What Are Fleet Cards?

Fleet Cards Explained in Less Than 5 Minutes

Truck drivers greet one another before starting their workday.
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Fleet cards are special payment cards that fleet managers and owners can give to their employees to pay for fuel and other vehicle-related expenses while they are operating a company vehicle.

Learn what fleet cards are, how to get them, and how they can benefit your business.

Definition and Example of Fleet Cards

Fleet cards are cards that fleet drivers can use at specified gas stations to pay for fuel and potentially other purchases, depending on the terms of the fleet card program.

While fleet managers could issue their drivers typical corporate credit cards to use at gas stations, fleet cards often come with benefits such as fuel discounts and specialized fleet management analytics they can access online.

  • Alternate names: Fuel card, fleet fuel card

For example, fuel company 76 has its own fleet card program.

A company that participates in this program and issues its fleet drivers the 76 fleet card to use at gas stations will save up to 7 cents per gallon at 76, Conoco, and Phillips 66 gas station locations.

The fleet owner or manager will receive monthly reports showing fleet-, vehicle-, and driver-level analytics.

How Fleet Cards Work

When a company fleet starts using a particular fleet card program, the fleet manager will issue that program’s cards to all the drivers of the vehicles in the fleet. The drivers use the fleet cards to pay for fuel and other vehicle-related expenses. This makes it convenient for drivers because they don’t have to pay out of their own pockets for these expenses and wait to be reimbursed.

Fleet cards allow fleet managers to set spending limits for their drivers as well as track drivers’ fuel usage and other key metrics to help them make business decisions.

Fleet managers can track their drivers’ purchase histories, which are stored by the fleet card program  They have access to various dashboards and reports they can view online that will give them more insight into where and how their drivers are using their fleet cards. Fleet owners and managers can also set spending and other limits on the cards. Since fleet owners can see the details of their drivers’ fleet card spending on an online dashboard, they don’t need to collect paper receipts. This makes it easier for the driver as well.

Fleet cards can also give the companies that use them discounts on fuel and other vehicle-related purchases. The exact discounts will vary from fleet program to program.

For example, in addition to fuel discounts at Shell gas stations, the Shell Fleet Plus Card program gives a 15% discount at Jiffy Lube, where the card is also accepted. WEX fleet cards, on the other hand, are part of the WEX Edge Savings Network, which gives participating fleets discounts on fuel, tires purchased at Bridgestone retail operations, hotel stays, wireless purchases, and fleet management software.

With many fleet card programs, the fuel discount increases the more gallons of fuel the fleet purchases per billing cycle.

Governments can use fleet cards as well. For example, the U.S. General Services Administration and the Departments of Commerce, State, and Homeland Security all use the WEX Fleet Mastercard.

Brand-Specific Fleet Cards vs. Universal Fleet Cards

Brand-specific fleet cards are branded with a specific gas station chain, such as ExxonMobil or Shell. Universal fleet cards such as those issued by WEX or U.S. Bank are not specific to any particular gas station chain.

Universal fleet cards can typically be used at the vast majority of gas stations in the U.S., while brand-specific fleet cards are typically only usable at that brand’s gas stations.

Still, some brand-specific fleet card programs also offer fleet cards that can be used at non-brand locations.

For example, Circle K offers the Circle K Fleet Card, which can only be used at Circle K locations, as well as the Circle K Universal Fleet Card, which is accepted at 95% of U.S. gas stations. This is an important factor for fleet managers who have drivers traveling through regions where certain fuel companies don’t have branches.

Fleet Cards vs. Gasoline Cards

Fleet cards are specifically for businesses that own a fleet of vehicles. They are not consumer cards.

Consumers who spend a lot of money on fuel purchases or are interested in some of the benefits that fleet cards offer may want to look into obtaining a gas card that can give them cash back or other rewards on their gas station purchases.

How To Get a Fleet Card

If you own or manage a business with a fleet of vehicles and you think that a fleet card might be right for your fleet, start by looking into specific fleet card programs to determine which one is right for you. For instance, a business owner with a small fleet will have different requirements than a fleet manager for a major corporation.

After you’ve made your decision, you can contact the fleet card program to apply.  You can apply online for some fleet card programs, such as Circle K’s card.

Key Takeaways

  • Fleet cards are payment cards that give fleet owners discounts and other benefits when used by the fleet’s drivers to pay for fuel and other vehicle-related costs.
  • Some fleet card programs are associated with a specific gas station chain, while others are administered by banks or fleet card companies.
  • Fleet cards, which are for use exclusively by businesses or other organizations with a fleet of vehicles, should not be confused with consumer-oriented gas cards.