Two decades ago, an average Australian or New Zealand business was likely to service a fixed amount of local customers regularly. Dealing in cash and paper transactions, with little volatility in their outgoing expenses, there were few efficiencies to be found.
But the business landscape has transformed over twenty years. As Australia and New Zealand joined the global economy, technological advancements also shifted the baseline for many costs and expenses.
High price volatility has become standard across many types of consumable, and new kinds of business, services and products that couldn’t have existed in the legacy paper world now flourish.
With advances in communications, transport, manufacturing and shipping, even companies that once aimed to be the biggest fish in a small pond found size to be less relevant in an ocean of digital commerce.
Globalisation brought new opportunities to businesses who would have traditionally only had access to smaller markets. But opportunity was a double-edged sword for any who weren’t agile enough to uplift service offerings and processes to be competitive in the global markets.
Business is now online 24/7, and the systems which support it have had to bootstrap their availability and usefulness to service a modern set of needs.
How payment systems have changed to meet evolving needs
The end user experience when making any kind of payment has also changed significantly over that twenty-year period. Technology verticals coming online, an ever-increasing customer need for speed, convenience, and security, and of course overall cost, have all played a part in advancing the ways individuals and business could pay for goods and services.
Two decades ago EFT debit card systems were ubiquitous, but credit cards were beginning to eat up market share with loyalty schemes and discounts incentivising their use as a daily driver, rather than the more modest role they once played in households—being kept in reserve mainly for larger expenses.
As e-commerce began to gain credibility then popularity, a system for online authentication of credit and debit cards was needed to enable more convenient online purchases. Making online payments secure and easy is where online payment platforms began to disrupt traditional card and cash payments, adding another layer of complexity to the payments landscape.
How fuel payment systems benefit evolving businesses
Twenty years ago, if a fleet wasn’t already using a fuel card program, employees would pay fuel costs up front, then be reimbursed by their employer. It involved a good amount of paperwork and processing overhead, and took a long time, leaving employees out of pocket while they waited. This was not ideal for the driver, and required a lot more work from an accounts department.
Fuel can be one of the biggest expenses for any company with a lot of moving parts. If you’re running a fleet, then it’s probably the single most valuable commodity for your business; unfortunately, it’s also the most volatile.
For organisations that consume a lot of fuel, a fuel card system’s key value is in volume discounts and savings on travel related purchases. Being able to batch fuel purchases is one of the ways savvy fleet managers can get out ahead of the costs they can’t avoid, but manage more effectively.
Fleet fuel card program partners offer discounts on products that lower operating costs for fleets and keep them moving. Services such as taxis, car maintenance and roadside assist are focused on keeping fleets on the road, while the streamlined administration available with fuel card programs eliminates the overheads of a back-office team devoted to chasing up receipts and processing payments. Without the need for drivers to carry company cash and credit cards the risk of loss, theft or fraud is significantly reduced.
When purchasing fuel on a fuel card, a digital statement is produced to let stakeholders easily see what drivers are spending, where, and when. Having visibility of every transaction, and how much fuel vehicles consume in real-time, also helps fleet managers to optimise spend and forecast potential cost blowouts ahead of time. Manual paper processes are no longer needed, and high-quality data capture helps to create a detailed audit trail for end of year reporting—a huge expense saver in itself.
Payments that keep pace with modern business
If money is the engine that powers the economy of the world, then payments are the motor oil.
Our modern, unpredictable business landscape has become business as usual in recent times, and our payment systems must be agile enough to face into these challenges, while offering greater value at scale. Fleet fuel card programs provide deeper value than just the fuel, giving fleet owners a range of ways to scale up their operations while lowering costs.
Discover the right fuel card program to support your business on its journey, or contact us any time for an obligation free chat about where you can save costs.