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How Is a Fleet Card Different from a Credit Card?


Nov 15, 2023, 10:10AM EST


If you rely on a fleet of vehicles to serve your customers, you might be wondering, what’s the best way to pay for fuel and other vehicle-related expenses? You probably know that cash and/or checks are outdated, inefficient, and loaded with risk. But what about a business credit card or a fleet card? What’s the difference, and which is the best choice for your business?

Both a business credit card and a fleet card (also known as a fleet fuel card) provide an easy way to pay, and a small business owner might even decide to get both. But that’s where the similarities end, and the fleet card emerges a clear winner with a host of extra advantages to keep your business running smoothly.

Here are five key differences between credit cards and fleet cards:

(1) Fleet cards can be assigned to a vehicle.

With a fleet card program, you can decide how to use the cards by choosing either a driver card or vehicle card. As the names suggest, a driver card is assigned to a specific driver, while a vehicle card is linked to a particular vehicle. A driver card may be your best option if your driver always stays behind the wheel of the same vehicle. But if your driver switches vehicles, a vehicle card employs driver PINs to allow you to easily see which driver filled which vehicle when. You can turn driver access on and off by simply adding or deactivating driver PINs, making it easy to handle employee turnover or schedule changes.

(2) Fleet cards offer tighter spending controls.

No matter what your form of payment, there is always the risk of fraud. With a fleet card or fuel card, you have a variety of options that allow you to set very specific spending parameters. For example, you can put spending limits on cards and set gas pumps to automatically shut off when that amount is reached. Fuel cards also allow you to permit purchases of only certain types of products. You could turn on the ability to buy fuel but turn off the ability to buy cigarettes or snacks at a gas station. This allows your employees to make vehicle-related purchases conveniently while cutting the risk of abuse, fraud, waste, or loss that can occur when employees get access to business credit cards.

(3) Fleet cards may help you keep more money in your pocket.

Some fleet card programs offer quantity discounts, taking fuel purchases for all your cardholders into account, and offering fuel discounts based on how many total gallons your company purchases. These discounts are especially tailored to fleets, allowing you to leverage your big purchases into even bigger savings.

Smaller companies and owner-operators may be eligible for per-gallon discounts or rebates at fuel locations within a merchant network.

Some fleet card providers also offer reward and loyalty programs that provide additional savings.

(4) Fleet cards may offer easier approval.

If your business is fairly new, it might be easier to get a fleet card than a standard business credit card. Even if you have excellent personal credit, it can sometimes be tough to get that first business credit card when your company has little or no credit history. In many cases, you’ll be able to get feedback on your application sooner with a fleet card as well.

(5) Fleet cards reduce overhead and provide valuable tracking and reconciliation tools.

With a fleet card, the days of sorting paper receipts and spending valuable resources processing expense reports and reconciling spending reports at tax time are over. Look for a fleet card provider with sophisticated business payment automation processes and intuitive expense reporting, and you’re on your way to saving money, time, and aggravation. Your accounting department will thank you, and you’ll sleep better at night. 

Choosing the right fleet card

A fleet card could be right for you. Before you apply, take a look at the programs offered, because different cards have different costs and benefits, as well as different parameters on where the card is accepted. Some providers offer an online recommendation engine that will show you the best card(s) for your particular situation. Often, you’ll be able to talk with a specialist who can answer questions as well.

Before you choose a fleet card, check the fine print to make sure the program fits your needs.

If you choose your fleet card wisely, it can offer you an array of tools to help put your business on the road to even greater success. Browse our extensive array of fleet fuel cards appropriate for every type of business and fleets or different sizes.

Browse our extensive array of fleet fuel cards appropriate for every type of business and fleets or different sizes. If you are still unsure of what card best meets your business or fleets needs, you can contact us and speak to one of our specialists either via email or by phone at 1-844-237-4687.




Have  one of our Fuelman specialists help you find the right fleet card.

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