Fuel cards are a great way to manage your fuel spend, but you’ll still need to do a bit of homework to make sure that you’re using the card that best meets the needs of your business.Fuel cards can offer an impressive array of benefits when it comes to managing your fleet and fuel spend, including increased purchasing control, consolidated IRD-approved tax invoicing and reduced administration time, as well as discounted pricing - which we're all a big fan of. However, it’s not a case of ‘one fuel card fits all’ so there are a few points you should consider to use your cards to their best advantage.
Check your coverage
If you’ve decided to go with a retailer-specific fuel card, make sure that your card can be used at the stations that you or your drivers are most likely to use. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to be able to purchase at any station throughout the country, consider getting a fuel card that can be used at a variety of locations, though this convenience may come with additional charges or lesser discounts.
Compare the fees and charges
These will vary among different fuel cards so it pays to be aware of which ones your provider is charging – and whether there’s an alternative provider that doesn’t. Some cards add a small transaction charge onto each purchase made using the card, while it’s also common for providers to charge a monthly fee of up to several dollars per card. Depending on the card you’re using, you may also be required to pay additional fees, for example when ordering new or replacement cards, or when cancelling cards, plus some providers will require purchases to be over a certain amount before you can use their card.
Work out how much you’re actually saving
While it’s useful to know how many cents per litre you can get off your fuel, this can give a misleading impression of what you’re actually paying. Some cards give you a discount off pump price, but as the pump price can vary between different retailers, this doesn’t always make for a straightforward comparison. Other cards take the discount off the national average pricing instead, which means that the effective discount you get will vary depending on how the pump price in your area compares to the national average. (For example, if you’re getting a discount of ten cents per litre off the national average price, but the average is ten cents more than the pump price in your area, the price you pay will be the same as at the pump; on the other hand, if the national average is ten cents below your pump price, you’ll end up saving twenty cents per litre.)
If you have a fuel card that can be used to make purchases at a variety of retailers, it’s also important to confirm which ones will actually provide you with cheaper pricing.Taking any fees or charges into account can further reduce the actual amount you’ll save, so you need to consider all of these when looking at fuel card providers to ensure you’re making effective comparisons.
See what else you can get
Fuel cards come with a wide range of benefits beyond paying at the pump, so make sure you’re aware of the extra advantages that your card provider offers. Different card providers offer a different services, which can include PIN protected cards, Individual spend limits, IRD-approved tax invoicing, Online reporting and card management options.
The key point is to make sure that you choose the fuel card that suits your business – if you're an association member, you may have already got you a great deal, so check with them first. Otherwise, for other n3 members we have three different fuel card options to suit your business' needs.
Get the Best Value from Fuel Cards
Posted by Chanel Clark on 08 Feb 2018