Understanding Fuel Cards and how they Work: Your Complete Guide

The fuelcard market is a complex topic, considering that there are so many different services and options from which to choose. Thankfully, we have prepared a comprehensive guide to teaching you everything you need to know about the major fuel cards UK businesses use. We will address whatever unanswered questions you may have. By the end of this article, you will not only have a complete understanding of how fuel cards work but also how they work. The idea is to put you in a position where you can make the most informed decision for your business.

What’s a Fuel Card?

A fuel card provides businesses with an alternative way of paying for fuel for their cars. Through a fuel card, a driver can buy fuel for a company car on a card that’s connected to an account that can track activity and spending. These cards are typically registered to specific fuel station networks. Some cards, for example, are linked to particular brands, others a combination of brands, and some provide discounts at specific stations or based on the type of fuel.

Fuel cards differ from credit cards in that they are mainly used to purchase fuel and other related products. Not only do they help limit your business’s expenses, but also let you keep tabs on your expenditure and keep your records much more efficiently.

What Services do Fuelcard Companies Provide?

Fuel cards UK providers typically have several fuel cards, and these include supermarket and fleet cards. The precise cards offered vary from one company to the next, and so are the benefits and networks included. A BP fuel card supplied by one provider may attract different surcharges and pricing rules at the pump, for example, compared to the same card from a different company. This means that a lot of research is needed to enable you to choose the right fuel card with the best benefits for your business. During your research, we recommend you talk to providers offering specialist consultations and advice to enable you to choose the right card.

The provider with whom you have an account will, as part of their service, support you in account management. But the level of support offered varies from one provider to the other. Typical support services include providing HMRC-compliant invoicing and making changes that may occur. Also, your provider should be the first person you turn to in case an unexpected issue arises. If, for example, your driver isn’t sure using to fill up with their fuel card, there should be an online portal that they can access, or be able to call a helpline to advise them on the nearest station available in the network of their card. The ability to directly contact your fuelcard provider for help is an important service.

What Benefits are Got From Using Fuel Cards?

The use of fuel cards comes with many benefits for a business. But these benefits will vary based on the card you are using as well as its chain of fueling stations. Additionally, the use of fuel cards could lead to significant savings for your business especially if you have a bigger fleet. This is mainly through fuel price discounts.

For example, fuel cards that offer fixed weekly rates enable you to determine your spending for that week and also ensure you are protected from any price changes that may occur. And where there are fluctuations, you may be liable for a refund in case of price decreases.

How do Fuel Cards Work?

Fuel cards are pretty easy to use. The driver that wants to fill up only has to the fuel card when they are paying for the gas and they use PIN and chip. If a driver wants a receipt, they can still ask for it although this is not necessary for the purposes of recording transactions as the information will be on your provider’s fuel card invoice. The only problem that might arise is when a fuel station declines a payment. Below are some of the reasons that may cause your payment to be declined:

  • The fuel station you have approached to fill up is not on the fuel card’s station network.
  • Payment could also be declined because of a card error, like an incorrect PIN.
  • Another reason could be that the card is damaged from wear and tear that leads to a faded strip.
  • It could also be that the car is being used by an unregistered user.

In case your driver encounters a situation where a payment is not accepted, you only need to call the fuel card provider and they will quickly detect the source of the fault and find a way of getting you back on track again.

Most fuel cards UK typically allows users to only pay for fuel and fuel-related products in some cases. However, they don’t include food and hot drinks in the list. But few exceptions do exist. Fuelmate Supermarket Fuel Card, for instance, includes car washes as part of their benefits.

Fuel cards are constantly evolving and getting more and more customized. If customers demand the inclusion of more benefits into the cards, chances are that they will ultimately evolve to incorporate those business needs.

Who Can Use a Fuel Card?

A fuel card can be assigned to employees of a business by the company so it pays for the cost of fueling the company cars they use. Also, a business owner may choose to assign fuel cards to specific vehicles, as opposed to individuals behind the wheel. This is most useful in a case where multiple drivers are driving multiple vehicles.


Businesses all over the world are switching to company fuel cards to try and cut costs on their fuel spend. These cards are often assigned to the drivers or a particular vehicle and they are used to pay for fuel. They give you a clear expenditure of fuel by your vehicles and even let you know which vehicles cost most to run. Understanding fuel cards and how they work is critical to enable you to choose the right option for your business.