8 Fleet Card Benefits
Owner-operators, OTR trucking companies, and private fleets alike have one thing in common—they want to maximize profits by keeping their spending to a minimum.
Professional drivers and the companies that employ them often try to achieve this with the help of a fleet fuel card. Fuel discount programs offer cost savings, increased fueling convenience, fraud protection, and other benefits that can improve a company’s bottom line.
If you’re on the fence about signing up for a fleet card, this article will help you make the right call for your trucking company. We’ll provide a brief overview of gas cards for business or fleet fuel cards followed by eight fleet card benefits so that you can have a clearer picture of how a fleet card could revolutionize your trucking business.
What is a Fleet Card?
So, what is a fleet card and how do fuel cards work? When a company fleet begins to use a certain fleet fuel card program, the fleet manager will give cards to all of the drivers of the fleet's vehicles. Professional drivers use fleet fuel cards (also called fuel cards) to access fuel discounts, track and limit their spending, and fund other trucking-related expenses like:
- Repairs and maintenance
- Consumables, such as:
- ~Windshield washer fluid
- ~Motor oil
- ~Windshield wiper blades
To maximize their fleet card benefits, fleet owners should look for a card company that offers:
- Low or zero operating fees, such as:
- ~ACH fees
- ~Transaction fees
- ~Overdraft fees
- ~Out-of-network fees
- ~Setup fees
- ~Per-card and card replacement fees
- Widespread access to truck stops and fueling stations
- Credit bureau reporting
- Enhanced tools for trucking businesses, like:
- ~Spending reports generation and analysis
- ~Paperless billing and payments
- ~Accounting software integration
- ~Built-in regulatory reporting
A fleet card is so much more than a credit card for fuel purchases—the ideal card will streamline your administrative tasks, improve your profit margin, and protect you from overspending and fraud.
Benefits for Fleet Cardholders
What are the benefits of a fuel card? Now that we’ve explored the basic functions of a fleet card, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of fleet card benefits.
Keep in mind that not all fleet cards are created equal—with so many options available on the market, you should choose the fleet fuel card program that offers the best combination of the benefits below.
Despite supply chain challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and other international concerns, the professional driving industry is alive and well. In March of 2022, American Trucking Associations reported a 2.4% increase in for-hire truck tonnage compared to the previous month and a 3.8% increase from March of 2021.
But inflation has drastically increased the costs of goods and services like vehicle parts, maintenance, and consumable goods. Not to mention, diesel fuel costs—on average—are over two dollars per gallon more than last year.
Fuel savings have always been part and parcel of optimizing trucking profits, but in the current landscape, finding discounts is more important than ever.
Do fuel cards save you money? Well, the primary benefit of fleet cards is access to discounted fuel. Fleet fuel card companies offer discounts of five cents per gallon and up, which helps:
- Keep costs down
- Optimize Spending
However, owner operators should carefully review the fees for cards that appear to offer the biggest fuel discounts. If a card offers a large fuel discount but collects numerous or pricey fees, users may not save as much as they expected.
Owner-operators must be mindful of potential hidden fees when seeking a fuel card. Find a transparent solution for genuine savings with reliable discount gas cards.
Fleet cards aren’t just useful for fuel tracking and discounts—they also provide additional convenience benefits. Some examples of enhanced convenience tools include:
- Live spending tracking for users and their employees
- Spending limits to keep costs down
- Automated, paperless report generation and analysis
- Fraud protection and monitoring
- Integration with bookkeeping software for easy invoicing
Plus, some cards offer additional, exclusive perks that make refueling and saving easier than ever. Some examples include:
- No-network refueling – While some fleet card companies require their users to refuel at specific truck stops, others provide access to fueling stations anywhere. Be sure to watch out for out-of-network fuel fees before choosing a card.
- One-click payroll – Some fuel cards offer enhanced subcontractor and employee payment options that streamline and simplify the payroll process.
- Credit bureau reporting – For newcomers to the industry or professional drivers struggling with their credit, some fleet cards will report timely payments and increased limits to credit bureaus, helping the truck driver build creditworthiness.
#3 Credit Access
Every fleet fuel card provider offers different terms, but many companies provide fast credit access as you pay your bills on time. What does that process look like? Let’s explore an example:
- You own a C-corp trucking company with two employees. You apply for a fleet card, and you’re approved for a $5,000 fuel spending limit with Net 7 terms (meaning you have seven days after the closing date to pay your balance).
- You use the card for five pay periods, spending most of your limit each time and paying in full and on-time.
- In return for your healthy payment and loyal spending, your fleet card company increases your credit limit and authorizes non-fuel spending on repairs, parts, consumables, insurance, and more.
Instead of applying for a new card and undergoing an additional credit check each time you want to increase your limit, fleet cards give you faster access to your credit as you spend and pay responsibly.
