The possibility of employees misusing their business fuel card accounts is not a pleasant thought for any business owner. Still, it's an occurrence that you will need to do everything in your power to prevent. There is also the possibility that it might not even be your employees are are misusing the card. So what are some security features that should be part of the card's arsenal to prevent misuse?
1. Real Time Reporting
You should choose a card that offers a real time digital report that you can check at any moment. This will allow you to see what constitutes normal usage, as well as it being immediately obvious when a certain employee uses their card more than others (and you can also determine whether this usage is in line with their duties—the reason why they have been issued the card in the first place). It might also be possible to trigger an alert that generates a notification when a predetermined amount has been exceeded.
Misuse might not be in fact using the card to purchase more fuel than is necessary (such as obtaining fuel for private use). It might also be that an employee is using the card to purchase more than fuel at a petrol station. Fuel cards for business should have the option of exclusions, as in the card can be used for fuel and perhaps basic, legitimate maintenance. The card should be configured that anything else an employee might attempt to purchase at a petrol station (such as food or drinks) will not be accepted by the card.
And there is of course the possibility that while your employees will use their cards in line with your expectations, someone else will probably not do the same. Check with the card issuer with regards to their dispute policy. If a fuel card is lost or stolen and then found by an opportunistic individual, will you still be liable for these charges (particularly if the loss or theft is not immediately noticed)? Much like with a credit card, the timeliness in reporting the loss or theft of the card can play a part in determining liability for the charges. Real time reporting and an alert notification can also help to bring this to your attention in a more timely fashion.
Hopefully you will never have to deal with the prospect of an employee misusing their fuel card, and yet there are some viable options for reducing the likelihood of this happening.