Can I Use a Corporate Credit Card for Personal Expenses?


Corporate credit cards are extended to certain employees within a company who do a large amount of travel or client entertaining for the business. These cards are intended for business use only. Employees who use these credit accounts for personal expenditures may find themselves called to a disciplinary hearing and could lose their job.

Written Company Policy

  • A corporation that issues credit cards for business expenses to certain employees usually has a clear policy on how those credit cards are to be used. The corporation may monitor employee expense accounts closely for any purchases that do not seem business-related. Since the company is responsible for paying the balance on its credit cards, any extra employee spending on personal expenses could affect the company's ability to pay off the balances at the end of the month. As a result, use of corporate credit cards for personal expenses may be expressly forbidden. Violating the terms of this policy could result in termination.

Unclear or Vague Policies

  • It's important to use your corporate credit account wisely, even if your company has no clearly written policy about appropriate corporate credit card use. Your employer still has the right to review your purchases on a corporate account and may discipline you if it is determined that your purchases are not business-related. Use a corporate credit card only when acting in a work capacity for your employer. This can include meal purchases and travel expenses, but should not include items like gifts for your family.

Corporate Credit Is a Privilege

  • A corporate credit card is a privilege extended by your employer with the understanding that you will use the account responsibly. Abuse of the account can damage your relationship with your employer and may cause the company to revoke your spending privileges. This could be considered a demotion, not to mention an embarrassment. Revocation of spending privileges could have ramifications years later when a promotion is considered and your trustworthiness is questioned. Your employer may not see you as a viable candidate for a higher position because of a past misdeed.

Credit Card Fraud

  • Using a corporate credit account for your own personal needs is essentially credit card fraud. The corporation may have the right to file a criminal complaint against an employee if the expenditures are large enough. To guard against this kind of workplace fraud, no employee should be exempt from having purchases reviewed, says the Merchant Account Guide website. If an employee is found to have used a corporate credit card for personal expenses, the company may deduct the purchases' value from the person's paycheck, followed by dismissal.

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