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Corporate credit cards can be powerful tools, offering benefits such as streamlined payment processing, tracking and reporting tools, increased controls, and rebates or rewards. Before your business can benefit, however, you need to apply for a corporate card. 

“Navigating the application process for a corporate credit card requires preparation,” said Lizzie Pine, Head of Commercial Banking Commercial Card at JPMorgan Chase. “That includes determining your company’s eligibility, gathering necessary documentation and considering liability implications.”


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Find out more about corporate card requirements and how to get corporate credit cards.

Corporate card considerations

Corporate credit card programs generally have more qualification considerations compared to business credit cards. Corporate cards often come with a more comprehensive suite of features, including enhanced data on each transaction, increased controls on card spend and dedicated customer service. Before applying, you should understand how you will use your card program, how much spend you will put on the program and what employees will leverage the card program. While program customization and size of credit lines vary among providers, common prerequisites include:

  • Expected spend and type of spend: Many issuers shape card programs based on how companies spend on their card and how much spend they anticipate on the program.
  • Number of card users: Some corporate card issuers require a minimum number of authorized card users as part of their eligibility criteria. Issuers may also require a minimum spend.
  • Financial standing: Applicants may be required to provide financial statements, tax returns, credit reports and ratings, vendor references and other documents to demonstrate their creditworthiness.

Once you provide financial statements, cash flow forecasts and other documents to the corporate card issuer’s underwriting team, the team can assess how much credit to provide to the company and adjust settlement terms as necessary.

Corporate card liability considerations

When you apply for a corporate card, be sure to consider the three ways issuers structure corporate card liability:

  1. Corporate liability: The company—not the business owners or employees—is solely responsible for all charges made to the cards in the program. The program won’t require credit checks on company employees. Employees, however, can be held responsible for unauthorized spending.
  2. Individual liability: Each employee using the corporate card is responsible for the debt incurred on their employee corporate card. The employee must pay the bill and then request reimbursement from the company. Before issuing the card, the issuer runs a “soft pull” of the employee’s credit that won’t impact the employee’s credit score.
  3. Joint liability: Both the company and the employee are responsible for the debt. An employee’s personal credit won’t be impacted if their corporate card is paid in full within a set number of days. But if there are missed or late payments, the corporate card issuer will report the delinquency to the credit bureaus, impacting the employee’s credit.

Corporate card program guidelines

Once your company is approved for a corporate card, it’s important to establish comprehensive guidelines and policies for your company’s card usage. Guidelines should detail acceptable activity and non-compliance. They frequently include:

  • Cardholder responsibilities: These guidelines clarify only the named cardholder can use the card, and only for business expenses. Cardholder responsibilities should also set expectations for safeguarding the card, PIN access and how to handle lost cards or unauthorized card use.
  • Spending limits: Establish limits for the employee and thresholds for spending on certain transactions. Limits are particularly important for business travel and entertainment spending, with the ability to cap the amount employees spend on meals each day of travel.
  • Approval structure: Clarify who approves corporate card expenses and how they do it. This includes defining the hierarchy of expense approvers and situations that require special approval, as well as explaining how to handle exceptions.
  • Reimbursement process: Spell out the steps an employee must take to be reimbursed for corporate credit card charges and any documents necessary for reimbursement. At minimum, the documents should comply with IRS rules.

Additionally, it’s important to work with the company’s accounts payable and receivable teams so they’re prepared for the corporate card rollout and able to regularly review policies.

“This work is ongoing,” Pine said. “Spending policies should be revisited every year—if not more frequently—and adjusted as needed. As the company grows and its needs evolve, the card program must adapt accordingly. Regular updates, coupled with continuous monitoring and education, are key to a successful and compliant program.”

The bottom line: Applying for and obtaining a corporate credit card can help you drive your business forward. By understanding the eligibility criteria, gathering necessary documentation, navigating the application process effectively and establishing clear program guidelines, you can streamline your company's financial operations and unlock the full potential of corporate credit card usage. 

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 commercial card options. Our experienced payments experts can help you select and implement a program that best fits your 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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