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The Many Benefits of Free Employee Business Credit Cards

The Many Benefits of Free Employee Business Credit Cards

*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Jan 15, 2019, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

If you’re reimbursing employees for business expenses often, the back-and-forth of getting receipts and issuing repayments can be a hassle. Issuing employee credit cards can streamline the process, as well as provide the business with the ability to earn rewards.

Numerous card issuers offer free employee cards on business card accounts, allowing you to benefit from numerous perks without paying an additional fee per card. Purchases made on an employee card can be tracked easily, earn rewards and provide a multitude of purchase protections. However, before you start handing out employee cards, certain card-use rules and restrictions must be set in place to prevent abuse.

We’ll review the many benefits of employee credit cards, which issuers offer free employee cards, and best practices.

Benefits of employee credit cards

From streamlining spending to earning rewards on everyday business purchases, here are some common perks you may receive by using employee cards:

  • Reward programs: Most business cards have rewards programs where you and your employees’ purchases can earn points, miles or cash back. Rewards can be redeemed in a variety of ways, from statement credits to gift cards, merchandise and travel.
  • Insurances and protections: When employees pay for purchases in full with select employee cards, they may benefit from cell phone protection, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip cancellation or interruption insurance, auto rental damage collision waivers, and more.
  • Spending management tools: Most business cards offer quarterly and year-end summaries, and the ability to download purchase records to programs like Excel and Quickbooks, so you can track spending and simplify accounting.
  • Streamline employee business spending: Unlike business spending on employee personal cards that require reimbursement, any spending done on an employee card will be billed directly to a primary account.

Card issuers who provide free employee credit cards

Many major credit card issuers offer a variety of business cards with the option to open employee cards at no additional cost. However, some of the cards below have annual fees — but only for the primary account. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

American Express business credit cards

  • 0% for 12 Months, then 15.24% - 21.24% Variable

  • Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases up to the annual cap

  • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card

Highlights
  • Get rewarded for business as usual. Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.
  • 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
  • You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
  • More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, 15.24%, 18.24% or 21.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

More Info

  • Earn up to $500 back in the form of statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx using your American Express® Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card membership, Limited time Offer ends 11/06/2019*

  • Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month*

  • No foreign transaction fees & many helpful business tools*

Highlights
  • Earn up to $500 back in the form of statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx using your American Express® Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card membership.
  • Limited time Offer ends 11/06/2019.*
  • MORE REWARDS: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month**
  • **4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
  • AIRLINE BONUS: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
  • PAY OVER TIME OPTION: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
  • EXPENSE MANAGEMENT TOOLS: Connect to Quickbooks, access SpendManagerSM, receive a Year-End Summary, and more.*
  • *Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for American Express® Business Gold Card

More Info

  • Receive 1.5% discount for paying early*

  • Take up to 60 days to pay with no interest*

  • No foreign transaction fees & no fee for extra employee cards*

Highlights
  • Paying early pays off: Get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back.
  • Take up to 60 days to pay with no interest, if you pay your minimum due.
  • Use the power of the Plum Card to buy big for your business.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $250
  • Terms & Restrictions Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for The Plum Card® from American Express

More Info

Bank of America business credit cards

  • 3% cash back on your choice of one of the following six categories: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services, 2% cash back on dining (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening

  • Redeem rewards for cash back or apply them to your bank account

Highlights
  • Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening – with no annual fee and cash rewards don't expire.
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back on dining and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • You'll get 3% and 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter.
  • 0% Introductory APR on purchases for your first 9 billing cycles.
  • Redeem your cash rewards as a statement credit, check, or have cash deposited into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.
  • Get 75% more cash back on every purchase when you’re a Preferred Rewards for Business Platinum Honors tier member. That means you will earn 5.25% on your selected choice category, 3.5% on dining and unlimited 1.75% cash back on all other purchases.

