How to compare Employee Credit Cards

Information verified correct on September 23rd, 2016
credit cards for employees

From personal assistants to CEOs, there’s a wide range of people that can benefit from employee credit cards. Discover your options and compare credit cards here.

Employee credit cards are designed to help keep track of work expenses and to simplify accounting, with benefits for both individuals and businesses. As an employee, this type of credit card will allow you to keep your work and your personal spending separate. Depending on the card, you may get a range of other benefits, including rewards programs or complimentary insurance.

For businesses, on the other hand, employee credit cards can make it easier to keep track of spending across different departments and simplify spending reports. It may also be a way to offer additional benefits to employees through rewards and complimentary extras. This guide outlines the different types of credit cards available to employees, how to compare employee credit cards and the key details you need to consider to help you choose an option that suits your needs.

Types of credit cards for employees

Most employee credit cards are business credit cards assigned to specific employees. An individual may also be able to use a personal credit card for the spending they do as an employee of a company. We’ve outlined the key differences between these cards below:

Business credit cards

Business credit cards are designed specifically to simplify work spending. With these cards, a business owner or company can assign additional cards to employees. These cards are linked to the main account and can be assigned individual spending limits from a centralised system. This structure allows businesses to keep track of spending across all departments and to streamline the expense claims process, potentially saving time and money.

Providing employees with business credit cards reduces the need for expense reports and reimbursement processes, as only business funds are being used. Business credit cards can also be linked to rewards programs, giving employers and employees the opportunity to earn points or frequent flyer miles for their spending.

In addition to these benefits, business credit cards can provide a range of extras including liability insurance, spending reports and compatibility with popular accounting software programs such as MYOB or Microsoft Excel. It’s also the business owner or company that applies for a business credit card for employees, which means individual credit lending criteria don’t apply for additional cardholders.

Personal credit cards

Employees may choose to use a personal credit card for their work spending. With this option, the individual employee must compare a range of credit cards and apply for one that suits their needs. Individual application criteria and credit history requirements apply for this type of card, and the employee is responsible for managing the account.

The main benefit of choosing this type of card for employee spending is that you can decide on the features that are most important to you. For example, if you want to save money on spending, you may choose a low rate or a low fee option, while if you want additional benefits, a rewards or frequent flyer card might suit your needs.

In some cases, you may even be able to claim tax deductions for personal credit card expenses such as interest charges and annual fees, but you will have to prove that you only used the card for work expenses and that you were not reimbursed. Other conditions may also apply, so check with your accountant if you are considering this option for employee spending.

Also note that if you use a personal credit card for work spending, you will also have to submit statements or expense reports to your employer in order to claim reimbursement for spending on your card, and you might only have limited funds available.

Pros and cons for employee credit cards

Pros

  • Keeps work and personal expenses separate
  • Allows businesses to track and manage work-related payments for staff
  • Potential tax deductions
  • Personal liability and business liability account options available
  • Reward options

Cons

  • Restrictions on what you can use the card for
  • Personal liability options could leave you accountable for any issues.
  • You may not be able to choose the business credit card you want.
  • Interest rates and fees may apply for personal credit card options.

How to compare employee credit cards

If you’re in a position to choose a business credit card or a personal credit card for employee spending, it’s important to compare a range of factors to find the right option for you. We’ve outlined the key details to consider below.

