What is a fleet card and how does it work?

If you’re a business owner with a fleet, you already know one thing: maintaining your vehicles is a major expense. One that is so significant that many business owners with their own company vehicles invest in a separate card on which they can handle all their fleet-related costs. This card is widely known as a fleet card. 

However, a fleet card is more than just a credit card for your vehicles. In this article, we reveal the new possibilities that the right fleet card will unlock for your business.

Explaining fleet cards

Simply put, a fleet card is what you and your drivers use to pay for fuel and other vehicle-related expenses. As soon as you sign up for your fleet card program, you give each of your drivers a fleet card so they can make use of a pre-set credit limit. This saves them the effort of having to use their personal funds and claim the expenses from you later and you from having to reimburse them the sums. 

However, if that was all they did, you may as well just use a corporate credit card for that. But fleet cards also take an extra, but necessary step: simplifying the complex task of fleet management. Here are some of the ways a fleet card will put you in the driver’s seat:

  • Spend limits and tracking: With a fleet card, you get to see how much drivers are spending and where, gaining valuable insight into where you can save and optimise your fleet spend. You can also act on that information right away. Fleet card providers like Shell also provide flexible controls that allow you to allocate spending limits according to each driver.
  • Invoices in one place: The days of collecting paper receipts from your drivers are over. You’ll be able to access and download all your invoices on a single platform, ensuring that paperwork and tax recovery and reporting are no longer bogging down your business and keeping you from the work you want to do. With certain fleet cards, you can even perform automated billing so you won’t even have to remember to pay your bills.
  • Increased security and fraud prevention: With your fleet card tracking spend, purchases, and fuel usage, you’ll be able to see exactly where most of your fuel expenses are coming from, as well as gain intimate knowledge of each of your driver’s spending habits and freeze a card as soon as you spot a dodgy transaction. Like a credit card, each fleet card also comes with its own unique PIN and number. With all these measures in place, protecting your business from theft and fraud becomes that much easier.

Where can I use my fleet card?

Your ability to use your card will depend on the type of fleet card it is. There are two main types of fleet card that business owners can opt for:

  • Universal fleet cards: Fleet cards that are not affiliated with any particular brand can be used at most petrol stations, granting you and your drivers a lot of flexibility on where you can refuel. This sort of card is a great choice for fleet owners and drivers who must regularly travel to remote locations with limited fuel choices. Currently, this type of fleet card is not available in Malaysia.
  • Brand-specific fleet cards: Most brand-specific fleet cards can only be used at that particular brand’s stations. However, customers are often compensated in other ways. Some brands give their customers exclusive discounts and loyalty programs. Many brand-specific fleet card providers also make it easy for drivers to find their stations with features like a station locator.

Plenty of opportunities to increase savings, security, and efficiency lay hidden within your fleet spend. It’s time to strategically make use of them with the right fleet card. Not sure where to start? Here’s one way to begin the journey.