Data is one of the most important tools for a fleet manager. In our last post we discussed the depth of data provided by different forms of fuel purchasing cards. This time we’ll take a closer look at the Level III data provided by proprietary fleet fuel cards, and how it can be used to optimize your fleet’s fuel expenses.
The type of data provided by Level III cards empowers fleet managers to make smart purchasing decisions for their fleets by identifying who purchased what, as well as where and when the purchase was made. With all of this information fleet managers are able to not only to increase the efficiency of your fleet but also:
- Set controls on the type of merchandise your driver can purchase
- Prevent fraud and misuse of your fleet fuel cards
- Streamline your reporting and accounting processes
Improved Fleet Efficiency
Access to this kind of information opens up many opportunities for improvement in fleet efficiency. Fleet managers can easily identify irregular purchasing and consumption patterns. Low efficiency vehicles and drivers who consume more fuel than an average driver are easily spotted, allowing a fleet manager to pinpoint the vehicles or drivers in need of maintenance, replacement, or training to improve fuel efficiency.
With this information, drivers who refuel at above-average rates become obvious immediately. In fact, many opportunities to improve costs per mile or per gallon become apparent.
Product Type Controls
Fuel cards allow fleet managers to set very specific controls on card purchases. If you are trying to minimize card abuse and ensure that only fuel and pre-approved merchandise are being purchased, this is definitely an aspect of Level III data you will want to put to use.
Most credit card networks only offer merchant type controls which, while useful, can only filter by the type of merchant. This means you could approve gas stations but restrict restaurants, for example. However, Level III cards can provide much more control with product type controls (PTC). Level III data allows you to use PTC to approve or restrict specific items. For example, with PTC you could approve a driver to make purchases from a gas station, but only on fuel. With merchant type control, you may only restrict purchases to gas stations, but there is no control over what the driver is purchasing.
Fleet managers can take this flexibility and control a step further. With Level III data you can limit the amount of money spent within a given day or week, cap the amount of fuel purchased in a single day, and set time frames such as certain days of the week or time of day when fuel can be purchased. Automatic shut-off features can turn a pump off once a pre-established cap is met.
Of course, if you’re not interested in setting these strict controls you can also set up a proprietary fleet fuel card to activate soft controls. Soft controls are notifications such as emails that alert a fleet manager when a fuel limit has been exceeded or an unauthorized purchase is made. These different controls can be used separately or in tandem.
Prevent Fraud and Misuse of Fleet Fuel Cards
Fleet card networks can use Level III data to customize card controls in many different ways. In addition to setting limits on the amount of fuel purchased in a certain timeframe, fleet managers can also designate what product types on which the card can be used.
For example, the fleet can allow drivers to purchase fluids, like washer fluid or oil, and disallow general merchandise. A manager can even set the card up to automatically shut off a pump once a set threshold is reached.
In addition, Level III cards require a Driver ID or Vehicle ID to begin a transaction. This means if a card is stolen or lost, and there is an attempt at fraud, the transaction can be declined if the ID is not entered. This is a huge benefit when compared to typical credit cards with which someone could simply swipe to use with no verification required.
Streamlined Monitoring, Reporting & Accounting
One of the best features of Level III cards is that the data is captured electronically and automatically. Level III cards can require the driver to enter the vehicle’s current mileage at the pump when purchasing fuel. This data is critical for tracking your fleet’s mileage, and adhering to the proper maintenance and replacement schedules for your vehicles. This means no need to collect and analyze receipts, verify purchases or manually enter information. This means less time and resources are spent on administrative tasks and reporting. This becomes much easier with Level III data available for reporting. Finally, fleet managers can also set up real time alerts via texts or emails to alert them of unusual behavior or possible fraud attempt.
So if you could control exactly how driver fuel cards are used, easily identify consumption patterns, reduce fraud and card misuse, and streamline operations, wouldn’t you? If you’re interested, contact Union Leasing to find out more about options for your fleet today!