UK Supermarket Fuel Cards Reviewed: Saving Money Using Supermarket Fuel

How much does your business spend on fuel every year?

If you’re anything like most people in the UK, it’s going to be a significant sum. It doesn’t help that you’re often at the mercy of the pumps that happen to be available in your area, requiring you to spend more than you otherwise would — though even if the prices were great, the locations still wouldn’t be very convenient.

In the business world, this can be a real problem. Consider a haulage company, for instance: the fuel costs of professional drivers will rack up extremely quickly, and needing to take an odd route to reach a fuel pump can cost a lot of time and money. Just a fractional loss of efficiency in each journey can add up to a huge drain on the business overall.

That said, you don’t have to get your fuel from conventional stations, even if you’re getting fuel for business purposes: you can get it from supermarket stations instead. There’s always been something of a stigma around supermarket fuel, with some imagining that it’s surely lower-quality somehow, but it’s hard to find compelling evidence either way. What we can know, though, is that all fuel sold in the UK (petrol or diesel) conforms to basic standards.

So let’s say that you’re fine with supermarket fuel, and allow (or even encourage) your drivers to fill up at supermarket fuel stations. Is that the most money you can save? Can’t you do anything more? To answer those questions in order, no, it isn’t — and yes, you actually can do more for your business expenses. You can get a supermarket fuel card.

On this page, we’re going to set out all the information you need about supermarket fuel cards: what they’re for, who should be using them, and how to make the most of them. Along the way, we’ll review the top supermarket fuel card contenders, helping you to decide which one is the best fit for your business and specific situation. Let’s get started.

Who should be using a fuel card?

Any business that accrues significant fuel costs across numerous vehicles (even if it’s considered a small business) can benefit from having a fuel card. The advantages are much greater for large fleets, though, so think about what you can gain from using a fuel card and weigh it against what you might pay (if anything — more on this next).

Supermarket fuel cards in particular are excellent for businesses that travel through urban areas — all the more so if they need to regularly purchase business items from supermarkets, because this can save a lot of time through avoiding extra journeys.

What’s the cost of using a fuel card?

Businesses won’t provide nice things like fuel discounts for free, so there’s always some kind of value in it for them. How they recoup their costs can vary wildly, though. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which you can cover the cost of a fuel card:

  • Pay an annual fee. You could pay a fee each year to remain a member of the fuel card scheme, and it might be fixed for your entire company or depend on how many cards you require for your drivers.
  • Pay service fees. Just as you might pay a transaction fee for an online payment, you could be charged a fee on top of every fuel payment (less than what you save, though).
  • Pay to use other stations. Every fuel card provider has a different array of supported stations. While you can sometimes use a fuel card at unsupported stations, you can be charged for the privilege.
  • Pay to update details. Some fuel card companies look for relatively petty admin-centric ways to make their money, and this can involve charging clients to update their details.
  • Pay for replacement cards. From time to time, drivers will lose their fuel cards, and you may be called upon to pay for the replacements.
  • Simply use the card as intended. We implied earlier that you might not need to pay anything at all to use a fuel card, because not all schemes charge you. We suspect (though don’t know for sure) that they’re paid by their supported fuel sellers.

Each fuel card provider will have a unique combination of fees and charges, so you need to pay close attention when considering a particular scheme to see how well it’s likely to work for you.

What makes a supermarket fuel card different?

So far we’ve spoken about fuel cards in general, but this article is actually about supermarket fuel cards in particular — so what makes them different from a regular fuel card? It’s simple enough: a supermarket fuel card is a fuel card that can be used with no penalties at supermarket fuel stations, and may even confer extra benefits in the process.

While it’s possible for a supermarket to offer its own original fuel card alongside its lineup of loyalty cards and credit and/or debit cards, there’s currently no UK-based supermarket that provides one. When we talk of a supermarket fuel card, then, we’re talking about third-party fuel cards that pointedly support supermarket fuel pumps.

Supermarket fuel card reviews

Now that we’ve covered what fuel cards do, why you might want to use one, and what a supermarket fuel card involves, we can start looking at the most commonly-available fuel cards with support for supermarket fuel. The selection we’re going to review includes five cards, each with arrangements for various supermarkets — you can see which ones in the table below.

Tesco Morrisons Sainsbury’s Asda Cooperative
Allstar X X X X X
fuelGenie X X X
Fuelmate X X X
UK Fuels X X X
Keyfuels X X X


Allstar

The Allstar Supermarket+ card earns pole position in this review lineup for one core reason: it’s currently the only supermarket fuel card that can be used at all major UK supermarket fuel stations. Asda won’t take others, and Sainsbury’s and the Co-operative have limited selections.

In addition to being accepted at all supermarket stations, this card allows you to use the Discount Diesel network which is accessible through 1,500 other sites, making it a powerhouse utility option if you’re reliant upon diesel. It also allows you to build up loyalty points.

Your account is supported by a flexible online reporting tool that generates useful insights (very handy for governing fleet efficiency) and, very importantly, produces invoices suitable for submission directly to HMRC. You also gain access to various other services such as vehicle maintenance and breakdown recovery.

