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The Many Benefits of Free Employee Business Credit Cards
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
If you’re reimbursing employees for business expenses often, the back-and-forth of getting receipts and issuing repayments can be a hassle. Issuing employee credit cards can streamline the process, as well as provide the business with the ability to earn rewards.
Numerous card issuers offer free employee cards on business card accounts, allowing you to benefit from numerous perks without paying an additional fee per card. Purchases made on an employee card can be tracked easily, earn rewards and provide a multitude of purchase protections. However, before you start handing out employee cards, certain card-use rules and restrictions must be set in place to prevent abuse.
We’ll review the many benefits of employee credit cards, which issuers offer free employee cards, and best practices.
Benefits of employee credit cards
From streamlining spending to earning rewards on everyday business purchases, here are some common perks you may receive by using employee cards:
- Reward programs: Most business cards have rewards programs where you and your employees’ purchases can earn points, miles or cash back. Rewards can be redeemed in a variety of ways, from statement credits to gift cards, merchandise and travel.
- Insurances and protections: When employees pay for purchases in full with select employee cards, they may benefit from cell phone protection, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip cancellation or interruption insurance, auto rental damage collision waivers, and more.
- Spending management tools: Most business cards offer quarterly and year-end summaries, and the ability to download purchase records to programs like Excel and Quickbooks, so you can track spending and simplify accounting.
- Streamline employee business spending: Unlike business spending on employee personal cards that require reimbursement, any spending done on an employee card will be billed directly to a primary account.
Card issuers who provide free employee credit cards
Many major credit card issuers offer a variety of business cards with the option to open employee cards at no additional cost. However, some of the cards below have annual fees — but only for the primary account. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.
Best practices for using employee credit cards
Employee cards aren’t risk-free — the business is liable for all charges made on the account as the employees are considered to be authorized users of the cards, not account owners. Review the steps below so you can get the most benefit and potentially avoid issues:
- Set up spending guidelines: Make sure you set clear parameters to your employees on what is and what isn’t considered a business expense. With clear guidelines and expectations, an employer can hopefully avoid any employee card abuse. A helpful feature some cards have, like Chase’s employee credit cards, is the ability to set spending limits for each employee card.
- Review charges: Regularly reviewing credit card charges is a key action any business owner should take and is especially important with employee cards. If you have several employee cards open, there’s a greater risk for fraud and card misuse. You should take the time to review charges to verify employees are using their card appropriately.
- Use available spending controls: When you open an Amex business card, for example, you can set spending controls that alert you if a purchase is made outside selected categories. Just know that this doesn’t always prevent purchases from being approved; it just notifies the business owner and the employee.
The bottom line
Employee cards can be a great asset for businesses that want to avoid the hassle of reimbursing employees for business charges made on personal cards. In addition to optimizing business spending, purchases charged to an employee card can help you earn rewards faster and allow employee purchases to benefit from a multitude of protections.
Keep in mind, however, that while employee cards have many perks, the business is liable for all charges, so set up spending guidelines, regularly monitor charges and implement any safeguards against abuse the issuer offers.