You’re on the road—and you need a fuel up. If you’re a savvy road warrior, you’ll look to find the best fuel card for truckers. These business credit cards—also called “fleet cards”—can provide you rewards every time you fill up, and may enable you to redeem points or cash back at tens of thousands of gas stations around the country.
There are certainly a lot of contenders for the “best fuel credit card for truckers” title, so you’ll want to know what to look for and how to determine what you’ll benefit from most. For instance, should you prioritize fees or rebates? Should you worry about ubiquity of pumps, or go for the highest dividends?
We’ll go through all of these questions, and help you figure out the best fuel credit card for not only truckers, but for you specifically.
Finding the Best Fuel Card for Truckers: Where to Start
There’s one important thing to remember when looking for the best fuel card for truckers: Every situation is going to vary. The best business credit card could mean something different to your fellow trucker than it would to you. That’s why it’s important to understand your needs before you pick out the best business credit card.
Why You’d Want a Fuel Credit Card for Truckers
Good question, right? Picking the best fuel card for your trucking company can provide serious benefits. First, some cards provide you discounts at the pump, or cash back, both of which can help your bottom line. Some also offer discounts at tire-supply stores and other businesses you may frequent as a trucker. A few cards even have tie-ins with popular trucker rest stops across the country, making it less expensive for you to rest up and grab a hot shower while the getting’s good.
These aren’t the only reasons you want to pick out the best fuel card for truckers like yourself. Getting fuel cards for you or your business can help you keep track of how much gas your fleet is using and how quickly you’re filling up. This can help you keep better track of business expenses—particularly if you find that your fuel charges are over-budget or look erratic.
The best fuel credit cards for truckers won’t just help you monitor your spending on gas, however. These cards can help you determine routes that are close to a station associated with your account, which can help take the guesswork out of fueling up and making deliveries on time.
Sure, some regular credit cards provide fuel perks. Not all of these cards are designed for small businesses, however, and even fewer are suited toward truckers and trucking businesses. Plus, there may even be some tax issues if you use a personal card for business expenses—Uncle Sam prefers it when you keep your personal and business finances separate. All the more reason to find the best fuel card for your needs.
Questions to Ask to Find the Best Fuel Credit Card for Truckers
The obvious question to ask is, “What is the best fuel card for truckers?” If you’re just starting a new business, or haven’t had to look for a new business credit card in a while, you’re likely to have a ton of questions. After all, switching over from the wrong business credit card for your entire company isn’t the easiest thing in the world—particularly when you’re already paying vendors with your card and don’t want to risk a missed payment.
You might have a ton of questions for your prospective credit card provider, but sifting through all of the information can feel bewildering. There are a ton of terms, confusing jargon, and whole heaps of fine print. Knowing where to begin can feel totally hopeless, but it doesn’t have to be. The trick to finding the best fuel credit card for starting your trucking company is to ask yourself the right questions, and then find the best options based on what your needs are.
Thankfully, if you’re reading up on the best fuel card for truckers, you’re already ahead of the game. Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself before putting together your application for a new credit card.
- How many trucks do you have on the road?
- Are you cross-country or regional?
- Are you loyal to certain gas stations?
- How much money do you spend each year on fuel?
- Are you going to give cards to multiple employees?
- What kind of rewards are important to you?
- Do you consistently spend money at certain automotive-supply shops?
- Would you prefer a credit card or a prepaid card?
- Are you a sole proprietor? If so, how is your personal credit?
You probably get the gist here. You’ll want to know your business inside-out in order to optimize your choice. Despite the seeming similarities between cards and their offers, there’s actually a ton of differentiating factors at play. The only way to make sure you’re getting the best fuel card is by doing your homework.
What You’ll Need Before You Get a Fuel Card for Truckers
If you’ve applied for a personal credit card before, you’re already somewhat familiar with what the business credit card application process looks like. If you haven’t, you might have a hard time getting a business credit card—don’t worry, more on that later. Most of the same steps apply when you’re getting a credit card for a small business, except that there are several additional bits of information you’ll need to include.
