Fleet managers traditionally consider fuel card alerts as one the tools fuel card companies use to control driver fueling and protecting companies against rampant abuse by cardholders. For many managers, this is still the primary purpose for putting alerts in place; they’re an extension of card purchase controls. However, there are other uses to consider when deciding which fuel alerts should be enacted as part of your company’s fleet fueling program.
Detect Irregular Fueling
Fleet card services should offer robust and customizable fleet card restrictions to help prevent fraud and theft. But restrictions are designed to, well, restrict. And, you might decide that certain instances warrant less restrictive card limits to avoid disruptions to operations. For example, drivers might not normally need to fuel after hours or on weekends, but the occasional situation could arise that demands that flexibility. Overly restrictive limits could cause delays for drivers, but here's where fuel card alerts are useful. Card limits could be set up to allow drivers to fuel while alerts are sent to managers, notifying them of any transaction that occurs outside of normal business hours.
Alerts act as an early warning system by notifying managers of any irregular fueling. Rather than waiting for an exception report at the end of the week or month, managers can follow up with drivers immediately to confirm if fueling was legitimate and take corrective action if not. There are many types of alerts to detect suspect fueling activity, including time-based (e.g., nights and weekends), product related (e.g., unleaded, mid-grade, premium) and location-based. These alerts should be set up in accordance with your driver fuel card policy so that you are notified of any fueling behavior that breaks from policy guidelines.
Lower Operational Costs
Setting alerts to detect fueling that differs from your driver fuel card policy isn’t just about preventing theft. Your policy reflects an overall fueling strategy – where, when and how much to fuel – and alerts identify noncompliance. By correcting noncompliance, companies can keep fuel costs down.
Consider location-based alerts, for example. Suppose your company and fuel provider have identified the fuel locations with the lowest prices within an area. You instruct drivers to fuel only at those designated fuel locations to maximize savings. Location alerts can be set up to trigger whenever a driver fuels outside of those locations. Fleet managers can then clarify the policy with the driver in question.
With some fuel cards, it might not be the location, but the type of site that is the cause for concern. Some fuel cards, like P-Fleet’s Fleetwide fuel card, are accepted at both retail and CFN locations. Fleet managers often prefer that drivers fuel at CFN locations whenever possible to leverage available discounts. Alerts can be enacted to show if drivers are not fueling at a CFN site.
Location-based alerts are also useful for companies with on-site fuel tanks in addition to fleet cards for off-site use. Because companies want to leverage the cost advantage of large bulk deliveries, they’ll want to ensure that drivers fuel on-site whenever possible. Fuel card alerts can be created to notify managers when cards are used off-site but within close proximity to a company’s on-site fueling facility.
In addition to location-based alerts, fleet managers will likely want alerts related to product type. Unleaded transactions can be flagged if diesel was supposed to be used or vice versa. If drivers purchase mid-grade or premium instead of regular unleaded, alerts can be triggered. By utilizing alerts to solve potential problems, companies can minimize fuel expenses.
Improve Fleet Analytics
One of the key benefits of fleet fuel cards is their ability to capture level III data, including card number, driver, vehicle, gallons, fuel type, odometer and more. That data is useful for fleet analytics that are made possible through the use of insightful fleet card reports. In order for this information to be accurate, fleet managers will need to verify that data, like the odometer reading or job number, is entered correctly by drivers at the time of fueling.
Electronic receipts (e-receipts) are a type of fuel card alert that can support those efforts. E-receipts can be sent via email whenever a card is used. They contain transaction details and can be set up for select cards or your entire account. They allow managers to quickly review transactions so that company fleet reports are as accurate as possible. E-receipts can even be used by companies to expedite billing their own customers for fuel used during a job.
Topic: Fleet Fuel Cards