As a small business owner, managing expenses can be a tricky balancing act. Fuel expenses, in particular, can quickly add up and eat into your profits. The good news is fuel cards can help small businesses save money on fuel costs while also offering other benefits such as discounts, rewards, and online account management tools. But with so many options on the market, choosing the right fuel card for your business can be a daunting task.
That’s why we’ve done the research and put together a list of the best fuel cards for small businesses in Australia in 2023. Whether you frequently use Shell, BP, Ampol or 7-Eleven petrol stations, there’s a fuel card on this list that will help you manage your fuel expenses and keep your business running smoothly. So put your car in cruise control and let us guide you through the best fuel cards for small businesses in Australia.
The 6 Best Fuel Cards for Small Australian Businesses
|Brand||Rating||Best for||Premium card?||Locations (Aus wide)|
|Fleet Card||5/5||Most widely accepted||Yes||6,000+ sites|
|Shell Card||5/5||Best for new businesses||No||1,250+ sites|
|WEX||4.5/5||Best for tradies||Yes||6,000+ sites|
|AmpolCard||4/5||Best transport & logistics||No||1,900 sites|
|BP Plus Fuel Card||4/5||Best for scalability||Yes (for under 2 cards)||1,400 sites|
|7-Eleven Card||4/5||Best budget||No||700 sites|
Why Your Small Business Needs a Fuel Card
In the world of business, every cent counts. So, when it comes to managing fuel expenses, you want a hassle-free solution that saves you time and money. That’s where fuel cards come in. Think of a fuel card as your business’s secret weapon. It’s like a credit card, but specifically designed for fuel expenses. With a fuel card, your employees can pay for fuel without cash and without submitting a reimbursement claim. It’s like having a personal accountant who manages all your fuel expenses in one place. By using a fuel card, you can track and manage your fuel expenses with ease. Every purchase is recorded and itemised on a single tax statement, so there’s no need to keep and tally up fuel receipts. Plus, many fuel cards offer discounts and savings, which can help your business save even more money. In short, a fuel card is a convenient, cost-effective solution for managing your business’s fuel expenses. It’s a smart investment that can help streamline your operations and save you money in the long run.
All-Brand Versus Single Brand – What’s the Difference?
When it comes to fuel cards, there are two major types – all-brand and single brand.
All-brand fuel cards, like Fleet Card and WEX Motorpass, allow you to fill up at almost any fuel station across the country. This provides great flexibility for you and your employees, but the downside is that these cards often don’t offer substantial pump-price discounts, and monthly card fees can be higher with transaction fees potentially applying.
On the other hand, single brand fuel cards, like the Shell Card Fuel Card or BP Fuel Card, are dedicated to one fuel station. These cards have lower monthly card fees, better pump price discounts and typically no transaction fees unless used outside of the network. Some single brand fuel cards can also be used at other fuel sites, but you may be charged a transaction fee. Choosing between an all-brand or single brand fuel card ultimately depends on your business’s fuel needs and preferences. All-brand cards are more flexible, but may come with additional fees, while single brand cards offer better discounts and lower fees but restrict you to a specific fuel station.
Considerations When Choosing a Small Business Fuel Card
When choosing a small business fuel card, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Here are a few:
- Fuel station coverage: It’s important to choose a fuel card that offers coverage at the fuel stations and brands your team uses the most. Some fuel cards may only be accepted at specific fuel stations or within specific regions, so it’s important to check the network coverage before selecting a fuel card.
- Discounts and savings: Many fuel cards offer discounts or rebates on fuel purchases, which can help your business save money on fuel expenses. It’s important to be wary of how long these discounts last – oftentimes it’s an attractive promo period to lure you in, which ends after 6 or 12 months. Some fuel card providers offer ongoing savings, however, so shop around and find the best fit for your small business.
- Fees and charges: Fuel cards may charge monthly fees, transaction fees, or other charges. Be sure to read the fine print and understand all the fees associated with a fuel card before signing up.
- Payment options: Some fuel cards may require direct debit payments, while others may offer more flexible payment options. Consider what payment options work best for your business and choose a fuel card that meets those needs.
