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5 reasons digital payments are better than fuel cards for truckers

The trucking industry has relied on cash, fuel cards, and fleet cards for decades, but there are better options if you’re tired of reimbursement delays, lost receipts, skyrocketing out-of-pocket expenses, and dealing with fuel fraud.

Whether you’re a large carrier looking to optimize your business or an owner-operator seeking ways to reduce over-the-road costs, contactless payments and new digital rails can help every driver.

Read on to learn how app-based digital payments can reduce fuel fraud, save truckers money at the pump, keep freight moving, and even help carriers improve their margins.

1. One solution for all fleets and owner-operators

Drivers typically access fuel discounts in one of two ways:

  1. Negotiated fleet discount programs – These programs are offered directly by merchants or through retail groups and are usually associated with specific truck stop chains or regions. These negotiated discounts are used with billing cards and new digital fuel payments and can significantly decrease diesel related costs for drivers and fleets. These programs aren’t always available to smaller fleets and often require monthly gallon commitments.
  2. Fuel aggregator credit cards – These programs and credit cards offer rewards or discounts for diesel purchases. They can be issued to individual drivers or entire fleets (to bill the carrier directly) but require lengthy approval processes and don’t typically have the best discounts. A significant drawback of these credit cards is that they don’t usually allow for implementing prompts and policies, leaving them prone to fuel fraud.

In recent years, technology has given rise to a new and better way to purchase and save on fuel. The logistics industry has adopted digital payment platforms at an unprecedented rate, giving rise to fast, secure transactions for truckers without requiring the use of a credit or billing card for fuel purchases.

Relay’s payment platform and mobile app allows large fleets to migrate their negotiated merchant discounts to a solution that significantly mitigates fuel fraud, while also allowing owner-operators to enjoy Relay’s negotiated discounts across a large network of truck stops.

For fleets looking to move their discounts to more secure payment rails, we recommend speaking to members of our sales team. Drivers ready to take advantage of Relay’s negotiated discounts can follow these three steps:

  1. Download the Relay Payments app.
  2. Create a free account for instant access to fuel discounts across a growing network of locations nationwide.
  3. Present your RelayCode to the cashier upon checkout (or use it at the pump at participating locations), fuel up for less, and get back on the road.

2. An always-growing merchant network

The nature of digital payments allows Relay to quickly expand its merchant network and let drivers locate and compare en-route fuel discounts using its GPS-enabled map. Unlike fuel card-based programs that require you to manually search for participating locations and compare their prices, Relay does the work for you.

Since Relay has an ever-growing network of locations – from independent truck stops to large, nationwide chains – Relay is changing the game for all truck drivers, from owner operators with local routes to large carriers running over the road.

3. Fewer delays at fuel stops

Whether drivers are using fleet cards or paying out-of-pocket, fuel stops can be a source of headaches and delays. As a digital payment network, Relay helps drivers avoid long cashier lines, lost cards or PIN codes, and other types of payment hassles.

Owner-operators and carriers can partner with Relay to skip some red tape and allow drivers to pay directly through the app at the pump or inside a participating location. Additionally, owner-operators can securely connect their existing credit cards and rewards programs within the Relay app for easy, secure transactions and automated audit trails.

Unlike fuel cards or PIN numbers, the mobile app is always within reach and offers many additional benefits beyond discounts, all helping drivers avoid payment hassles and get back on the road quickly.

4. Protection against fuel card fraud like card skimming

Card skimming – when scammers use hidden hardware to access credit card data for their own profit – rose 700% in the first quarter of 2022 alone, according to data from FICO. Scammers use increasingly sophisticated techniques to compromise card information and even sidestep daily spending limits designed to curb fraudulent activity.

When you switch to digital payments, there’s no card required – and bypassing cards altogether is the most effective way to protect against card skimming. In addition, Relay provides drivers and fleets with sophisticated controls to help them set limits, control policies and enable geo-fencing to further mitigate fuel theft. Digital payments are a future-friendly, secure payment option in an industry where physical cards are always at risk of fuel fraud and compromise.

5. Consolidate other OTR payments like lumpers and parking

Not only do digital payments unlock diesel discounts with no credit check, the Relay app saves valuable time across the entire drive with added capabilities for ease and efficiency.

Thousands of drivers already use Relay to make instant lumper payments without the hassle of checks, cash exchanges, late-night phone calls, and reimbursements. Fast, digital payments with automated receipts get drivers off the dock quickly and back on the road. These digital payments make it easier to find and book parking in advance and pay for scales, truck washes, and many other OTR expenses.

Relay worked alongside the driver community to build a system that not only reduces fraud and saves on fuel but simplifies the entire drive from start to finish. Get the app today or drop us a line to learn more.