The downside? All of that functionality and convenience comes at a cost. Not only is there an annual fee, but you’re also charged for each transaction, every paper invoice, and every purchase from an unsupported station. What’s more, you’re required to hit a monthly minimum, and you’re charged if you don’t. That said, at least the fees are clearly provided (upon request), so there won’t be any nasty surprises.

fuelGenie

Earlier in this piece, we mentioned the existence of cards that don’t have conventional charges, and fuelGenie is the primary example of this. Aside from an admin charge in the event of a returned direct debit, and a charge for paper invoices, there are no fees for the fuelGenie card.

That alone gives it incredible appeal relative to the other contenders.

Furthermore, the range of functionality is excellent. You get those HMRC-viable invoices, and an online management system to keep everything together. It’s very difficult to identify any major holes in the value proposition.

But what about the level of support? Well, as you can see from the table provided earlier, it doesn’t come close to contending with something like Allstar. It only allows you to purchase fuel at Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s stations — no Asda or Co-operative outlets. That said, given the coverage of those three chains, that shouldn’t be a great hardship.

Overall, if you’re on the fence about the utility of fuel cards, fuelGenie is the perfect option. It won’t cost you a thing, meaning you can use it as much or as little as you want. Note that you can use it even if you have just one vehicle for your business, and get as many cards as you want without paying anything at all. It’s an exceptional deal, and the top pick if you don’t need to get fuel from Asda or Co-operative stores.

Fuelmate

The Fuelmate Supermarket Fuel Card is accepted at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons pumps. You pay a 1% administration fee (where administration is needed) and £9.50 per card per annum, making it an inexpensive option, though it can’t compete with fuelGenie in this area.

The company offers online account management, solid security features, and HMRC-viable invoicing on a weekly basis. It actually provides a range of fuel cards, with others targeting specific suppliers such as Shell or BP, so it might be worth pursuing for those — but if you’re eager to get fuel specifically from supermarkets, then it’s tough to recommend.

UK Fuels

The difficulty with the Fuelmate card we just looked at is that it isn’t good enough to compete with the other supermarket fuel cards, but what about a hybrid approach? That’s what UK Fuels offers with its Fuelplus (for diesel) and Texaco Fastfuel (for diesel and petrol) cards. Each is accepted at Tesco, Morrisons and Co-operative pumps, as well as various other pumps.

Through UK Fuels, you get a fixed weekly rate, meaning you can benefit from the low supermarket rates (with a slightly higher price at Tesco pumps) and lowered rates at regular fuel stations. If you want to keep things simple and avoid muddying the waters with several accounts and numerous cards, it offers a fantastic level of functionality.

What’s more, there’s no contract to sign, quality securing and invoicing, and a software setup that’s quite appealing: everything you’d expect as far as invoicing goes, but with the addition of the Velocity management system and an e-route station finder to help drivers plan trips. If you want to save money on fuel from all viable pumps, then a UK Fuels card is a logical option — though not the only one, as we’ll see next.

Keyfuels

Similar to Fuelplus from UK Fuels, a Keyfuels Pay-G card allows you to use standard fuel stations and pumps at Tesco, Morrisons and Co-operative supermarkets. In fact, the similarity doesn’t stop there: you also get an online account management tool, automatic invoicing, vague costs, and a fixed weekly rate. You’d really need to get quotes from Keyfuels and UK Fuels to choose.

Where they differ is in the availability of the Keyfuels Direct card, which takes a different approach. Using it, instead of buying fuel from stations as you go, you buy fuel in bulk at wholesale prices ahead of time and access it from any station in the Keyfuels lineup. This lets you negotiate pricing, but requires you to know roughly how much you’re going to need.

If the wholesale approach to getting fuel for your business appeals to you, then a Keyfuels Direct card might be what you’re looking for, as it will allow you to collect your purchased fuel from supermarket stations. Just be mindful that the rate you get depends on your bargaining power and negotiating skills — so unless your company has a lot of weight to throw around, you might be better served sticking with one of the other cards we’ve looked at.

Which supermarket fuel card should you choose?

So, now that we’ve looked at 5 distinct supermarket fuel cards, we can try to answer the big question of which one you should choose — though it isn’t as simple as one option standing clearly above all others. It all depends on what you’re looking for:

  • If you just want to save money, go with fuelGenie. The reasoning for this is extremely simple. It’s free to use (even with unlimited cards) and supports enough supermarket stations that you shouldn’t struggle to find somewhere.
  • If you want the most comprehensive card, you need Allstar. It may have a wide range of costs, but it’s the only card that supports all supermarket stations, so it’s the best choice for getting a large fleet on supermarket fuel prices.
  • If you want to mix supermarket pumps and regular pumps, try UK Fuels. It’s a down-the-middle solution that lets you use supermarket pumps and usual suppliers, and provides the excellent Velocity management system along with great customer service.

Keep in mind that you can have multiple fuel cards. If you want to get fuelGenie cards for most supermarkets and Allstar cards for the others, there’s nothing stopping you — but with the Allstar card’s monthly minimum, it might not be very useful. Overall, unless you need the other supermarkets, I have to give the nod to fuelGenie. Do some reading, and make a smart choice.