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Ing. Ladislav Luka, Fuel expert

Fuel Cards Comparison - Choosing The Best Fuel Card For Your Business Needs

Whatever the size of your business, keeping costs as low as possible is the key to success. For transportation companies specifically (but also for any business that uses vehicles), managing fuel costs is one of the most important ways to reduce spending. Petrol cards for companies can help save money not only on fuel for fleets, but also on administrative budgets and other necessary services. This article will discuss different types of fuel card providers, the benefits each has to offer, and the importance of choosing the best fuel card to fit the needs of your business.

Fuel Cards Comparison - Choosing The Best Fuel Card For Your Business Needs

A brief introduction to fuel cards

Fuel cards, also sometimes referred to as petrol cards, have become a valuable tool for any fleet-based business due to the convenience and savings they provide. These cards operate similarly to credit cards, allowing holders to make cash-free transactions for certain types of expenses (typically fuel, but also other purchases as approved). However, these petrol cards can provide distinct advantages for transportation companies over traditional credit cards because the benefits offered are often vehicle-focused. Whereas a travel credit card might offer perks like frequent flier miles, fuel cards tend to give discounts on things like vehicle cleaning, repair services, and of course, fuel prices.

The two basic types of petrol cards are branded fuel cards and universal fuel cards. Branded cards, as the name implies, are issued by a specific brand of fuel or petrol station. Third-party petrol cards, on the other hand, are issued by service providers who are able to leverage contracts with multiple refueling stations to create acceptance networks across a specific geographical region. Each type of fuel card has its strengths and weaknesses, which will be discussed in this article.

The most important card in your wallet

Any company reliant on its own fleet of vehicles for day-to-day operations can see the value provided by reduced refuelling costs and discounts on vehicle related services. But depending on the specific needs of the business, fuel cards can offer advantages which might not be as obvious at first glance.

For a large logistics or transportation company with multiple vehicles, petrol cards are indispensable. Savings on discounted fuel can be quite substantial when spread across tens or even hundreds of trucks and vans. Fuel card services also allow companies to better monitor and control fleetwide expenses, easily track fuel consumption across multiple vehicles, plan more efficient routes, and eliminate the need for drivers to have cash on hand (often in multiple currencies). 

While large companies certainly face problems with the hassle of keeping track of large volumes of receipts, small businesses with fewer vehicles are proportionally even more burdened by administrative costs of dealing with hundreds of receipts, as they typically don’t employ a team of accountants and tax advisors to help meet their obligations. Having a company fuel card which shows all monthly expenses tracked on a single invoice could help simplify and alleviate much of this burden.

Furthermore, some companies may not have the available capital on hand to deal with an unexpected spike in spending during a particular invoicing period. A prepaid petrol card, which creates a set limit on monthly expenses, will probably be the best fuel card for small businesses such as these.

No matter what the size of your fleet, fuel cards can offer great value. Next we will provide comparisons between the two different card types available, to help you decide which fuel card is best for your particular business needs.

Branded cards

Branded fuel cards are issued by specific fuel providers, and can only be used at those branded refuelling stations. These are not to be confused with petrol station loyalty cards, which provide redeemable points for using a specific brand of fuel, but cannot be used to make purchases.

Here is a list of perks that branded cards can offer for trucking and transportation companies:

  • Cost savings - Fuel cards in general can help trucking companies save money on fuel purchases through discount offers, but branded fuel cards might also provide rewards programs.
  • Brand recognition - Branded fuel cards offer the opportunity for trucking companies to promote their brand and build customer loyalty.
  • Relationship building - Branded fuel cards offer the opportunity for trucking companies to build relationships with specific fuel providers, which can lead to better pricing, preferential treatment, and other benefits over time.
  • Customization - Branded fuel cards can be tailored to the needs of a trucking company, with features and benefits specific to their business goals. This includes things like customized rewards programs, reporting, and control features.

