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Monday, March 22, 2021

VISA Fleet 2.0: A Game Changer for the Fleet Card World

When margins are tight, savings are top of mind for managers. It is especially true in the fleet management arena as vehicles require timely maintenance, consistent access to resources, and frictionless communication. 


Particularly difficult, however, is ensuring a secure and practical way for fleet drivers to fuel up. Whether these fleets are transporting goods or performing other services, they need gas to get the job done. 


To meet this need, past solutions have ranged from issuing corporate credit cards to providing cash for purchases, but they fail to account for a number of issues: the risk of fraud, for one. It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what the funds were being used, making management even more cumbersome. Credit cards, specifically, tend to cost businesses more as they are accompanied by high interest rates and annual fees, meaning managing finances is more costly than ever. Current fleet card offerings cater to both larger fleets and larger merchants, but fail to address the needs of smaller fleet providers and smaller fuel station chains.  As with many industries, the long tail is left out in the cold.


Luckily, the new economy is stimulating innovation across a broad swath of industries, and now fleet gets to join the game. Interestingly, it’s thanks to one of the oldest players in Fintech: Visa. 


We’re here to break down how -- what Visa calls “Fleet 2.0” -- can be a game changer for the industry. 


VISA Fleet 2.0: A Standard for the Industry


Traditional fleet cards either lack functionality or virtually function within a closed-loop system, creating an approval process that seamlessly allows truck drivers to fuel up at gas stations and seek approval for payment and receive it, enabling them to pay with company funds for gas and ensuring operational efficiency. 


They also allow companies to retrieve and accumulate basket data to get a better understanding of their expenses and operations, managing them with more ease. More so, they help diminish the risk of fraud significantly, prioritizing transparency at every step of the payment process. 


However, not all fleet cards are created equal. When picking a fleet card to serve your fleet force, it’s important to consider its footprint: the scope of coverage that a fleet card provides. What this entails is asking yourself, how many gas stations does this fleet card work at? If it only works at 1% of gas stations, then is it worth your company’s dedicated resources? 


VISA is now elevating the fleet card world by enforcing a set of standards that fuel merchants must adhere to, creating a framework to facilitate a more standardized process. In doing so, VISA is tearing down barriers to entry that once excluded smaller merchants to provide a larger footprint and enable fleets to fuel up at more locations with fewer limitations. 


Opportunities for Collaboration


This new advancement for fleet operations is exciting because it presents a new opportunity for collaboration with innovative, agile startups to deliver more personalized, data-driven services.  By integrating with trucking companies, these startups can offer a highly in-demand service, easing the process for operations managers by offering data that will inform decisions to reject or approve a fleet card transaction. This process fosters a greater level of transparency -- one not available until now -- to benefit businesses of all sizes. 


Moreover, fleet managers can leverage this data to improve workflow and make better decisions for their organizations. This includes creating more cohesive budgets, enhanced vehicle maintenance, and leveling the playing field for a more competitive environment. 


This is exciting because it is a completely untapped part of the industry that is now able to be served by startups that can easily build the tools and interfaces to more effectively target these solo operators and smaller companies to provide the products that they need to streamline operations. 


In these trying times, the trucking industry has proven to be an essential sector, with a historically indispensable, albeit undervalued, workforce. 


We’re glad to see it getting the recognition and transformation it is due. Seldom do we witness game-changing innovations like this, and rarely from established global players like VISA. This development has the potential to completely change the trucking industry, facilitating an elevated level of efficiency for the sector at large. For organizations striving to solidify their role in the on-demand economy, Fleet 2.0 is a simple solution with profound benefits.