How Do Fuel Cards Work For Employees?

Fuel cards work by letting employees buy the fuel they need for their vehicles and allowing their employers to pay for it at a later date, one that’s more convenient for them.  

This means employees don’t need to carry cash, log their fuel expenses manually or worry about not having the funds to pay for the diesel or petrol they need. 

In this guide, find out how you can use your fuel card, where you can use your fuel card, what the benefits of using them are and all the other key things you need to know.

Where can I use my fuel card?

Fuel cards can be used in many of the biggest petroleum brand stations and plenty of the largest supermarket chains. They’re accepted throughout the UK, Ireland and across continental Europe. 

Exactly where you can use your card depends on the specific card you’re using. 

For example, if you’re employed as an international lorry driver and have been given an EDC fuel card by your employer then you can use it in over 9,000 stations that are spread across 21 countries. 

If you work as a regional delivery driver and have an Esso National fuel card then you can use it at over 3,400 petrol stations in the UK, with Esso, Shell and BP garages all accepting your card. 

There are also fuel cards designed specifically for use at supermarket chains, The fuelGenie card is one such example and it can be used at the following stores:

  • Tesco
  • Morrisons 
  • Sainsbury’s

If you’re unsure where you can use your fuel card then check the T&Cs of the card. This will list all the branded stations and supermarket chains that accept your card.

What is the benefit of a fuel card?

The main benefits of using a fuel card are that they save time and money for businesses and make it easier for professional drivers to do their job. These are the key ways they help employees and fleet owners/managers:

  • Cuts down on admin time: travel expenses are recorded electronically so paper invoices no longer need to be redeemed by administrators.  
  • Easier to pay toll charges: fuel cards can be used to pay motorway fees, so you don’t need to worry about carrying the correct change when travelling cross country.  
  • Simpler to reclaim fuel VAT from HMRC: an invoice is created with all your fuel purchasing data ready to reclaim VAT from HMRC. 
  • Fraud protection: fuel cards come with chip and PIN technology, your transactions are also monitored to ensure that any suspicious payments are caught. 
  • Expense tracking: online reporting software allows you to track all travel expenses, helping employees to find the most economical ways to buy their diesel and petrol. 

Business owners and fleet managers are the biggest beneficiaries of fuel cards, as they make it easier for transport companies to run their operation more efficiently. 

But as you can see from the benefits listed above, employees do enjoy a simpler way of paying toll charges and the knowledge that they’re reducing their carbon footprint at work.

Do I get taxed on a fuel card?

Employees don’t get taxed when using fuel cards for business purposes. However, if you use a fuel card for personal trips then it becomes a taxable benefit. 

While this sounds pretty straightforward, journeys driving to and from work count as personal trips and if you have a company car then it may be that you frequently take such journeys.   

If you use a fuel card to purchase fuel that’s classed as personal use, then your employer will be liable for National Insurance contributions on the fuel benefit that you receive. This is a cost you can expect your employer to reclaim from you. 

Our article on The tax implications of using fuel cards explains how you can calculate your contribution and how to reduce it. You can also find helpful resources on the UK Government websites at the end of that guide page.

Can fuel cards be used at pay at pump?

Full cards can be used to pay for your petrol and diesel at the pump. This can save employees a few valuable seconds or minutes during their shifts, as they don’t need to go to the kiosk or checkout to buy their fuel.

Thinking of asking your employer for a fuel card?

If you think that using a fuel card would make it easier for you to buy the diesel and petrol you need to do your job then it’s worth asking your employer if they can provide you with one. 

When you speak to your employer, all you have to do is tell them to use iCompario’s “Compare fuel cards” tool. It’ll show them all the options available, making it easy for them to apply for the right one for you. 

You could even recommend they combine a fuel card with telematics software. Telematics records data on driving behaviour, such as how fast you drive and how hard you break. This is great for businesses because this information can be used to help them save money on their insurance premiums, so long as you drive safely.

Simply direct your employer to our “Compare vehicle tracking systems”. Then they’ll be able to select a fuel card that offers telematics software.