As a business fleet manager, one of your most important tasks – except for monitoring your fleet and drivers – is to cut costs to boost profits.
A great addition to your arsenal in reducing expenses is using a fuel card. Offering companies a range of benefits, fuel cards can help companies better manage their fuel expenses, streamline administrative tasks and save money and time.
If you’ve ever asked “Do fuel cards save you money?”, continue reading. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what fuel cards are, how they can help you reduce costs and save money, and how to choose the right fuel card that best fits your business needs.
What Are Fuel Cards?
Fleet managers use fuel cards to purchase fuel or diesel for their fleet vehicles and pay for other vehicle-related expenses.
Offered in partnership with providers like BP, they offer a range of incentives and handy money-saving add-ons, making them a helpful tool to manage and control fuel and vehicle-related expenses.
Benefits of Fuel Cards
Fuel cards have a range of benefits:
Fuel cards give cardholders access to discounts, rebates and loyalty programme benefits (offered by fuel providers). Many fuel card providers negotiate discounted rates with petrol stations, which allow you to take advantage of competitive fuel prices. These lower fuel prices can lead to substantial reductions in fuel bills, which help save you money.
These savings can accumulate over time and significantly save costs while increasing your business’s profits.
Fuel cards simplify your expense management. The detailed expense and transaction reports your fuel card provider gives help you stay informed about all your fuel expenses. This makes it much easier to monitor fuel expenditure, track your staff’s spending patterns and identify any unauthorised purchases.
Because you won’t have to collect and store paper receipts, monitoring card transactions and tracking spending also becomes less time-consuming.
With their built-in security features – such as PINs and vehicle-specific restrictions – fuel cards provide fleet managers with peace of mind. These features heighten card security and help prevent the fraudulent and unauthorised use of fuel cards, helping save you money.
The detailed, electronic record of fuel purchases and transactions tracks fuel consumption and vehicle mileage. They are also used to generate expense reports.
Due to the fact there is no need to store and hunt down receipts, fuel cards also help save time and money on administrative tasks.
This streamlined reporting eases the process of monitoring petrol and diesel expenses. The time and resources saved can, therefore, be allocated to other tasks, which facilitates decision-making and planning.
Carrying and using fuel cards improves staff safety. Because drivers do not have to keep large amounts of money in their possession, they’ll become a less likely target to criminals.
Drivers also won’t be obligated to use their own money or cards to fill up their fleet vehicles.
Because fuel purchases are electronically recorded, the burden of drivers having to keep and store paper receipts is also removed.
Tips For Implementing and Optimising Fuel Cards
It’s essential to ensure that your business fuel cards are correctly implemented and their use is optimised to ensure that you enjoy their benefits to the maximum.
Choose the Right Provider
Just as you would “shop around” for a debit or credit card, so too should you compare fuel cards and providers before choosing which fuel card to use for your fleet. Consider factors such as card coverage, the monthly fees you’ll pay, and the benefits and incentives you’ll enjoy.
Most importantly, take note of the network of fuel stations where drivers will be able to fill up, which adds to the ease of use and avoids any hiccups when refilling.
Define Usage Policies
To prevent any misunderstandings and misuse, establish clear usage policies and guidelines. Inform employees about which expenses are allowed when using the fuel card.
If possible, also communicate the implications of missing or misusing the card. Communication is vital to ensure that employees know exactly what purchases are allowed on company cards.
Fuel card transactions must be regularly reviewed to ensure that fraudulent or unauthorised transactions are immediately picked up. Credit card providers allow cardholders to monitor and review transactions almost immediately, which makes it easier to spot any irregularities.
Being able to act promptly – when unauthorised transactions are noted – will ensure that your business does not lose any money through fraudulent behaviour.
To ensure that fuel cards are properly used, give all relevant staff training on why and how the cards are needed.
Inform your fleet drivers of adhering to card usage policies and how to keep these cards secure. This will help prevent misuse and keep cards safe from fraudulent use.
A well-informed employee is more likely to use the card in the correct manner, which will help keep costs down.
Measuring Cost Savings
Keep the following factors in mind when trying to determine how much money using a fuel card would save your company:
1. Fuel Cost Reduction
Keep a record of your fuel spend (after starting to use a fuel card) and compare this with your previous fuel bill, to get an idea of the cost savings you are enjoying. This easy savings comparison is a great way to see if you are cutting down on expenses and if the card is helping you save money.
2. Administrative Savings
Also, consider the amount of time and labour you save when doing your monthly expense tracking and reporting. Note the reduction in paperwork and the more streamlined way your record-keeping now operates when assessing administrative cost savings.
3. Discount and Rebate Benefits
Keep a record and review the total value of discounts, rebates or loyalty programme benefits you enjoy with your fuel card. Over the long term, these savings can lead to significant reductions in costs and add to your overall savings.
4. Reduced Fraud and Unauthorised Spending
Avoiding the loss of money – through theft, fraud and unauthorised purchases – is another great way of reducing unnecessary costs and adding to your bottom line. Therefore, consider how the built-in safety measures of a fuel card can contribute to long-term cost savings.
As you can see, fuel cards offer a lot of benefits to businesses. They are a great tool to help fleet managers minimise fleet operating costs and vehicle-related expenses.
Providing users convenience, security and improved expense reporting, a fuel card is an attractive choice for companies intent on streamlining their operations and optimising their budgets.
Contact Crystal Ball to learn about our fuel cards to help you better monitor and manage your fleet’s fuel expenses. The fuel cards – issued in partnership with BP – offer you access to thousands of UK fuel stations and provide real-time insights into your fleet’s performance.
Book a demo today to learn more about how Crystal Ball’s fuel cards and fleet tracking systems can benefit your business.