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Best Fleet Cards For Small Businesses
Ultimately, regardless of whether you’re a small or large business, if you rely on a fleet of vehicles — from taxi services to truckers — fuel expenses are something you’re going to need to take care of in order to stay afloat.
Generally speaking, one of the most obvious expenses for a line of work that focuses on driving is fuel costs, so fuel cards are the natural solution for this.
Having said that, the specific kind of fleet card that you can choose from might be better suited to a particular size of business — i.e. a European truck driver vs. a local service — so it’s worth understanding what your needs are, which isn’t always easy to figure out.
So, throughout this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at our top six fleet cards specifically geared towards small businesses in Australia.
Prior to this, though, we’ll provide some background context regarding what fuel cards actually are, including how they work and the different variations you can expect.
Table of Contents:
- What Are Fuel Cards and How Do They Work
- Why Fuel Cards Offer Different Things to Small Businesses vs Larger Fleets
- 1. 7-Eleven Fuel Pass
- 2. FleetCard
- 3. AmpolCard
- 4. Wex Motorpass Fuel Card
- 5. Shell Card
- 6. Puma Card
- Final Thoughts
What Are Fuel Cards and How Do They Work? 🔎️
Let’s begin by walking through a few of the foundations before getting into our top six picks:
Fuel Card Essentials
Fuel cards tend to get called several different things — fleet fuel cards or business fuel cards, for example — but ultimately, all of them provide the same kind of services; they may just be tailored for a slightly different demographic.
The common aim around all the different types of fleet cards is mainly to help manage the many fuel expenses that you, as a small business owner, may notice rack up when you work with a fleet of vehicles.
While you’d otherwise just use your regular credit or debit card to pay for fuel, this is certainly not the most cost-effective or efficient payment method to follow anymore.
Instead, as the name might imply, these are a specialised type of card that’s designed explicitly for fuel-related purchases (though certain fuel card providers might cover additional costs like roadside accidents, for instance), so fuel cards can certainly seem like an obvious solution for anyone looking to streamline and reduce the costs of their fleet management.
Tailored Exclusively for Fuel Purchases
Of course, the main reason you’d ever choose to sign up for a fuel card is so that you can simplify and ultimately centralise the payment process for fuel — saving costs and speeding the process up for your drivers.
When you or your drivers use these cards, they don’t work exactly like a regular business credit card. Instead, the cards are directly linked to your own dedicated fuel card account, which essentially eliminates the need to carry cash or use a general business credit card when refuelling.
Depending on the scale of your business, you’d never want to find yourself in a situation where your drivers are carrying a substantial amount of money with them while they’re travelling — especially if they drive for significant distances.
So, it’s just as well that these cards not only enhance security but also ensure that any fuel expenses made can be tracked with precision, meaning you know where the cardholder is at any given moment.
Streamlined Transactions at Fuel Stations
Perhaps one of the most underrated uses of a fuel card is how easy they are to use at fuel stations, allowing your drivers simply to present their card at the point of sale whenever they need to refuel.
As a business owner, you’ll know how time-consuming — let alone frustrating — it can be for you and your drivers to have to sift through hundreds of transactions in your personal bank account to find specific fuel-related ones.
So, one of the best parts about a fleet card is that all of the transactions are completed electronically rather than with cash or any other method, meaning that the cost of the fuel is charged straight to your fuel card account instead of anywhere else.
As a result, this essentially means you no longer have to go through that long process of collecting, storing, and reconciling all of the receipts you receive on a daily basis and instead get a much better view of how your business spends money on fuel.
Why Fuel Cards Offer Different Things to Small Businesses vs Larger Fleets 🚙️ 🚚️
For any business owner reading, the benefits of fuel cards might seem pretty obvious at this point, but it’s absolutely crucial to note that they often serve slightly different purposes for small businesses compared to some of the larger fleets.
Generally speaking, knowing this distinction is a vital part of finding the right fuel card for you and can work with your specific needs and challenges, so make sure you understand how this works.
1. Addressing Cash Flow Concerns
Cash reserves tend to be a pretty common thing with larger fleets, but one of the main challenges for small businesses is typically being able to maintain a healthy cash flow and navigate any fluctuations in fuel prices.
So, the right fuel card deal can actually be one of the best possible ways of receiving interest-free credit, allowing your business to spread some of your fuel expenses across the whole billing cycle.
2. Transparency Through Fuel Management Reports
Typically, larger fleets might already have some kind of software they use for their data analysis and reporting, but obviously, small businesses with fewer available resources tend to struggle in this department.
Fuel cards, however, definitely play a key role in bridging this overall gap by providing detailed fuel management reports.
For instance, depending on the card you’ve found, they might show you certain insights into some of your fuel usage patterns, which should hopefully give you a chance to optimise the routes for your drivers.
Best Fleet Cards for Small Businesses — Reviews ➡️
Now that we’ve gone through most of the background information explaining what a fleet card is and how it actually works, let’s walk through our top six choices for small business owners in this next section.
From budget options to ones that might be better suited to slightly medium/large-sized fleets, we’ll be covering a range of different strengths here, so you should hopefully be able to find one that you like the sound of:
1. 7-Eleven Fuel Pass
As promised, the first option on our list, the 7-Eleven Fuel Pass, is definitely one that, while slightly less ambitious on the feature side, works best for business owners on a budget who just want a simple service.
