comes with regular, plus and premium versions—regular comes with a lower annual fee but fewer perks, premium costs more but comes with a higher rewards rate and loyalty bonus and plus is somewhere in the middle.

Both cards offer monthly volume-based rebates for up to 6 cents per gallon. You’ll also earn 1 or 2 points per eligible gallon, depending on the tier you select, as well as a $50 annual loyalty bonus if you go with premium. Other benefits include enhanced fraud loss coverage, enhanced reporting and alerts and priority customer service.

Shell Fleet Plus Card

The Shell Fleet Plus Card doesn’t require a monthly fee, an annual fee or a per card fee. You also get a 15 percent discount off oil changes and preventive maintenance with Jiffy Lube, and you can earn a rebate of up to 6 cents per gallon. The Shell Fleet Plus Card is accepted at more than 14,000 Shell gas locations and participating Jiffy Lube locations around the United States.

This card also lets business owners control their employee spending on fuel, and built-in reports and analytics can be accessed at any time. An online portal and mobile app also let you activate, pause or terminate cards at any time of the day or night.

The bottom line

Most fleet cards operate within a specific network of gas stations and retail stores. For example, some fleet fuel cards are made for those who fuel up at BP or Speedway stations, specifically. Other fleet fuel cards are usable within a specific network of truck stops nationwide or for a specific brand of fuel.

Fleet fuel cards also offer numerous benefits that can make them more valuable for any business, although the perks vary widely from card to card.

As you decide whether to use fleet fuel cards for your business, additional benefits you can look for include fraud loss coverage, rewards on fuel purchases, fuel discounts, business identity protection, discounts on maintenance, roadside assistance and more.

The information about the BP Business Solutions Mastercard, BP Business Solutions Fuel Plus , Axle Fuel Card™, ExxonMobil™ BusinessPro, and Shell Fleet Plus Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."