Dear Your Business Credit,
I have a small business and I need credit cards for the employees to use for gasoline. We need to set a limit for spending and would like to know if there is a credit card that will give rewards or cash. The business needs six credit cards.
It's smart to keep your finances organized by using credit cards for gas purchases. With six employees buying gas, the last thing you need is a pile of crumpled receipts from cash purchases to record.
You didn't mention whether you need cards exclusively used for fuel purchases or a general card that will allow employees to pay for other purchases, too. Both kinds offer rewards programs, so I will discuss each of them.
Before we dive into the card details, though, you need to prepare.
- Review your records of last year's fuel purchases. Knowing how much gas you actually buy, instead of guesstimating, will help you choose a card with a rewards program that matches your spending patterns.
- Think about where your employees tend to fuel up now. Rewards won't help you much if they burn a lot of extra gas cruising around for a station that will accept their cards.
- Consider your credit history. All the cards I found that offer rewards for gas purchases -- whether fleet cards or small business cards -- require excellent credit. If your credit profile needs a tune-up, take a few months to pay down existing balances, so you can qualify.
Now you're ready. Let's look at your fleet card options first. Chevron and Texaco Universal Business MasterCard, accepted at more than 175,000 service stations, lets you set daily transaction limits and offers rebates up to 6 cents per gallon at Chevron and Texaco stations. The $10 monthly fee gets waived for all new accounts through the end of 2014; after that you need to buy more than 1,000 gallons of gas a month to have the fee waived.
The BP Business Solutions Mastercard, also accepted at more than 175,000 locations, will give you up to 4.5 cents back on fuel purchases at BP stations. On this card, the $10 annual fee gets waived if you buy more than 5,000 gallons a month.
A third option is the Universal Premium FleetCard MasterCard. It is accepted at 160,000 locations in the Fuelman Discount Network. Users earn up to 3 cents off per gallon through rebates, plus an additional 3 cents when your drivers tank up within the Fuelman network. The card can also be used for vehicle maintenance. There is no annual fee.
If your employees will need credit cards to cover other expenses, too, a small-business credit card may be a better option. Some of these cards offer rewards for gas purchases.
One example is Chase's Ink Plus Business Card. It will give you double points for each dollar for the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and on hotel accommodations. There is no annual fee for the first year, but after that, it is $95. It lets you add cards for employees at no additional cost.
Bank of America's Cash Rewards for Business MasterCard will give you 3 percent cash back on purchases at gas stations and office supply stores. There is no annual fee or additional cost for employee cards, and you can set credit limits for them.
A third possibility is the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN. It will give you double points on U.S. purchases at gas stations, as well as at a number of other places including select computer hardware, software, and cloud computing providers. The bonus points apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each category per year; after that you get one point per dollar spent on these purchases. There is no fee for the first year, then it becomes $175. After the first year, there is a $50 fee for the first additional card, then no additional fee for any other extras.
No matter what card you choose, it is important to keep employees aware that limiting their spending on gas is healthier for the business. Why not come up with a rewards program of your own to recognize the employee who finds a way to keep gas charges the lowest? It's better for the environment -- and it will help your bottom line, too!
See related: How to pick the best rewards card for your business