Business expenses are something that all small and medium-sized company owners have to keep track of. Whether it’s just your own spending or that of multiple employees, staying on top of these costs can help you improve your money management, prepare for tax season, and manage cash flow. Thankfully, there are many tools to help you with your business expenses. One such service is the Allstar Plus business card. This fuel and credit card can be incredibly useful, particularly if you or your employees travel a lot in the UK. We’ve got all the essential information on Allstar’s service.
Quick look – pros & cons
Allows you to consolidate all expenses onto one card and tailor it to specific spends and limits.
Provides a detailed breakdown of expenses on one platform.
Easy to reclaim and report VAT on fuel spending.
44 days interest-free credit on purchases.
Many users report an unexpected 26p per litre surcharge based on credit score.
Poor customer service.
Overall, a useful set of features is let down by some fairly poor customer service and unexpected fees. If you’re confident that you won’t fall foul of the pricey add-ons, the card could be useful to your business. However, based on the many negative customer reviews, the issues are widespread.
What is Allstar Plus?
Allstar is one of the UK’s largest fuel card supplies. They have a wide network of fuel stations at which customers can get discounted fuel. They’re amongst the top names in the industry and provide services to a broad range of customers. Traditionally, the company focused on providing fuel cards only. However, in 2017 they announced the Allstar Plus business credit card.
The Allstar Plus is a card that goes beyond just the fuel pump. It also gives business owners and employees the flexibility of a Visa credit card. Essentially, it’s a hybrid fuel and travel expenses card. Companies can sign up for an account, tailor their service around their business, and manage their expenses all in one place.
How does Allstar Plus work?
In many ways, the Allstar Plus card works just like any other credit card. You apply directly to Allstar, either via phone or email, and they will provide a card based on your business situation.
Once your card is issued, you’ll be able to make fuel and travel purchases using the Visa-backed card. You’ll then get up to 44 days of interest-free credit in which to pay back the balance of the card. Any balance left over after the end of your billing period will be charged interest.
There are other aspects to this card too. You can add user profiles to your account, giving employees a varying degree of flexibility to suit their role. There are three tiers that you can allocate to employees:
Bronze. For employees who add low-value expenses to their fuel payments.
Silver. For those who travel more and stay away from home.
Gold. For senior managers and directions who need the most flexibility.
Allstar provides detailed reports on who has spent what, as well as additional information on things like fuel efficiency. From this information, Allstar also provides HMRC compliant fuel invoicing and VAT separation. You can log on to your online account to view all of this information.
What features does Allstar Plus have?
Allstar Plus customers can access a strong set of features through their account. Perhaps the biggest draw is access to their fuel network. There are around 7,400 sites in the UK where you can get discounted fuel, including 1,800 sites where you’ll get discounted diesel. You’ll also be eligible for a 10% rebate on transactions at over 1,300 garages.
Along with these fuel-related features, you’ll also get:
Up to 44 days of interest-free credit on purchases. This makes it easier for you to manage your company-wide cashflow and expenses.
Detailed reports on your fuel. This includes things like your efficiency and MPG across the business. With such information, you can look to make improvements across your network.
Level 3 line detail, HMRC compliant fuel invoicing. Take some of the hassle out your tax and invoicing with these automated features.
Full control of expenses. You can tailor your cards to specific spend categories and limits. So, certain employees will have more freedom than others, and you’ll be able to manage it all.
VAT compliance. When you spend on fuel at Allstar locations, you’ll get clear invoicing and VAT separation. This means you don’t have to retain and search through endless receipts.
What are the fees for using Allstar Plus?
Allstar is tight-lipped about the exact fees they charge, often working on a by-customer basis. However, some sites report that annual card fees can range up to £40. Other costs listed include:
a network service fee of up to £2.75 per transaction
Replacement card fees of £6 per card
A convenience charge of up to 6p per litre
A risk-based fee of up to 26p per litre
An invoice request fee of £35
A returned direct debit admin charge of £95
This is an often eye-wateringly high set of fees that can soon mount up. Many users report being hit by the risk-based fee of 26p per litre, which can see fuel costs spiral.
Who is Allstar Plus for?
Small and medium-sized enterprises with multiple employees are the likely target for an Allstar Plus card. The way that the service is structured gives a lot of flexibility to those who travel a lot for work. With the three-tier system, senior employees and managers can oversee those who are more junior.
It’s a card that’s particularly beneficial to those who use a lot of fuel in the UK. Their discounted rates and wide network make it an appealing prospect in this respect. With the addition of expense management features, it easy to see how business owners could use the service to keep on top of finances. And, with the 44-day interest-free incentive, it’s useful for those concerned about cashflow.
What are the drawbacks of using Allstar Plus?
Sadly, there are a host of negative customer reviews on Trustpilot. Many of these cite the addition of the additional 26p surcharge based on credit score. Overall, the fees seem unduly high. What’s more, it seems the customer service at Allstar is fairly dreadful. They haven’t responded to any of the comments on Trustpilot, and they have a Trust Score of just 1.2 out of 10.
One other downside is that many of the features are only applicable to Allstar fuel stations. If you fill up at one that isn’t part of their network, you won’t get your fuel discount or access to the invoicing and VAT separation.
How safe is Allstar Plus?
The card itself is safe to use. It’s backed by Visa and protected with a PIN. The same goes for their website – data is encrypted and secured. Allstar’s parent company, Allstar Business Solutions Ltd, is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011. This means they are eligible for the issuing of electronic money and the provision of payment services.
Customer satisfaction may not be so safe, however. And, at the time of writing, the Allstar website was down, which is far from ideal.
Allstar Plus verdict
Overall, the Allstar Plus business credit card presents a good idea that isn’t backed by customer service. In principle, there are some amazing features that could be hugely beneficial to companies of all sizes. However, in reality, expensive additions and dreadful customer service make this one that might not be worth the risk.