What is a fuel card? 

Fuel cards are an alternative to payment cards for business drivers. They offer better rates than forecourt prices, allowing businesses to save money on fuel costs and administration time. They are also used to track fuel spending, manage spending limits, and process expenses faster and more efficiently. 


How does a fuel card work?

Fuel cards usually look a bit like credit or store card. Drivers simply fill up as normal and then present their card when paying for fuel. Many cards will have a chip and pin, but all have a magnetic strip down the back of the card, and they can be branded in all kinds of designs.

Drivers simply fill up, then authorise the payment at the kiosk, just as they would with any other payment method. The key difference is that no money changes hands at this stage. The fuel gets invoiced back to the company at the end of the month. 

Different cards can be used at different petrol stations, so it is important to choose a card that offers the best terms and coverage for your business


Key benefits of using a fuel card

It is possible to improve cash flow, save money, and reduce administration time by using a fuel card.

  • Fuel cards give driversVehicles being tracked using telematics software and businesses access to better rates than standard pump prices. As well as reducing your overall fuel cost, they allow businesses to control spending by ensuring that drivers only use approved providers (and only spend on fuel). Choosing a fuel card with good coverage also helps with route planning – which can reduce fuel spend further. 
  • Some cards come with added fraud protection and fleet management tools too. According to the “Fraud Matters” report from Shell, 65% of fleet managers of company cars view fuel-related theft as a big problem. While using a fuel card can reduce the likelihood of fraudulent activity, accessing and understanding real-time data is also a big step in the fight against fuel fraud.
  • At The Fuel Store, we offer our users access to an intelligent fleet management platform that uses telematics and data validation algorithms to analyse fuel card transaction data to form actionable insights. Used to its full potential, Fuel AI can provide fuel spending savings in the region of 5% to 9% by making simple changes to driver behaviour, reducing fuel card misuse, and creating stronger accountability for fuel spend.


How do fuel cards save money?

They usually offer savings on the cost of fuel. This means you will pay less than the cost of fuel at the pump. In 2023, customers of The Fuel Store saved an average of 12.5 pence per litre off forecourt prices – which can add up to a substantial saving for a small business or a large fleet. 

Fuel cards can also improve business cash flow. Opting to use a card is a relatively cheap way of accessing credit. They allow businesses to purchase fuel without dipping into their cash reserves. Invoices can be settled at the end of the month, reducing the time between paying for the fuel and recouping costs from customer invoices. 


What’s the difference between a fuel card and a credit card?

Some businesses opt to use credit cards to cover fuel costs and other spending. Using a fuel card instead of a credit card offers businesses extra benefits: 


Cheaper fuel costs

Avoid interest charges

No more lost receipts

Fuel cards usually offer users preferential rates vs pump prices. Using a credit card to pay for fuel expenses means that drivers will pay the price displayed on the forecourt. Company credit cards, as the name suggests, allow businesses to tap into credit, and pay bills at the end of the month. However, they often attract hefty interest rates. Fuel cards usually offer a cheaper way of accessing credit. Using a credit card requires drivers to keep a receipt for every single transaction, for submission to HMRC. Using a fuel card means that there is no need for individual receipts. Businesses receive one HMRC-compliant invoice at the end of the month.


Is fuel cheaper with a fuel card?

Yes. Using a fuel card can save your business money.

As well as saving time on admin (we all know time is money!) fuel cards also offer cost savings vs forecourt prices. Fuel card operators have a good knowledge of the market, and great relationships with suppliers, allowing them to negotiate better prices than going direct. Having access to a fixed cost can help with forecasting too! It is important to note that the amount saved will vary depending on the fuel card. 


Who can apply for a fuel card?

Businesses of all sizes can apply for a fuel card – from self-employed business owners or sole traders with one vehicle, SMEs with fleet managers, to large businesses with huge fleets. They can be used for any vehicle that needs fuel or a EV charging (hint, that’s all of them!).

Whether you are a farmer who needs to fuel agricultural vehicles, an HGV operator, a builder or tradesperson, a logistics company, or a company with a large fleet of cars – there is a fuel card for your business type. As well as petrol and diesel cards, there are EV charge cards for electric vehicles too – the only difference is that the card is used to access a network of EV chargers. 


How do I get a Fuel Card?

Once you’re sold on the idea of getting a fuel card, the next step is to find the right one for your business. 

There are plenty of comparison tools online, but the best thing you can do is to speak to an expert. The Fuel Store offers a range of cards. And, armed with some simple information about your business, we can help you to find a fuel card that will give you maximum savings and minimum hassle.

Get in touch now to start saving.