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How to compare employee credit cards

From personal assistants to CEOs, there's a wide range of people who can benefit from using an employee credit card.

Company credit cards help keep track of work expenses and spending across different departments – and ultimately help to streamline accounting processes. With benefits for both employees and businesses, this type of credit card allows workers to separate their business and personal spending.

What is a company credit card?

Company credit cards are just like personal credit cards, except they’re designed with specific perks and tools to benefit businesses. With company credit cards, you can easily analyze and manage your employee spending and earn rewards on business-specific purchases like office supplies and business travel expenses.

Compare business credit cards

1 - 9 of 9
Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Welcome Offer
BMO Cashback Business Mastercard
American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
American Express Business Edge Card
BMO World Elite Business Mastercard
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
BMO Air Miles No-Fee Business Mastercard
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Business Mastercard
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Business Platinum Card from American Express
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card

Types of credit cards available for employees

Most employee credit cards are business or corporate credit cards assigned to specific employees. We’ve outlined the key differences between these cards below:

Small business credit cards

  • Business credit cards can be linked to a main account and each card on the account can be assigned individual spending limits from a centralized system. Providing employees with business credit cards reduces the need for expense reports and reimbursement processes, as only business funds are being used.
  • Some business credit cards offer rewards programs, giving employers and employees the opportunity to earn cash back, points or miles for their spending.
  • Business credit cards can provide a range of extra benefits, including access to business tools, spending reports and complimentary insurance coverage. Although rare, some providers may offer reduced liability for the account owner on cards distributed to employees.

Corporate credit cards

  • Unlike business cards, corporate credit cards don’t come with personal liability. However, your business will need to meet minimum size and income requirements in order to graduate from a small business card to a corporate card.
  • Once you get multiple cards linked to the corporate account, you’ll start building your company credit. Your personal credit will not be affected by your business spending — instead you’ll build business credit only.
  • This type of card offers higher spending controls and powerful analytics tools to help you monitor and optimize your company expenses. This is a great choice for companies with a large number of employees where tracking your business expenses can be difficult.
  • Corporate credit cards are not offered by all banks and providers.

Personal credit cards

  • Employees may choose to use a personal credit card for their work expenses. The main benefits of this include choosing your own card and earning rewards that you can solely take advantage of. You may opt for a no annual fee card, a low interest rate card or choose a credit card that offers cash back, miles or rewards points for your spending.
  • The downside of using a personal credit card for work spending is that you’ll be responsible for keeping your account in order by submitting statements or expense reports to your employer in order to claim reimbursement for spending on your card.
  • Keep in mind that work-related purchases can put a strain on your credit utilization ratio, especially if you have a low credit limit. Plus, there could be annual fees and interest charges that your employer won’t cover. In some cases, you may be able to claim tax deductions for these costs, but you’ll have to prove that you only used the card for work expenses and that you weren’t reimbursed for what you claim.

Pros and cons of employee cards

  • Keeps business and personal expenses separate.
  • Allows businesses to track and manage work-related payments.
  • Reward options available.
  • Some cards offer reduced business liability.
  • Some business credit cards may report your activity to both the business and the personal credit bureaus.
  • Business liability could leave your business accountable for most spending.
  • You may not have much choice when it comes to choosing the business credit card you want.

What to consider when choosing a company card

  • Reporting tools. Consider cards with solid reporting tools if your company has a large number of employees or tends to spend a lot. This can help you optimize your spending and negotiate better terms at merchants where you spend the most money.
  • Spending controls. Opt-in for a card that allows you to set spending controls for your employees. Controls usually include times and locations that the employee can use their card — or controls on specific spending categories, like gas, office supplies, travel and recurring bill payments.
  • Interest rates and fees. The interest rates for purchases, cash advances and balance transfers, as well as the card’s annual fee — both for primary and additional cardholders — can help determine whether the card you’re looking at is worth applying for.
  • Rewards programs. Company cards can offer a wide range of rewards that can be earned by all cards linked to the account — but the rewards are usually added to the main account and can only be redeemed by the account owner. Choose from earning cash back, rewards points or miles.
  • Compare spending categories. Some business cards will offer accelerated rewards in specific spending categories such as gas, office supplies and recurring bill payments. Consider which categories your business spends most in and compare the right cards. If you spend equally across all categories, consider a flat-rate card.
  • Complimentary extras. Some cards offer travel and car rental insurance, complimentary airport lounge access and even business liability insurance. Just be sure to check whether these perks only apply to the primary account holder or if they’re available to the authorized users as well.
  • Other fees. Credit cards may apply a range of other fees, including late payment and overlimit charges, foreign transaction fees, emergency card replacement fees and printed statement fees. Most — or all — of these fees can be avoided with the right card and proper account care and spending habits.

Always check the terms and conditions before you apply so you can learn if you’re subject to fees, eligible for rewards and promotional offers, or if there are any complimentary extras.

4 tips for using a company card

In case the company card you’re using doesn’t have active spending limits, be sure to:

  1. Stick to work spending. It’s essential that you only use your card for business expenses. Otherwise, there could be legal implications and other issues if it’s misused.
  2. Check what transactions are approved. Ask your boss or the appropriate work colleague before you use your card so that you know the cost will be covered.
  3. Track your spending. Keep an eye on your account spending so that you can make sure you have enough credit available for all your transactions. If you find you’re regularly maxing out the card, you may want to ask your boss for a credit limit increase.
  4. Keep your receipts. In case there’s an error, you’ll always have proof of your spending.

What can I not use my card for?

You shouldn’t use your employee credit card for personal purchases. Aside from legal issues, it’s likely that you’ll be liable for those purchases and you may lose your job for being reckless or dishonest.

Benefits of a company credit card

Employer benefits

  • Spending limits and controls.
  • Track and monitor your employees spending.
  • Reduce fraud and misuse.
  • Earn and redeem rewards.

Employee benefits

  • You don’t have to use a personal credit card.
  • Won’t affect your credit score if you’re not liable for the card.

Bottom line

Company credit cards can be a great choice for your business if you have a large number of employees and you want to simplify the spending and tracking process. With a corporate card, you’ll get better spending controls and limits, and you’ll be able to monitor and track employee card activity with ease.

If you have a small business with only a few employees and a fairly low income, a small business credit card may be your only option. However, watch out for liability since you’ll likely be personally responsible.

If you’re not certain which credit card can serve your business best, check out our business credit card guide and compare your options.

Frequently asked questions

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