Fuel Card Guides | How Does A Fuel Card Work?

How Does A Fuel Card Work?

Fuel cards let employees fill up their company car or a vehicle they use for work without spending their own money — but how do fuel cards work?

Ready to get your card? Use our quote tool to find your best options. Or keep reading our guide for a detailed overview of how to use a fuel card, the main benefits and the different types of cards available.

Man driving car on a rainy day going to use fuel card to refill vehicle

How do fuel cards work for employees?

The employer chooses the cards that works best for their business, then assigns each card to a driver.

Employees then use their card to pay at the pump station. Cards can only be used at some stations. Many card providers have an online map or app to help drivers find suitable nearby stations.

Every month, the business receives a fuel invoice, so you don’t need to keep receipts on hand or make mileage estimates.

How does a fuel card work for the self-employed?

Sole traders have a lot of cards to choose from! First, decide which one is right for you and then apply for it. Do a fuel card comparison to find which one you should get.

Once you get your card, use it to pay for fuel at the accepted stations.

Every month, you get fuel invoices. You can use these on your annual self-assessment for accurate VAT reclaims.

See our guide to sole trader fuel cards to find out more.

How to use a fuel card

Instead of using personal cash or a company credit card, the employee uses a fuel card to pay for their fuel at a petrol station. The company is then billed directly for the fuel.

How to use a fuel card for employees and sole traders

Ready to use your card? Here’s how it works step-by-step:

  • Pull up at a petrol station covered by your card’s network
  • Fill up your work vehicle with the required amount of fuel
  • Present your card to the petrol station cashier
  • When prompted, put your unique PIN into the point of sale (POS) terminal
  • Provide details of mileage if required (some businesses record mileage)
  • The cashier will then process the payment
  • The user will be asked to authorise the transaction with a signature

Where to use your fuel card

Most cards are only valid within a specific network. So, it’s important to pick a card that has stations on your route.

For example, the Shell Multi-Network Fuel Card is valid at Shell card garages, plus Esso, Texaco, Gulf, and Gleaner petrol stations.

But, if you want to fill up at a supermarket petrol station, you need a card that’s valid at Morrisons or Tesco, like the FuelPlus Fuel Card.

Whichever card you choose, the provider collects data for all your fuel purchases and sends your business an invoice for all purchases of fuel.

How do fleet management fuel cards work?

Although most businesses can benefit from the use of fuel cards, companies with a large fleet of vehicles will enjoy the biggest advantage.

Fleet management is how you improve your efficiency, reduce costs and boost driver compliance. Fleet cards can improve fleet managementin a few big ways like:

  • Saving on fuel purchases
  • Reduction in paperwork and admin
  • VAT approved invoices for all fuel transactions
  • Security features such as spending restrictions

There is a wide selection of fuel cards available on the market. Some offer specific features that will make them more or less suitable for managing your specific fleet. Coverage, pricing, fuel type, and online features are just some of the factors you will need to consider when choosing the best fuel cards for your fleet.

How to find your fuel card

There’s a wide selection of cards available on the market. Some of them have great features for fleet management, while others are best for sole traders.

Coverage, pricing, fuel type, and online features are just some of the factors you need to think about when choosing the best fuel cards for your fleet.

Types of fuel cards

Card benefits differ depending on what card you choose. Some of the most common features are:

  • HMRC approved invoices
  • An unlimited number of cards on one account
  • Price discounts on regular and high-quality fuels.

The table below provides an overview of some of the leading fuel cards available and what types of business they are best suited to.

Fuel card Best for Coverage
BP Bunker
BP Plus Bunker Fuel Card
Hauliers that want excellent motorway coverage 1254 national petrol stations
FuelPlus Fuel Card
Businesses that want low-cost flexibility national petrol stations
Shell Multi-network
Shell Multi-Network Fuel Card
Businesses that need access to high-quality fuel 3152 national petrol stations
TruckOne Fuel Card
Hauliers that need access to a large network of HGV-friendly fuel stations 3721 national petrol stations
Texaco Fastfuel
Texaco Fastfuel Fuel Card
Businesses that want great fuel prices on both petrol and diesel 3499 national petrol stations
Esso Europe
Esso Europe Fuel Card
Businesses with employees that travel around Europe 12008 European Stations


Find the best fuel card with iCompario

iCompario is a fuel card expert with over 30 years of experience in the industry.

Browse our selection of the best fuel cards, then hit apply today or request a call back to speak to one of our experts about finding the right fuel card for your business.

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