Sooner or later, growing businesses face this decision: Should certain employees have their own company credit cards? While many biz owners are psychologically opposed to issuing plastic to employees, business credit cards can actually be big time and money savers. They greatly reduce the number of checks you have to write, provide detailed and itemized expense documentation, and reduce the frequency and cost of employee expense report reimbursements.
They can also save the day. Say, for example, you have a big presentation first thing tomorrow morning. You send your key employee to pick up the finished presentation materials at the printer, which closes in an hour. Your employee shows up with a signed check for the original quote, but the final total is higher. What now? If your employee has a business credit card, you wouldn’t have to cut a check in the first place, and there’d be no problem.
Still, there are a several factors to consider when entrusting employees with a business credit card. Here are three rules that business owners should consider when issuing company cards:
- Set spending limits: Often, the best way to prevent credit card abuse among employees is to set tight spending limits and “merchant category codes” (MCCs) to limit areas in which employees can spend money on the card. For example, American Express offers MCC blocking of 281 standard individual and 28 proprietary predefined groups of codes. By using this feature, business owners can allow employees to spend only with merchants in specified categories. You can also link card holders to a list of MCC codes and enable them to spend at any establishment other than the merchants in the codes listed. You can even restrict spending to specific merchants or locations by using Preferred Supplier Lists.
- Issue guidelines and a written company policy: In other words, do not assume employees know their limits when it comes to credit card spending. Ask employees to read and sign a written agreement that states compliance with the company’s rules for using credit cards.
- Review statements regularly: Regardless of trust in employees or any signed company policies, it is important to remain aware of employees’ spending. Conduct regular reviews of credit card expenses. It’s easy to do online where you can see precise details of every transaction. Also ask employees to provide receipts and to reconcile their spending monthly. Immediately bring any questions or concerns to the employee’s attention.
- Capture points and rebates: Using company credit cards is also a great way to consolidate business purchases, earn points and capture extra discounts.
For free comparisons of business credit cards that can help your company expand and save money, visit the business card section at CreditDonkey. You can search, compare and apply on the website, finding the best business credit card for your needs. Card issuers, such as American Express, sometimes offer extra cards on existing accounts at no additional charge for business customers in good standing.
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About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.