Managing a fleet means grappling with significant fuel costs. For truckers, fuel is the second highest expense following salaries. Fuel expenses can range between $50,000 to $70,000 per truck annually.
But there's a savvy way to handle these expenses: enter the world of fuel cards.
What is a Fuel Card?
Fuel cards, or fleet cards, are specialized payment cards truckers use to buy diesel, DEF, and other fuels. Additionally, they offer fleet owners tools to manage and track fleet-related expenses efficiently. Beyond fuel, they often extend to vehicle maintenance and related costs.
These cards streamline payments while offering real-time insights into spending. They're essential for setting spending limits and simplifying International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) reporting. Plus, they open the door to network-specific fuel discounts, saving significant money in the long run.
How Does a Trucking Fuel Card Work?
Fuel cards work similarly to business credit cards. You distribute them to your team, linking all their transactions to one company account. This setup puts you in charge of periodic payments like a regular credit card. However, most fuel cards tend to be charge cards rather than credit cards, which means the balance has to be paid in full on the due date.
The real game-changer is how these cards simplify expense management. They save you from the tedious task of tracking each employee's fuel and maintenance purchases. With features like expense tracking and reporting, these cards give you a comprehensive view of all on-road spending. They also come with added perks like fraud alerts and fuel discounts.
The Benefits of Fuel Cards
A fuel card can benefit your business in a variety of ways.
Depending on what you sign up for, you can take advantage of multiple perks, including:
- Rewards and Discounts: These cards often offer rewards or points for using certain truckstops or meeting usage thresholds.
- Controlled Spending: You decide what types of purchases are allowed, for fuel and maintenance or snacks and drinks from convenience stores.
- Monthly Expense Tracking: Keep a close tab on transportation expenses, avoiding the headache of manual tracking.
- Employee Monitoring: Assign cards for detailed purchase tracking to specific employees or vehicles.
- Alerts for Unusual Spending: Stay informed about any abnormal fueling activities among your team.
- Long-Term Reporting: These cards provide valuable long-term data that's handy for business decisions and tax purposes.
Comparing Fuel Cards and Credit Cards
Fuel cards and credit cards may seem similar when it comes to payment options, but they are different, particularly in terms of fleet management. Fuel cards are specifically associated with individual vehicles or drivers, providing fleet managers detailed information about each vehicle's fuel usage. You cannot obtain this level of detail with standard credit cards, which offer more general and less specific tracking of expenses.
Fuel cards provide better precision when it comes to spending controls. Managers can set specific spending limits and authorize purchases for particular types of products, such as fuel and maintenance. This differs from credit cards, which offer broader spending capabilities that can lead to less control over fleet expenses.
The fee structures of fuel cards are also more straightforward, usually involving fewer hidden costs and no interest charges. This simplicity is beneficial for fleet managers who need precise and predictable budgeting. Credit cards often come with various fees and interest charges, complicating financial management.
Additionally, fuel cards provide specific discounts based on purchase volume and loyalty to certain fuel networks, offering tangible cost savings for fleets. Credit cards typically do not provide this level of customization and savings.
Lastly, fuel cards have features specifically designed for fleet management, such as automated accounting and tools for simplifying IFTA record-keeping. These features make fuel cards a strategic asset for efficiently managing fleet expenses, offering advantages beyond regular credit cards' capabilities.
Choosing the Best Fuel Card for Your Fleet
Selecting the right fuel card for your fleet involves considering factors like fleet size, usual routes, and vehicle types. Larger fleets may benefit from cards offering extensive network coverage and volume discounts, while smaller fleets prefer cards with lower fees and local network availability. Consider the geographical coverage that matches your fleet's routes and the specific benefits for the types of vehicles in your fleet.
When comparing fuel cards, look beyond the network and discounts. Assess fees, credit terms, and additional services like maintenance discounts or roadside assistance. The ideal fuel card aligns with your fleet's operational needs and financial objectives.
Integrating Fuel Cards with Fleet Management Systems
Integrating fuel cards with fleet management systems streamlines operations by automatically recording fuel transactions. This integration provides real-time insights into fuel usage, simplifies expense tracking, and reduces administrative tasks. It eliminates manual data entry and minimizes errors, allowing fleet managers to identify fuel usage patterns and potential issues quickly.
This integration also eases reporting and compliance, particularly for IFTA reporting, by offering accurate and accessible data. It can help identify areas for improvement, like route optimization or driver training for better fuel efficiency. In today's digital landscape, integrating fuel cards with management systems enhances fleet management efficiency, offering cost savings and improved fleet performance.
Denim Fuel Card Program
Streamline your fleet management with the Denim Fuel Card. Say goodbye to fuel fraud and lack of control, and say hello to fuel discounts up to 84¢/gal. Denim combines tech-forward factoring with fuel optimization solutions going far beyond traditional rebates.
Manage payments, fueling expenses, and accounting all within the Denim platform. With the seamless workflow between Denim and your fuel card, fleets can leverage their Denim funds to send real-time payments to manage expenses. From there, fleets can access a self-serve portal to keep fleet finances at their fingertips - track spending, set card limits and controls, block fraudulent transactions, save on fuel and non-fuel expenses, and more.
The Denim Fuel Card isn't just another card; it's fuel for financial flexibility, business credit growth, and an improved bottom line. Welcome to a future where your fleet operates at its peak potential.
Apply for the Denim Fuel Card and start saving today!