Tips to Keep Your Fuel Cards Safe from Fraud and Misuse

Fuel cards are a vital invention not only for drivers but also fleet managers. It gives drivers a convenient way of paying for fuel, while fleet managers find it incredibly easy to monitor purchases. But like credit and debit cards, a fuelcard can also be misused or used fraudulently. Fraud can take many shapes like when it is stolen or when criminals pry on its data using card skimmers. Misuse includes a driver purchasing fuel for their vehicle using a company fuel card. In this article, we tell you the best tips to keep UK fuels card safe.

1. Create a Policy

The first thing you should do before using a fuel card is to create a fuel policy. Several fleets don’t take time to have a policy, and it’s a mistake that can lead to many problems down the line. A solid fuel policy prevents fraud, misuse, and maintains profitability. Once you have put this policy in place, educate your drivers and employees about the guidelines and make sure you send periodic reminders. Some of the things that should be included in your policy include:

  • Where drivers or employees can use the fuel cards
  • Purchasing limits
  • Security guidelines
  • Fuel grade restrictions
  • The purchase types authorized
  • Where to keep cards
  • Consequences for violating policy
  • How to report misuse or fraud

But these are not the only elements of a fuel card policy. You are free to tailor your policy to your unique needs and business.

As a fleet manager, you should understand the needs of specific vehicles and drivers and create a policy out of that knowledge. After you have put a policy in place, be transparent and create awareness around the program. You can have drivers sign that they acknowledge the policy and agree to abide by it.

But the work of a fleet manager should not stop at creating the policy. Ensuring that it is enforced is a critical part of its success.

Fleets make the mistake of not policing and following fuel card policies. Make sure you clearly spell the consequences of failing to abide by the policy. More importantly, the management levels need to be given the resources for enforcing the policy. As a fleet manager, you also should make it easy for the drivers to access the fuel card policy. Drivers and employees should review it regularly to always be aware of it.

2. Train Drivers

Apart from formulating a robust fuel card policy to guide employees and drivers, you also need to train drivers on the practices to follow when using cards. Cheryl Garcia, who works at US Bank as senior vice president in charge of government transportation, says there are certain routine pointers that fleets should educate drivers and employees about. She advises some guidelines to protect fleets from fraud and misuse. They include the following:

  • Card storage– train drivers to always store fuel cards in a safe place and never, ever leave them in an open area where they may fall into the wrong hands.
  • PIN protection-Drivers should be taught to keep their card PINs separately from the card. They should also never share it with anyone unauthorized to use it, much less sharing the card.
  • Communication-Card holders should immediately report a stolen or lost card. This also applies to suspicious transactions.

Drivers should also be adequately educated about card skimmers.

Skimming is when criminals secretly install a device on the fuel pump that resembles a card reader. When the driver or an employee swipes the card, the device steals the data on the card’s magnetic stripe, which they can then use to commit other fraudulent activities.

Train drivers about skimming devices and how to identify them when attached to pumps. They should also develop a habit of only fueling at pumps that are visible to the pump employees as fraudsters are less likely to tamper with them.

3. Set Controls

Irrespective of how well your drivers and employees are trained and the policy communicated to them, it still doesn’t make UK fuels card 100% safe from being misused. The good news is that fleet managers can set controls that guard against circumstances like these.

Not only will strong controls ensure purchases are within the guidelines of the card policy, but also limit exposure to fraud. You can set controls for a specific driver or vehicle type in a fleet.

For example, you can set the maximum amount of fuel to be used per day, week, or month based on things like tank capacity, vehicle type, fuel efficiency, and how long a vehicle is used each day.

Although controls tend to be restrictive, each fleet can adapt them as necessary. The key is to know your fleet and be flexible. Different types of vehicles have varying needs.

It is important to consider the job that the employee or the vehicle might be performing in a department or agency.

Also, note that purchasing behaviour may be changed according to seasonal needs, which means you should have a notification process and policy for drivers that may require purchasing permissions to be changed from time to time. Fleets should never skip setting up controls as this goes a long way to help keep fraud and misuse instances at the bare minimum.

Do not keep card controls open without coming up with rules for fleet protection. Take your time and set up things carefully and properly on the front end. Also, monitor activities to make adjustments as may be necessary.

Conclusion

UK fuels card and indeed all other cards are prime targets for fraudsters. Also, they are susceptible to being misused. You can easily find that an employee uses the card to fuel their cars or even those belonging to their friends. Fortunately, there are some tips you can use to prevent such situations from happening. Sticking to the above best practices will ensure that your fuelcard stays safe from criminals and misuse.