Universal fuel cards from general providers

Universal (or third-party) petrol cards are issued by independent fuel card providers who allow customers the ability to choose from several different fuel brands and types of fuel. These providers make deals with specific refueling stations to form an acceptance network across a particular area. The fuel card company issues cards to clients, who are billed monthly for fuel purchases made using each card on their account, as well as any other services offered by the provider.

Some of the benefits a universal petrol card can offer include:

  • Access to a larger network of fuel stations - Universal fuel cards give trucking fleets access to a much broader network of fuel stations, including those from multiple fuel companies. This provides not only more convenience for drivers but also greater savings, as fuel prices can vary depending on the location and fuel brand.
  • Greater flexibility on fuel types - Universal fuel cards offer greater flexibility in terms of what types of fuel can be purchased. Drivers can choose to fill up with diesel or gasoline, and may also have access to alternative or premium fuel options depending on the acceptance network of the fuel card company. This can be incredibly useful for diverse fleets that require different fuel types.
  • Streamlined expense management - Universal company petrol cards can help fleet managers streamline the administrative record keeping process. With a single card, they can track fuel expenses for all their vehicles, regardless of the fuel brand or location. This can save time and reduce administrative work, allowing fleet managers to focus on other important aspects of their job.
  • Better control over fuel expenses - Universal fuel cards for businesses provide better control over fuel expenses, as fleet managers are able to set spending limits and restrictions on each card. This can help prevent unauthorized purchases, reduce theft, and ensure compliance with company policies. Some universal fuel card providers also offer real-time fuel reporting, which allows fleet managers to more easily monitor fuel expenses and quickly identify any discrepancies or anomalies.
  • Safety and convenience - Universal petrol fuel cards eliminate the need for drivers to carry cash or credit cards, which streamlines the payment process and reduces the risk of theft or loss. Some providers even allow companies to use fuel cards for toll payments.
  • Improved cash flow - Fuel card providers can offer flexible payment terms which help trucking companies manage cash flow by consolidating fuel purchases into a single payment cycle.
  • Additional benefits and services - Finally, universal fuel cards often offer additional benefits and services like discounts on fleet-related expenses, such as maintenance and repairs, vehicle cleaning, or even lot fees for overnight parking. These savings add up, and help reduce fleet costs and improve overall efficiency even further.

So which type of fuel card is best

Branded fuel cards can certainly provide some advantages, and might be a better fit for some companies with smaller service areas who are able to rely on one brand of refuelling station. Overall however, universal fuel cards provide greater flexibility, convenience, and control over expenses for trucking fleets of all sizes. With a universal fuel card, fleet managers also gain access to a larger network of fuel stations, more streamlined fuel expense management, and better control over fuel expenses. Ultimately, universal fuel cards are the best choice for optimizing expenses and improving your bottom line.

Eurowag is with you wherever you go

For trucking and transportation companies who do business throughout Europe, one of the biggest factors when choosing the best fuel card for their needs is probably the size of the acceptance network a provider offers. With over 15,000 fueling stations throughout Europe, offering a range of fuels from standard gas and diesel to premium and alternative fuel types, Eurowag’s acceptance network has you covered!

Eurowag fuel card holders can go further on the road to success without the stress of rerouting fleet vehicles in search of a refueling station. In fact, Eurowag can even help customers with route planning using the EW app, available on iOS and Android. Eurowag fuel cards can also be used to make certain toll payments, including some vignettes

It’s easy to see why all over Europe, more fleets are choosing Eurowag as their trusted copilot.

Let us help you get moving

Want to become a Eurowag customer, so your company can enjoy all of the advantages mentioned above? We made it easy to apply for a fuel card online.  Simply fill out a contact form on our website, and we’ll get in touch with you to discuss your specific business needs and provide you with the best offer. Find out today why Eurowag is one of the fastest growing integrated-payment and mobility platforms in Europe.

Learn more about the advantages of fuel cards from general providers