Manage fuel expenses, simplify reporting and enjoy discounts on your vehicle expenses.
Petrol purchases can make up a massive part of your personal and business' everyday expenses, so many of us are constantly on the lookout for fuel discounts and ways to simplify how we manage these costs. This is where a fuel card could help you, your business and your fleet.
Credit cards that earn points on fuel purchases
How do fuel cards work?
Fuel cards work the same way as a regular credit or debit card where you swipe your card at the pump or inside the service station to pay for fuel and/or other available products and services. This means that all of your business fuel costs can be tracked under a single account. Unlike other cards, these will usually only work at petrol stations and any available partners. If you are looking for a prepaid fuel gift card or voucher, check out finder's types of fuel cards:
- Business fuel cards. These generally cater to small and medium-sized businesses. Aside from petrol savings, business fuel cards are attractive because they simplify accounting for business car costs thanks to monthly ATO-approved statements. Additionally, these cards save drivers from using a company credit card or their personal credit card and expensing for regular fuel purchases.
- Fleet fuel cards. Similar to business fuel cards, fleet fuel cards are useful for businesses with larger vehicle fleets. They help with budgeting and fuel efficiency and can usually access petrol discounts at different fuel brand stations.
- Individual fuel cards. This type of fuel card is designed for the regular consumer and it offers cashless convenience and card security on top of petrol discounts.
- Prepaid fuel gift cards. These types of gift cards or vouchers are available for individual or business use to pay for petrol and convenience goods. They do not extend any credit and must be paid for in full upon purchase.
How to compare fuel cards in Australia
Here are some of the factors to consider when comparing fuel cards:
- The brand. Where do you usually buy your petrol? If you’re loyal to a specific brand, it’s wise to see if it has its own fuel card to ensure it aligns with your spending habits. For instance, a Coles shopper would likely benefit from the Coles-Shell partnership.
- Single brand vs multi-brand. If you have no brand preference but would rather shop for the lowest-priced fuel at any time, a fuel card offering access to multiple fuel brand stations could be the better option for you.
- Locations. When researching fuel cards and the stations where you can use them, location should factor into your comparison, particularly for long-haul interstate drivers.
- Rewards. Choose a loyalty program with attractive rewards that you’d actually use. For instance, if you are already an active Qantas Frequent Flyer member, you might wish to consider the Caltex StarCard that’s linked to the Qantas Business Rewards program.
- Credit vs charge. Most fuel cards are charge cards that do not offer a revolving line of credit. There are, however, credit cards that offer rewards points or savings on fuel.
- Fees. Fuel cards typically charge a monthly fee per card, but there are also no-fee fuel cards that can offer greater savings.
Why choose a fuel card over regular credit card?
- Control and expense management. Some fuel cards let you impose spending limits on the card and select what can be paid for with the card.
- Reporting. Especially useful for businesses, fuel cards come with monthly reports that consolidate all your vehicle expenses into one statement. This reduces accounting work and cost, and simplifies tax reporting.
- Non-fuel partners. Some fuel cards also provide other non-fuel benefits with its network of partners, including car washes, mechanical work and warranty servicing.
Pros & cons
- Convenience. Apart from being cashless, you can usually manage your fuel card account online to view your account details and transactions.
- Savings. The discounts you’ll receive on an everyday expense can amount to significant savings over time.
- Rewards. Maximise your rewards by earning points on fuel and vehicle expenses.
- Control and budgeting. Fuel cards can be very helpful for reducing costs and helping you stay within your budget.
- Invoicing. With fuel costs clearly documented the statement, there is no need to go through receipts to determine the correct amount for reimbursement.
- Brand confinement. Getting a brand-specific fuel card may limit you to only using that brand and not shopping for the lowest-priced petrol.
- Fees. The cost of your fuel card should not outweigh its financial benefits.
- Other foregone rewards. Exclusively using a fuel card for your vehicle expenses means sacrificing other reward points that you could be earning on a higher-earning rewards credit card.