Fleet managers traditionally implement fuel card alerts as their primary tool to control driver spending and protect their company against unauthorized use by cardholders. However, there are additional benefits to consider when deciding which purchase alerts should be enacted as part of your company’s program, so be sure to consider these additional features when launching your fuel card program.
Detect irregular fueling.
Card issuers should offer robust and customizable fuel card controls to help prevent fraud and theft. But restrictions are designed to restrict. And as your gain more experience, you may decide that certain instances warrant less restrictive card limits to avoid disruptions to your 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 can cause delays for drivers, but there is an alternative that can provide a blend of security and convenience. Instead of declining the card at the pump, you can enact alerts that allow drivers to fuel while simultaneously emailing their manager, notifying them of transactions that occurs outside of normal business hours.
Fuel card alerts act as an early warning system by notifying managers of irregular activity. 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 needed. There are many types of alerts to detect suspect purchases, 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 behavior that breaks from policy guidelines.
Lower operational costs.
Setting purchase alerts to detect fueling that differs from your driver policy isn’t just about preventing theft. Your policy reflects an overall business 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.
For budgeting purposes, it might not be the location, but the type of site that is the cause for concern. Some card products, like P-Fleet’s Fleetwide 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 that use on-site fuel tanks in addition to fuel cards for off-site use. Because companies want to leverage the cost advantage of large bulk deliveries, they should ensure that drivers fuel on-site whenever possible. 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, 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. You can also opt to be notified if drivers purchase mid-grade or premium instead of regular unleaded. By utilizing alerts to solve potential problems, companies can minimize their expenses.
Improve fleet analytics.
One of the key benefits of these 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 analytics that are made possible through the use of insightful fuel 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.
Electronic receipts (e-receipts) are a type of 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 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.