U.S. Bank announced today that the company has acquired TransCard’s Class 7-8 fuel card network, including the product technology and its nationwide acceptance network. The acquisition will allow the bank to expand its existing fuel card business beyond light-duty vehicles and cars.
TransCard’s platform was originally developed in partnership with U.S. Xpress, which will now become the premier client of the U.S. Bank “Over The Road Card (OTR)” program, scheduled to launch in September.
The new card will be “dual-function,” meaning that it can be used for charging any company-authorized expense (including fuel, maintenance and tolls) and also used as a MasterCard prepaid account. The MasterCard prepaid account function allows for direct deposit of payroll or other funds onto the card, which then can be used wherever Debit MasterCard is accepted. According to the company, this will make it one of the few OTR solutions that combines MasterCard-branded prepaid functionality for personal purchases with fuel charging capability for corporate purchases -- all on the same card.
Ramel Lindsay, group product and program manager for U.S. Bank, calls this combined functionality a “dual wallet” solution. The system will automatically differentiate between the two “wallets” on the card at the point of sale, he explained to Fleet Owner, permitting the purchase of fuel and other company-related expenses from the fuel card or credit wallet according to various security protocols established by the fleet.
The prepaid wallet, on the other hand, can be used by employees for purchases that do not require company authorization, such as personal items. “At the time of use [as a debit card], it will look and feel just like any standard debit card,” he noted.
According to Lindsay, one of the other strengths of the new OTR program is that it is a totally closed loop system. There is no other entity in the middle that acquires the data and enables the transaction. Instead, transaction information is sent immediately to fleets in real time via a direct connection with the processing platform.
The card will be accepted by all major truck stops, as well as at some “mom and pop” independent locations and unattended or cardlock locations Lindsay noted. “The reason we bought this system is because it is so robust,” he said. “It can be used to provide various reports to fleets, such as type of fuel purchased, purchase time and location and gallons pumped.”
“I believe U.S. Bank will provide an unparalleled solution for U.S. Xpress as well as the broader trucking industry, combining the strength of one of the nation’s soundest financial institutions with an innovative technology platform,” said Craig Fuller, CEO of TransCard. “TransCard is excited to participate in this offering which will reinforce our position as the leading provider of prepaid services to financial institutions of all sizes.”
While the new system will launch as a physical card, nothing about the system would prevent U.S. Bank from offering a “cardless” version of the service in the future should there be a demand. In fact, the bank is keeping a watchful eye on developments in the cardless business, Lindsay told Fleet Owner. All you need is access to the vehicle-mounted transponder, he noted, but it does involve a cost to the carriers, so they will be the ones to drive adoption of any cardless solutions.
In the meantime, Lindsay says that the entire team at U.S. Bank is “extremely excited” about the fuel card system acquisition. Among other benefits, the new service can be offered to the approximately 14,000 carriers with which the bank already does business. Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, with $341 billion in assets as of March 31, 2012, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the 5th largest commercial bank in the United States.
Companies interested in learning more about the U.S. Bank Over the Road Card prior to its September launch can call (866) 274-5898 toll-free for more information.