Corporate Credit Cards Overview
Corporate credit cards are a type of credit card that’s distinct from personal credit card, small business credit card, fleet cards, and fuel cards. Corporate credit cards are generally used by businesses with annual revenue of at least $4 million dollars, a good business score, employ at least 15 active credit card users, and expect $250,000+ in annual credit usage.
NAV offers two free business score summary reports that you can use to check corporate credit card eligibility. You’ll also receive a free personal credit score.
For Buying a Business
How Corporate Credit Cards Work
One of the most important features of a corporate credit card that makes it distinct from a small business credit card is that business owners aren’t required to personally guarantee the cards. The liability is therefore solely assumed by the company itself or jointly shared between the company and the employees using the corporate credit cards.
There are two different types of corporate credit cards, each with their own type of liability:
1. Company Payment Card
With a company payment card, the business assumes full liability for the expenses charged on the credit card. Personal guarantees from employees aren’t required, which means that their personal credit score is protected.
The company pays for the charges on the credit card, but the employee may still pay the issuer directly for any unapproved or personal charges. However, in case of late payment or delinquencies, the corporate credit card issuer will go after the company itself and not the cardholders. Any perks or rewards will also go directly to the company’s main account.
This is the most common type of corporate credit card. It benefits employees in that they do not need to create expense reports and wait for reimbursement.
The company can track credit card expenses real-time through a centralized dashboard, making it easy for the managers to analyze expenses. The business can also control the use of corporate credit cards through setting limits on spending and transactions on the overall corporate account or per card basis.
2. Individual Payment Card
With an individual payment card, there is a joint liability between the company and the employee/cardholder. The employee/cardholder is responsible for paying the monthly bill and submitting an expense report to the company for reimbursement.
Employees’ personal credit scores may be checked before they are issued individual payment cards. Because employees are equally liable for the charges on their corporate credit cards, the issuer may go after them in case of delinquencies, and this can affect their personal credit report.
It is important for the employees to fully understand the extent of their liability and for the company to set a clear internal policy on the use of corporate credit cards. The company can still set spending and transaction limits with an individual payment card, just like the company payment card. This allows a business to take control of their expenses.
Who Qualifies for Corporate Credit Cards?
Corporate credit cards, which are offered by large financial institutions, are normally issued based on the business’s size, financial performance, and credit ratings. Business owners’ personal credit scores are not considered during the application process. In order to qualify for a corporate credit card, the company must meet the following standard qualification guidelines:
- Must have at least $4 million annual revenue.
- Must have a good business credit score between 75 - 80+.
- At least 15 employees who are authorized to make regular purchases in behalf of the company.
- Credit card transactions of at least $250,000 annually
- The company must have existing and established expense policies
Some other qualification requirements may be needed depending on the credit card issuer. A corporate credit card account may not be obtained online - it can only be made available through a previously established banking relationship. You need to discuss the requirements and qualifications with your bank relationship manager or corporate account manager.
Corporate Credit Cards: Terms and Costs
Generally, the billing cycle for a corporate credit card is either monthly or bi-monthly. Some corporate cards allow you to carry a balance over to the following month, similar to your personal credit card. However, there are some corporate credit cards that have no carry balance provision, which requires the company pay off the balance in full every month.
The costs of corporate credit cards normally vary depending on the issuer. On average, the annual standard cost per corporate credit card ranges between $39 to $100. APRs for corporate credit cards are usually similar with the APRs of small business credit cards, which range from 13% to 20%. Below is a list of common terms, costs, and conditions:
- Repayment Terms: Monthly
- APR: Ranges from 13% to 20%
- Annual Cost per Corporate Credit Card: Between $39 to $100 per card
- Number of Cards allowed per Corporate Account: Unlimited (minimum of 15)
Although there is a minimum number of cards required per corporate account (typically 15 cards), a company with multiple employees may have an unlimited number of cards under one account.
When to Use a Small Business Credit Card Instead
The major difference between a corporate credit card and a small business credit card is the size requirement of the business. In order to qualify for a corporate credit card, your company needs to have an annual revenue of $4 million and at least 15 employees who will use the corporate credit cards. If your business does not reach the revenue requirement and number of employees, small business credit cards may be right for you.
Overview: Corporate Credit Cards vs. Small Business Credit Cards
|Corporate Credit Cards||Small Business Credit Cards|
|Personal Guarantee||None from business owners, may be needed from employees/cardholders||Business owners need to personally guarantee during initial application|
|Business Revenue Requirement||At least $4 million per year||Positive revenue|
|Number of Employees to Use the Credit Cards||At least 15 employees/cardholders||No minimum requirement|
|Usage Requirement||$250,000 per year||No minimum requirement|
|Perks and Rewards||Offers cash rebates between 1% to 5% credited directly to the company’s main account||Similar to personal credit card, usually in term sof miles or points|
|Annual Fees||Between $39 to $100 per card||Can be as high as $450 per person|
|Scalability||Easy to obtain additional cards||Less scalable|
Another important difference between a corporate credit card and a small business credit card is that a personal guarantee from the business owners is needed, especially during the initial application. With a corporate credit card, no personal guarantee is required on behalf of the business owner, specifically for company payment card.
What’s more, the annual cost associated with each type of credit cards. A flat annual fee is required for small business credit cards, usually around $99. Typically, additional costs may be charged, which can go as high as $300 to $450, depending on the perks and terms. With a corporate credit card, however, annual per card cost ranges between $39 to $100.
Additionally, for businesses that have growing number of employees needing to use credit card purchases on behalf of the business, a corporate credit card better. Corporate credit cards are built to scale with the company while small business credit cards have less scalability.
Businesses who need to save time reconciling financial reports and who want do away with reimbursement procedures and approval are a good fit for corporate credit cards. The use of corporate credit cards for businesses with growing employees can help promote efficient financial controls and reduce a business owner’s personal liability.
Before applying for any card, read what existing customers are saying. You want to make sure that the pain points being mentioned in the business credit card reviews aren't deal breakers for your business. Once you've found a program you want to pursue, check your credit and get your paperwork in order for the application. NAV offers two free business score summary reports that you can use to check corporate credit card eligibility. You’ll also receive a free personal credit score.
Maximum Loan Amount
Typical Loan Term
Typical Interest Rate
7 - 10 business days
Varies based on card-type
Have a question?
No personal guarantee
Comprehensive reporting on transactions that can be viewed real-time
Cash rebates and enterprise perks
Lower annual costs compared to small business credit cards
Scalable financial controls
There are some credit cards that require shorter payment terms in exchange of more favorable perks and rewards.
Can cost between $39 to $100 annually per card
You need at least $4 million per year in business revenue
Card carriers often require at least 15 employees/cardholders
Businesses typically need a good business credit score
Finding funding for a small business can be daunting. A Google search for “small business loan” brings up 180 million results! In part, this is because the last few years have seen a surge in business financing options. Nonetheless, some approaches stand the test of time. Here are 3 lessons you can learn from how […] Read More