Fuel Cards in Australia

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Contents

    What is a fuel card?

    If your business has vehicles, those vehicles need fuel, and the best way to keep your expenses organised and accountable is with a business fuel card. You can start by understanding the differences between various choices and how to select the best fuel card for your company’s needs.

    A fuel card is essentially a credit card dedicated to vehicle expenses like petrol, maintenance, and repairs. They are also known as petrol cards. Fuel cards often have special discounts on petrol, which is important when many Australians are trying to save money on fuel.

    Fuel cards are quite useful for businesses because they help keep vehicle expenses centralised on one account. The card allows employees to buy what they need without having to pay their own way and worry about reimbursement. For instance, tradesmen that work with a fleet of trucks will often take advantage of fuel cards.

    Types of fuel cards

    Just like how car loans come in all shapes and sizes for different vehicles and different users, fuel cards also vary based on their purpose. These are the most common kinds of fuel cards available.

    • Business fuel cards

      These are intended for smaller to medium-size size businesses. They also provide monthly, ATO-compliant statements that help with business accounting.

    • Fleet fuel cards

      These are targeted for larger businesses with more vehicles. They can also help keep track of budget expenses and often provide discounts at specific fuel stations.

    • Individual fuel cards

      Many families obtain a fuel card for personal use to save money. They are particularly useful for long-distance travel, like a caravan trip across the country.

    • Prepaid fuel gift cards

      These are different from other fuel cards because the cost is paid in advance, and then the balance of the card can be spent on petrol and other vehicle needs.

    All-Brand vs Single-Brand fuel cards

    Fuel cards come in two main kinds: all-brand and single-brand.

    • All-brand: This type of fuel card can be used at many different petrol stations in Australia, but you’re less likely to get substantial discounts.
    • Single-brand: This type of fuel card is limited to only one company, but they reward your loyalty with extra discounts and lower fees.

    Pros and Cons of fuel cards for small businesses

    A business fuel card can become a major benefit for your company. However, there are also some potential drawbacks to be aware of.

    Pros

    • Savings: Fuel cards usually offer special discounts. While these might only be a few cents per litre, this can add up to a lot of money over time.
    • Accounting: With automatic monthly statements, it’s easy to track vehicle expenses. There’s also no need for employee reimbursement.
    • Convenience: In addition to having cashless transactions, a business fuel card offers easy online access to see account details and transactions.

    Cons

    • Limited fuel options: Single-brand petrol cards can only be used at that company’s petrol stations, so you might lose out on better deals elsewhere.
    • Fees: Some cards might have recurring monthly fees or transaction fees, which can potentially outweigh any savings, so be sure to ask first.
    • Missing out on rewards: Many credit cards offer cashback for petrol purchases, so using a fuel card could mean fewer rewards points earned.

    How to compare fuel cards in Australia

    With so many options available, shopping for the best fuel cards can be a challenge. It is helpful to know which details are the most important to consider.

    • Brand:  There may be a company you’re already loyal to which would be a good fit. If you don’t have a brand preference, an all-brand card is useful.

    • Locations:  Think about which petrol stations are available near your home or work, particularly if you drive for a living and visit different cities.

    • Rewards:  Many fuel cards offer loyalty programs that grant you extra discounts. Your account will earn points that can be redeemed for different things.

    • Credit vs Charge:  Consider whether you prefer a credit-card-style arrangement where you pay interest on a balance, or one where you pay as you go.

    • Fees:  Depending on the brand, certain personal or business fuel cards can have recurring monthly fees, additional cardholder fees, or transaction fees.

    Fuel Card FAQ

    Can you get a prepaid fuel card?
    Yes. While most business fuel cards are set up like credit cards, you can also get a prepaid card and load money onto it. This helps you limit purchase amounts.
    Can you use a petrol card to buy anything other than petrol?
    How does pre-authorisation work for fuel cards?

    Fuel cards: what you need to remember

    A business fuel card can be a great tool to make your employees’ lives easier. While there are many types of fuel cards out there, each one will keep your vehicle expenses organised, and you can enjoy a variety of discounts and benefits. Now that you have the facts, you can easily find the best fuel cards in Australia.