August 25, 2023

What is a corporate credit card? Find one that enforces your expense policy

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If you’re using a business credit card that simply offers points and rewards, ask yourself the following: 

  • Does your credit card help you prevent out-of-policy spending?
  • Are you able to auto-collect receipts and match them to transactions? 
  • Do credit card transactions sync with your ERP to ensure a fast month-end close

If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, it’s time to rethink the card you’re using. New corporate cards on the market have advanced spend controls and integrations, making them more effective than traditional cards at helping finance teams prevent employee overspending and achieve a faster close. 

At Ramp, we talk daily with finance leaders looking for a better way to manage their company’s finances. Here’s what you should look for in your next corporate card.

Quick refresher: What is a corporate credit card? 

Corporate credit cards, as the name suggests, are payment cards geared toward mid-sized or large businesses with multiple authorized purchasers. But thanks to advances in underwriting, smaller-sized businesses are increasingly eligible for corporate cards. 

Similar to business credit cards, corporate cards provide credit so employees can make work purchases without spending out of pocket. But unlike most business credit cards, corporate cards don’t require a personal guarantee. In other words, your personal credit rating and assets aren't vulnerable if you are unable to pay off your charges. This is an important distinction: a non-personal guarantee shifts liability for any debts to the company, protecting your personal finances.

Data show modern corporate credit cards bolster compliance 

Many finance teams hesitate to issue cards of any kind because they worry widespread use of cards could lead to rampant employee spending. 

But a recent study we commissioned with independent research firm Morning Consult surveying 500 finance leaders shows the opposite is true: 77% of respondents whose companies issue corporate cards report that employees with corporate cards are more compliant with expense policies than those without.

The type of card matters: 

  • Respondents whose corporate card offers spend controls are 10% more likely to say that their employees are more compliant than respondents without controls. 
  • Respondents who use cards with expense automation software are 11% more likely to say they’re satisfied with their company’s employee expense policy than respondents who don’t.  

In addition to cutting out-of-policy employee expenses, corporate cards are helping finance teams save on technology costs. 86% of respondents who use cards say that their organization uses fewer tools to manage employee expenses, which drives further savings. 

Companies using modern corporate cards are also saving time. In contrast to traditional cards like American Express, the latest corporate cards often come with built-in software that automates common expense management tasks, such as collecting and matching receipts to charges and coding transactions. As a result, employees can focus on more important work.

Is your company eligible for a corporate credit card?

Ready to switch to a new corporate card? Here’s what you should know about common qualification and eligibility requirements before you start filling out lengthy card application forms. 

All corporate card providers require one thing: your company must be incorporated as an LLC, C-Corp, S-Corp, or another individual legal entity. 

You might assume that the company needs a sizable revenue and long credit history to qualify for a corporate card. That is true of traditional card providers, which require their customers to have the following: 

  • Make at least $4 million in annual revenue 
  • Have at least 15 authorized spenders on your account and a minimum annual spending expectation of $250,000 or more 
  • Demonstrate years of good business credit, since personal guarantees aren’t required

Fortunately, newer corporate cards on the market offer lower cash flow requirements and zero spending expectations, allowing more businesses to benefit from corporate card protections without overstretching their spending. 

Many providers also often require customers to pay their balance in full at the end of each billing cycle. So consider your company’s monthly cash flow to decide if a corporate card is the right financial tool for you.

Pro tip: Want to maximize your credit limit? If you’re an e-commerce sales company, look for providers who are willing to underwrite you using sales data from platforms and marketplaces like Stripe, Shopify, and Amazon. Even if your company lacks sizable revenue or a long credit history, you may still qualify for a corporate card.

Key features to look for in a corporate credit card

If your business qualifies for a corporate card, our checklist below can help you evaluate different cards on the market to find the best one for your needs. 

When assessing a new corporate payment card or commercial credit card, go beyond credit limits, rebates, and payment terms. These are important considerations, but don’t help create a healthier financial situation long term. ‍The best cards come with competitive limits and terms as well as built-in software that proactively saves you time and money. Our checklist goes over the top capabilities you need to eliminate wasteful spending so that your finance function operates efficiently.

Look for the following:

Capabilities to help you enforce your policies 

  • Ability to issue unlimited virtual and physical cards on a trusted network like Visa or Mastercard to minimize the need for employee reimbursements
  • Customizable card limits and controls that prevent unapproved spend, down to the merchant, category, and transaction level
  • Custom approval workflows to allow for review and acceptance of spending requests 
  • Real-time alerts, reporting, and automated savings insights (e.g., out-of-policy spending, redundant payments by employees for the same subscription)

Capabilities to help you speed up month-end close

  • Automated receipt capture and transaction matching to ensure accurate records
  • AI-powered accounting rules and compliance reviews to help your accounting team auto-categorize transactions 
  • Ability to sync transactions to your ERP in real time

Integrated spend management   

Your organization’s ability to efficiently manage spend goes beyond card transactions. Ultimately you want the ability to track and control all spending in one place: cards, accounts payable, employee reimbursements, and more. 

