Fuel card programs should take advantage of all the controls, tools and alerts available. The CFN controls and alerts available via the P-Fleet program allow you to stay informed and protected as your drivers conduct their business. To help managers optimize their programs, we have created this comprehensive guide covering all the controls the CFN fuel card offers, as well as the best ways to utilize them.
Step 1: CFN controls
CFN’s industry-leading controls help fleet managers prevent unauthorized use by drivers, but it can be difficult to determine which ones to enact. We’ve summarized the best practices of each control below so you can make the right decisions for your fleet. To ensure your team understands these restrictions, we recommend outlining them in your driver fueling policy as well.
Being able to set up individual PIN numbers for each driver is one of the biggest benefits of these cards, and every company should be utilizing this technology. When you setup your program, each driver will be able to select a 5-digit PIN number that is unique to them. Drivers should not use their birthdays or any other easily-identifiable numbers to prevent others from guessing their PIN.
When setting up your program, you will have the option of choosing between driver and vehicle cards. Driver cards are issued to a single individual, and they have to enter their unique PIN to make purchases. Vehicle cards work with a pool of Driver PIN numbers. Each driver will have their own PIN that will work with every vehicle card. Both options provide accountability for your employees, ensuring that they are not purchasing more than necessary. The main determinant in picking the right type of card is whether your drivers switch vehicles. If vehicles are shared between drivers, a vehicle card is the best option for your business.
Limiting by product is an exclusive benefit of the CFN, and it provides multiple protections for your fleet. For example, if your vehicles only runs on diesel, a “diesel-only” restriction makes it more difficult for employees to steal fuel for their personal cars and trucks, which typically run on unleaded. Limiting by product also prevents an employee from accidentally filling up with the wrong fuel type, which can cause extensive damage to your engines. It can also prevent drivers from accidentally purchasing premium fuel at extra cost, inflating your budget unnecessarily. Given the multiple benefits of product controls, it is essential to implement these restrictions for your fleet.
Product controls are one of the most popular options, but there is one limitation: They only work at CFN cardlock sites. Retail gas stations have multi-product dispensers, meaning there is no way to control which fuel the driver selects. For complete product control, you may want to restrict usage to CFN sites, which we explore below.
Transactions per day
As a manager, it is easy to determine how many times a day your drivers need to fill up. Enacting transactions per day controls are an easy way to prevent employee misuse, though managers should be mindful of complications at the pump when setting this limit. Occasionally a faulty pump may cut off the fueling part way, leading to a frantic call from a driver when their card won’t work due to the transactions per day limit. That’s why we recommend allowing for one extra fueling than expected. This is the perfect blend of convenience and security!
Gallons per transaction
Given fluctuations in prices, limiting by dollar amount per transaction leads to a mismatch between the transaction limit and the fuel tank capacity. You may prevent your drivers from filling your vehicles completely or having too high a limit that exposes you to additional risk. However, limiting by gallons provides a precise limit to every transaction that is independent of gas prices. Managers should research the specs for each vehicle in their fleet and set these maximums.
Gallons per day, week, or month
To prevent theft or overuse, managers can restrict by the number of gallons per day, week, or month. These amounts can be adjusted throughout the year to coincide with peak seasons while still protecting your company from unauthorized use. Managers can determine what limits to set by examining previous invoices or reports to determine their average use for each period. We recommend setting the number slightly higher than the average to give your drivers the flexibility they need to operate efficiently.
Day of week
For fleets that operate on a set schedule, this control is a no-brainer. Companies can eliminate weekend transactions, pick designated fueling days, and more. Before enacting these controls, confirm that there is no reason for drivers to fuel outside of the restricted days. For example, your drivers may only work Monday through Friday, but sometimes experience special situations that require them to work on the weekend. In these cases, you will have to leave the weekend open, but you can set an alert to notify you when weekend fueling occurs. However, if these exceptions are unlikely, restricting by day of week is a simple way to secure your fuel card program.
Time of day
For companies that operate on set schedules, it may be helpful to eliminate fueling after hours. Limiting by time of day makes it easy to restrict all purchases to working hours. If there are special situations that you must leave the card open for, then create alerts for those times. For example, your drivers typically work 7am to 4pm, but occasionally someone may need to work late. You could set the time of day allowed to 7am to 11pm and an alert for any fueling between 4pm and 11pm.
Limiting to CFN cardlock sites
Though some retail sites accept CFN cards, they do not have the technology to enforce product controls. As a result, it may be best to lock out retail sites entirely to ensure that your drivers remain compliant with your policies. Managers can determine whether this is right for their team by surveying their surrounding region. If there are plentiful CFN cardlock sites where their drivers operate, they can restrict retail sites without worrying about coverage. However, if drivers find themselves out of range of CFN cardlock sites throughout their work week, it may be best to allow retail sites as a backup option.
Locking out retail sites
You have the option to fuel at CFN sites only, or include an additional 55,000 retail gas stations and truck stops. Without doubt, one of the best benefits is access to discounts at CFN locations. If you’re in a region where these sites are plentiful, locking out retail locations ensures you always get the discounted pricing. However, if your drivers travel to areas where there are not enough CFN sites, then you may need access to the additional retail sites.
Step 2: Monitor your card usage.
If you use invoices to monitor your activity, opt to receive it by email so you can review as soon as possible. This is the best way to check for suspicious behavior or charges that need confirmation. Most vendors have a time limit to report any fraudulent charges, so ensure that you’re checking your invoices consistently.
If you feel that certain purchase controls might impede your business, you can opt to create alerts instead. Alerts can be created for all of the controls listed above, but they will still allow the transaction to process. You will then receive an email alert with the details of the purchase, allowing you to follow up with the driver to ensure the purchase was legitimate and remind them to comply with your fueling policy.
If you manage a small to mid-sized fleet, you may want instant notifications for all transactions. Though this allows for the utmost control of your fleet, it may be overwhelming for companies with dozens of vehicles in use.
CFN controls and alerts lead the industry, so ensure that you are putting them to work for your company. The best controls for your fleet depend on your region, purchasing trends, and vehicle type, but this guide will help determine the best controls for your business.