“With the widespread uptake of mobile phones and contactless technologies, along with improving Internet connectivity in SA, more existing challenges facing fleet operators can be tackled.”
So says Shadab Rahil, Joint CEO of ICT solutions provider Payment24 who notes South African and international fleet operators alike are facing numerous challenges.
He believes many of the solutions available on the market do not provide fleet operators with enough real-time controls to manage and control their fleet fuel usage.
“The lack of flexibility and control provided by current solutions in the industry, such as bank fleet cards and automated vehicle identification (AVI) solutions, do not meet the requirements expected by fleet operators and makes a very challenging environment for them”, he says.
“Unfortunately, fraud is not uncommon in the industry and significantly more difficult to detect in the absence of real-time, relevant information.”
He points out that while AVI does provide certain levels of security as far as “fuel-in-tank” is concerned, it comes at a prohibitive cost to many fleet operators, as they are expensive to install and maintain.
To top this, fleet operators who depend on their vehicles being on the road to keep their businesses profitable have to take their vehicles off the road to get this equipment installed and maintained – which can be a regular occurrence in the event of equipment failure, Rahil says.
In the case of bankcards, Rahil notes, the industry has not moved much in the past decade or so. “Fleet operators do not even have basic controls such as determining whether the correct driver or vehicle is at the forecourt.”
They usually find out about the fraud only at the end of month when they receive their monthly statements just like any other bank card solution, he notes, adding these cards are also prone to cloning and skimming as the majority are based on magnetic stripe cards without PINs.
“Although some banks have introduced EMV fleet cards in recent years, the uptake has been slower than anticipated due to the fees charged to the merchant which results in limited acceptance.”
He says this is mainly due to the high inter-change rates and bank transaction fees that are applicable to these cards. “These EMV cards also only provide PIN security as an additional benefit without much real-time controls to the fleet operators.”
Instead of distributing cards to drivers, fleet operators can use mobile apps such as Payment24, to conduct transactions, says Rahil. “The mobile application can be freely downloaded from the major app stores, which means there is no card-printing, issuing, and management fees.
“With the widespread adoption of contactless readers in banking terminals such as Spire, Ingenico, and Verifone, it is now possible to use Payment24 tamper-proof contactless stickers to verify vehicle presence at the forecourts using these banking terminals.”
He also notes using a cloud-based solution provides fleet operators with the ability to get real-time access to every aspect of their fuel management capabilities.
“This is conceivably one of the biggest game changers for fleet operators who have been looking for a solution to provide them with current information in order to control and seamlessly manage their entire fleet at their fingertips.”