- Reporting and analytics: Many fuel cards offer reporting and analytics tools that can help your business track fuel expenses and identify areas where you can save money. Be sure to consider what reporting features are important to your business and choose a fuel card that provides those capabilities.
Corporate Credit Card Vs Fuel Card: Which is Better?
When it comes to managing business expenses, two common options are corporate credit cards and fuel cards. Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for your business will depend on your specific needs and priorities. Here’s a quick breakdown comparing the differences:
|CREDIT CARDS||FUEL CARDS|
|Allow your drivers to carry only one card for all their business expenses||Specifically designed for purchasing fuel for a fleet, rather than a credit card designed for entertainment purchases|
|The card will be accepted almost everywhere||Offer better fuel spending controls|
|Credit cards can offer rebates for a wide variety of expenses||Often provides reports with helpful data, such as fuel type, cost per unit, vehicle data, etc|
|If you use a credit card that offers frequent flyer miles, you can use those miles to cover your holidays, or offer trips as incentives for your team||Can provide information such as cost per km, km per litre. This information helps you to better manage fleet expenses|
|Can offer additional features such as travel insurance and interest-free periods||Fleet fuel costs are kept separate rather than lumped together with other expense data|
|Corporate card programs can be more susceptible to fraud and cloning than fleet fuel cards, which used closed merchant networks||Fuel card offers you more control and allows you to impose spending limits|
Here are some other key consideration when choosing between a corporate credit card and fuel card:
Here are some key factors to consider:
- Expense management: Fuel cards are specifically designed for fuel expenses, making them a great choice if fuel expenses are a significant portion of your business’s overall expenses. Fuel cards allow you to easily track fuel expenses and monitor employee spending, while providing detailed reports to simplify accounting. Corporate credit cards, on the other hand, can be used for a wide variety of expenses, making them more versatile but also more difficult to track and manage.
- Rates and fees: Corporate credit cards often come with higher interest rates and fees than fuel cards, making them a more expensive option over the long term. However, if you are able to pay off the balance in full each month, the interest rates become less of a factor.
- Rewards programs: Both fuel cards and corporate credit cards may offer rewards programs that can provide benefits like cash back, discounts, or travel points. The specific rewards programs and benefits will vary depending on the provider, so it’s important to compare your options.
- Acceptance: Corporate credit cards are generally accepted at a wider range of merchants than fuel cards, which are typically limited to specific fuel stations or networks. If your business requires employees to make purchases outside of fuel expenses, a corporate credit card may be a better option.
The Major Australian Fuel Card Providers
As one of Australia’s largest multi-branded fuel card providers, WEX Motorpass has designed its fuel card with convenience in mind. It is one of the most widely accepted fuel cards in Australia, with the ability to use it at 93% of fuel sites countrywide. As a premium card, it does have a higher monthly cost per card (over $4), and you’ll pay a 1.5% transaction fee at Coles Express sites.
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With access to over 1,250 sites, the Shell Card Fuel Card is an excellent choice for Australian businesses that already use Shell-branded fuel stations. It’s also the ideal card for new businesses as there is no minimum time you need to be in business before applying. With a simple monthly fee structure of less than $4 per card, with the Shell Card your business can save time, reduce costs, and earn great rewards. You can’t use AMEX to pay your fuel card bill, however.
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How to Pay Your Fuel Card
In the world of fuel cards, payment options can make all the difference. Most fuel card providers offer various payment methods, including direct debit through a bank account or credit card, and BPAY. However, it’s important to note that credit card payments may come with surcharges. Flexibility in payment terms is also crucial, and most providers offer weekly, fortnightly, or monthly payments. You may also have the option to choose fixed or variable payment terms based on your business’s monthly spend or other factors. Be warned: late payment fees can be a real wallet breaker! Most fuel card providers impose hefty late payment fees, sometimes exceeding $60, even for a one-day delay. Setting up a direct debit is a great way to avoid these fees, and it’s often the default option for many providers. Don’t let late fees put a dent in your wallet – be sure to keep on top of your fuel card payments.
