As your company grows, so do its financial management needs. You have more suppliers to pay, more employees to manage, more supplies to order and more travel requirements. Where you might have initially charged these expenses to your personal card, a growing business means more complex finances, and it might be time for a business credit card.
Below, we walk you through the pros and cons of getting a corporate credit card for your business.
What is a business credit card?
A business credit card is precisely what it sounds like – a credit card assigned to your business rather than an individual. Using a business credit card, you can pay off your company expenses much like you would with any other credit card while keeping these transactions separate from your personal finances.
You could, of course, settle these payments using the debit card provided when you opened a business bank account, but opting for a credit card may come with extra benefits for you and your company.
Why get a business credit card?
There are several advantages to having a business credit card. For one, it lets you keep your business and personal finances separate, making it the better choice for growing businesses. Many businesses may also find it is a more savvy choice than paying entirely by debit card with benefits including:
Funds: What to do when you have a bill due and your last customer is being very slow at paying that invoice? Beyond chasing invoices for payment, not very much. A credit card will allow you to pay off these expenses while you wait for money to come in. Credit cards will let you have access to funds if you find yourself in a squeeze when it comes to paying suppliers and bills. While credit cards should not be depended on as a means of sourcing emergency cash, they are a good safety net to have.
Time-saving: A credit card removes the hassle and time-wasting admin that comes with expenses and reimbursing staff. Your employees can charge their travel, accommodation etc. straight to the card, without having to upload account details and receipts to be paid back. Many banks will also let you issue cards to multiple employees, all linked to the same account, so there’s no time wasted waiting to use just one card.
Better control: Credit card limits will help you keep better tabs on your spending, many banks will also offer flexible repayment options so you can tailor your card to suit you.
Better admin: Credit card statements can be itemised to department or even individual and are highly detailed, making it a much better choice for your admin and accounting staff.
Who can get a business credit card?
There are different requirements for different banks when it comes to qualifying for a business credit card. Some banks may require you to already be banking with them, others may require your turn-over to meet a certain amount, but even if one bank turns you away, there is every chance the next will approve you for a card. In any case, it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal for you, as fees and benefits will vary from card to card.
Tips for creating your company’s credit card policy
When you have a business credit card available for use, it’s extremely important to create a company credit card policy and put it in writing.
Create a written agreement for employees to sign
Draft a document that outlines the ground rules for using the card. It should acknowledge that the employee takes responsibility for the card and agrees to follow company guidelines. It should also address what happens when employees deviate from your company card policy guidelines.
Outline rules for spending
You can set limits on how much employees can spend on business credit cards. But it’s also a good idea to detail exactly what sorts of charges are appropriate and inappropriate for the company credit card. (Obviously, the card should not be used for personal spending.)
Acceptable charges usually fall into travel and entertainment (hosting clients for meals or travelling for business) and company expenses (ordering supplies or paying for services).
Clearly spell out the guidelines for each type of expense. You may want to set a pound limit on meals and hotel costs, for example, or require that employees fly economy class. You can also stipulate that office supply orders stay below a certain level.
Of course, there are always exceptions, so make sure to detail the process for getting approval for expenses that are outside the written guidelines.
Create instructions for expense reports
Your business credit card provides overview reports on spending, but employees still need to submit documents that substantiate expenses. You might ask for receipts, delivery confirmations, invoices or mileage logs for business credit card expenses, for example. There are a variety of software apps that can help streamline this expensing process.
Is there a fee for getting a business credit card?
Different cards charge different amounts, but almost all will charge an annual fee as well as different rates of interest.
Can you withdraw cash?
Yes, you can withdraw cash to a set daily allowance, usually several hundred pounds.
This card says I can get air miles when I use it, is this a legitimate offer?
Yes, some cards will offer extra benefits like air miles, cashback, points for future purchases and lower rates for usage abroad. This is another good reason to shop around before deciding on a card provider.