A business as a truck driver means long hours on the road with expenses that quickly add up, whether it’s to fill up, cover insurance, replace tires, or make other repairs. Every penny in expenses takes away from your profits, and that’s where a business credit card can come in handy. It can make it easy to cover expenses now and pay them off later, along with the opportunity to earn lucrative rewards such as cash back or travel perks that mean more money in your pocket.
How a business credit card can help truck drivers
A business credit card can be helpful to truck drivers in a couple of important ways:
- Rewards such as cash back or travel perks reduce expenses and improve profitability.
- The ability to buy now and pay later can improve cash flow. Some cards also offer 0% intro APR offers to help finance larger expenses, such as repairs, for a year or more.
- Keep track of business expenses, making bookkeeping and tax filing easier.
Pros and cons of credit cards for truck drivers
It’s a best practice to use personal credit cards for personal purchases, and a business credit card for business expenses. Still, there are both pros and cons to using a business credit card:
- Flexible payment options
- Superior fraud protection
- Interest rates may be high
- Can be easy to overspend
- May forgo cash price discount on fuel
Best Fuel Credit Cards for Truck Drivers
Because fuel is a typical expense for truckers, we’re focusing here on business credit cards that offer solid rewards for gas purchases. Here are three of the best credit cards for truck drivers:
A high cash back reward rate for themakes it a solid choice for those who will be frequently fueling up. . There is no limit on the cash back you can earn and rewards never expire.
Your gas station purchases can earn you significant points that you can use for future hotel stays or other perks. Earn.
3. Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard®
Cardholders get to choose their top spending category with the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card. Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (gas stations are the default), 2% cash back on dining and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. There’s also a welcome offer: Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening.
*All information about the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card has been collected independently by Nav. This card is not currently available through Nav. To see what business credit cards are available, please visit the Nav Credit Card Marketplace.
Fleet fuel cards versus business credit cards
Fleet cards are popular because they are often restricted to fuel and service station purchases, either at gas stations affiliated with major brands like ExxonMobil or Shell, or at truck stops and other fuel locations such as independent gas stations. Benefits often include fuel discounts or rebates on fuel purchases, along with fleet management tools and controls. A few examples of the best fuel fleet cards:
- Fuelman® fuel cards simplify fuel expense management for business fleets and drivers.
- WEX Fleet Cards are widely accepted: every major U.S. fuel station and over 45,000 service stations accept these cards.
- Voyager fleet cards are accepted at 320,000 U.S. gas stations and truck stops. There are no transaction fees though there is a $3 charge per billing period.
- The Comdata® Fleet Card Program features 0 transaction fees, Cash price plus additional cents off the gallon at Pilot Flying J and other benefits.
If you’re a fleet manager you’ve likely considered one of these cards. Don’t rule out business credit cards as an option, though. Many provide employee cards with expense management controls along with a broader suite of rewards.
What to look for in a credit card for truck drivers
Think about how you plan to use your credit card. Will you pay the balance off in full each month or will you sometimes need to carry a balance? If you will carry a balance you’ll want to focus primarily on the interest rate. Otherwise, you can look for a card with a solid rewards program.
If you are using a fuel card and need a business card for other non-fuel purchases, then you won’t need to worry about higher cash back rates for fuel purchases. You can choose among a variety of rewards available on business credit cards.
If you choose a reward card, make sure the perks you’ll receive outweigh the cost of the annual fee. Annual fees can be steep on premium business credit cards.
How to qualify for a credit card as a truck driver
Whether you’re an owner-operator or the small business owner of a trucking company with multiple trucks, it’s important to keep in mind that you will likely need to qualify at least in part based on your personal credit history. (Some fleet cards will base a decision on business credit for trucking businesses that are well-established.)
Most business card issuers want to see a credit score of at least 680, though some will issue cards to applicants with credit scores of 640-650 or above. It’s a good idea to check your credit before you apply so you know where you stand. Most business credit cards don’t require good business credit, but some fleet cards do, so if you haven’t done so already you may want to establish business credit.
The application will ask questions about your business and personal finances, such as income. You can generally list income from all sources (not just the business) to qualify. That means if you’re driving a truck on the side and have other income— or if you have a spouse or partner who provides income— you may list that as well.
How to apply for a credit card for truck drivers
In most cases you’ll apply online for a business credit card or fuel card. That will allow you to get a decision very quickly. You’ll likely be asked for your Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). You will also be asked for a business address, which can be your home address if you don’t have a separate business address.
Other financing options for truck drivers
While a credit card can be great for short-term financing, there will be times when you need other types of financing, either for longer-term expenses or to finance a semi truck, for example. There are a variety of trucking business loans that may be available to your business, including equipment financing or leasing, lines of credit, freight factoring or invoice financing. It’s worthwhile to explore these options before you find your business in a cash crunch as you’ll have more time to evaluate and compare business loan options.