A fresh perspective on the benefits of corporate cards

It’s common for middle market companies without a corporate card program to ask employees to pay for business expenses using their personal credit card. By using their personal card, employees can reap the benefits of their card’s rewards program – accruing points and airline miles for business expenses they’ll be reimbursed for later. Consequently, many employees, especially those that travel frequently, see the practice as a key benefit.

As a result, many of these companies are wary about adopting a corporate card program. Fearful of the impact that low employee engagement and morale can have on their company, many don’t want to challenge the status quo.

We partnered with Protagonist to better understand the beliefs held by middle market financial executives and their staff when it comes to corporate card policy, expense management, corporate card products, and benefits. The study found misconceptions among those hesitant to adopt a corporate card program. Among the list of misconceptions is the belief that corporate cards are an unrewarding experience.

The proven value of corporate cards

Corporate cards provide greater visibility into expenses, reduce costs and streamline the payment process. But corporate cards can also offer rewards that can be kept by either the employee or the organization.

For employees who travel, allowing them to keep corporate card program reward points can be a perfect way to recognize their extra efforts — particularly when it comes to the time they may spend away from their family. Allowing employees to accrue airline miles for travel, sleep vouchers for the hotel stays and points for their purchases is a simple and cost-effective way to reward employees and help keep them engaged in their work.

For other employees, however, paying business expenses out-of-pocket can be difficult. Coupled with the time it takes for an organization to process reimbursements, paying business expenses with a personal card can be a financial hardship. A less visible yet important benefit of providing corporate cards to employees is the message that it sends. Removing the need for an employee to pay for business expenses out-of-pocket shows the employee that the company cares about them.

Removing the need for an employee to pay for business expenses out-of-pocket shows the employee that the company cares about them.

How to evaluate corporate card rewards

For some organizations, it makes more sense to keep the rewards earned from their corporate card programs. Other organizations may choose to pool reward points and use them internally for office supplies and business services or to offset future T&E expenses.

Organizations may also choose to trade reward points for merchandise or gift cards to thank clients or reward employees, electing to use these more tangible items in their overall employee incentive program. Regardless of the option, rewards from a corporate card program can play a valuable role in an organization’s employee engagement strategy.

When it comes to corporate card reward programs, assess which ones provide for a rewarding experience for both your business and your employees as well as the redemption value of the rewards. It comes down to evaluating which types of rewards are most motivating for your employees, the value of the rewards and finding a system that fits your organization’s unique needs.


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