Bento For Business

Using Bento Instead of a Prepaid Gas Card for Managing Fuel Costs

We’ve helped lots of customers with fleet operations and mobile workforces operate more efficiently and save money with a prepaid gas card. We’re always curious, though: what did our customers do before they started using Bento for their gas cards? The answers are always interesting.

One of the most common answers is that the company had the employee pay upfront and then submit receipts to receive reimbursement. Unfortunately, many found that if the employee didn’t have the resources to fill up the tank, the tank didn’t get filled up. The employees still tried to get to the job but ran out of gas on the way there.

That’s hard on the engine, leads to missed work, and costs money to get the employee and vehicle back to work.

Another client decided that the solution was for the company owner to meet all drivers and trucks first thing in the morning at a local gas station. He would use his personal card to buy enough gas to top off everyone’s tank. It worked, but it was time consuming for everyone, keeping them from doing more productive work. A prepaid gas card program would have saved everyone a lot of hassle.

Then we heard this one: the boss not only requires employees to pay for their gas and submit receipts for reimbursement, but the amount on the receipt has to be a round number. Employees are expected to stand at the pump and turn it off as soon as the value of the gas purchased is a full dollar amount, no cents. Otherwise, the assumes the money was actually spent in the convenience store. 

I don’t know about you, but I would be pretty darn annoyed if the boss refused to reimburse me because I delayed turning the pump off and bought $26.01 worth of gas or turned it off too soon and bought $25.99, instead of $26.00.

In fact, I might quit over that, especially in a tight labor market. 

Of course, there is the unfortunate reality that some employees would take advantage of the need to spend money on fuel and use employer funds for personal use. We have even heard of employees who try to pass off dinner checks from Quaker Steak and Lube as charges for vehicle maintenance. A prepaid gas card would stop that.

At Bento for Business, we have an alternative. Our Visa debit card works like a prepaid gas card. It lets business owners limit the amount of money that can be spent and the days if the week when it can be spent. It can be set to limit purchases to fuel pumps only. But it’s also flexible. A single card can be assigned to a particular vehicle and used for all fuel costs and maintenance expenses, making it easy to see the timing and costs of operation. Or, each driver can have a card that allows for fuel purchases, any per diem expenses, and supplies needed during the workday. 

Unlike a prepaid gas card, a Bento card helps you operate more efficiently, empower your employees to do their jobs, and save money. We have saved millions of dollars for our customers. Find out how we can help you. 

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