Fuel Cards: What They Are and How to Activate Them

Due to rising oil prices in India, fuel credit cards have become the top choice for consumers in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. In 2023, these cards witnessed a 17% year-on-year growth in smaller cities in the country.  

With cashback, rewards points, or discounts on fuel purchases, these cards allow you to offset your travel expenses and save more in the long run. But what makes them so special from a regular credit card? Read on to find out about their benefits and how to activate them.

What are Fuel Credit Cards and How Do They Work?

A fuel credit card is a financial tool that helps you ease the burden of ever-rising fuel costs. Every time you use this card at a fuel station, you can claim certain monetary benefits. These advantages can be in the form of reward points, waivers, cashback, discounts, and attractive offers.

Most issuers allow you to claim these benefits by redeeming them using different methods. However, some companies set a minimum spending requirement to qualify for these rewards.

Do note that you will pay annual fees and other charges associated with the card. As such, you should compare and pick one with affordable terms. Doing so will ensure that you can get a card with charges that don’t negate the benefits received on fuel purchases. 

Benefits of Using Fuel Credit Cards

While rising fuel prices can strain your income, a fuel credit card offers diverse advantages that help you save more in the long run. Explore the benefits that these credit cards provide: 

Reward Points

  • Most of these credit cards offer reward points on every purchase you make at a fuel station.
  • You can redeem these points for benefits like free fuel, travel vouchers, discounts on select merchant stores, and more.
  • These points can translate into consistent savings for frequent travellers in the long run.


  • Some credit card companies may also offer a certain percentage of the money you spend at fuel stations back.
  • Unlike reward points, they generally don’t require redemption and directly reduce the cost of refuelling your vehicle.
  • It has a simple and straightforward process as it automatically applies to your credit card statement.
  • A cashback-offering fuel credit card can be ideal for those who prefer immediate savings on their bills at fuel stations.

When choosing such a card, comparing the rate at which the issuer offers cashback is crucial, as it may vary depending on the card. Additionally, some issuers may have minimum spending limits to note.

Fuel Surcharge Waiver

  • Some fuel stations may charge an additional fee if you use a credit card to pay for refuelling your vehicle.
  • This is the fuel surcharge fee, and it covers the processing charges of using a credit card at a fuel station.
  • Many credit card companies allow you to claim a waiver on this fee, which generally ranges between 1-3% of the transaction cost.

While this would only be a few Rupees per litre of fuel purchase, it can add up to maximise your savings over time.This waiver can be particularly beneficial if you spend a lot on fuel due to your daily commute. 

Discounts and Offers

  • Many credit cards also provide attractive discounts at fuel stations and other related services like car washes.
  • These cards may also extend other benefits like complimentary towing and roadside assistance.


  • Credit cards come with advanced security features like EMV chip, PIN and fraud protection.
  • This provides you with peace of mind that you won’t be liable for any unauthorised transactions on your credit card.


  • Fuel credit cards save you from the hassle of carrying cash or giving out exact change at stations.
  • Credit card transactions also help you keep tabs on your fuel expenses with ease, instead of saving physical bills.

How to Activate Fuel Credit Cards

Unlike debit cards, there is no separate credit card activation process. You can start using your fuel credit card once you receive it from the issuer. However, you may need to take care of a few things, which include:

  • Once the issuer approves your credit card request, they will mail you the card.
  • For security purposes, some credit card issuers may require you to set up a credit card transaction PIN before you start using it.
  • They may also request you to verify your personal details, for which they may provide standing instructions.
  • You can start using your card for purchases at fuel stations across the country once you complete all the security measures.

If you’re unsure about the credit card activation process, reach out to your card issuer to get clarity. Ideally, this information should be readily available on their website, so you can check there. If it isn’t mentioned there, reach out to the customer support team.

However, as there are no signs of significant fuel price cuts in the foreseeable future, it seems that a fuel credit card may be your best option to reduce your expenses. If you want a credit card that offers a fuel surcharge waiver along with value-back offers on fuel purchases, get the OneCard Credit Card. 

Get 5X rewards and 1% value-back on a purchase at any fuel station across the country with no annual and joining fees. What’s more, track all your fuel expenses to avoid overspending on its powerful mobile application. Apply now to spend confidently on fuel!

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