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As business travel begins to pick back up and many workers return to the office, they’re dusting off their company credit cards and getting ready to start spending again. One thing employees may not be looking forward to, however, is filing their expense and reimbursement reports after their trips.

That presents an opportunity for companies to re-examine their corporate credit card policy and to remind employees of expectations around both business and personal spending. Disciplined and efficient company credit card policies are crucial for management or small business owners looking to take control of business expenses and protect the company’s bottom line.

Following corporate credit card policy best practices can also reduce the potential for confusion and appropriately set expectations for all parties. Of course, establishing a strong corporate credit card policy is important, but the software you use to implement that policy—and the cards that you select—are even more important.

What is a corporate credit card policy?

A corporate card policy is a set of guidelines established by a company to govern the use of employee corporate cards. It aims to control spending by defining what is and isn't an authorized expense.

The main risks of introducing corporate cards are unauthorized spending and fraudulent activity. With a strong company policy and the right card, both of these risks can be mitigated.

5 components of a strong corporate credit card policy

A good corporate credit card policy is easy for employees to understand, simple to enforce, compliant with the accounting department, and flexible enough to meet your needs as your business grows. Employees should sign off on your corporate card program's policy before they start using their card to make sure they understand the parameters.

A corporate card policy should include the following components:

Cardholder responsibilities

This outlines the employee credit card agreement, in other words, the responsibilities of any employee handling a corporate credit card. The clearer you can be about duties and expectations, the more cards you can issue (teamwide). These responsibilities typically include following the rules outlined in the business credit card policy, taking reasonable measures to protect the card and its information, and promptly filing necessary expenses.

General use policy

These are the rules tied to the corporate credit card account, including whether employees can use personal cards for business expenses (they shouldn’t), who employees should contact if they have questions about spending, and employee corporate card eligibility criteria. It should also contain guidance on documentation requirements and the process to follow when mistakes happen.

Allowable or prohibited expenses

This section covers which expenses the company will cover and up to what amount. This typically varies based on the card user. A salesperson, for example, might have the authorization to use their card for client entertainment, while an office manager might be authorized to purchase business supplies. This breakdown should also define the processes associated with prohibited credit card purchases.

The request-and-approval workflow

A step-by-step overview of how and when cardholders need management approval for their purchases. The simpler and more seamless you can make this process, the less time employees will spend on expense reporting, and the more time they can spend focused on doing their job. 


Even the most comprehensive policy can’t cover everything. This section of your corporate credit card policy will instruct employees and managers on how to resolve issues that arise from unusual spending or unique situations not explicitly discussed in the policy.

Discover Ramp's corporate card for modern finance

How to enforce your expense policy with corporate cards

Your corporate card policy should be easily understandable so that employees know which expenses are allowed and how to report them, if necessary.

Ideally, your corporate card should use automation to enforce your expense policy—this means setting up custom card spending limits and category or merchant controls. You'll also want a card that automatically tracks these expenses by category and reports them to you in real-time.

Here's a full list of features you should look for in a corporate card to help you enforce your expense policy:

Easy card approvals for employees

Giving all startup employees a corporate card, allowing them to request virtual cards, and strongly discouraging the use of personal cards makes enforcing your expense policy much easier. Look for a card that allows unlimited physical and virtual employee cards.

Real-time receipt and note collection

Your card should let employees submit receipts in real-time via text or email—or by uploading them to an expense platform. That way, they can email e-receipts to a specified address or use photos of physical receipts for in-person purchases. Employees can also submit a short note with expense details for certain purchases.

Customizable spending limits

By putting credit limits in place on cards, you can reduce the potential for out-of-policy spending and all the hassles that come with reconciling them. Modern corporate cards also enable managers to scale these limits up or down as business needs change or employees take on different projects or roles within the company.

Category and merchant controls 

By pre-approving certain expenses (and implementing limits) by category (e.g., car rentals or hotel rooms) or by vendor, you can authorize cardholders to make purchases while still maintaining specific expense restrictions. This empowers team members to make their own spending decisions and minimizes the fear of disciplinary action due to out-of-policy spending.

Categorizing expenses also makes record collection easier at tax time or when writing a P&L statement. By automating how expenses are categorized, you can easily generate expense reports when you need them later. ‍

Spending alerts

The right corporate card will automatically review transactions in real time, alerting the appropriate managers to suspicious charges, price increases, or other expense-related discrepancies. It can also identify potential areas of waste, such as duplicate subscriptions or opportunities for rate negotiation. 

Card templates

For frequently used cards, such as those for new employees, wellness reimbursements, or company lunches, card policy templates allow for mass rollouts with minimal work for the finance team. Each type of card can have embedded limits and spending rules that make sense for its use case. 

Automate your corporate card policy with Ramp

Building and polishing your corporate card policy can feel overwhelming, but by working with the right partner—and the right technology—you can improve spend management, price transparency, and policy adherence. The right corporate card can not only streamline expense management, but the funds saved along the way can fuel growth.

Ramp’s savings-focused corporate card comes with software that easily allows finance teams to digitize and enforce their corporate card policies. Among our features is the ability to block out-of-policy spending before it happens, reducing unauthorized use or fraud.

With Ramp’s real-time visibility into all transactions and customizable spend controls, you’ll always have insight into employee expenses—and the ability to prevent or minimize out-of-policy spend. Ramp is technically a charge card (not a credit card), which means you never have to worry about interest or late fees. Plus, we offer unlimited 1.5% cash back and other solutions, like bill pay and accounting integrations.

Learn more about Ramp's easy-to-use corporate cards.

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Finance Writer and Editor, Ramp
Ali Mercieca is a Finance Writer and Content Editor at Ramp. Prior to Ramp, she worked with Robinhood on the editorial strategy for their financial literacy articles and with Nearside, an online banking platform, overseeing their banking and finance blog. Ali holds a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from York University and can be found writing about editorial content strategy and SEO on her Substack.
Ramp is dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes make informed decisions. We adhere to strict editorial guidelines to ensure that our content meets and maintains our high standards.


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