  • Standard rates and fees. If you’re responsible for managing your employee credit card, it’s important to consider the standard variable interest rates for purchases, cash advances or balance transfers, as well as the card’s annual fee (both for primary and additional cardholders). These features add to the overall cost of the card and, ideally, the benefits of the account should outweigh the potential costs of an annual fee or interest charges.
  • Interest-free days. If you plan on using your employee credit card to free up your cash flow, pay attention to any interest-free periods available. Many personal and business credit cards offer up to a certain number of interest-free days for each statement period, as long as you pay your balance in full by each due date. This gives you a window of time when you can use the card without being charged interest, for example, when you’re waiting to be reimbursed for work expenses.
  • Rewards programs. There’s a wide range of personal rewards credit cards that employees can choose from if they want to earn points for their spending. Many business credit cards also come with rewards programs, although employees may need to request that they be included in the program to earn points. Check the details and requirements for individual cards to find out what you need to do to take advantage of a rewards program.
  • Complimentary extras. Many credit cards provide perks such as travel insurance, transit accident insurance and even business liability insurance. These benefits can add a lot of value to the card you choose, as long as you can actually use them. In the case of business credit cards that offer additional cards for employees, for example, some of the perks may only be available to the primary account holder. Check your card’s product disclosure statement, or ask your employer to find out if there are complimentary extras you can access with the employee credit card you choose.
  • Security features. Credit cards for employees often include 24/7 fraud monitoring services and liability insurance to help cover the cost of unauthorised transactions. There are usually specific criteria around these features, so make sure you know what is and isn’t covered before choosing a card.
  • Foreign transaction fees. This charge is particularly important if you make a lot of international transactions for work. Most credit cards charge a fee of between 2% and 3.5% of the transaction value for transactions made overseas or online with an international merchant. While there are not currently any business credit cards advertising no foreign transaction fees, there is a range of personal cards that waive this cost. Either way, make sure you find out whether or not employees will be reimbursed if this fee is applied.
  • Cash advance fees. If you use your credit card for a “cash transaction” such as an ATM withdrawal or a gambling purchase, you will be charged a fee of 2% to 3.5% of the total transaction cost. Many credit cards also consider utility payments and government charges as “cash advances”, so make sure you consider this if you’re an employee or a business owner planning to use a credit card for these types of payments.
  • Other fees. Credit cards may charge a range of other fees including late payment and overlimit charges, emergency card replacement fees and printed statement fees. Always check the product information tables or documents before you apply for a card so that you can find one that’s affordable for you based on your needs.

Tips for using an employee credit card

Using an employee credit card comes with a range of responsibilities. Keep the following tips in mind to make sure that this type of card works for you.

  • Stick to work spending. If you have a credit card for work, it’s essential that you only use it for business expenses. Otherwise, there could be legal implications and other issues if it’s misused.
  • Check what transactions are approved. If you’re unsure of whether or not a transaction will be considered as “work spending”, ask your boss or the appropriate work colleague before you use your card so that you know the cost will be covered.
  • Take note of the statement due date. Even if you’re not responsible for paying the balance of the account, make sure you check the due date to help reduce the risk of late payments and additional charges.
  • Track your spending. Keep an eye on your account spending so that you can make sure you have enough credit available for all your transactions. If you find you’re regularly maxing out the card, you may want to request a credit limit increase.
  • Provide your frequent flyer details. If you’re an employee with a business frequent flyer credit card option, you will need to provide your membership details for the frequent flyer program so that you can earn rewards points for your spending.
  • Read the Product Disclosure Statement and any related work documents. Before you start using an employee credit card, make sure you read through its Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and any work documents that could impact on your card use. This will help ensure that you follow the correct processes and get the most out of the card.

Credit cards can help both employees and employers keep track of work expenses and simplify the accounting process. Now that you know more about employee credit cards, you can compare a range of options and find one that really suits your needs.

Frequently asked questions

I’m an employee. Can I apply for a business credit card?

Generally, employees will not be eligible to apply for a business credit card for work, as the lending criteria are different. For example, most business credit cards require you to be the owner, partner or director of a company and to have a valid Australian Business Number (ABN). However, you may be able to suggest a business credit card to your employer, or apply for a personal credit card instead.

I’ve just taken a job where I’m provided with an employee credit card, but I have poor credit history. Will this affect my ability to use the card?

No. If you’re provided with a business credit card, it will usually be as an “additional cardholder”. This means that while you can use the account and may even have your name printed on the card, the business owner or company that applied for the card (and is the “primary account holder”) will be responsible for managing your account as an additional cardholder. As a result, features such as the credit limit will be based on their information and decisions, not yours.

