Should You Use a Company Credit Card?

Photo (cc) by DonkeyHotey

I review dozens of credit card offers each week to find the best deals. Check out more on our credit card page.

When should you use a company credit card? It’s a question that can confuse everyone from administrative assistants to a United States senator.

In fact, Florida Sen. (and possible vice presidential candidate) Marco Rubio admitted this month that he mistakenly used the Florida Republican Party’s credit card to charge personal expenses.

“The Republican Party of Florida never paid my personal expenses,” Rubio told Fox News. Instead, Rubio used the party’s card for personal expenses that he paid off himself. But, he admitted, “I shouldn’t have done it that way. It was a lesson learned. It was a mistake.”

There are three different types of credit cards that can be lumped into the term “company card,” and whether you should use one depends on the type of card and, most importantly, your company’s guidelines…

1. Business card accounts you open

These cards are very similar to consumer cards and are marketed to individuals and small businesses. Like consumer cards, the primary account holder is responsible for repayment. And since you’re the one paying the bill, you can legally use it for anything you want.

PROS: Business cards allow individuals to charge company expenses to a separate card rather than mix them with personal items. Some of these cards feature more robust reports that make it easier to track expenses. You also get to keep any miles, points, or cash back earned.

CONS: Business cards were specifically excluded from most of the credit card reforms contained in The CARD Act of 2009. That means that payments can be applied to the balance with the lowest interest, terms can be more easily changed, and over-the-limit fees can be charged.

2. Business cards in someone else’s name

If you work for a small business, the owner may open a business card in his or her name, then add you and other employees as authorized cardholders.

PROS: You’re not directly responsible for paying the bill, since it will go to the primary cardholder. If you have trouble managing your finances and submitting expense reports, this lessens your burden. This is also a great option if your employer doesn’t cut expense checks in a timely fashion.

CONS: You have to be very careful to read and understand your company’s policies regarding the use of these cards. Your employer won’t look kindly on any unauthorized use, and you’ll be asked to reimburse the company for any personal charges. Furthermore, it’ll be your employer who receives any credit card rewards that result from your expenses. Personally, I would avoid this option unless my employer required me to use one.

3. Corporate cards

Large businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies may qualify for an actual corporate card that’s issued against the organization’s line of credit. Presumably, Sen. Rubio’s card was a corporate card issued to his state party.

PROS: Just like with business cards issued to an employer, using a corporate card means never being personally liable to the bank for the charges. Instead, you’re held accountable by the organization that issued the card. At the same time, these corporate cards are often high-end products with added perks.

CONS: When you use a corporate card, your strict compliance with authorized use policies will be vital to retaining your job. And again, you don’t get any rewards from using the card.

Bottom line

Like all employees, Sen. Rubio should have taken great care to keep his personal expenses off his company card. And if you have the option of using a business or corporate credit card, it’s important that you learn all of the benefits and drawbacks of these products.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?
What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?

The best battery depends on what you need it for and how big your budget is. Here’s how to find the cheapest brand that will do the job you need.

15 Things You Should Always Buy at Yard Sales
15 Things You Should Always Buy at Yard Sales

You can save a ton of money — especially if you spot any of these items.

Secret Ways to Save on Netflix
Secret Ways to Save on Netflix

These little-known savings tactics can help whittle down what you pay for your streaming video subscription — every month.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores
10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores

Wholesale clubs might have great deals, but these mistakes will cost you.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk
Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk

A new study finds that wearing a cloth mask can backfire if you don’t clean it properly.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.