Most Widely Accepted Fuel Card for Small Businesses – Fleet Card
If your fleet travels extensively, it can be hard to predict which petrol station will be available when the orange fuel light turns on. That is where Fleet Card comes in. The Fleet Card is widely accepted at 90% of fuel sites in Australia, comprising almost 6,000 multi-branded fuel stations. In addition, the card can be used at over 6,000 non-fuel partners, including repair centres and motor dealerships. This high level of acceptance makes Fleet Card a top choice for small businesses that value convenience above all else. Fleet Card also streamlines business management with its consolidated tax invoicing for all transactions.
As a new small business, it can be frustrating to face rejection from premium fuel card providers like Fleet Card due to a lack of financial history. However, the Shell Card offers a welcoming solution to help get your business on the move. Unlike other providers that reject new businesses that don’t meet the 12-month criteria, Shell is much more accommodating. They often introduce shorter credit terms for newer businesses, giving them the flexibility they need to manage their fuel expenses. As you build a stronger credit history with Shell, you’ll gain the ability to extend the credit terms, further helping your business grow. So if you’re looking for a fuel card solution that supports new businesses, the Shell Card is an excellent choice.
As a tradie, your daily routine likely involves managing a fleet of 1-5 vehicles, with your team hitting the road every day to get to various job sites. Ensuring they have access to fuel is essential, especially when you have young apprentices on your team. However, managing the paperwork for fuel costs can become increasingly complicated as your workforce and fleet grow. That’s where the Motorpass fuel card comes in handy. As a multi-branded fuel card, it can be used to cover all vehicle-related expenses, from fuel costs to maintenance and repairs. By consolidating all your vehicle expenses on one card, you’ll save valuable time, and money, and reduce paperwork. So if you’re a tradie looking to streamline your fuel expenses and manage your fleet more efficiently, the Motorpass fuel card is a wise investment.
In the fast-paced world of transport and logistics, time is of the essence, and fleet managers are always on the lookout for ways to streamline operations. Enter the AmpolCard (previously known as Caltex StarCard), an excellent option for those small businesses in transport and logistics who are seeking to optimise fleet management. With the AmpolCard, managing a small fleet of transport trucks is made easy through the use of their user-friendly online dashboard. This interface provides the tools necessary to track vehicle spending and maintenance, ensuring that your fleet is always in tip-top shape. So, if you’re in the transport and logistics industry and looking for an efficient way to manage your fleet, the AmpolCard is a must-have tool.
If you’re looking to scale your small business, the BP Plus fuel card is an excellent option to consider. With an impressive network of 1,400 national fuel stations, this card is particularly appealing to businesses that rely heavily on BP stations. While really small businesses may face a premium fee for using the card, costing over $4.95 per card per month, the fees drop significantly with the more cards purchased. This means that it’s more cost-effective to have three cards than just two. Moreover, the BP Plus fuel card offers substantial discounts based on volume, meaning that the more fuel you purchase, the more significant the savings. So, if you’re looking to expand your small business and reduce fuel expenses, the BP Plus fuel card is an excellent tool to have in your arsenal.
For small businesses looking to save on fuel costs without breaking the bank, the 7-Eleven Fuel Pass is an excellent option. This budget-friendly fuel card provides a simple way to track fuel expenses and offers some compelling introductory offers. With an ongoing minimum discount of 2c/l, the 7-Eleven Fuel Pass is tough to beat, and it can be used across the entire WEX Motorpass network. Best of all, there are no transaction fees associated with using the fuel card at any location, making it an attractive option for businesses of all sizes. However, it’s worth noting that the fuel discount is only applicable at 7-Eleven sites. But, if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to manage your fuel expenses and regularly use 7-Eleven stations, the 7-Eleven Fuel Pass is an excellent choice.
So there you have it! Choosing the right fuel card for your small business can seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of research and careful consideration, you can find the perfect fit. Remember to think about your specific needs, like the size of your fleet and where you’ll be travelling, as well as the features and benefits each fuel card offers. Check if your small business is eligible today with Fuel Card Report’s eligibility checker. Fill in your details, and our tool will match you with the best fuel card options for your small business. It’s that easy! So what are you waiting for? Start saving time and money on your fuel expenses today with the right fuel card for your small business.