Incremental improvements to the current offering doesn’t bridge the gap between the present and the future. Fuel retailers can future-proof their business by rethinking how they design and deliver their services to match evolving customer, regulatory, and market requirements – and modernising their fuel card can make all the difference.
The future of fuel is uncertain – for all of us. Whether we will power our private cars and commercial fleet with electricity, hydrogen, or something else entirely, this transformation brings business opportunities for those ready to embrace the change.
In the last few years, there has been a massively growing public demand for digital payment methods and purchase channels. In fact, the payment experience is rapidly infusing into the overall customer experience for the users of your services. Traditional fuel cards and in-house technology systems struggle to keep up with customer expectations as well as regulations.
We compiled five ways to make sure your fuel card business is equipped for the disruption:
1. Don’t let your system slow down your business
When the future looks hazy, the important thing is to not get stuck with a partner, platform, or system that no longer works for your business objectives.
To innovate during uncertain times, fuel retailers need to be able to test new concepts and services effectively and with low risk. This requires flexibility from the tech and the partnerships, so that you can react to changes in the market and the customer needs quickly and without heavy investments.
A modern, cloud-based card issuing and payment processing platform gives you the flexibility you need to scale your business into the future. With a modern partner, you never run the risk of your product development and business innovation being hampered by old technology.
In addition to modern tech, an ideal partner can also provide industry expertise and experience in fuel cards, an attitude of open-minded innovation, and commitment to learning and succeeding together.
2. Capitalise on your payment data
Payment data is incredibly valuable and insightful. It gives you access to real-time information about the consumption patterns, preferences, and behaviours of your customers. When it comes to data, the more you have the better.
Besides the payment transaction data from your sites and your preferred partners, by widening your acceptance network you can also get visibility into purchases done at other merchants. A wide acceptance network makes sense also from the point of view of customer relationship and loyalty, as it is likely to make your card more relevant for your customers.
Understanding when, why, and what your customers buy elsewhere can be used as a valuable source of insight to develop even better service flows and loyalty programmes for customer stickiness and new services and products for added revenue.
This being said, make sure you have real-time access to the payment data for fast-based actions as well as capabilities to capture all data for further analysis and to utilise the results to increase your customer loyalty and revenue.
3. Make compliance hassle-free
I’ve seen the struggles fuel retailers face with compliance. As regulations tighten, many card systems are just simply outdated and can’t keep up with compliance.
For fuel retailers, payments are not their core business, and nurturing compliance expertise in-house might not make sense from a business perspective. Partnering up with a payment card provider with strong compliance expertise means that you can focus your resources on innovation and customer experience, while the partner takes care of the compliance of the solution, processing, and data handling.
A truly successful fuel card requires that compliance and your customer value proposition shake hands seamlessly. A payment compliance expert can support you in achieving compliance without having to compromise on user experience or card usage and functionalities.
4. Utilise best practices to ensure unparalleled user experience
The future of fuel and energy is shrouded in uncertainty. The right partner can help you with the predictions as they have seen how the market, customer needs, and regulations have evolved in different fields of business.
A partner who has built card solutions for many different segments outside of fuel can bring a unique point of view to your product development. Knowing the needs and behaviour of a wide range of card user groups, whether consumer or B2B, they can help you improve your user experience.
End users have become accustomed to sophisticated mobile and online services and expect nothing less from their fuel card provider. This is why your partner should also have the capabilities to contribute to payment product design and broader modernisation of your architecture. A future-proof architecture enables the product development of web and mobile interfaces as well as payment acceptance at renewable fuels and EV charging stations.
5. Manage cost in uncertain times
With the future of the fuel business uncertain, managing cost is crucial. This means having transparency and predictability to your costs. One way of doing that is to choose a partner that provides you with a better and more reliable view into your cost structure compared to an in-house solution.
Will migrating your card portfolio onto a cloud-based platform be cheaper than running and modernising a legacy system? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that, as it depends on a plethora of factors.
What I can safely say is that a cloud processing partner can and should bring cost predictability to your business. There are several ways to do that:
- Cost predictability with a monthly fee. The monthly cost is based on your card volumes, card features, and the licences you need to launch and issue your payment card product.
- Pay for what you need, no hidden fees. When you go for a partner with a composable card offering, you don’t need to buy every feature or tool they have. You only pay for what you need and choose, with no costly surprises.
- Additional income from the interchange fees. Some partners share the interchange revenue with you or let you keep it entirely, depending on the type of your card programme.