How To Find The Best Fuel Card for Your Small Business In 2024

gas station, oil industry, oil prices

In Australia, thousands of small businesses use fuel cards in a bid to save on fuel purchases and track their overall spending. The problem is, not all fuel cards are made the same. If you’re a small business owner who wants to save on fuel purchases, then you should consider looking for the best fuel card for small business. Let’s now explore some more background on fuel cards and a simple approach to help you find the best one for your business today!

Table of Contents

What is a Fuel Card?

Company fuel cards can help your business make massive savings out of fuel purchases. They work just like a regular debit or credit card. Your driver simply needs to swipe a card at the pump for fuel or at the service station to pay for services like maintenance and repairs.

This means that he doesn’t have to use the company or his own credit card for fuel purchase.

Business fuel cards can help you make great savings on fuel purchases. They also help you track your company’s fuel expenses since you will receive ATO-approved statements every month – this will make your small business accountant very happy :). These statements will provide you with insights on unauthorised fuel purchases and even filter out any non-fuel purchases.

Besides, you can use these statements to claim your fuel tax credits every year.

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Infographic Of The Best Fuel Cards In Australia In 2024

Short on time? Check out this infographic we created which summarises the contents of this article visually. If you want more details simply keep reading beyond the infographic

Infographic of how to find the best fuel card for small businesses in Australia in 2023

Benefits of the Best Fuel Card for Small Businesses in Australia

When running a small business with a fleet of vehicles, you might be torn between using petrol cards for business or not?

To help you decide, we have compiled the following benefits that you can enjoy by using a fuel card:

1. Major Fuel Savings

If you run a small business that operates fleets, then you can easily agree with me that fuel is one of the major expenses. For this reason, it is worth having a fuel card to increase your fuel savings. By having a company fuel card, you can enjoy a consistent price per litre of fuel which tends to be cheaper than the retail price.

Of course, fuel prices are highly unpredictable in Australia, and the fluctuations are inevitable. Fortunately, with the best fuel card for small business, you can gain control over your business’s monthly fuel expenses.

You will be able to see transactions done by each driver to help you optimise costs and spot trends that relate to fuel savings. This can be possible by using programs like BP Plus that automatically collect monthly reports including vehicle expenses.

Consequently, you will know how to improve efficiency and plan for the future.

2. Lower Expenses

Keeping records of all fuel payments in the form of receipts can be arduous and time-consuming. It normally involves a lot of admin work to track all of the transactions. If you are not careful, it could also result in unauthorised spending which can eat into your precious small business cashflow.

On the other hand, fuel cards promote transparency since you will always know which driver spends what, when, and where. It also lets your drivers purchase fuel in a more secure manner and account for their expenses.

In addition, you can set purchase limits on employee spending to save on administrative expenses.

3. More Transparency

Unlike regular cards, it is extremely easy to account for charges on fuel cards. This is especially true if the providers allow you to assign each fuel card to specific vehicles or drivers. This makes fuel purchases more secure and makes it easier to track the spending of each vehicle.

This can also lessen frauds that some drivers might make since it can eliminate any unauthorised spending.

4. Easier Organisation

Traditional fuel receipts can involve a lot of work. This is because you will likely have to keep a pile of paper receipts in order to claim expenses from fuel tax credits. With fuel cards, you can eliminate the hassle of gathering receipts since each fuel payment will be logged in ATO-approved invoices.

The fuel card account management can compile hundreds of individual transactions into a single invoice for easier organisation. The provider will then send you a comprehensive invoice weekly or monthly.

5. More Flexibility for Drivers

With fuel cards, your drivers can re fuel anytime, anywhere. They don’t have to plan or change their routes based on where to fuel since most fuel cards are accepted across a huge network. Known fuel cards like FleetCard and Shell CardPlus are widely accepted in thousands of fuel sites throughout Australia.

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Best Fuel Card for Tradies – Motorpass Fuel Card

Tradies like electricians, plumbers and builders may have a fleet of 1 to 5 vehicles that are used regularly. Hence, you may need to fuel regularly to ensure that your business runs seamlessly.

For this, you will need a fuel card that has the best network coverage like Motorpass. Developed by WEX, this fuel card has wide coverage in more than 6,000 gas locations in Australia. For over 30 years, WEX has been known to provide stellar service with its fuel card.

Pros:

  • Can be used at 93% of sites across Australia
  • Can be used for other essentials like tyres, servicing, batteries, and roadside assistance
  • Provides excellent control and security over fuel spending by dollar amount, product, and more
  • Easy to manage via online or mobile application
  • Streamlined reporting to help you monitor fuel costs effectively

Important Things to Note:

  • Impossible to combine this fuel card provider with other loyalty programs
  • There are several fees that can add up quickly

Best Fuel Card for Transport & Logistics – Caltex Star Card

If your business is in the transport & logistics industry, then you need the best fuel card for small business that will help you save money and time. The Caltex Star Card is an ideal option to manage your on-road fuel costs easily and effectively.

Pros:

  • 2 cents per litre discount on regular diesel and petrol and 4 cents per litre on Vortex Premium fuels
  • This card allows users to earn points in the Qantas points rewards program.
  • The card can be used in over 1,900 Caltex service stations in Australia.
  • User-friendly interface to manage and track vehicle spending for a large fleet online
  • No transaction fees
  • You can access ATO-approved invoice monthly
  • You get more value with the Caltex Star Card extras including roadside assistance and service & repairs.

Important Things to Note:

  • The card can only be used in Caltex stations
  • The extras attract monthly fees

Best Fuel Card for Retail & Sales- Shell CardPlus

Shell CardPlus is one of the best fuel cards for small business in Australia, especially those with fleets in the sales & retail sectors. One thing that stands out about this card from Shell is the benefits it offers. Plus, it allows account holders to personalise their card according to the purchases and fuel types.

