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Company expense per diem cards for employees


Company expense cards are great, right? They let you and your employees travel, entertain and pay for company expenses without the need for petty cash or for any of you to pay out of your own pockets. In addition, you get an itemized statement every month that you can attach to your expense reports to account for the money that’s been spent.

But as convenient as they are, credit cards also have their drawbacks. Sometimes, employees go over their spending limits or per diems. Or, they can’t get approved by the credit card company in the first place. Or, you’d like to limit spending to specific merchants (for example, hotels, restaurants and transportation), but you’re getting charges for retailers or nightclubs or other kinds of merchants – after the money is spent.

Luckily, there are alternatives. Here are a couple ways you can ditch your company expense cards and still keep close tabs on your company’s spending.

Cash advances

Cash advances are easy. Employees request cash and tell you what it’s for. You give them the money, and they bring back receipts and change.

However, that simplicity presents its own set of problems. Hand someone cash, and it can get lost. It also demands time, paperwork and the staff to track and administer it. Once it’s distributed, the “change” sometimes doesn’t come back. And, if employees are out of town, it can become difficult to send more cash to them if something unexpected arises.

Corporate debit cards

One of the newer ways to handle corporate spending is with a corporate debit card, which has some of the protections of a credit card without the open limits. With a prepaid debit card, you can set a limit on how much can be spent ahead of the expenditure. Have a $100 per day limit? Then that’s all that can be spent on these kinds of company expense cards. And, since the amount is preset ahead of time, you know exactly what your costs are going to be, and you can’t go over budget.

In addition, you can decide what merchant categories are acceptable. Are restaurants okay, but not bars? That’s up to you to decide. You choose the categories, and the card takes care of the rest, refusing charges that it’s preprogrammed to reject.

You can also set expiration dates for when the money on the card should expire, perhaps on the last day of a trip or the day after a convention ends. And that means no more late fees – ever.

One of the best benefits of a prepaid debit card is that any money that is not spent within the allotted time is returned to the company’s account. So if a salesperson was allotted $1,000 for a trip and spends $750, the remaining $250 is returned to your company.

In addition, some of these corporate debit cards are designed to integrate with expense management systems so the expenditures made through the card are automatically fed into expense reports and tracked.

Mobile apps tied to the cards can also allow you to make requests, deposit money and approve expenses on the fly while an employee – or an approver or manager — is travelling for business.

Like credit cards, corporate debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere and come with statements and reports that show you where your company’s money is being spent. They are also secure and can be cancelled so that your money is protected in case they get lost.