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What Do Fleet Cards Cost?
Most fleet card companies generate revenue by taking a percentage of each purchase made on the card, rather than charging buyers directly. Therefore, most buyers will pay no additional costs to use a fleet card. However, many card companies charge monthly or annual fees in addition to collecting a percentage of each transaction and a few charge startup fees. The benchmark price for fleet cards that have these fees is $72.00 per card per year. Some cards are even more expensive than the benchmark. Consequently, prices range widely from $0 to $120 per card per year. The price of fleet cards depends on the spending controls offered, software options, the level of customer support provided, coverage and buyers’ fuel expenditures.
The primary selling point for fleet cards is that buyers can establish strict spending controls on each card, enabling them to reduce unnecessary expenditures and track drivers’ purchases. The level of customization available to the fleet owner greatly impacts the card’s usefulness as a cost-cutting device. In general, vendors charge more for cards that provide buyers with advanced spending controls and restrictions. Cards with the most comprehensive controls typically carry the highest monthly or annual fees.
Fleet owners set spending controls using the supplier’s software, which comes with the purchase of a fleet card. Because each supplier provides access to their own proprietary software, ease of use, reliability and functionality vary greatly across providers. Developing more powerful software with additional features requires more investment on the part of providers. As a result, providers that offer more comprehensive software packages charge more for their fleet cards to recoup these costs from buyers.
Online and over-the-phone customer support can be a useful resource for fleet card buyers. However, these services often come with a higher price tag because it costs providers more to staff support centers and train employees. Buyers can often select among different levels of service or disable customer support options altogether to adjust their final price.
Coverage is another pricing factor. Some fleet cards can only be used at certain branded locations, such as ExxonMobil and Shell. Conversely, other fleet cards are more universal, like many of the cards offered by banking institutions, and can typically be used to purchase fuel at any location. In general, buyers will pay more for fleet cards that offer exclusive use of private fueling locations than for universal cards.
Finally, buyers’ fuel expenditures also impact price. Because providers generate most of their revenue by taking a percentage from card purchases, they will often reduce monthly or annual fees for buyers that regularly make large fuel purchases. For example, some providers will eliminate monthly fees if buyers purchase more than 5,000 gallons of fuel on the card each month.
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