See additional details for Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

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  • 1.5 rewards points for every $1 on all purchases and 25,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in net purchases within 60 days, 3 points for every $1 spent for travel booked through the Bank of America® Travel Center - powered by Expedia®

  • 25,000 bonus points when you make at least $1,000 in net purchases within 60 days of your account opening

  • No international transaction fees or annual fees

Highlights
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points when you make at least $1,000 in net purchases within 60 days of your account opening which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases everywhere, every time-no matter how much you spend. Points don't expire.
  • Earn 3 points per every dollar spent on travel purchases (car, hotel, airline) booked through the Bank of America® Travel Center - powered by Expedia®.
  • No annual fee and no international transaction fees.
  • 0% Introductory APR on purchases for your first 9 billing cycles.
  • Redeem points for travel with no blackout dates, cash back or gift cards.
  • Get 75% more points on the base earn of every purchase you make when you’re a Preferred Rewards for Business Platinum Honors tier member. That means you will earn 2.62 points for every $1 you spend and 4.12 points per every $1 you spend at the Bank of America® Travel Center.

See additional details for Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card

More Info

Capital One business credit cards

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back

  • One-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

  • Redeem cash back for any amount at any time

Highlights
  • Earning unlimited 1.5% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Plus, a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 15.24% - 23.24% variable APR after that
  • No annual fee
  • Use Spark Cash Select across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend

See additional details for Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

More Info

  • 2% Cash Back for your business on every purchase, everywhere

  • Earn a $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

  • Redeem cash back for any amount at any time

Highlights
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount

See additional details for Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

More Info

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases

  • No foreign transaction fees & complimentary fraud coverage

  • 25.24% (Variable)

Highlights
  • Enjoy no annual fee
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase
  • Build business credit with responsible use
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Enjoy business benefits including Year-End Summaries, employee cards at no extra cost and experienced small business customer service

See additional details for Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

More Info

  • Unlimited 2x miles per dollar

  • Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

  • Redeem miles with any airline and any hotel

Highlights
  • Earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere
  • Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles - equal to $500 in travel - once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Receive up to $100 credit for one Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee
  • Fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Free employee cards which also earn unlimited 2x miles from their purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

See additional details for Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

More Info

  • 1.5 Miles per $1 on every purchase

  • One-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

  • Redeem miles with any airlines and any hotel

Highlights
  • Earn 1.5 miles per $1 on every purchase
  • Plus, a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
  • Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 15.24% - 23.24% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Get online Quarterly and Year-End Summaries
  • There's no limit to the amount of miles you can earn
  • Fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions

See additional details for Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

More Info

Chase business credit cards

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points

  • Earn 3 points per $1 in select business categories

  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Highlights
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

See additional details for Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

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  • 0% for 12 Months

  • $500 bonus cash back

  • Earn 5% cash back in select business categories

Highlights
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee

See additional details for Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

More Info

Best practices for using employee credit cards

Employee cards aren’t risk-free — the business is liable for all charges made on the account as the employees are considered to be authorized users of the cards, not account owners. Review the steps below so you can get the most benefit and potentially avoid issues:

  • Set up spending guidelines: Make sure you set clear parameters to your employees on what is and what isn’t considered a business expense. With clear guidelines and expectations, an employer can hopefully avoid any employee card abuse. A helpful feature some cards have, like Chase’s employee credit cards, is the ability to set spending limits for each employee card.
  • Review charges: Regularly reviewing credit card charges is a key action any business owner should take and is especially important with employee cards. If you have several employee cards open, there’s a greater risk for fraud and card misuse. You should take the time to review charges to verify employees are using their card appropriately.
  • Use available spending controls: When you open an Amex business card, for example, you can set spending controls that alert you if a purchase is made outside selected categories. Just know that this doesn’t always prevent purchases from being approved; it just notifies the business owner and the employee.

Bottom line

Employee cards can be a great asset for businesses that want to avoid the hassle of reimbursing employees for business charges made on personal cards. In addition to optimizing business spending, purchases charged to an employee card can help you earn rewards faster and allow employee purchases to benefit from a multitude of protections.

Keep in mind, however, that while employee cards have many perks, the business is liable for all charges, so set up spending guidelines, regularly monitor charges and implement any safeguards against abuse the issuer offers.

Check out the best business cards.


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