If you’re into saving money at the pump, then you would undoubtedly benefit from the use of a prepaid gas card or even a conventional credit card with provisional benefits for paying at a fueling station. There are some significant differences between a prepaid gas card and a gas credit card, however, and realizing these differences can literally save you hundreds of dollars on your yearly fuel purchases.
The biggest question is: Why use a prepaid gas card?
Many gas stations offer fuel rebates when you use their brand prepaid fuel card, some offer percentages and some simply offer x cents off per gallon when using a prepaid fuel card. You’ll notice with some national and regional gas companies that they offer discounts on the initial purchase of fuel cards as well.
To put this into easy to understand terms, we’ll use a couple of live examples. Walmart offers 3 cents off per gallon on purchases at their gas station in many US regions if you use one of their prepaid store cards. While these cards are not limited to fuel purchases, 3 cents off per gallon coupled with their already low priced fuel can add up to significant savings over a period of time. Some people might scoff at the idea of saving 8-11 cents per gallon on a fill up, but the long term effect can mean hundreds of dollars in savings over a short period of time, largely depending on your vehicles fuel economy and your driving habits.
Another example of using a prepaid fuel card can be seen with Speedway/Super America Stores. In certain US regions where they operate they offer $50 gas cards for $48. This in itself is $2 in savings, and this particular gas chain occasionally offers rebates of 2 cents off per gallon when one uses their free membership program. On top of this 2 cents off per gallon, they also offer numerous other benefits in their points based membership program that will allow you to receive a credit for gas card purchases, free gas cards, and discounts on fuel of up to $1 per gallon. Certainly other national or regional gas chains have different incentive programs for customers that frequent these chains, but in the end it really only boils down to one thing: more money stays in your pocket.
Now,The biggest difference between a prepaid gas card and a gas credit card is a simple one: the prepaid option is something that you pay up front for, one time, and the gas credit card is something that is post pay, and is billed on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on your use of it. With a prepaid card you can buy or replenish the gas card’s balance when it becomes low, and you are all set until that balance is used up. When using a gas credit card it is simply too easy to put off making a full payment, thus letting the interest eat away at any savings you might encounter.
This is probably the biggest benefit of using a prepaid gas card, the fact that it does not accrue interest. If you have the available balance on your prepaid card you can spend at will until that balance is depleted without having to worry about paying the high interest rates usually associated with the typical gas credit card.
While each type of gas card has its own advantages and disadvantages, using a prepaid gas card certainly is a viable option for those who frequent a particular gas station chain and want to save money on their everyday fuel purchases.