Corporate Cards: A Guide

Samuel Clennett
30.06.20
5 minute read

If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur or sole proprietor, you may be wondering about the benefits and uses of corporate cards. This guide walks through all you need to know - including the types of cards available, the fees you may need to pay, and how to get started.

We’ll also introduce the TransferWise for business multi-currency Mastercard as a smart alternative to a corporate card from your normal bank - especially if you travel for work.

Getting an online account with TransferWise for business is free and simple. You can top up your account using Australian dollars, and then convert within the account to any currency you need, using the mid-market exchange rate, and for just a low transparent fee. It’s then free to spend any currency you hold using your handy business Mastercard, cutting out international transaction costs. And because it’s a debit card, you won’t need to pay interest, and avoid the risk of late or penalty fees. More on that, later.

What is a corporate card?

A corporate card is issued to an employee through their company, and used for allowable expenses like business travel and hotel costs. Using a corporate card means that an employee doesn’t need to pay business expenses upfront from their own money - making it easier to manage their personal finances.

Different types of cards are available for business use. You’ll find business credit cards intended for smaller businesses and sole proprietors, as well as corporate credit cards which are intended for large, well established businesses with multiple card holders.

Other companies may opt for a business debit card, such as the TransferWise for business multi-currency Mastercard. A debit card allows users to spend up to the balance held, while avoiding interest and penalty fees - and the TransferWise business card also cuts international transaction and currency conversion costs.

Does my business need a corporate card?

Whether or not you need a corporate card - and the type of card which might work for you - will depend on your business type and size.

If you have employees who regularly incur business expenses, and then need to be reimbursed, offering corporate cards, small business credit cards, or another solution such as a business debit card, can be a real morale boost. It means your staff are never out of pocket for their business spending, and avoids long waits for reimbursement.

If you’re thinking of using corporate cards or a similar scheme, it’s worth taking some time to look at the different types of cards available, including their features and fees. Small business cards, for example, may vary from the type of corporate credit cards which are typically issued to employees of large organisations.

You’ll need to consider where liability for payment lies, and how credit checks may be carried out. For some credit cards, the liability for payment sits with the card holder - the employee. They’ll then need to claim back the expense from the business in order to settle the credit card bill. Other cards, though, are paid directly by the employer.

There are also different approaches to credit checking for corporate cards. Some cards require an employee to have their credit checked. While this is unlikely to damage their credit score, it is worth noting. Other corporate credit cards are issued on the creditworthiness of the business rather than the employee.

If you’re unsure which card type might work for you, you can also consider a business debit card. Unlike a credit card, there is no risk of employees running up bills they can’t pay - and no credit check required.

What are the costs involved with these cards?

Each different business or corporate card will come with its own costs - check out all the small print before you decide which is the best for your needs.

Here are some of the key fees you’ll need to consider:

Fee typeCost range¹,²,³,⁴
Annual feeYou may pay from $0 - $300 depending on the account and card type you choose
Additional cardholder feeCard plans may allow only a certain number of cards to be issued. If you need further cards, you may pay a fee of up to $60 per card
APR for purchases and cash advancesThe interest rates you’re offered will depend on the card type - from 15% - 20% is common
Minimum monthly paymentCheck the minimum monthly repayment requirements as these may vary from as low as 2% to the full monthly balance
International transaction and currency conversion feesUnless you choose a card from a currency specialist like TransferWise for business, you’re likely to find that spending overseas comes with additional charges

Who offers corporate cards?

All of the largest banks in Australia - and many other global banking names - offer business card services. The cards on offer may vary from credit cards aimed at small business owners and sole proprietors, to corporate cards for big companies, and debit or charge cards for business.

Here are some of the main business cards available from Australia’s biggest banks:

Commbank:

Choose from the following range of different card options, including reward cards and cards designed to cut interest costs¹.

  • Business Awards Card
  • Platinum Awards Card
  • Business Interest-Free Days Card
  • Low Rate Card
  • Corporate Credit Card
  • Corporate Charge Card

Westpac:

Westpac has 4 different business card types which allow up to 10 cardholders, and all offer complimentary insurance².

  • Altitude Business Platinum Mastercard
  • Altitude Business Gold Mastercard
  • BusinessChoice Rewards Platinum Mastercard
  • BusinessChoice Everyday Mastercard

ANZ

The business focused cards on offer from ANZ come with different features, including rewards or extended interest free payment³.

  • ANZ Business Black
  • ANZ Business 55 Interest Free Days
  • ANZ Business Rewards Options
  • ANZ Business Low Rate

NAB

Depending on your business type and size, you’ll be able to choose from any of NAB’s 5 business card types⁴.

  • NAB Rewards Business Signature Card
  • NAB Qantas Business Signature Card
  • NAB Low Rate Business Card
  • NAB Business Card
  • NAB Business Visa Debit Card

TransferWise for business - an alternative to a corporate card

If you need to spend overseas regularly - either for purchasing goods online or when you travel, a TransferWise for business account, which comes with the smart

TransferWise for business multi-currency Mastercard, might be a good option instead of a regular business card.

You’ll be able to open a TransferWise for business account easily online, and as a true multi-currency account, you’ll have the convenience of keeping dozens of different currencies all in the same place. All currency conversion is done using the mid-market exchange rate, with just a small transparent fee.

Top up your account, switch to the currency you need, and spend for free wherever in the world you are. The perfect solution if you need a business card which can keep pace with your international lifestyle. There are no monthly fees, no need to worry about interest costs or penalty charges, and a whole host of other business friendly perks to help you manage your money better across borders.

See how TransferWise can help your business grow, today.

Sources:

  1. Commbank Business Card
  2. Westpac Compare Business Cards
  3. ANZ Business Credit Cards
  4. NAB Business Cards

All sources accurate as of 17 June 2020

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This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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