In this brief guide, we are going to explore what corporate credit cards are, how to get them and how to effectively manage them to stay out of debt.

What are corporate credit cards?

corporate credit cards are credit cards which are specifically targeted towards Businesses.  

Corporate cards from their outlook are generally the same as other credit cards. Corporate credit cards are in the business’s name and not your name.

These credit cards are designed with unique features which allow businesses to have access to funds to match their various industries. Some merchants even produce specific credit cards for businesses which use their services or buy their products as a way of further providing good customer service and retaining their business clients.

corporate credit cards may help you manage your business purchases, general business expenditure and help you through difficult cash flow periods as most corporate credit cards will offer interest-free periods of up to 56 days.

A good example of this is tool station with its tool station corporate credit card.

Your corporate credit card will be used by you and your employees to make repayments and cover any other expenses relating to the company and the company is legally responsible for making the credit card repayments and responsible for the credit card balance.

With a corporate credit card you can pay off the balance you owe in full or make the minimum monthly repayments as you would with a personal credit card.  As with a personal credit card, if you don’t make the minimum credit card repayments on your corporate credit card then you may be charged a late fee. If you carry over a credit card balance from month to month then you may end up in credit card debt but will certainly be charged interest on the credit card balance.

If you had an introductory rate on your corporate credit card then you may lose this rate if you fail to make your minimum monthly repayment.

Examples of corporate credit cards in the UK

Company  – Max credit limit- min APR- Min Annual fee

Capital on Tap£50,0009.9%Free for basic card
NatwestSubject to status24.5%From £32 per card holder
Barclays/BarclaycardNot stated24.9%From £0
SantanderNot stated23.7%£30
HSBCNot stated22.0%1st year free then £32
RBSNot stated24.5%From £32 per card holder
American ExpressNot statedNot statedFrom £0
Metro Bank Not stated13%No fee
Lloyds Bank£10,00022.4%£32 per card
TSBNot stated22.4%£32 per card
Yorkshire BankNot stated22.4%£28 per card
Clydesdale BankNot stated22.4%£28 per card
Cashplus£3,00024.9%No fee
Bank of Scotland£10,00022.4%£32 per card

Can you get a corporate credit card?

You may be able to get a corporate credit card if any of the below describes you

You run a small business

You are a sole trader

You are setting up a new business

You make purchases for a larger company you work for

How are you assessed for a corporate credit card

When you apply for a corporate credit card the lender will usually check the directors credit report and the credit report of the company. In some cases, the credit card company will request your companies bank statements and financial accounts( for 2 years) before they issue you with a corporate credit card or decide what your credit limit will be.

Types of corporate credit cards

There are different types of corporate credit cards. Some of these include:

Reward cards – 

You could also get a corporate rewards credit card which allows you to earn reward points which you can use to purchase things or get discounts on other things.

Low-interest credit cards – 

You could also get a low-interest corporate credit card which charges you a low APR on your credit card balance. This kind of card may be good for you if your company carries a lot of balance from one month to the other.

Air miles credit cards – 

corporate  air mile credit cards will allow your business to earn a lot of miles if your employees fly a lot. You can then use these miles to buy tickets, get discounts on your flight tickets  or upgrade tickets.

Cashback credit cards –

Your business can use a corporate cashback credit card which allows you to earn cashback as you spend on your purchases. Your cashback may cease if you don’t make your minimum credit card repayment.

These credit cards will all have different terms which you should take into consideration before getting the card.

Advantages of corporate credit cards

There are many advantages of corporate credit cards. We have highlighted a few of them below.

corporate credit cards can help companies manage their cash flow. This means if you are still expecting income from sales you can still buy more stock or goods with a corporate credit card.

corporate credit cards can help a business build its credit score if the credit card is used properly.

corporate credit cards will also mean that your employees don’t have to cover their expenses and then claim them back as they can simply use the corporate credit card. This means less administrative work and less costs for you.

corporate credit cards will also make it much easier for you to manage your expenses as you may be able to download the data from your credit card statement into your accounting software.

Disadvantages of corporate credit cards  

There are some disadvantages of corporate credit cards, we have listed a few below:

As with all credit cards, compound interest is charged and credit card debs can easily pile up if you are not careful.

As with any other credit card, carrying a balance from one month to the other will increase the amount of debt you are incurring as you are continuously charged interest every month.

You must set a clear policy when giving your employees the company credit card as if they overspend on it, it will be the companies liability.

