All the companies, even a few startups that have received funding from VCs or angel investors, warrant business trips that include travelling expenses, lodging at a hotel, airfare, or train fare. Now, these charges are incurred by the employees of the company. Thus, the company pays for the employees or compensates them.
However, it might be difficult to keep track of all the expenses and reimburse the employees at the right time, especially when it's a big startup or an SME with its operations spread across geographies. Thus, companies have adopted corporate credit cards to make affairs easier for the accounting department and help both the firm and the employees.
What is a Corporate Credit Card?
Corporate credit cards are normally issued by prominent companies to their employees to pay for the expenses incurred due to the requirements of the company so that the employee does not have to pay from their own pocket. Startup founders can also benefit from the corporate cards greatly by better utilising the funds received from the investors like VCs and angel investors. The corporate cards are very different from the business cards used by the sole proprietor due to their eligibility and liability criteria.
Also known as commercial credit cards, corporate credit cards are issued to specific employees only. These cards make it easier for the employee and employer to reconcile the expenses, and the company can easily monitor the charges that the employee incurred under the company policies. The card holds the name of the employer and, in some cases, the employee to whom it has been issued. Different corporate credit cards have different liability criteria. Like few cards may have joint liability as an option.
Types of Corporate Credit Card
A corporate card is bifurcated on the basis of the entity that will be responsible for the debts and pay the credit card bill. The two divisions are individual liability cards and corporate liability cards. The employer has the choice to issue any kind of corporate card to the employee.
Individual Liability Card
The employer first checks the credit score of the employee before issuing the individual liability card. Notwithstanding that, the credit score of the employee is not affected by the use of the corporate credit card. In this type of card, the employee is liable for the payment of the expenses incurred. The employee has to account for the charges to the employer for reimbursement.
Corporate Liability Card
As the name suggests, the corporate or the start-up founder that is the employer is responsible for the payment of the business expenses. However, the employee needs to give details about those charges to the employee. The employer then reconciles it with the card statement. In this case, the credit card issuing company checks the employer’s credit score.
How does a Corporate Credit Card Work?
Corporate credit cards are very much like the personal credit cards used by the employee. The only difference is that here the expenses are borne by the employer or the company and do not fall under the personal expense of the employee. In the absence of a corporate credit card, the employee will have to bear the business expenses like lodging and travelling that are recurring expenses owing to international business, personally for a time being that will be compensated later.
However, it may be the case that the employee doesn’t have the required funds in the bank, and the operations of the company may get delayed. Especially in the case of startups, the early-stage founders cannot afford to take too much time to take decisions. Hence, corporate credit cards play an important role in boosting the company’s growth as well. Additionally, the employee should be well educated about the company policies regarding the expenses and reimbursement of them before using the card so that during the reconciliation of the card statement, there are no discrepancies and disagreements. Each time the employee uses the card, the amount is recorded on the card statement so that the company can monitor how and where the card is being used.
How to Get a Corporate Credit Card?
As per the US credit card issuing company requirements, the employee’s firm should have a minimum annual revenue of $4 million for it to be eligible for a corporate credit card. It should also have minimum transactions of at least $250,000 every year.
In India, the eligibility requirement may vary depending upon the issuing company, but the firm should have a minimum annual turnover of Rs 10 crore, and that should have been functioning for at least two years. Other requirements that may vary depending upon the issuing company are more than 15 users of the card, and the firm must be registered as a C or S corporation. Issuing companies normally review the company’s audited financial statements, tax information, and the structure of the company. Many corporate credit card companies also cater to the need of startups.
What are the Benefits of a Corporate Credit Card?
A corporate credit card has myriad benefits to established companies as well as startups that have freshly received funds from investors. Let’s examine a few:
No personal charges
The employee does not have to bear the charges even if they are incurring the expense. The card pays for the charges for the company business.
Promotes company growth
Since the funds are readily available to the employee, there is no delay in the operations of the company, helping in the promotion of growth of the company.
The corporate credit card increases the credit score of the company and doesn’t affect the credit score of the employee.
You can keep track of how the funds of the company are being used to pay for the expenses and reconcile them with the card statement. This transparency helps in reducing fraud and maintains the security of the funds.
A corporate card is an important weapon in the arsenal of the company. It helps in expense management. Moreover, the employees do not have to spend personal funds and increase the work of the company to reimburse them through wire transfers or other methods. A startup or an SME can take advantage of the corporate cards by increasing their credit score and by making prompt decisions so that the business operations are not delayed.