How much do fuel cards cost?

If you’re interested in using fuel cards as part of your small business, learn more about the potential costs involved here

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However many vehicles there are in your business’ fleet, understanding the options available to you to help with managing fuel costs is vital.

Depending on your business’ requirements, fuel cards could be an ideal solution. Not only can they help to reduce costs, but they can also free up more time for you and your colleagues to focus on business.

But how much will it cost your business to use fuel cards? We’re here to take a closer look into this key issue and explore the potential outlay for you and your business.

To compare pricing quotes directly from top  UK fuel card suppliers, you can use our fuel card cost comparison tool to get matched to providers who meet your exact requirements.

Or, you can read on for a full examination of fuel card costs, or scroll to the section you want to learn more about.

How much do fuel cards cost?

When selecting the best fuel cards for your small business, costs are likely to play a big part in your decision-making process.

In this section, we’ll provide an outline of the types of fuel card costs that you’re likely to encounter, along with a general figure you might expect to pay.

Type of costApproximate price range
Account feeDepends – £15 as one example
Annual card fee£0-£24, generally about £18 (per year)
Application feeVariable; usually free, although some providers may charge
Card replacementVariable
Invoice requests (e.g. paper or additional copies)£0-£25, generally around £5-£10
Minimum usage fee£10 as an example
Name change on cardVariable
Network fee (per transaction)Variable
Rejected direct debit paymentVariable; £35-£95 as an example
Surcharges (e.g. ferries, toll roads/motorways)Depends on type of expenses on fuel card selected – may be included, charged as a percentage, or come as an additional fee
Switching providers fee (if applicable)Variable

So, for example, you could get started with a fuel card for an initial cost of around £30 (for the account and annual card fees). Then the other expenses and ongoing charges would depend on the provider and your business’ requirements.

Many fuel cards operate on the basis that accounts will meet a minimum spend requirement, which could be based on either expenditure or amount of fuel used per month.

While the table above should give you some general insights, we can give you more detailed information that matches your specific business needs; just take two minute to fill out our questionnaire, and we'll send you over bespoke quotes for free.

Fuel card tax costs

Just like many other business operations, the use of fuel cards may be subject to certain taxes. In this section, we’ll help you determine the tax implications of using fuel cards for your small business.

Generally, if you employ drivers or other staff members who use company cars, the company cars and fuel can be offered in two ways:

  • For work use only
  • A mixture of work and private use

If your employees use company cars and/or fuel for personal trips, you’ll usually need to report it and meet some National Insurance (NI) requirements.Cars and fuel that are used exclusively for work journeys are exempt from reporting, although there are certain conditions you’ll need to meet.

To learn more about them and other exemptions, read the ‘what’s exempt’ section of the guide on expenses and benefits: company cars and fuel.

Plus, have a look at the government guide to calculating tax on employees’ company cars for practical instructions.

Fuel card cost factors

After reviewing the different pricing options available for fuel cards and examining the tax implications, it’s useful to understand what influences these figures.In this section, we’ll examine the different factors that can contribute to fuel card costs.

  • Fuel rate – whether you opt for a card that uses a fixed rate (a set fuel price across the country) or select a card that works with pump prices (fuel prices which vary depending on the pump), this can have an impact on costs
  • Network coverage – some fuel card schemes only offer coverage with one provider, whereas other cards can be used at multiple fuel brand service stations
  • Fuel consumption – the type(s) of fuel the vehicles in your fleet consume may affect fuel card prices. This will depend on if you need a fuel card that covers all types of fuel, or just diesel, petrol, or hybrid vehicle fuels specifically
  • Payment terms – when and how you pay your fuel bill may have an impact on the cost too. For example, a custom payment schedule or method could affect the price, compared to following the fuel card provider’s standard payment schedule
  • Expenses type – whether your drivers can use the fuel card for additional items (such as car products) or other driving-related expenses, or if they’re only for fuel purchases, will influence what kind of fuel card you’ll need
  • Additional services – being able to access your card online or through an app, or having an account manager, are some examples of additional services that could affect fuel card costs
  • Switching fee – if you’re already using fuel cards for small businesses and you decide to switch providers, there may be a cost to do so
  • Contract length – how long you sign up to use a particular fuel card provider for may determine the price you pay
  • Extra costs – some fuel card providers may charge for rejected payments, as well as to receive your invoices on paper or to secure your card
  • Fleet type – using fuel cards for cars, vans or HGVs (or a mixture of vehicle types) could alter prices

Figuring out fuel card costs: What's the next step?

At this point, you’ve learned more about the prices involved with different fuel cards, as well as what using fuel cards may mean for your business’ tax requirements. We’ve also provided more information on the various factors that can influence fuel card costs.

Next, you can read our article on best fuel cards for a closer look into some top fuel cards for start-ups.

Or, for more information related to your specific business requirements, use our fuel card cost comparison tool to compare top providers head-to-head, and get free quotes tailored to your needs.

Scarlett writes for the energy and HR sections of the site, as well as managing the Just Started profiles. Scarlett is passionate about championing equality and sustainability in business.

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