Credit cards may not be helpful in every situation as not all your vendors may accept card payments. This means you may have to do a money transfer from your credit card to your bank and this may cost you.

What to consider when getting your corporate credit card?

Whilst a corporate credit card may be right for you, there could also be other potential credit cards which suit you better. It is always advisable to use a credit card eligibility checker 

Which provides you with all the credit cards you may be eligible for.

When comparing multiple credit cards; below are the things you should look out for before applying.

Eligibility

Each card issuer will have its own lending criteria that  you will need to meet before they will provide you with an offer of credit. There are now credit card eligibility checker platforms which let you know which credit cards you are eligible for and which you have a high probability of getting on application. 

Most credit card providers now have their own credit card eligibility systems in place which will let you know if you will be approved for a credit card with them  or not. These tools use a soft credit check t pull your credit file data and hence does not leave any footprints which are visible to the public or harm your credit score.

You should avoid applying for a credit card if you are not confident you will be accepted as rejections for credit could damage your credit score and history. This may then affect your ability to get further credit in the future.

Interest rates

When getting a credit card, the interest rates on the credit card are a very important factor and you should always look out for the APR figure. The interest rates on the credit card are the rates that will be charged on any outstanding credit card balance which you carry over from one month to another.If you pay your credit card balance in full each month then you will not have any interest to pay.

Credit cards typically come with up to 55 interest-free days on purchases if you don’t carry a balance month-to-month.

Credit limits

You should look at the credit Credit limits when choosing a credit card provider as the credit card limits will determine how much you can spend on your credit card. Most credit card providers may offer you a credit limit increase if you can show good credit behavior over a few months.

Rewards and perks

Credit card providers offer various rewards and perks but usually these are reserved for applicants with high credit scores.

Fees

Some credit card providers will have annual fees on their credit cards but these are usually for credit cards with high credit card limits and lots of rewards or perks. Most corporate credit cards will have an annual fee.

You should always check what fees are attached to your credit card.These can include annual or monthly account fees, cash advance (withdrawing cash using the card) fees, overseas transaction fees and others.

How to get your corporate credit card

To get your corporate credit card, check to see if your company has a credit score first.

If you are unsure of what your credit score is then you should check your credit score from the four credit bureaus in the UK: Experian, Crediva, Equifax and Transunion.

Some of these credit bureaus may charge you a fee to view your company’s credit report. 

Once you have done this you should then check on a credit card eligibility platform to see what credit cards you are eligible for and then apply for the best credit card. 

Alternatively, you should go to the credit card providers website and make an application. Most credit card providers will expect a minimum turnover and based on this they could provide you with a credit limit which usually ranges from £1,000 to £10,000.

Some of the corporate credit card providers in the UK:

  1. Capital On Tap

Some of the features and benefits of Capital On Tap’s corporate credit card.

Credit limit up to £50,000

Rewards Cards where you can earn up to 1% Cashback or Avios

Cards for sole traders & freelancers

Quick application in 2 minutes

Rates as low as 9.9% APR

Up to 56 days interest free

Basic card has no monthly or or annual fee

Unlimited free FX and ATM withdrawals

Rated 4.8 out of 5 on Trustpilot

Up to 10 free supplementary cards

2. NatWest Bank

Some of the features and benefits of NatWest’s corporate credit card.

Offers two credit cards

A convenient method of managing expenses and paying for goods

Can help build your credit profile

Variable APR starting at 24.5%

45 days interest-free credit

Minimum credit limit of £500 with maximum level subject to status

Fees from £32 per year per cardholder

Cashback available on the Business Plus credit card

Available to sole traders, limited companies, partnerships, charities, clubs and societies

Only available to NatWest business bank account holders

3. Barclaycard

Some of the features and benefits of Barclaycard’s corporate credit card.

Choice of business credit and charge cards

Flexible borrowing

Introductory offers available

Offers extras such as travel insurance and foreign exchange savings

Card fees starting at no charge

Variable APR starting 24.9%

Available to business start-ups

Offers an initial interest-free period

Cashback available on the Premium Plus credit and charge cards

Online card selector tool

4. Santander Bank

Some of the features and benefits of Santander’s corporate credit card.

Designed for small to medium businesses

Flexible way of managing business expenses

1% cashback on purchases

No additional card costs

No foreign transaction fees on purchases abroad

Up to 56 days interest-free credit on purchases

Flexible and simple payment options

Detailed monthly statements

Ability to control monthly spending limits per cardholder

Utilises contactless and mobile payments

5. HSBC Bank

Some of the features and benefits of HSBC’s corporate credit card.