Pros:

  • Accepted in over 1,250 locations across Australia
  • Winner of prestigious Canstar Blue ‘Most Satisfied Customers Award – Small Business Fuel Cards’ in 2018. Customer care team offers 24/7/365 support to drivers including roadside assistance
  • Affordable fees and ratings which are calculated using the flat fee structure
  • Offers Shell card online to enable you track your cards and accounts
  • You can easily earn Flybuys points at Shell Coles Express sites

Important Things to Note:

  • High card fees of $5 per card every month
  • Paper statements can be costly

Most Widely Accepted Fuel Card – Fleet Card

If you are after the best fuel card in Australia that suits every business and has a wide acceptance, the Fleet Card is worth considering. Fleet card is used in over 90% of fuel sites all over Australia. The card is also accepted in about 6,000 repair centres and motor dealership to give you access to other services.

Fleet Card Pros:

  • Accepted in over 6,000 multi-branded fuel sites
  • Over 6,000 non-fuel partners across Australia to give you discounted rates for services like glass replacement and tyres
  • Great discounts of 6 cents per litre at Shell and Coles Express stations
  • Monthly consolidated tax invoice
  • Greater control to restrict purchases and monitor spending
  • Highest interest-free period of 51 days

Important Things to Note:

  • Paper statement options can be costly
  • High card fees of $5 per card every month
  • Comes with transaction fees if used in non-Shell branded station

Bonus: Credit Cards with Fuel Benefits

Other than fuel cards for business, another option for the company’s fuel purchases is a credit card that offers fuel benefits. What do I mean by this? There are some petrol credit cards that offer great rewards like frequent flyer points, which can help you save in other areas. Some of the credits that offer great fuel benefits include:

  • American Express Platinum Edge credit Card
  • American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
  • David Jones American Express

What to Consider When Choosing a Small Business Fuel Card

Wondering which fuel cards for small businesses to choose? Here are some things to keep in mind to help you choose the best card for you.

Consideration 1 – Fuel Station Coverage

Coverage is an important consideration when deciding on the fuel card for you business. First, you need to consider where your fleet of vehicles will be operating, whether locally or on long-distance locations.

If they are operating locally, then you should choose a fuel card that is compatible with local fuel stations. However, if your employees fuel from different petrol stations, then it is wise to choose a multi-branded card.

Consideration 2 – Rewards

Most providers offer attractive rewards with their business fuel cards. A downside is that you can only access the rewards when you fill up at specified petrol stations. So, you should decide whether this is something that you would really want – that limited opportunity to benefit.

Consideration 3 – Security

Make sure that the fuel card in Australia you choose has security features like a PIN code. This helps to prevent cases of fraud and cloning.

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Consideration 4 – Pricing

Before you reach a final decision on the best fuel cards in Australia, check the pricing. Do your research and compare different company fuel cards. You can use a card comparison tool so you can make an informed decision and see the best fuel discounts – Canstar Blue is always worth a look!

Consideration 5 – Control

Most providers allow you to control and regulate your employees’ fuel expenses. This is something that you should consider if you want the type of fuel, volume, and frequency your drivers buy.

Consideration 6 – Fees

Have you ever bought something, only to realise afterwards that there were hidden charges? This can also happen with fuel. Some providers leverage fees like transaction fees, reporting fees, late fees, and more. To avoid these fees, ensure to read the Terms and Conditions very carefully.

Consideration 7 – The Volume of Your Fleet

If you are a small business, there is a high likelihood that your fleet is not that huge. Nonetheless, you still need to consider the volume of your fleet. This is because some petrol cards in Australia are suited for business with limited vehicles while others are designed for companies with a huge fleet.

Interest-Free Periods

Look at the period that the provider allows you to pay off your fuel card without incurring interest. While some allow a period of 14 days, others let you settle the payment in 51 days. You should opt for fuel cards that come with a longer payment period so you can preserve your small business cash flow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do fuel cards save money?

Yes, the best fuel card could likely save you money and improve your cash flow whether you are operating a small or growing business. They can offer discounts when you fill up fuel or on various services through affiliates. Most cards also come with security measures that let you control your workforce so you can lower expenses in general

Can you buy a prepaid fuel card?

Yes, you can buy a prepaid fuel card that lets you deposit money into the account to ensure employee convenience and flexibility. It also helps you limit the purchases, helping enhance security.

How does a Shell fuel card work?

Fuel transactions in Shell fuel cards are charged at a fixed rate that the provider offers every week. The credit is interest-free and there are no transaction fees.

Which fuel card is accepted everywhere in Australia?

If you are looking for a fuel card that is accepted everywhere in Australia, then the Fuel Card Network (FCN) is the perfect choice. FCN provides a wide range of convenient acceptance locations across Australia, making it one of the most comprehensive fuel card options available. The FCN Fuel Card can be used at service stations and truck stops throughout Australia, and offers competitive prices on fuel and maintenance.

What is the difference between a fuel card and a fleet card?

A fuel card and a fleet card are two different types of cards that are used to purchase goods and services related to transportation, such as petrol and diesel. Both offer convenience for businesses that require frequent refueling stops, but they have important differences.

A fuel card is designed specifically for purchasing fuel at service stations. These cards typically come with discounts on fuel purchases, as well as rewards programs and other benefits. A fleet card is more general in nature and can be used to purchase fuel, but also a variety of other services related to running a business, such as maintenance, oil changes, car washes, and more. Fleet cards are often customisable and come with additional features such as budgeting tools and employee tracking capabilities.

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