Corporate Plastic Power: Latest Upgraded Points Survey Examines How Employees Actually Use Their Company Credit Cards

62% of Company Cardholders Have Heard of Instances Where Company Expense Cards Were Misused for Non-Business Activities Within Their Organization — 18% Say This Is Commonplace. 

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 30, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Upgraded Points recently revealed its latest research findings with a fascinating glimpse into the topic of employees’ use of company-issued credit cards. The study identifies the role, usage, and challenges these cards present in a modern workplace.

“Our mission was to shed light on how these cards are used, and sometimes, misused,” shared Keri Stooksbury, editor-in-chief at Upgraded Points. “We hope this information opens a conversation about the use of company cards in general, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding of their role in corporate finance.”

Study Methodology

Upgraded Points surveyed 500 American employees with company-issued credit cards during a week in December 2023. The survey explored card users’ purchasing habits, security measures, and personal card usage and asked questions about corporate card misuse.

Top Corporate Card Expenses

The study began with the types of purchases most commonly charged and the security measures in place.

  • Travel Expenses (65%): Travel expenses, including transportation and lodging on business trips, topped the list of most frequently charged items on corporate cards.
  • Meals and Entertainment (56%): Following closely, corporate cardholders often charged cards for meals and entertaining clients.
  • Office Equipment and Technology (55%): Office essentials and tech purchases ranked a solid third.
  • Recurring Expenses (54%): Everyday tools such as software subscriptions were also frequently charged.

In-Place Security Measures and Guidelines

  • Receipt Submission: A majority (82%) of companies require receipt submission when employees use their corporate cards. Most (53%) solely require it for large or recurring purchases. A mere 29% always require approval before purchases are made. 
  • Spending Limits: 57% of employers enforce spending limits to monitor daily cash usage.
  • Transaction Alerts: Nearly half of companies set transaction alerts for corporate card activity (48%).
  • 2-Factor Authentication: Only one-third of companies (34%) require their employees to use 2-factor authentication for business-related purchases.

While over a quarter of respondents (27%) reported using their company card for personal expenses, blurring the lines between personal and professional spending, there is a stark contrast between personal and corporate card usage. On average, employees reported a monthly corporate credit card bill of $6,506, significantly higher than the reported average of $2,347 for personal credit card statements. 

But the study also revealed that 1 in 5 Americans frequently used their personal funds for work-related expenses, while an additional one-third (33%) occasionally do so. This blurring of personal and professional spending lines might be attributed to the often-cumbersome funding-approval processes in place at many organizations. 

Card Misuse: Some Surprising Results

Other major reveals from the study include:

  • 20% of corporate cardholders were unsure about reward management, while 10% indicated a case dependency, leading to employee concerns about how to use corporate card rewards.
  • 49% acknowledged colleagues facing repercussions when misuse was discovered.
  • Surprisingly, 20% admitted discomfort in reporting company card misuse to a superior.

The Path Forward: Education and Transparency

The study highlights the need for clearer guidelines, better training, and an improved understanding of company credit card use. 30% of company card holders have not received specific training and guidelines on the appropriate use of their company cards. Misuse can often be as simple as a genuine misunderstanding of policies. However, as corporate card usage becomes increasingly prevalent, investing in clear training and guidance will help prevent it altogether.

To see all the questions asked and the results, along with helpful graphs and charts, please visit the complete study online.

About Upgraded Points LLC

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Upgraded Points is a travel company that helps to demystify the complex world of travel and credit cards. Launched in 2016 by Alex Miller, Upgraded Points uses targeted research efforts and in-depth studies to help travelers maximize their travel, points, and experiences. Learn more at:

Media Contact: 

Alex Miller, Founder

SOURCE Upgraded Points LLC