The Ins and Outs of Corporate Credit Cards


There are two kinds of corporate credit cards for payments, each with different requirements, provided to employees for the payment of approved business-related expenses — most commonly for travel. Regardless of what kind you may have, it’s important to learn your company’s policies to avoid the pitfalls that could lead to negative consequences.

Individual payment cards require employees who have been issued one to be responsible for their own expense reports as stated in the company policy. Should there be any unapproved or personal charges; the employee must pay them directly to the card issuer. The second kind of corporate credit card is a company payment card, with expenses paid by the employer for company-sanctioned charges.  As in the case of the individual payment card, an employee may still pay the issuer directly for any personal or unapproved charges made on it.

The following is a top 10 list of best practices of using a corporate credit card:

  1. Different positions may have different policies. Know spending limits and restrictions for broad company policies as well as for any specific to your position or department.
  2. It’s not enough to know that travel expenses are covered. You have to determine if that includes charges for gas and tolls or if it pertains to airfare and car rentals, for example.
  3. Whenever possible, participate in any employee training classes — either online or in-person —before the card is activated.
  4. Stay informed on any updates or changes to company policy.
  5. Don’t mix personal spending with business spending.
  6. Expect your expenses to be randomly audited and behave accordingly.
  7. Ask yourself a common sense question prior to any purchase: “Is this purchase entirely related to my job?” Then only use the corporate card if you can affirm that it is. It will help keep you honest.
  8. When an acceptable charge gets denied, possibly due to company-imposed limits, call your program administrator who may be able to make an adjustment to enable the transaction to go through.
  9. Keep your credit score high to avoid your company and/or yourself having an approval denied corporate card by issuers.
  10. Security matters! Keep your card in safe place, pay attention to charges and immediately report anything that appears to be fraudulent. Also immediately report a lost or stolen corporate payment card.

When used properly, corporate credit cards can offer many perks, but improperly used can lead to headaches or even the loss of your job! Use the top ten best practices as guidelines to make the most of having a corporate credit card to fully enjoy its benefits.


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