Petrocard: The origin, need and changes


Logistics has always been the backbone of Indian economy, providing an efficient and cost effective flow of goods on which other sectors depend. The logistics industry in India is on a rapid growth with various new companies bringing in the required technological and infrastructural changes in the unorganised sector. Despite the weak economic sentiment, the logistics industry continues to witness a growth (approx 10% per annum) due to growth in retail, e-commerce and manufacturing sectors. However, with the increasing demand, the problems faced by the logistics providers has also increased.

The major problems faced by the Indian logistics sector include infrastructure, bad connectivity and  unexpected delays. However, on a more internal level , one of the major issues faced by all the logistics providers is the proper and efficient fuel expense management of their vehicles. Be it a commercial or a passenger vehicle, fuelling the car/truck is one of the biggest hassle of this business. The reasons are numerous. It can be because the driver (in case of passenger vehicle) has not been paid by the vendor and thus does not have the money to fill fuel, or in case of a fleet owner, the vehicle is not in the regular route where the owner has tied up with a pump (credit based business) for fuel. This problem was realised by all the major Petroleum corporations thus giving rise to the revolutionary concept: A Petrocard.

Going by the definition, a Petrocard is a payment card most commonly used for petrol, diesel and other fuels at gas stations. Petro cards have proved to be a boon for fleet owners operating one or more vehicles,  several vans or a fleet of trucks reducing the barrier between the drivers & fleet  owners regardless of surcharge over and above the bill amount.  But convenience is not the only thing being offered to get customers to sign up for these cards.Different companies provide various kinds of cards with different features for their customers at a one time nominal fee.

The major players in this sector include  Hindustan Petroleum, Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum to name a few. Apart from their own branded petro cards, these companies have tied up with various banks thus launching credit cards with various added fuel benefits and rewards every time the users swipe at a pump.

“Cash or card?” cashiers ask, regardless of whether you are at a pharmacy or a petrol pump. Payment options, such as petro and co-branded credit cards, have opened new avenues for drivers and fleet owners to settle up bills at filling stations. However, in spite of the benefits provided by the companies through petro cards, not a lot of fleet owners were comfortable with using them, the reasons being the following:

  • The petro cards were pump specific. e.g You cannot use an HP Smartfleet card at any non HP outlet.
  • Although users were earning reward points whenever they would swipe at a station, not being able to redeem those points for fuel was not appreciated by many.
  • Lack of proper ways to control and manage money put in the petro cards.

Thus a reform needed to be made in this regard . With the increased competition and digitalization era and the integration of Tech in almost every sphere of life, there needed to be an up gradation in the petro card industry with the emergence of private companies trying to disrupt the billion dollar fuel industry of the country.

Bonfleet is one such company which is on its way to making a dent in the industry with its revolutionary “Bon Petro Card” integrated with an app that lets its users manage their fleet and fuel expenses effectively and efficiently at the touch of a button. Using the Bon Petro Card- fleet managers can get auditable expense reports on every vehicle & driver as well as have one common loyalty point system across all petrol pumps in India. BOnfleet customers include taxi owners, hotels/delivery chains, large car fleets and logistics companies. Benefits fo fleet managers include transactions being restricted to fleet expenses, route based restrictions, consolidated billing, flexible payment options and software to improve accounting & fleet management. Driven with the ambition of bringing about significant efficiencies in the unorganised logistics space, and led by a strong leader with a penchant for creating and executing innovative ideas in the future, Bonfleet is poised towards disrupting the multi billion dollar fuel industry across the country.