Fuel prices are constantly on the rise, making it more and more expensive to have a car and run it without worry and advanced planning on where you will use it and for how long. Even businesses can struggle with keeping on top of fuel prices and constantly reimbursing drivers. One of the biggest worries has been the prices of fuel at motorway service stations, which can be even more expensive because of the lack of competition close by and the volume of traffic refueling.
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A business has to run as smoothly and effectively as possible. The bottom-line is profit; a good turnover only will not do. It will pay for business expenses but it won`t pay you and that is not your aim. You have started the business to provide for you and your family and to save for the future.
It therefore stands to reason that any business owner will want to use as many tools as possible to control costs. The fuel card and iCompario is such a tool. Whether you want the card for your small business, trucking fleet or a large corporation, a number of benefits will come your way.
Fuel cards have been around for a while and many individuals as well as businesses and companies make use of the facility. As with everything else, however, there is the good, the bad and the ugly.
Fuel Cards PROS and CONS:
- Fuel Savings/ Discounts: The card allows for a percentage off your fuel at stations nationwide. The discounts can be anything between 1% and 5%. That`s a real saving on something that can rack up the costs easily.
- Your fuel receipts will be available in an online report and that will save administrative time to check through all the receipts. You will be able to notice if fuel was not placed correctly.
- Many cards do not have a set up fee and no card fee is levied.
- Online Reports: you can access your account at any time and view transactions, statements and more. Fuel purchases can be track in real time. With the online reports you can view card and driver information, track how much the drivers spend and where they are refueling. Slippage can be spotted immediately. The online reports can also be set up to alert you to unusual activity.
- Flexible Payment Options: You can pay the bill monthly, weekly or bi-weekly. You choose the option that suits your business income stream the best. It is you that decides how you want to be billed, e.g. weekly or monthly. For newly established companies a pre-paid option is available. You can use this to build up a good payment reputation. Payment can be by check, ETF or online.
- Security & Controls: You can assign cards to individual drivers or vehicles or a combination of the two. Cards can be locked i.e. to allow for pump purchases only. Unauthorized use by drivers will not be allowed. Furthermore, fuel cards can be limited by the hours of the day or days of the week. It can be use for fuel and/or maintenance. Transaction limits are also possible.
- Universally Accepted: A great many fuel stations and truck stops accept the cards, as many as 98% of garages nationwide.
- A driver might have an emergency when they have to fill up at a station that does not accept the card.
- Theft and unauthorized use of the card remains a possibility.
- Cards can be lost or stolen and then fuel cannot be bought.
- Fraud is an ever-present possibility.
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Affording a new fleet of smaller and more energy efficient cars is quite difficult and unlikely for a company which has minimal amounts of capital. It is recommended to use fuel cards for your fleets as it gives the business owners more autonomy over the fuel consumption of the fleet, and allows them to monitor how much fuel is actually needed for regular routes and operations. Fuel cards also reward customer loyalty by offering savings on the litre for frequent use.