That’s why finance teams are increasingly moving to consolidated finance operations platforms that offer corporate cards, and:

  • Real-time visibility and control for bill payments and reimbursements 
  • Integrations for bank, HRIS, and productivity tools to maintain accurate and secure systems, without manual data entry 
  • Ability to pay in local currencies and see spend across domestic and international entities, to operate globally

Popular corporate credit cards compared 

Now that you know what the best corporate cards offer, let’s take a look at commonly used cards.  

Note: Ramp offers its own corporate card, so we’re a little biased about the pros and cons of different cards. But we’ll be as transparent as possible to help you decide what makes the most sense for your business.


Ramp is an all-in-one corporate card, travel & expense, and accounts payable financial management platform, all for free. Our customers have been ramped up as fast as 5 days. Ramp cards: 

  • Allow access to 10-20 times higher limits compared to traditional card offerings, providing greater cash flow flexibility for your business
  • Provide enforcement of those limits. Companies can issue unlimited virtual and physical cards at no additional cost. With the ability to lock any card and limit any type of spend, down to the vendor level, companies can ensure that employee spending always stays in budget.  
  • Increase your team's efficiency through automated receipt collection, coding, and deep integration with top ERPs to help companies avoid tedious expense reports. Ramp’s expense automation has saved employees over 60 working years of work. 
  • Provide full visibility on all spend, from card transactions to invoices and reimbursements. Our spending insights, negotiations, and easy-to-use software ensure greater time and money savings as your company grows.

Watch out for the following: Ramp may not be right for you if most of your operations and corporate spend occur outside the U.S.

American Express 

American Express offers three different corporate cards. They're well-known for their generous reward programs and travel perks. You can access an online portal for card statements, accounts payable automation, and a payments app that allows you to create and send virtual cards for supplier payments.

Watch out for the following: 

  • Annual fees: The Corporate Green Card is AmEx’s cheapest option, at $75 annually while the Corporate Platinum Card costs $550 annually. 
  • A basic reporting dashboard offered through American Express @ Work
  • Manual expense reports and data across different systems
  • Convoluted terms and points that often go underutilized 

Capital One One Card

Capital One offers a corporate card called the One Card with the following features: 

  • An online payment platform that you can use to pay vendors that accept Mastercard
  • Rebates of 1-4% at over 30,000 companies. They’re automatically added to your account within a week of an eligible purchase. 
  • Cashback on your business payments

J.P. Morgan One Card

J.P. Morgan Chase offers a commercial card also called the One Card that offers transaction reporting and ERP integration. Businesses with expenses below $1 million annually can qualify for this card. You can also apply for separate virtual cards and purchasing cards to further streamline vendor payments.

Watch out for the following: While Chase may offer higher cashback, it lacks savings insights, price intelligence, and negotiations capabilities that can drive further savings for fast-growing organizations.

Real-life examples of successful corporate credit card implementation

Check out how the finance teams below enforce their policies with modern corporate cards. 

Sandboxx: A case study on effective card utilization

Software company Sandboxx was using three disparate systems to manage expenses: Expensify,, and American Express. As the company grew, it became increasingly difficult for its founder and CEO Sam Meek to monitor spending across multiple AmEx cards. Moving to Ramp's integrated finance system helped Sam save 10 hours each month, implement a faster spend approval process, and improve employee access to wellness benefits. “I was spending four hours a month on Expensify, two hours a month on Amex, and probably five hours a month on And now...I’m in and out in five minutes," Sam says.

Construction One: A success story in corporate credit card adoption

Nationwide construction management general contracting company Construction One relies on card controls to stay on top of travel expenses for their distributed team of 80+ employees. They turn off categories like flights, hotels, restaurants, and bars, since field employees get a separate per diem. When employees submit expenses, they receive an instant text message or email that reminds them to enter the appropriate code, allowing them to manage expenses in real time. This has allowed the finance team to cut reconciliation time by 75%, down to 10 hours per month. 

Choose a corporate credit card that enables a new way of doing finance

Don't settle for business credit cards that require a personal guarantee or legacy corporate cards that lack the most basic spend management features. It’s time for a differently designed card and finance software that decreases the amount of time spent processing expense reports and ensures error-free transactions. Get Ramp's corporate credit card today.

Head of Content, Ramp

Fiona Lee is the Head of Content at Ramp, overseeing content marketing, customer education, and customer marketing. She brings over a decade of editorial experience developing high-quality B2B marketing and customer support content. Prior to Ramp, she led content teams at companies large and small, including Google and Intercom, where she developed a strong interest in small businesses growth topics. Fiona graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in English. Outside of work, she spends time dreaming about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail one day.

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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