Can I earn frequent flyer points with an employee credit card?

This depends on the credit card. There is a wide range of personal credit cards that earn frequent flyer points, and many business credit cards provide this option as well. However, some business frequent flyer cards may only earn points for the employer. If you’re an employee who wants to earn frequent flyer points, you may want to check out our guide to business frequent flyer credit cards for employees.

Comparison of Business Credit Cards

Rates last updated September 23rd, 2016.

American Express Gold Business Card

10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points offer has been extended.

February 4th, 2016

American Express Platinum Business Card

The 100,000 Membership Reward Points offer has been extended until 3 October 2016.

September 1st, 2016

Commonwealth Bank Business Platinum Awards credit card

First year annual fee waiver has been extended until 31 October 2016.

September 2nd, 2016

View latest updates

Jonathan Choi Jonathan
Bonus Points Points per $ spent Complimentary Travel Insurance Cover Annual fee Minimum Income
ANZ Business Black
Receive 50,000 bonus points when you spend $10,000 within the first 3 months and get access to a range of premium rewards and travel benefits.
50,000 bonus points 1 3 months $450 p.a. Go to site More info
Commonwealth Bank Business Interest Free Days credit card
Take advantage of $0 annual fee for the first year. Get up to 55 interest-free days on purchases and included transit accident insurance.
VISA/MC: 0 AMEX: 0 $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($60 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Commonwealth Bank Business Platinum Awards credit card
Earn up to 3 Awards points per dollar spent, enjoy complimentary insurances and $0 annual fee for the first year.
VISA/MC: 1 AMEX: 3 6 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($300 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
American Express Platinum Business Card
Receive 100,000 bonus points, earn 1 Membership Rewards point for every dollar spent, complimentary insurances and access to over 600 airport lounges.
100,000 bonus points VISA/MC: 0 AMEX: 1 6 months $1,500 p.a. $75,000 Go to site More info
American Express Business Card
One of the original charge cards from American Express the offers complimentary insurances including purchase protection and accident cover.
VISA/MC: 0 AMEX: 1 0 months $109 p.a. $24,000 Go to site More info
American Express Gold Business Card
Receive 10,000 bonus points on signup and earn 1 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent with uncapped earnings.
10,000 bonus points VISA/MC: 0 AMEX: 1 0 months $169 p.a. $24,000 Go to site More info
American Express Velocity Business Card
A truly dedicated business rewards credit card. Download all your card expenses in a format readable by Quicken, MYOB, Microsoft Excel and more.
VISA/MC: 0 AMEX: 1 0 months $249 p.a. $24,000 Go to site More info
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4 Responses to How to compare Employee Credit Cards

  1. Default Gravatar
    Prabir | October 24, 2015

    Hi i am Prabir and i am a college student. I want to know about the detailing of the credit card and whether students can apply or not?

    • Staff
      Ally | October 26, 2015

      Hi Prabir,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Students can definitely apply for a credit card.

      Kindly see the student credit card options available (as well as the tips provided) on this page.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      Ally

  2. Default Gravatar
    BRAD | April 28, 2013

    I’ve taken a job where they provide a Company Car and a Westpac Visa card for petrol, travel and work related expenses.
    I had $20K) a previous relationship debt with Virgin Money (Visa Credit Card) that I didn’t even find out about until it had already gone past the 7 years. It no longer appears on my report but i’m wondering if when I start my job it will create an issue as I was led to believe that Westpac are the financier to Virgin on their cards ?

    • Staff
      Jacob | April 28, 2013

      HI Brad. Thanks for your question. Currently, HSBC underwrite Virgin Credit Cards. I can’t comment on whether this will be an issue for your new job. Can you please check your credit file?. Please let me know a little more about your situation so I can give a better answer. Jacob.

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 23rd, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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