How Do Prepaid Gas Cards Work?

Fillip Fleet
August 2, 2023
Minute Read

The traditional way of paying for gas with cash or credit card is a hassle. Your drivers have to hold onto the receipts and deal with the risk of incurring extra fees and interest.

With prepaid gas cards, you can avoid these hassles and get a better grip on your spending, along with a bunch of other benefits.

What Is a Prepaid Gas Card?

A prepaid gas card is a preloaded payment card used only for purchasing fuel and a select few services like vehicle maintenance.

They come in two types and offer control over fuel expenses, easy tracking, and perks like discounts and rewards.

The right prepaid gas card for your company can lead to efficient fuel spending and significant savings.

What Are the Advantages of Prepaid Gas Cards?

Effortless Budgeting

Do you have a budget to stick to? Prepaid gas cards could be your new best friend. By putting a specific amount on your card each month, you control how much you spend on gas.

You don't have to struggle with budgeting. Prepaid fuel cards simplify the process, helping you avoid surprises when checking your bank balance. You can decide on your monthly or weekly spending limit, load up the card, and off you go!

Eliminates Credit Risks

Interest, late fees, and the constant risk of falling into a debt trap are always looming when you use a credit-based fuel card. But you can sidestep these if you go with a prepaid fuel card.

You can load your prepaid card with the exact amount you've budgeted for fuel that month. You or your drivers will then use this card whenever they fill up at the pump. You never spend a penny more than you intended. There are no interest charges, no late fees, and no risk of falling into debt.

A prepaid gas card doesn't need a credit check or a bank account. It's accessible to just about anyone which makes it a perfect solution for most people’s fueling needs.

Control and Monitor Fuel Consumption

Just like other fuel cards, prepaid fuel cards let you monitor exactly how much gas your vehicle consumes, making it easy to track every transaction.

Prepaid fuel cards can also raise a red flag if they detect unusual patterns. Is your card showing multiple fill-ups in one day? That could be a sign of fuel card fraud. By catching these irregularities early, you nip potential problems in the bud.

Discounts and Reward Programs

Every time you swipe your card at the pump, you could be accumulating points or earning cash back. They can typically be redeemed for free gas, merchandise, or even services like car washes at participating stations. It's like a little thank you from the fuel card provider for being a loyal customer.

Depending on the card provider, you could receive a percentage of your fuel purchases back, also called a cashback. This can potentially offset future fuel costs, leading to significant savings over time.

Some prepaid fuel cards provide instant discounts on every gallon of gas you purchase. This means you’re buying fuel at a cheaper rate than others.

Types of Prepaid Fuel Cards

Physical Fuel Cards

Prepaid fuel cards typically come in physical plastic cards.

The main advantage these carry is their versatility. Almost anyone who has used a debit card, can pick up and use them.

While digital options are emerging, physical fuel cards continue to offer reliability and ease. They're the go-to for many who prefer the traditional, straightforward approach to fuel management.

Digital Fuel Cards

Digital fuel cards, as the name suggests, aren't physical plastic cards. Instead, they exist on your smartphone or other digital devices, offering a unique blend of convenience and efficiency.

You load money onto your digital card using an app or website. Then, when it's time to fill up, your drivers simply scan a QR code or enter a PIN at the gas pump. The cost of the fuel comes straight out of your digital card balance.

The advantages are pretty clear. You never have to worry about losing your card, as it's safely stored on your device. If your phone gets lost or stolen, you can easily transfer the digital card to another device. Also, adding funds to your card becomes a breeze – just a few taps on your device, and you're good to go.

Not only that but going digital is eco-friendly. No plastic, no waste. For those who want to lessen their environmental impact, digital fuel cards are a small step in the right direction.

Fillip Fleet offers Visa prepaid fuel cards that you can use at any fuel station that accepts Visa. Their fuel cards come in both physical and digital forms. The digital card is issued instantly and carries no fee, while the physical card can be ordered for a small one-time fee.

Business Debit Cards vs Reloadable Fuel Cards

Business debit cards and reloadable fuel cards each have their unique features and benefits. Let’s look at the main differences and advantages of both so you can make an informed decision.

Business Debit Cards

Business debit cards are linked directly to your business bank account. When you make a purchase, the amount is immediately deducted from the account.

What makes business debit cards so appealing is their flexibility. You can use them for a wide variety of expenses, not just fuel. This can simplify accounting, as all transactions are tied to one card.

Your control over spending can be more challenging with business debit cards, which is especially true if you manage a large fleet of vehicles.

Unless you set up specific account controls, employees that have access to your debit cards can make unauthorized or personal purchases.

Reloadable Fuel Cards

Reloadable fuel cards, on the other hand, are prepaid cards specifically designed for fuel purchases. You preload the card with funds, and your employees use it to buy gas.

The main advantage of reloadable fuel cards is control. Since these cards are specifically for fuel, it's easier to monitor and limit fuel expenses. Many also offer detailed reports on fuel consumption to help you identify any inefficiencies or misuse.

Many reloadable fuel cards also come with added benefits, like discounts on fuel purchases. These discounts can make a significant difference over time, especially for businesses with a high fuel consumption

Sadly, they don't offer the same flexibility of use as business debit cards. Their use is generally limited to fuel and possibly other vehicle-related expenses.

How Can I Get a Prepaid Fuel Card?

Getting a prepaid fuel card can be a relatively simple process, and there are several options available depending on your specific needs and the type of card you're interested in. Here are some general steps to guide you:

Identify Your Needs

Are you looking for a brand-specific card, a multi-brand card, a physical card, or a digital one?

Each type of card has its benefits, and understanding your fueling habits and needs can guide your decision.

Research Different Providers

Many fuel companies, banks, and independent providers offer prepaid fuel cards, each with their unique set of features and benefits.

Look into their reward programs, fees, accepted locations, and customer reviews to make an informed decision.

Apply for the Card

For most companies, you can apply for a card through the provider's website.

The application will need some basic information such as your name, address, and contact details. For some types of cards, particularly those aimed at businesses, you might also need to provide business-related information.

Load Funds onto the Card

Once your application gets approved and you receive your card, you can load funds onto it.

Loading funds will vary depending on the provider, but generally, you can do it online, over the phone, or at specific physical locations.

If you opt for a prepaid FillipFleet fuel card, this process is even easier. You can get your account approved within a day and get access to your digital prepaid fuel card instantly.

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