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Fuel Card Information

Fuel Cards - The Advantages To Your Business

Using fuel cards in your business is simple. Fuel cards work in a very similar way to ordinary credit cards except the card is restricted to purchases of fuel, oil and lubricants.   Used by businesses of all sizes to purchase petrol and diesel, at various service station networks, substantial savings can be achieved using business fuel cards.

Generally the overall benefits to your business of using fuel cards are:

  • Improved cash flow
  • Monitor and control fuel expenses more closely
  • Single invoice to manage - no longer piles of receipts (By card number; by vehicle registration)
  • HMRC approved invoices, which means that you can reclaim, VAT on the fuel - in line with the EU Sixth VAT Directive.
  • Improved security - cards can only be used for authorised purchases, matched to a vehicle, driver or both is of no use when stolen

Advantages of using business fuel cards in more detail.

The crucial thing to remember for any business owner or fleet manager considering business fuel cards is that, essentially without Fuel Cards there's no real way to manage fuel costs. This can mean hundreds or thousands of pounds spent on fuel each year with nothing in place to monitor and control it.

1) Fuel Card Invoicing

The first noticeable benefits from using business fuel cards is the invoicing. Business owners and fleet managers no longer have to sort through piles of receipts, expense claims to work out an appropriate level for the reimbursement of mileage.  Fuel costs are immediately apparent on the invoices.

The European Sixth VAT Directive states that VAT can only be reclaimed if the transaction takes place between two organisations that are registered for VAT.  This could only be achieved via a purchasing mechanism, such as a fuel card, that allows for billing to be made in the name of the company.  It cannot be done using receipts for fuel from your staff.

2) Fuel Card Reports

At the end of each month a fleet manager will receive a full management report, that can be used can to monitor and track which driver is buying the most fuel and at what price as well as which service stations they're filling up at and how often.

These reports should be available electronically so that they can feed straight into the fleet management computer systems.  They'll show details of each and every transaction - which card was used; the date, the time and location of the transaction; the vehicle registration, the quantity and type of fuel purchased plus the vehicle mileage.

Fuel Card Management Reports

Fuel card reports will include:

  • The miles per gallon information collected by most fuel card companies allows a fleet manager to monitor the consumption all the vehicles in the fleet.  They can then work to ensure that vehicles are not using excessive amounts of fuel, which could indicate that a particular vehicle needs maintenance or that the driver using excessive speed or even stealing fuel.
  • Through the management information trends are immediately visible.  The information will show which makes and models of vehicle are the most fuel-efficient; the driver who always fills up at motorway service stations rather than cheaper local sites etc.  Additionally where a fleet uses alternative fuels the reports will show how much is being consumed and how those vehicles compare against the petrol and diesel vehicles in the fleet.
  • Working with the fuel card provider this comprehensive management information can be used to create an integrated fuel policy.   With fuel cards a fleet manager can not only manage what vehicles employees drive and how they can also control where they buy fuel and how much they use.

3) Fuel Cards remove the need for cash

The classic benefit given for fuel cards is that they remove the need for drivers to carry cash to buy fuel.  While this is arguably a health and safety benefit it also reduces company administration costs as expenses claims are more easily calculated.

4) Fuel Card Network Coverage

Fuel can be bought through a specific network of service stations.  You'll need to ensure that these are convenient for your drivers.   Many forecourts on the networks will operate 24 hours a day and the card can be used even in unmanned stations which adds further flexibility for you and your drivers.

5) Fuel Card Pricing

With a fuel card you are likely to have pricing that is often consistent across the UK, which again reduces administration.  Many fuel cards offer discounted prices off the national average forecourt pump price which can mean significant financial savings.
Most networks will issue useful national site guides for you and your drivers

6) Fuel Card Control

Finally all of the above points; the greater control, the convenience for all drivers and administrators, the cost savings on administration, mean that business owners and fleet managers can massively reduce fuel fraud, which can cause a major drain on company finances.

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