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.
What Are Fuel Cards?
First things first: Let’s go over what fuel cards are. Fuel cards are credit cards that offer rewards on the purchases you make at gas stations and possible discounts on each gallon of fuel. These cards are a good option for small businesses that have high fuel costs on gas or diesel fuel, like trucking or delivery companies. And some fuel cards target the trucking industry by offering discounts at partnering fuel stations nationwide, helping collect odometer information, and using truck telemetry to connect to purchase history.
Using a gas card is one strategy for helping with fuel management and balancing out high fuel prices — you’ll get cash back or points on your fuel spending that you can later put toward other business expenses. When you’re choosing a card, keep in mind that some fuel card companies only allow you to use your card on in-network purchases, or purchases that are made at that exact brand of gas station. This limitation might not work for some businesses.
Additionally, some business fuel cards allow you to set limits, like spending limits and spending controls for your employees’ cards. There also might be other business solutions, like a mobile app and an online account, that you can use for real-time updates on your fuel savings. You may have to pay a monthly fee to use the card, however, so make sure the rewards you get for your fuel stops will balance out the cost. Some don’t charge a fee each month.
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 two of the best credit cards for truck drivers:
Your gas station purchases can earn you significant points that you can use for future hotel stays or other perks. Earn
Cardholders get to choose their top spending category with the: There’s also a welcome offer:
Thehas a and a annual fee. It also has the And you’ll earn on gas purchases:
Best Fuel Credit Cards for Owner-Operators
Owner-operators have enough on their plate running the day-to-day of their business. That’s why the best fuel card for an owner-operator will allow cardholders to carry a balance — something that not all fuel cards do. Some cards operate more like charge cards that require you to pay the balance in full at the end of the billing cycle. It’s best to work with a credit card provider that will allow for a revolving balance. That way, you won’t have to worry in case you can’t quite cover the total bill at the end of the month.
Best Fuel Credit Cards for Truck Fleet Owners
If you own a trucking fleet, you likely have employees driving all over the country. So it’s important to look at fuel credit cards that your employees can use anywhere in the U.S.. That way, you’ll be able to maximize the rewards you get, save money at the pump, and streamline all your business’s fuel purchases. Having every purchase go on one credit card account can simplify your bookkeeping process and give you time to focus on other business details.
Fleet Fuel Cards vs. 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
Fuelman® Fuel Cards simplify fuel expense management for business fleets and drivers.
WEX Fleet Cards
WEX Fleet Cards are widely accepted: every major U.S. fuel station and over 45,000 service stations accept these cards.
Voyager Fleet Fuel Cards
Voyager Fleet Fuel 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.
Shell Fleet Navigator Card
The Shell Fleet Navigator Card has national coverage and gives up to a $0.05 discount on gas purchases.
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.
*All information about the Fuelman® Fuel Cards, WEX Fleet Cards, Voyager Fleet Cards, the Comdata® Fleet Card credit card, and the Shell Fleet Navigator 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.
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.If you’re looking to apply for financing to help your trucking company succeed, your first step is making sure your business credit scores are established and growing.
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