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Fleet cards: Improve cash flow for your small business

March 29, 2024

As a small business owner, your role often requires you to be everything from marketing manager to chief financial officer. When you’re juggling so many responsibilities it can be hard to keep track of it all. 

One aspect of managing a business is managing cash flow and ideally doing it in an organized way. From covering daily operational expenses to investing in growth opportunities, maintaining a steady cash flow can make or break your business. The challenge often involves fluctuating expenses and unpredictable revenue streams which can be tricky. But there’s a simple fix to getting organized: a fleet card program. Fleet cards are a powerful tool that can simplify expense management for any fleet of vehicles, while offering a range of benefits designed to save you time and money. 

Let’s dive into how fleet cards can help small businesses optimize their cash flows.

Understanding cash flow challenges for small businesses

Small businesses often face cash flow hurdles due to various factors such as delayed payments, unexpected expenses, and seasonal fluctuations in demand – all common obstacles that can interrupt the flow of trying to keep your business humming. These challenges can disrupt operations and hinder growth, making it crucial for business owners to find effective solutions to manage their finances. Sometimes, the answer is simple: Finding a fleet card that matches your business needs.

What role do fleet cards play in improving cash flows?

Fleet cards provide small businesses with a convenient and efficient way to manage expenses related to their vehicles, including fuel, maintenance, and repairs. By centralizing these expenses onto a single card, businesses can gain better visibility and control over their spending, leading to improved cash flow management.

Some fleet cards offer benefits that go beyond expense tracking. For example, WEX fleet cards simplify reporting, connect you with easy-to-use apps that give you access to key business information, and automate key back-end functions. 

Using real-time transaction monitoring and detailed reporting, businesses can easily track every dollar spent on fuel and other vehicle-related expenses. This level of visibility allows for more accurate budgeting and forecasting, reducing the risk of overspending and the possibility of a cash flow shortage. 

Fleet cards also often come with spending controls, allowing businesses to set limits on purchases and restrict unauthorized spending. This helps prevent employee misuse and fraud, safeguarding your company’s financial resources and promoting accountability.

Fleet cards offer savings that goes beyond fuel expenses

Today, many fuel card providers offer smaller businesses savings and benefits that often include savings on: 

  • Maintenance services: Many fleet card providers have expanded their networks to include maintenance and service. This means that businesses can use their fleet cards for oil changes, tire purchases, repairs, and more. 
  • Vehicle parts: In partnership with suppliers, fleet card providers may give their customers access to a variety of parts from hundreds of brands and pricing typically reserved for businesses with larger accounts. 
  • Hotels: Some fleet card providers have partnerships with hotels giving your employees access to discounts and special rates with thousands of U.S. hotels through your fleet card membership.
  • Wireless service for you and your employees: Some providers also give you access to cost-effective rate plans with industry-leading mobile hotspot data and more business benefits with wireless providers.

What are some additional benefits of fleet cards for small businesses?

In addition to cash flow optimization, fleet cards offer several other benefits for small businesses such as:

  • Enhanced security: Fleet cards often come with advanced security features such as pin protection and fraud monitoring, reducing the risk of unauthorized transactions.
  • Access to discounts and rebate programs: Many fleet card providers offer fuel card rebates and rewards programs that allow businesses to earn points and cash back on eligible expenses. 
  • Simplified tax reporting: Fleet card statements provide detailed transaction data, making it easier for businesses to track deductible expenses and streamline the tax reporting process.
  • Wide acceptance availability: WEX cards are accepted at 95% of U.S. gas stations and 45,000 service locations, making it convenient to fill up while on the go.

Considerations and best practices for implementing fleet cards

When considering fleet cards for your small business you should:

  1. Consider a fuel card that collects data on purchases and on your drivers: The right fuel card will give you the power to track and monitor the fuel purchases of every driver in your fleet and collect data on your overall fuel consumption. By understanding your fuel expenses, you can begin to figure out the best ways to save.
  2. Choose a card with spending limits and controls: Spending limits and controls can prevent unauthorized purchases and ensure spending stays within your budget. The best cards will include more security features to help you control and limit the purchasing power of drivers.
  3. Train employees on proper use and security measures: Provide employees with training on how to use fleet cards responsibly and educate them on security best practices to minimize the risk of fraud or misuse.
  4. Pick a card that is most convenient for you and your business: Whether you do business in the northeast, the southwest, or anywhere in between, choose the card that has the largest number of convenient locations. Universal fuel cards are accepted at fueling stations from coast to coast, saving you the time and the hassle of trying to find the nearest location in a smaller fuel network.

Choose the fleet card that fits your business needs

Ultimately, fleet cards can be a valuable asset for any small business seeking to optimize their cash flow. By centralizing vehicle-related expenses, enhancing financial visibility, and providing additional benefits such as enhanced security and rewards programs, fleet cards offer a comprehensive solution for businesses looking to streamline their operations and improve their bottom line. With careful consideration in choosing the card that is right for you, fleet cards can empower small businesses to achieve greater financial stability and success in today’s competitive market. 

Learn more on how to better manage your small business:

WEX speaks the language of small business operators. Whether you’re looking to modernize your insight and reporting efforts, save on fuel costs or take advantage of the latest GPS tracking technologies, WEX offers solutions to simplify the business of running a business. To learn more about WEX, a dynamic and nimble global organization, please visit our About WEX page.

Apply for a fleet card today!

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