What Is a Fleet Card?

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A fleet card is similar to a credit card. Fleet cards are used by companies, typically shipping and transportation outfits. These cards are used much like credit cards, but have other features that make them highly useful for managing expenditures in the field.

History

Before magentic strips and electronic verification, gas station owners would merely take down an individual's name and company information and bill them later. However, this method was exploitable and had a high potential for fraudulent activity. Today's fleet cards resemble credit cards and use many of the same issuers and verification methods.

Function

Fleet cards are like credit cards, but their limits are controlled by the fleet owner. For example, the fleet owner can issue a card to a driver. Using this fleet card, the driver can only make a certain number of purchases. Furthermore, the fleet owner can control purchase by day of the week, time of day, number and type of transaction and number of gallons per transaction.

Fleet cards are swiped at the point of sale much like a credit card. However, the amount is then billed to the fleet owner, rather than the card holder.

Benefits for Drivers

The fleet card benefits the driver by allowing him or her to travel without carrying cash. If the individual is robbed, the card can be deactivated, thus preventing any unauthorized purchases. The driver is also relieved of the burden of paying for his or her own fuel and maintenance costs as well as keeping records of expenditures.

Benefits for Owners

The fleet owner benefits by being able to analyze spending of employees as well as imposing caps and other limitations. Expenditures are also reported by the card issuer in an itemized statement.

There are also extra security features for fleet cards. Owners are notified of suspicious spending activity immediately. Owners may also get corporate or group discounts when using a fleet card.

Considerations

Fleet cards often come with much higher fees than typical credit cards. Because of the wider range of services offered and the extra maintenance needed for the accounts, fleet cards may be more expensive than having a credit account. Furthermore, there may be shorter billing cycles and longer cancellation periods.

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