(833) 262-7801
Coast Logo
Fleet And Fuel Cards

How To Apply For A Fuel Card In 5 Easy Steps

Curious about how to apply for a fuel card? Learn how a fuel card can benefit businesses, how to obtain one, and how to make the process easier.

Apply For Fuel Card

Learning how to apply for a fuel card is something that every fleet owner, operator, manager, and administrator should do.

Not only can a fuel card help bring cost savings to fleet-based businesses, but it can also help improve company processes, workflow, and driver satisfaction (just to name a few).

In this article, we discuss the benefits fuel cards can bring, how to apply for a fuel card in five easy steps, and tips to help managers find the right option.

Table Of Contents

How To Apply For A Fuel Card

woman on computer to apply for fuel card

Step 1: Research Available Fuel Cards

Those responsible for applying for a fuel card should look for an option that complements and works well with the other essential tools in their fleet.

In most cases, that will include fleet management software and telematics, but may also include:

Fleet activities are a major cost center for most businesses, so it’s important to find the right fuel card to help an operation succeed and excel.

Step 2: Choose A Card With The Right Features

No two fuel cards are exactly the same and each will come with its own unique set of features. The challenge for fleet owners and operators is to find the card with the right set of features for their business.

That said, there are some foundational features that all fleet-based businesses can benefit from. These include:

Before engaging in the process to apply for a fuel card, administrators should analyze their business to see which features will complement the existing workflow.

Step 3: Gather Necessary Information And Documents

going through necessary documents to apply for fuel card

When considering how to apply for a fuel card, managers should keep in mind that the application may ask for:

  • Names of owners/managers
  • Contact information (i.e., phone numbers, email addresses, etc.)
  • Fleet size
  • Type of vehicles operated
  • Government-issued ID
  • Bank statements
  • Accounting records
  • Utility bills
  • Credit report
  • And other details

Those responsible for filling out the forms can make the process easier by reviewing the requirements and gathering the necessary information before sitting down to fill out the application.

Step 4: Schedule Time To Apply For A Fuel Card

Once all of the pertinent information has been assembled, those filling out the application should set aside a block of time to complete the process.

Dealing with interruptions or trying to fill in the details a few minutes at a time can lead to mistakes and omissions that may jeopardize a business’s chances of having their application approved.

If filling out the application online, some websites allow applicants to save their progress and come back later without losing anything.

Step 5: Complete The Application And Submit

When the application is complete, managers can submit all necessary paperwork either online, in person, or through the mail.

After that, it’s just a matter of waiting for approval and the delivery of the business’s fuel cards.

How Can A Fuel Card Benefit Businesses?

Man pumping at gas station that has applied for a fuel card

Reduce Fuel Costs

One of the biggest benefits of using a fuel card is the reduction in fuel costs that can come when administrators use the associated software in combination with fleet management software and telematics to control fleet expenses.

These tools can help managers monitor and control everything from fuel economy and driver habits to extraneous purchases and unnecessary idling.

Even without fleet management software and telematics, businesses may still enjoy a significant reduction in fleet expenses by using fuel card software. The comprehensive controls over everything fuel-related can help managers cut costs and improve the way purchases are made.

Control Driver Spending

When managers apply for a fuel card, that card will usually offer some type of advanced driver spending controls.

Such controls often allow a business to set rules for each card, including options like:

  • Limiting purchases by days of the week
  • Limiting purchases by time of day
  • Establishing pre-set spending limits per transaction
  • Setting spending based on vehicle location
  • Approving or denying other types of spending such as parking and maintenance

With the ability to control driver spending, businesses will be better positioned to reduce costs and control fleet vehicle spending like never before.

Access Detailed Reporting

Another benefit that comes after fleet owners apply for a fuel card is access to detailed reports and reporting features.

These reports can help managers analyze the way a business works so they can make changes to improve workflow in a broad range of categories, including:

  • Record keeping (i.e., receipt collection)
  • Maintenance logs
  • Pre– and post-trip inspections
  • Vehicle lifespan
  • Operating costs
  • And many others

For example, advanced fleet cards (and their associated software) often come with features that allow managers to streamline International Fuel Tax Association reporting so that it doesn’t fall through the cracks and cost the business avoidable fines and penalties.

This data, combined with information from fleet management software and telematics, can give managers a more accurate picture of how a fleet is working so they can fine-tune vehicle activity and make things run better.

Rest Easy With Strong Security

Fuel Payment

With the potential for lost or stolen cards, identity thieves, and other bad actors, security is extremely important for today’s fleet-based businesses.

When owners apply for a fuel card, they should look for one that lets them easily track everything so they can:

  • Protect against unauthorized purchases
  • Enable fuel-only purchases
  • Assign cards to drivers, vehicles, or both
  • Create custom policies and rules for different employees
  • Limit purchases by time of day and day of the week
  • Easily switch cards between drivers and vehicles
  • Authorize one-off purchases
  • Enable alerts about suspicious transactions
  • Lock or unlock a card in just a few clicks

Some top-tier fleet cards even offer advanced features — EMV chips and pre-use activation — that help keep the card itself and the money it can access as safe as possible.

Here’s how those two security features work.

EMV Chips

An EMV chip (or Europay, MasterCard, and Visa chip) is a tiny microchip embedded in the plastic of the physical fuel card. This microchip generates a unique code every time a driver uses the card to pay for fuel or other purchases.

The code is only valid once and cannot be used again for any other transaction. That means if someone records one transaction and attempts to use the code to buy something else, the system will deny payment for that unauthorized purchase.

Pre-Use Activation Systems

With a pre-use activation system in place, drivers will be required to activate their card before they can use it to make a purchase. They do this by sending a text from a specific linked cell phone number (e.g., from their business-assigned number or their personal number).

If everything is correct, the system activates the card and authorizes the transaction when the card is swiped for payment.

If something is incorrect, the system keeps the card inactive and refuses the transaction when the card is swiped for payment.

This pre-use activation feature makes it nearly impossible for someone other than a business employee to make a purchase if the card is lost or stolen.

More Tips On Applying For A Fuel Card

Terms and conditions for applying for a fuel card

Ask About Customized Solutions

When owners and managers apply for a fuel card, they should keep in mind that fleet services are not one size fits all.

They should be prepared to ask about customized solutions and negotiate program fees from the card vendor.

Read The Fine Print

Administrators who apply for a fuel card should always read the fine print before submitting any documents or forms.

They should thoroughly review the program agreement and be familiar with all fees, terms, and termination clauses that may apply to their contract.

Talk To Fleet Drivers

Before managers apply for a fuel card, they’ll want to talk to fleet drivers and find out what features would be useful and valuable while on the road.

Once the card has been implemented into the workflow, owners should take the time to educate all drivers on proper usage and program guidelines in order to optimize the benefits that come with the card.

A Fuel Card For Improved EfficiencyA Fuel Card For Improved Efficiency

Even if a business only fields one or two vehicles right now, it can still be a good idea to apply for a fuel card so that you’re ready when it’s time to expand.

Coast can help fleet managers track expenses and boost profits so they can add more assets and expand to bigger markets or more customers.

And, with Coast’s online dashboard, administrators will be able to manage spending, see purchase details, and control every aspect of card activity.

You’ll also be able to take advantage of:

To learn more about how to apply for a fuel card and how Coast can have a positive impact on a business’s bottom line, visit CoastPay.com today.