First year free

Manage day-to-day expenses

Boost your cash flow with up to 56 days interest-free credit

Tailored credit limit

Protected against fraudulent transactions

Contactless technology

Track your spend through financial reports

Flexible repayment options

Online banking

Additional cards available

6. RBS Bank

Some of the features and benefits of RBS’ corporate credit card.

Offers two credit cards

An easy and convenient way to pay for goods

An effective method of managing expenses

Can help with your cash flow

Variable APR from 24.5%

Annual card fee from £32 per cardholder

Can help build your credit profile

Up to 45 days interest-free credit on purchases

Cashback available on the Business Plus credit card

Available to a wide variety of businesses and not-for-profits

7. American Express

Some of the features and benefits of American Express’ corporate credit card.

Choice of three business charge cards

All cards offer no pre-set card limit

Up to 54 days credit on purchases

The basic card has no annual card fees

Earn rewards with the Gold and Platinum cards

They give a welcome bonus of reward points to get you started

The platinum card offers travel benefits including travel insurance and rewards

Purchase protection and refund protection on Gold and Platinum cards

Up to 99 complimentary Gold cards available with both Gold and Platinum card accounts

Available to UK registered businesses with no CCJs

8. Metro Bank

Some of the features and benefits of Metro Bank’s corporate credit card.

Simple and transparent corporate credit card

A single low rate of 13% variable APR

No annual fees

Free transactions in Europe

Up to 56 days interest-free credit on purchases

Offers online, in-store, over the phone and app banking

Facility to walk out of any Metro Bank store with a card straight away

Simple card replacement in store

Must hold a business or commercial current account with them

A network of stores open 7 days a week with no appointments needed

9. Lloyds Bank

Some of the features and benefits of Lloyds Bank’s corporate credit card.

Cards with up to £10,000 credit limit

Representative 22.4% variable APR

Up to 45 days interest-free credit

An annual fee per card of £32

Withdraw up to £500 per day

Can issue up to 20 cards

Each employee can have their own spending limit

Flexible payment options

Must be a business current account holder

Available to sole traders, partners and directors

10. TSB Bank

Some of the features and benefits of TSB’ corporate credit card.

VISA credit card

Can help you manage your cash flow

Flexible repayment options

Representative variable APR of 22.4%

Annual card fee of £32

Up to 45 days interest-free credit on purchases

Monthly detailed statements

Cheaper to use than cheques

Cash withdrawal limit up to £500 per day

Additional cards available with individual card limits

11. Yorkshire Bank

Some of the features and benefits of Yorkshire Bank’s corporate credit card.

Can help you manage your finances more effectively

Increase your cash flow

Representative 22.4% variable APR

Up to 59 days interest-free credit on purchases

Annual card fee of £28

Secure method of making transactions

Includes anti-fraud technology

Comes with SmartData online accounting system as standard

Enhanced tracking and reporting facilities

Offers no annual fee for the first year

12. Clydesdale Bank

Some of the features and benefits of Clydesdale Bank’s corporate credit card.

A credit card that can help you manage your expenses

Representative 22.4% variable APR

Free for the first 12 months

£28 annual fee after the first year

Up to 59 days interest-free credit on purchases

Non-Sterling transaction fees apply

Includes Mastercard Business Savings scheme

Access to SmartData online accountancy tool

Advanced tracking facilities

Anti-fraud protection

13. Cashplus

Some of the features and benefits of Cashplus’ corporate credit card.

Initial credit card limit up to £3,000

Simple product with no hidden fees

No annual card fees

Simple online application

Instant online decision

Representative variable APR of 24.9%

Up to 56 days interest-free credit on purchases

Flexible repayment options

Itemised billing to help track your expenditure

Contactless payments

14. Bank of Scotland 

Some of the features and benefits of Bank of Scotland’s corporate credit card.

Manage your business spend more effectively

Can be used at home and abroad

Credit limit up to £10,000

Up to 45 days interest-free credit on purchases

Flexible repayment options

Annual card fee of £32

Detailed monthly statements

Access your credit card account through internet banking

Can issue up to 20 cards to employees

Each card can have an individualised card limit

In this brief guide, we discussed corporate credit cards. If you have any further questions or comments then please let us know.

John Bate

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.