Auto Care cards and now at a vogue, which puts forth plenty of benefits of not only to the fleet owners with any vehicle but also to those who have frequent auto parts purchases and the need for services, etc. Fleet cards now act as credit cards too, which helps the fleet owners to do centralized accounting of the expenses and also enjoy many add-on benefits and offers.

An analysis of fleet card vs. credit card

The fleet cards offered by proprietary businesses and a credit card issued by bank both have the ability to track and set the controls on fuel spends and other fleet-related needs. But, the similarities both are limited to only this. We will further weight the pros and cons of the fleet card and credit cards and also note some add-on benefits fleet card offers for even the small business owners.

Fleet cards

Compared to credit cards, fleet cards offer more transactional data, tight control of the finances, greater flexibility, etc. These cards let the users do enjoy more granular purchasing controls at the POS terminals and all a tighter follow up of it. This helps to gain greater control over abuse and stop any inappropriate spending. Fleet card networks organize the data by the concept of PTC (Product Type Controls), which is like a grouping of some similar products separated by the entities like:

  • Services
  • Fuels
  • Fluids
  • Food etc.

The fleet card networks may maintain the level 3 data for customizing the card controls, so they can only be limited to be used at certain times and specific product types. The manager can further go a level deeper and set the controls on each dollar spend at various transactions levels including the limits on a daily or weekly basis. On fuel purchase, the maximum amount for fuel purchase and the time frame of fuel purchase can be set for various fleets in a highly customized way.

Credit cards

The credit cards usually follow MTC (Merchant Type Control), which is a slightly different approach than PTC. Each provider business has an identification number based on the kind of products and services they offer. The merchants pick a Merchant Category Code (MCC) while signing up in the practice network, and sample merchant codes may be included like a “gas station,” or “provisional store,” “restaurant” etc. However, there is not a higher level granularity available in this classification, which means the purchases will appear on a credit card statement as the bill originates from a gas station whereas the fleet managers who need to handle several accounts may not be able to understand whether it is against a fuel purchase or for some other product like cigarettes, food, or liquor, etc.

The ability to distinguish the products further is not a concern of the credit card platforms. This makes the accounting program and the processing a bit confusing with a combination of products under the same category. This cannot also effectively control the card misuse of abuse. So, when it comes to managing a fleet or related expense, credit cards don’t have as much controllability as fleet cards.

However, the only solution for major credit card networks is to further set their cards as an “island reader only,” which will block any station which is not offering the pay-at-the-pump type services or having some types of technical problems with the payment terminals. This is, however, a solution for only the small rural area mom-and-pop stations.

Considering this further, taking this approach will exclude the truck drivers from making any potentially acceptable purchases too like getting a wiper blade or anti-freeze, etc. So, the fleet managers using credit cards have an all-or-nothing choice as either making the card accessible to all purchases inside a fuel station retail outlet, which sets open the card for any potential abuse also or to limit the driver’s ability to manage the vehicle better.

More benefits of fleet cards

Fleet cards like The Firestone Complete Auto Care card offer product-type control and ultimate flexibility to the drivers without tampering the accountability needs. These cards enable the managers to limit the transactions within a specific network by pre-determining the service and fuel vendors of choice. In addition to it, they can also go further a level deeper and let the fleet administrators exclude or allow certain products categories also at their discretion. Say, for example, the fleet can be set open for the drivers to purchase some fluids like oil or washer which is necessary, and disallow any general merchandise as soft drinks or snacks, etc.

On the other hand, the bank credit cards will keep it open to all gas stations instead of product, where any merchandise which is available at this retail dealer can be purchased. The driver is privileged to purchase an electronic item or food with the use of it, which further pave the way to some unauthorized expenses also that the fleet owners need to bear.

The proprietary network of fleet cards will also enable another extensive set of controls too. These types of fleet cards will offer some features, for example, like the Automatic Pump Shut-off, which is a feature as the fuel dispenses when the card value hits to a pre-established limit. Another example is the Real-Time Alerts, which is the feature to send text message or emails to the fleet administrators when the card reaches to set spend limits or a certain percentage of it. The set controls could work in tandem with each other in order to provide a fleet with advanced management tools.

Firestone Complete Auto Care credit card now offers an excellent approach to financing the vehicle repairs or to get a new pair of Firestone tires across the US. This card offers many add-on benefits too than using a traditional credit card. It can be used at all Firestone locations alike, which is powered through the Credit First National Association (CFNA). It can be used as any other retail card; however, not accepted at the ATMs or other retailers than Firestone. The application process is also simple through online, and the credit decision by the provider will only take a few minutes to approve it.

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