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Founders of early-stage startups may initially bootstrap their operations with personal credit cards. But as startups grow, their expenses become more complex. That’s when the advantages of using business and corporate credit cards become clear.

Discover the benefits of using a business or corporate credit card for your startup and how to find the right program for your organization.


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How corporate cards can help startups

Corporate credit cards—sometimes called commercial cards—are company-provided credit cards that employees use for work-related purchases, such as travel and procurement. Corporate cards can help startups:

  • Increase spending power: Startups can increase their spending power without the use of personal cards. Corporate credit cards provide founders with dedicated lines of credit for business expenses. These cards can have higher spending limits compared to personal credit cards and are backed by the corporation, rather than the founder’s personal credit.
  • Streamline payment processing: Corporate cards can help startups reduce expense-related paperwork and administrative tasks, which can save time, money and staff resources. “Often, founders are running expenses through personal cards then reimbursing themselves,” said Kelly O’Brien, Vice President of Innovation Economy Card at J.P. Morgan. “If you have a corporate credit line that's specifically dedicated to your startup, that streamlines reimbursement.”
  • Better track and report expenses: Corporate cards often offer customizable spending controls and up-to-date records to help companies gain greater insight into their spending. Many cards offer value-added services, such as budgeting and expense management platforms, that can sync with the startup’s enterprise resource planning system. “With corporate cards, startups can track their expenses and create budgets,” O’Brien said. “That way, they can prevent overspending and make sure funds are allocated properly.”
  • Improve visibility and controls: Corporate cards include features that help reduce fraud and help users gain better visibility into their spending. These cards allow companies to set restrictions on transaction types and amounts, which can prevent unauthorized purchases. Additionally, corporate cards can provide detailed transaction data that can reveal spending patterns, which can be especially important for early-stage startups as they establish spending habits.
  • Earn cash back, rebates or rewards: With corporate credit cards, organizations can choose between rewards and annual rebates. It’s important to note, however, that reward points can be revalued by the card provider at any time. A card offering cash back is more straightforward and may be a more beneficial option, O’Brien said.
  • Establish banking relationships: It’s critical for startups to establish banking relationships early on. “As you grow, your needs are going to change,” O’Brien said. At J.P. Morgan, we are able to scale with you, providing higher credit lines, expense management tools, and other value-add products and services as you advance through each series stage.”

Applying for a startup credit card

Before applying for a corporate credit card, you should:

  • Understand your financial track position, including your available liquidity and your typical cash-burn rate. If your startup has a limited or relatively short credit history, it may be more challenging to secure a traditional corporate credit card. In this case, consider a corporate card that relies on liquidity-based underwriting, which assesses your company’s ability to repay based on its current cash position and expected future cash flows, rather than credit history alone.
  • Leverage your network to find out which banks or financial institutions other founders work with, and get their recommendations for the best business and corporate cards for a startup.
  • Determine your corporate card priorities, which could include building your company’s credit, enhancing cash-flow management or streamlining vendor management. You should also assess the features you want in a corporate credit card program and what types of rewards or rebates best suit your business. 

Finding the right credit card for your business needs

The right card for your company depends on its needs and goals. J.P. Morgan offers a variety of business and corporate credit cards that can address startups’ needs.

For example, One Card can provide startups with a comprehensive program to manage business expenses, such as travel and entertainment, meetings and events, advertising and more. One Card can help simplify expense management, improve security and controls, and streamline reconciliation. The card is also easily scalable, so it can align with startups’ evolving needs as they advance through each stage. 

Startups that prioritize automation may consider leveraging Virtual Card. This type of credit card can help startups automate accounts payable processing and track and manage spending. Because virtual cards provide a set amount for a specific supplier with an expiration date, they typically see significantly less fraud than traditional credit cards. 

We’re here to help

As the No. 1 Visa and Mastercard commercial card issuer in the U.S.,1 J.P. Morgan offers a range of card programs to scale with your business. Connect with a banker to find the right card program for your startups’ needs.



The Nilson Report, Issue 1220, May 2022

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Visit for disclosures and disclaimers related to this content.

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