So, from significant savings on the price of fuel — 8c/L discount off their pump price — to keeping track of all of your fuel expenses on their app, this option is probably the best value for money, all things considered.
While you do only receive this discount at specific 7-Eleven locations, you are still able to use this card without any transaction fees at any fuel station in the WEX Motorpass network — so keep this in mind if those discounts were a driving factor for you considering this card.
- 2c/l minimum discount with fuel
- Approximately 550 fuel stations across the country
- 44 days payment-free
- No Western or South Australian coverage
- Can be payment fees if you don’t pay with a direct debit
Moving forward, the FleetCard is probably one of the less affordable options here, but you are getting the added benefit of using multiple kinds of fuel stations since it’s a multi-branded fuel card.
In fact, you’re able to use this one at more than 90% of all the fuel stations in the whole country, making it easily one of the most widely accepted fuel card on the market.
It’s not without its additional features, either, as you’re covered as far as things like roadside assistance are concerned — not to mention that you’re able to restrict, monitor and generally control the cards from an admin perspective.
- Highly accessible and customisable tools
- 1c/l discount from all stations
- Only 1.99c monthly card fees
- 6c/l discount at Shell stations
- It is expensive for a card replacement if you or your drivers lose them
Next is the AmpolCard, and while you’re only getting one type of card with this option, it’s still incredibly customisable, so you and your staff are able to tweak the purchase restriction, spending limits, and other kinds of management features however you please.
Of course, you can also integrate this platform with any accounting software you might be using currently — Xero or MYOB, for instance.
- Discounts across a wide selection of outlets on most items
- Works with a range of accounting tools to save time
- If you want any of the extras that AmpolCard offers, you can expect a lot more monthly card fees
4. Wex Motorpass Fuel Card
Though the 90% coverage that FleetCard offers seems slightly unbeatable, WEX manages to do so with its WEX Motorpass fuel card — providing coverage of approximately 93% of the whole country’s fuel stations, which is around 6,000 different locations.
As a bonus, you’re also receiving discounts at any of the partner stations WEX has, so it’s definitely a diverse option in terms of range.
Furthermore, like most of the choices here, there’s an online account that you can use to approve any transactions or even just monitor your usage if you need to, so expect plenty of financial management tools like this with WEX.
- Easy to monitor spending and set limits
- Not too many discounts
5. Shell Card
Generally speaking, you’d tend to find that the larger a company is, the more it neglects a personal touch when it comes to its customer service, but that’s not the case with Shell.
This card is an excellent choice for any smaller fleets in Australia, even giving you a support line with around the clock availability.
The 7-Eleven fuel card is still the cheapest option we have, but this one is highly affordable, too, with $2.50 monthly fees and a flat fee structure.
Having said this, in comparison to WEX, Shell’s coverage does slightly pale in comparison, only offering 1,250 locations throughout Australia — this shouldn’t be problematic for small businesses in particular, though.
- Customisable app
- Well priced
- There are no monthly card fees for the first six months
- A fee is attached if you opt for paper statements
6. Puma Card
Finally, let’s wrap things up by looking at the Puma Card, which is something you should consider if you’re looking for something similar to the WEX card we mentioned earlier, given that you’re able to use their network still if you’re at a Puma station — essentially allowing you to save money on extra fees.
Still, this is definitely one of the less broad options we’ve talked about here in terms of coverage, as although you can use it at WEX locations for an added price, there are less than 1000 Puma stations in Australia to begin with.
Ultimately, though, if your fleets happen to run into a lot of Puma stations in your routes, this is one of the cheapest options out there.
- It can be used at WEX stations but for a surcharge
- Use at over 400 Puma fuel stations
- Relatively limited range
Final Thoughts 🤔️
In conclusion, there’s a certain inevitability about signing up for a fuel card if you’re a small business owner who’s looking to grow their fleet and generally branch out your operations.
Though it might seem sustainable at the moment to handle fuel expenses on regular business credit cards or to simply use cash, you’ll pretty quickly find this can’t continue when you hire new drivers or become more successful.
If it’s not the long list of fuel stations you and your drivers now receive discounts at, it’s the vast amount of rewards you can accumulate on your fleet card, so make the most cost-effective decision for your business and seek out a fuel card now.
How Do Fuel Cards Support Sustainability in Fleet Operations?
Mostly by showing you insights into how your business consumes fuel, ultimately giving you a chance to reduce waste and plan a more efficient route for your drivers. Naturally, this helps you make more eco-friendly decisions, which can be especially true if your fleet drives electric vehicles.
Can Businesses Negotiate Personalised Fuel Card Deals?
Yes, most fuel card providers should give you an opportunity to negotiate a custom deal if they inquire about it — allowing you to tailor some of the benefits that come with the card to whatever specific needs you might have, from securing better fuel discounts to flexible credit terms.
How Quickly Can Businesses Implement Fuel Cards Into Their Operations?
Generally speaking, getting started with your fuel card is actually pretty swift. Once the necessary agreements are in place, all you need to do is distribute the cards to your drivers, and the system can then be integrated with whatever existing financial processes you might already be using.
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