Business Credit Cards vs. Corporate Credit Cards


While the terms “corporate card” and “business card” are sometimes used interchangeably, they refer to two distinct types of credit cards. 

Learn how corporate credit cards vs. business credit cards compare.

  • A corporate credit card is a card large companies provide employees to make work-related purchases. These cards often include perks such as expense monitoring, rebates or rewards for everyday business purchases and higher credit limits. They often come with corporate liability. Commercial cards also come with added data elements, which help companies track types of spend.
  • A business credit card is similar to a personal credit card. It offers smaller businesses access to credit, plus a set limit and annual percentage rate (APR) terms. Unlike corporate cards, business credit cards often rely on individual liability, which means one person at the company is personally responsible if the company can’t pay off the charges.

“When it comes to choosing corporate cards vs. business cards, it’s not that one is better than the other,” said Nichole Schier, Head of North America Payment Solutions for Commercial Banking at J.P. Morgan.

“The level of complexity of your company’s needs will determine which program is best. If your company is growing and scaling, both in terms of operations and employees, you’re going to need a level of data, financial reporting and automation that only corporate cards can offer.” 

Business credit cards and corporate ones differ in other ways, too.

Eligibility requirements

  • Business credit card: All business types, including sole proprietors, are eligible, and there’s generally no minimum spend or number of employees required. Some providers limit the number of cardholders. Your financial institution will perform a credit check on the business owner, but not authorized users.
  • Corporate credit card: Generally, only C and S corporations are eligible for corporate card programs, which may require a minimum annual card spend. Some corporate card programs may require at least 15 cardholders.

Liability

  • Business credit card: The business owner is liable and held responsible for all debt incurred. “Liability is a major differentiator between business and corporate cards, and most business owners don’t want to be personally liable for the debt,” Schier said.
  • Corporate credit card: Corporate cards have corporate liability, meaning the company—not the business owners or employees—is liable for all charges made to the cards in the program. Employees, however, can be held responsible for unauthorized spending.

Payment terms

  • Business credit card: Like a personal credit card, business cards often have flexible payment terms, and businesses can carry a balance from month to month.
  • Corporate credit card: In most instances, the company must provide repayment in full each month.

Spend limits and requirements



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