The Origin of the Modern Fleet Card
Credit cards originated in the early 1920s when oil companies and hotels first issued them to their customers as a way to pay for purchases from those specific companies. Some might say the oil company cards were the genesis of the modern-day fleet card. The cards were a convenience but had limited access with few additional benefits.
It was 30 years later that the first universal credit cards were issued by Diner’s Club and American Express. The card use process and the networks they established spawned an industry, with banks following suit by offering their own cards that could be used for more than just entertainment.
According to the Federal Reserve Consumer Credit Report, American consumers had accumulated approximately a trillion dollars of credit card debt by 2018, and while consumer debt may be a concern, the use of corporate cards in business is growing – and helping companies grow. The trucking industry has established fleet and fuel cards that benefit trucking companies and their employees – minus the mounting debt.
How Fleet Cards Help Manage Costs and Fuel
Gone are the days when employees and drivers in the trucking industry used their own credit cards for business expenses. Fleet card discounts are playing an integral part in expense and fuel management in the trucking industry. Technology has transformed industries around the world, and those advancements clearly include the trucking and transportation sector. Along with mechanical efficiencies in hybrid trucks and robotics now widely used in logistics, fleet cards have become a tool that aids in efficiencies not to be taken for granted. Of course, they are used to pay for gasoline, diesel, and other fuels, but a comprehensive fleet card solution can also be used for almost every expense a driver might have while making a long-haul delivery. Fleet cards often offer fuel discounts without transaction fees as well as universal acceptance at thousands of truck stops nationwide. Some fleet card discounts even include nationwide discounts on major tire brands, wireless equipment, maintenance, parts, breakdowns, hotels, and more. Fleet card discounts and other perks are the reasons that fleet cards have become the “go to” card for the driver and fleet manager alike.
Gain Greater Visibility and Improve Fuel Management
Fleet cards can also provide information vital to fleet management. Fueling transactions and the telematics gathered from those transactions provide fleets a way to manage the cost of operations and productivity. Besides fuel oversight, fleet cards generate data that can provide insights on driver behavior and performance as well as security measures and fraud mitigation. It’s easy to see why fleets across the country are beginning to rely on fleet cards for more than just fuel. Fleet payment leader EFS (a WEX company) offers fleet card solutions that can be customized to accommodate any size fleet, whether a single truck or a hundred.
Fleet Card Discounts and the Largest Saving Network
WEX Fleet One Factoring primarily focuses on fleet cash flow and getting drivers paid, but it also offers the flexible EFS fleet card solution to enhance an already efficient business process. Fleet One fleet card advantages include:
- Largest nationwide fuel discount network at more than 3,600 sites – average savings of 12 cents per gallon
- No fuel transaction fees in network
- Universal acceptance at more than 8,000 truck stops nationwide
- Nationwide discounts on major tire brands – save an average of $40 per tire
- Thousands in additional savings on wireless equipment, maintenance, parts, breakdowns, hotels, and more
- Credit to fund your operations and financing solutions to help you grow
It’s easy to see how something as seemingly simple as a credit card can aid in the growth of the company in tandem with other fleet solutions. It may have taken until the 1980s for the fuel card to be introduced, but today fleet and fuel cards are a business staple. They form an important part of strategies for business growth by facilitating the analysis of consumption, spending, and efficiencies. The data provided by fleet cards paves the way for even more robust analytics tools and solutions.
EFS, the same WEX company that offers a variety of fleet and fuel card solutions, also offers tools to help with fuel management through analytics. EFS’s Online Fuel Audit and Reconciliation tool for fuel management leverages big data to provide KPI tracking and purchase reporting, along with real-time and historical pricing analysis to take control of fuel spend. These powerful fuel management tools help save time auditing and reconciling fuel spend while ensuring negotiated discounts. Fuel consumption metrics and oversight on individual transactions enable accurate and actionable feedback, which results in more fuel-efficient driving habits. The remarkable advantages of these tools include the following:
- Daily fuel reconciliation
- Fuel price verification
- Individual transaction verification
- Executive management reporting
- Mobile fuel price discovery and optimization tools
It is almost certain that when WEX Inc.’s founder, A.R. Wright, hooked up an ATM to a gasoline pump, enabling fuel card activation at the pump, he had no idea what he was starting. But one thing is for sure — fleet cards have changed the way companies are doing business, and WEX is still leading the charge.