Some four decades after launching its Voyager card network for fleet operators to control fuel purchases and other driving expenses, US Bank is collaborating with Mastercard on a new fleet card accepted by both networks.
The US Bank Voyager Mastercard targets companies whose fleets may venture beyond US borders to Mexico and Canada, the Minneapolis bank said in a press release Tuesday. The Voyager network is accepted at about 97% of US gas stations.
The move, marking the first time the Voyager corporate card has affiliated with another major card network, also creates the opportunity for drivers to make emergency purchases, particularly for nonfuel items, with Mastercard merchants, said Jeff Pape, senior vice president and director of product and marketing for transportation at US Bank, a unit of US Bancorp.
“In cases where drivers need to pay for an emergency towing service, or get supplies or a stay at a hotel that’s not part of the Voyager network, this card covers those scenarios,” Pape said.
Pape expects that most corporations will stick with fleet cards that work exclusively on the Voyager network, which provides spending controls primarily for fuel and vehicle maintenance purchases that are visible to managers.
Purchases made on the new dual-network cards will retain the same controls, and managers will be able to see Mastercard purchases alongside routine Voyager purchases in a single account view, Pape said.
“Mastercard transactions will flow across Mastercard rails to US Bank and be consolidated into a single file exactly like Voyager transactions,” he said.
Mastercard and Voyager co-developed the solution in recent months. It supports both a physical card and a virtual version of the card, which Voyager provides for vehicle maintenance purchases.
“By partnering with Mastercard we’re increasing the convenience of the Voyager card, and that really matters at a time when it’s very hard to recruit new drivers,” Pape said.
Voyager, which is part of US Bank’s corporate card unit, has seen steady transaction growth over the last two years, Pape said.
“Fuel prices go up and down, but transaction activity is where we’re seeing growth, and with the Mastercard option we expect to capture incrementally more overall revenue,” he said.
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