Getty Images / aabejon
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Getty Images / aabejon

Fleet fuel cards enable businesses to reduce and control high fuel costs. They provide crucial transaction data that help tell a story. From limiting drivers to specific best-price locations, providing alerts when drivers pump more expensive fuel grades, as well as displaying the number of gallons pumped vs. tank capacity, fuel card programs effectively regulate expenses and prevent fraud.

Finding the best provider isn't about finding one that hits your pocketbook the least. It's about finding the right fit for your business and one that can solve your business challenges. How to find the best fleet fuel card provider consists of two fundamental steps:

1. Understanding your business challenges to determine what feature requirements and what type of solution you need.

2. Finding a provider that addresses those needs and is the right fit for your business.

The following are best practices for identifying what feature requirements you should look for based on your business challenges and questions to keep top of mind when you speak with potential fleet fuel card providers.

Understanding Your Fleet Fuel Card Requirements

Knowing the answers to the following questions will provide you a more accurate list of requirements when you begin selecting a fleet fuel card provider:

Which asset is more important to track – the vehicle or employee?

Will all employees need a fuel card?

Where do your drivers travel frequently?

What level of security does your business require?

Do you currently use a GPS tracking system, and is it important to integrate that data with a fuel card system?

Do you plan on limiting fuel purchases or allow miscellaneous shopping such as in-store items?

What performance goals do you want to achieve using a fuel card system? I.e., reduce fuel costs by 30%.

What level of customer service and technical support do you expect?

Keep these answers top of mind as you start looking for a potential fuel card provider.

How to Determine the Best Fleet Fuel Card Provider

While fleets may share similarities, they are not all created equally. Every business with a mobile workforce faces unique challenges. A solution that works for one business case may not be the best option for another.

A pivotal part of determining the best fleet fuel card provider is finding out how the essential elements work. These features include the provider’s site acceptance, card controls, card assignment flexibility, and how their customer service and technical support teams operate. Then you can compare this information to the answers from the above questions to determine which one fits the needs of your business. It’s best to start with these foundational aspects before moving on to more robust features and requirements.

Some providers only offer primary transaction data such as timestamp and location of purchase. You may require a more extensive software package with more in-depth analysis of fuel transactions based on your business needs.

Finally, you should partner with a fleet fuel card provider you trust and offers the level of service you expect. Vet a provider’s customer service and technical support processes by asking for references or performing a pilot to find the best fit.

Questions to Ask Potential Fleet Fuel Card Providers

To help you get started, fuel card experts provided the following list of questions to ask potential providers:

What is your average return on investment (ROI) your customers receive for a business like mine?
Find out what the average or expected ROI is of a business in your vertical with the same number of drivers and vehicles.

Do you offer dedicated account management to your customers?
If customer service is essential to you, find out how their onboarding process works. Is there a dedicated resource for ongoing training and someone to contact with questions?

How often do you update your software with new technology? Is there a cost to your customers for these upgrades? Do you have an in-house development team, or is it outsourced?
Fleet fuel card providers who care about the latest technology will upgrade their systems to make sure their customers can take advantage of it. Providers with in-house development teams typically roll these new pieces of technology out much faster than others who outsource development.

Do you integrate with GPS tracking software?
If you currently use GPS tracking software, you might be limited in your fleet fuel card options if certain providers integrate with the platform. If you haven’t implemented a GPS tracking system, find out who integrates with the potential fuel card provider you vet.

Can you provide a list of data your fuel card captures?
If higher-level data such as product description, total gallons purchased, and the price per gallon is necessary for your business to capture, then find out what the provider can and can’t display in reports.

What level of restrictions do you offer on the fuel card?
For more control of fuel expenditures, find out what type of authorization controls the provider offers. Some categories like product type, the total dollar amount spent, or time of purchase are critical high-level restrictions. How do these types of restrictions work within their platform?

What type of reports do you offer and what information do they provide?
It will be essential to know what types of reports are available to set up for weekly and monthly distribution and ensuring delivery to the right people for review.

Does your fleet fuel card system provide purchase alerts?
Find out if you can alert yourself when purchases over a certain dollar amount go through, and what other relevant alerts are available.

Does the fuel card include a proprietary network?
Find out if the card can be used at any fueling location or only with particular fueling providers. Are purchase controls set at the product or merchant levels? If you have restrictions on miscellaneous or in-store purchases, it’s crucial to find out how the process works for setting them up.

How broad is your fleet fuel card station acceptance?
The answer to this question is a critical component in finding the right fit in a provider. Make sure they service the areas your drivers will cover for their convenience.

Enhance Your Mobile Workforce

Fuel card programs are a stepping stone to enhancing your mobile workforce to its full potential. The foundation of a fully functioning and efficient mobile workforce will always be GPS tracking. If you are still without a solution, take the next steps towards implementing GPS tracking into your business today and receive free quotes from top suppliers at businessfleet.com.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet

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