#4 Financial Safety Net
We’ve all been there—while we wait for a client to pay an invoice, we’re worried about how we’re going to afford our next fillup, payroll, or upcoming trip to the mechanic.
Fuel cards can provide a financial safety net for professional drivers who are still building their cash flow and savings. What does that look like?
- If you’re still awaiting payment from a customer, you can use your available cash to pay your employees, vehicle loans, or insurance premiums and use your fleet card to temporarily finance your fuel.
- Some fleet cards offer same-day employee payments, using your available credit to cover payroll if you’re waiting on a client payment.
- When you need a significant repair or service but don’t have the cash to get it done, you can use your fleet card to pay your mechanic while you wait for your next client payment—all without interrupting your everyday operations.
With select fuel cards, you can say goodbye to financial stress and overdrafted checking accounts.
#5 Fraud Protection
Fraud is a serious concern for business owners. Fraud incidents can decimate your credit score, drain your cash, and lead to increased insurance premiums.
Fleet card providers help professional drivers protect themselves from fraud in two ways:
- They use enhanced authentication techniques to prevent unauthorized access to your card, such as PIN entry or driver ID verification.
- They monitor your spending and alert you to potential fraudulent charges, increasing your peace of mind while decreasing your response time if you’re defrauded.
In addition, companies have full access to spending details for their employees and subcontractors, increasing oversight and preventing internal theft.
While traditional banks and credit cards offer some fraud protection, fuel cards specifically protect the professional truck driver and their trucking companies.
#6 Spending Limits
As we briefly mentioned above, fleet card customers have total control over every card on their account—their personal cards and employee- or subcontractor-issued cards.
This means fuel card customers can limit spending in a variety of ways:
- They can restrict their purchases to fuel only, even if they’re eligible to finance other purchases.
- They can control the limits on individual cards, even if their available credit is higher than their chosen limits.
- They can create unique spending limits for different types of purchases—for instance, a driver with a $5,000 weekly limit can allocate $4,000 to fuel expenses and $1,000 to non-fuel purchases (or any ratio they’d like).
#7 Access to Spending Reports
As we briefly discussed in the Convenience subsection, fleet card companies often provide detailed reporting functions to help owner operators analyze, monitor, and report spending.
Owners in International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) jurisdictions, for example, must report information quarterly, including:
- Number of gallons purchased
- Average fuel economy
- Miles driven
- Overall fuel spending
Any fuel payment card company worth their salt is making it as simple as possible for fleet owners to access IFTA data and any other financial metrics they need. Report generation can also help owner operators streamline other tasks, like:
- Client invoicing and accounts receivable
- Tracking repairs and maintenance costs
- Financial planning
- Employee oversight
- Spending analysis
With the power of convenient, accessible, and useful reporting tools, trucking company owners and employees can build benchmarks and track their progress, which can positively impact their bottom line.
#8 Paperless Operations
Paperless operation hasn’t always been easy for the trucking industry—slow developments in trucking technology solutions have left companies drowning in paperwork.
Fleet companies help owners reduce their paper consumption, printing needs, and postage costs:
- Instead of printing and mailing paper invoices, professional drivers can connect their fleet cards to their accounting software to create and send digital bills.
- Instead of keeping a separate spreadsheet or paper notebook to track costs, fleet payment card users can generate spending reports and MPG calculations from a mobile app or desktop site.
- Instead of collecting and organizing paper receipts for manual entry into an accounting system, some fuel cards can automatically upload transaction data to the accounting software of choice.
AtoB: The Best Fleet Card on the Market
With so many fuel card benefits, it’s hard to argue against integrating a universal fuel card into your trucking business’s financial plan.
AtoB customers can link their accounts with Quickbooks for fast and easy invoicing, pay employees and subcontractors in one click, and buy gas anywhere. Since AtoB fleet cards are powered by Visa, drivers can even purchase fuel at small business mom-and-pop shops and locally owned truck stops.
For efficiency-driven owner operators, the Visa fleet card is the optimal choice.
Learn more about what our customers are saying by reading the AtoB Fuel Card Reviews.
US General Services Administration. GSA Fleet Card. https://www.gsa.gov/buying-selling/products-services/transportation-logistics-services/fleet-management/vehicle-leasing/gsa-fleet-card
American Trucking Associations. ATA Truck Tonnage Index Jumped 2.4% in March. https://www.trucking.org/news-insights/ata-truck-tonnage-index-jumped-24-march
The Washington Post. Fed hikes rates by half a percentage point in fight against inflation. https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2022/05/04/fed-rate-hike-inflation-may/
US Energy Information Administration. Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update. https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/
AtoB. Frequently Asked Questions – What discount do I get with the AtoB card?. https://www.atob.com/faq
US Department of Justice. Financial Fraud Crimes. https://www.justice.gov/usao-ak/financial-fraud-crimes