Card providers will want tax information from your business. This includes an employer identification number, otherwise known as an EIN. The EIN application process is simple: all you need to do is visit the IRS homepage and provide some basic information about your company to get one. You’ll also need to include the below, in most cases:
- The business’s legal name
- Contact information for your business
- Industry type
- Company structure, aka business entity
- Time in business
- Number of employees
- Annual business revenue
- Estimated monthly spend on the card
You’ll also have to let the credit card issuer take a look at your personal credit history, as well as anyone else who co-signs on the account with you. As with personal credit cards, the better your personal credit score, the more likely you are to get approved for a business card with better interest rates and benefits.
What Is the Best Fuel Card for Truckers?
The good news is that there are a ton of options for finding the best fuel card for truckers. Some cards are best suited for those who want to avoid monthly fees, while others cater to large-scale operations with several trucks in one fleet. Most are prepaid cards out there for business owners who want control over how much gets charged in fuel every month. That’s just a small sample of what each card provides.
Best Fuel Card for Large Fleets: Shell Fleet Navigator Card
Shell is one of the nation’s most ubiquitous gas stations, which makes it uniquely suited for keeping your fleet on the road just about anywhere in the country. This card doesn’t just work at Shell stations, either. It’s accepted at just about 95% of the gas stations you’ll come across (as well as Jiffy Lube centers for when things go awry). Your trucks can waste less time searching for a fueling station, all while getting up to $0.05 per gallon in rebates.
Better still, the Shell Fleet Navigator Card allows you to set spending limits on your account, which helps keep your costs manageable and prevents overspending. You can also look at reports from the card’s homepage, which provides you with a drill-down of every transaction at the pump. Plus, if a card is damaged or stolen, you can activate, suspend, and terminate cards online—even from your mobile device. This is a pretty decent option if you’re looking for the best fuel card for truckers, but be warned: The Shell site doesn’t provide much (if any) information about annual fees, so if you want upfront information about costs, you may want to dig a little deeper or consider another option.
Best Fuel Card for Maximizing Rewards: Fuelman Advantage Platinum Mastercard
When looking for the best fuel credit card for truckers, the most important perk is getting cheaper gas. After all, the cheaper your gas expenses, the better your profit margin. That’s where the Fuelman Advantage Platinum Mastercard ekes out its opponents. With this card you can earn $0.06 on every gallon of gas purchased. The Fuelman Advantage Platinum Mastercard may only offer a slightly bigger rebate than the Shell Fleet Navigator Card, but even this slight difference can add up fast when you’re managing a large fleet of vehicles.
Unlike the Shell Fleet Navigator Card, this card isn’t technically a credit card. The Fuelman Advantage Platinum Mastercard, much like other fuel cards, is actually a charge card. This means you won’t have any credit card fees, but also means that you have to put a balance on your card before anyone can use it. Once that pool is up, you’ll have to replenish the balance. If you’re fine with a charge card, this might be the perfect option for your needs (and revenue).
Best Fuel Card for Digitally Savvy Business Owners: Comdata Fleet Business
The Comdata Card is a great option for small business owners who are interested in getting plenty of data about their gas purchases. This card provides you with just-in-time reporting capabilities. You can keep an eye on your fuel budget with ease, through 24/7 support for both accounts and the drivers included in them. Much like other fuel card options, the Comdata Card also lets you set spending limits so you can keep costs reigned in.
If you’re thinking about the Comdata Fleet Business Card, you can also rest assured that the card will be accepted at most gas stations. This might be the best fuel credit card for (your) truckers because it is the first universally-accepted card within the industry, which means you’ll rarely be far from a place to fuel up.
The Best Fuel Cards for Truckers: Bottom Line
There are more fuel card options than ever, and each offers a different perk or two to give them a competitive edge. Depending on what your needs are, you can end up saving a good chunk of change on refueling costs, as well as other benefits such as fleet management and analytics about spending. There are even options for people with a wide array of credit histories, given that charge cards do not require the same structures as credit cards most of the time.
So, what is the best fuel card for truckers? It depends! No matter which option you end up choosing, though, the first step has to begin with a strong understanding of your own company’s current financial scenario and other unique elements of running your business. Be sure to account for your most popular routes, and try to base your decision on your typical routes. But most of all, be sure to do your research and pick the best fuel card for you specifically.
Brian O’Connor is a contributing writer for Fundera.
Brian writes about finance, business strategy, and digital marketing. He is the former director of digital strategy at Morgan Stanley, and has worked at Foreign Affairs magazine, Student Loan Hero, and as a partner of a small consulting firm, too. Combined, these experiences allow him to offer a unique perspective on the challenges small business owners face.