For many people, gas and fuel purchases are one of the biggest parts of the monthly budget. So it’s no wonder that many people look for ways to save on gas. Gas credit cards can be one option to earn a rebate on gas purchases, either in the form of cash back or other types of credit card rewards.
There are many different types of gas credit cards, each with their own pros and cons. Some gas credit cards work only at one particular chain of gas stations, while others offer rewards no matter where you buy gas and may even give rewards on some non-fuel purchases. Understanding the different types of gas credit cards can help you choose the best gas credit card for your specific situation.
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What Is a Gas Credit Card?
A gas credit card is a term that can refer to a number of different types of credit cards. One might be a standard credit card that earns bonus credit card points on all gas purchases. Another type of gas credit card is one that is co-branded with an actual gas station and gives rewards at that gas station. There are also gas credit cards that are designed more for companies with large fleets of vehicles.
How Do Gas Credit Cards Work?
Gas credit cards work in much the same way that any other credit cards work. Most gas credit cards run on a major credit card processing network like Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. That means that even if you might think of it as a gas credit card, it can be used anywhere those types of cards are accepted.
Types of Gas Credit Cards
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General-Purpose Gas Credit Cards
General-purpose gas credit cards are credit cards that earn rewards on a variety of different purchases. They may have gas as one possible bonus category, or they may earn the same high rewards rate on all purchases. The SoFi credit card is an example of a cash-back rewards credit card that allows you to earn cash back on all purchases, including at gas stations.
Gas Station Co-Branded Credit Cards
A gas station co-branded credit card is generally marketed and primarily branded for one particular gas station (BP, Shell, Marathon, etc.). These types of cards are often referred to as “co-branded” because they are branded with both a gas station brand and the brand of the bank that issues it. While these are also usually part of a major credit card processing network like Visa or Mastercard, the rewards they earn are typically targeted to the main “branded” gas station chain.
Fleet Gas Cards
A fleet gas card or fleet fuel card is a different type of gas credit card entirely, and is targeted more toward businesses that have to manage a large fleet of vehicles. A transportation manager can give fleet cards to individual employees, allowing them to pay for things like fuel, repairs, and maintenance without having to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed. The transportation manager can then track and account for all of the disparate charges centrally.
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How Different Types of Gas Cards Compare
If you’re choosing a rewards credit card, there are a few questions that you’ll want to ask yourself:
• Ease of use: Is this a gas card that can only be used at one particular gas station, or can it be used anywhere?
• Rewards: Does the reward structure of the card match up with your spending patterns?
• Fees: What kind of fees does the card have? Avoiding credit card fees is an important part of choosing the right card.
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Which Type of Gas Credit Card Is Right for You?
Trying to determine what’s the best credit card for gas for you? Here’s a look at who two of the most common types of gas credit cards may suit.
Who Gas Rewards Cards Are Best For
The following types of people might be best served by a general purpose credit card that happens to offer rewards on gas purchases:
• Consumers who frequently shop at multiple different gas stations.
• Infrequent travelers who spend much more in other categories than they do at gas stations.
• People looking to maximize their credit card miles or cash back.
Who Gas Station Credit Cards Are Best For
These consumers might find that the best gas credit card for them is a gas station credit card:
• Consumers who spend an above average amount at gas stations.
• Travelers who frequently fill up at the same gas station chain every time.
• Employees who are given a gas station credit card by their employer and are mandated to use it.
Are Gas Credit Cards Generally Worth It?
For many consumers, gas and fuel purchases are one of the biggest spending categories each month. Just like improving gas mileage, earning cash back or other credit card rewards can help offset some of your fuel cost each month. Just make sure to compare the different gas card options to find the best gas credit card for your situation.
There are a variety of different cards that can be considered gas credit cards. Some gas credit cards are more general rewards credit cards that happen to give a bonus on gas purchases. Other gas station cards have rewards targeted to one particular gas station brand. Still other gas cards are used by companies with large fleets to help manage their transportation expenses.
One general purpose gas credit card is the SoFi credit card. You can earn cash-back rewards points on gas and all other purchases when you apply and are approved for a SoFi credit card.
The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1
Is there a credit card only for gas?
There are some gas credit cards that work only at specific gas stations and do not work for other purchases. Other gas cards are branded with a particular gas station’s color and branding (such as BP, Shell, or Marathon) but are still part of a major credit processing network (like Visa, Mastercard, or American Express). That means that you can use the card anywhere those networks are accepted.
What is the best fuel card to get?
The best fuel card to get is the one that maximizes the rewards based on your unique and specific spending patterns. If you always shop at the same gas station, you might be better off with a card that’s specific to that brand. If you shop at different gas stations or want to earn rewards on non-fuel purchases, you may want to consider a more generic rewards credit card that happens to also earn rewards on gas purchases.
Do gas cards help build credit?
Whether gas cards help build credit depends on specifically what kind of gas credit card it is. If it is a store-specific card that is not part of a major credit card processing network, it likely does not report purchases and credit history to the major credit bureaus. In that case, it likely will not help you build your credit history.
Photo credit: iStock/kckate16
1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points as cash deposited into your SoFi Checking and Savings account, as a statement credit to a SoFi Credit Card account, as fractional shares into your SoFi Invest account, or as a payment toward your SoFi Personal Loan or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.
1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.
SoFi cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back rewards when redeemed to save, invest, a statement credit, or pay down eligible SoFi debt.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.