Q. What is WEX’s position in the fleet market?
A. Established in 1983, we are an industry leader known for developing technology that pioneered the closed-loop, proprietary fuel card network.
Many of our competitors offer open-loop products, such as a traditional purchasing card -- like a MasterCard, a VISA -- where the bank may not own the entire chain. So you might have an issuing bank, someone else doing the processing for you, another institution doing the billing. Whereas -- in the WEX world, on the fuel card side -- it’s a closed-loop network, which means it’s a proprietary network. We release specifications to the merchants that accept our card. That means we control the data. We are the issuer, the processor, we do the billing, we issue the credit, etc. We own the entire chain.
What that allows us to do is to control what data we capture, and what to do with it. It allows us to have a more secure network, because we’re not passing data to anybody else waiting for it to come back.
So that’s what fleets really have come to appreciate over the years.
One of our other lines of business is our Virtual business. We started that back in 2000. Very different from our competitors -- who are owned by a bank, or who use a bank. We own a bank. So we issue, through our bank, a MasterCard. Most of the issuance is done by our Virtual business. And we would routinely look at that and say: “Is that an opportunity for us to look at the fleet business and maybe migrate there?” Our customers and partners, still to this day, will tell us that the value in that closed-loop network is worth keeping.