Best Business Expense Cards

It is crucial to maintain a wall between your private and company finances.

Updated: April 12, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

|
Rachel Wait

Edited By

Rachel Wait

 

It's much simpler to keep track of corporate spending when it's kept separate from personal transactions. You'll have complete visibility over what's been spent where.

Using a business expense card is one approach to keeping your personal and professional spending distinct. The top business expense cards, as well as some alternatives, are compared here.

ServiceScoreRegister
1. Capital on Tap★★★★★Click Here
2. Cashplus Bank★★★★★Click Here
3. Soldo★★★★★Click Here
4. Tide★★★★Click Here
5. Wallester★★★★Click Here
6. Pleo★★★★Click Here
7. Barclays★★★★★Click Here
8. NatWest★★★★★Click Here
9. American Express★★★★★Click Here

At a Glance, Pros and Cons

Let’s look into the pros & cons of business expense cards.

Pros 

✅  If your company does not yet have a strong credit history, responsible use of a business credit card might help you establish one 📊.

✅  Promoting the use of expense cards for business costs helps consolidate workers' expense reports.

✅  Some business expense cards are prepaid cards which must be loaded with funds in advance. This makes it much easier to budget.

✅  It's much easier to stay on top of your finances if you keep business and personal spending separate.

Cons 

❌ Failure to make timely payments can lead to fees or interest charges.

❌ Employees could overspend on their cards, so it's important to put spending controls in place.

❌ If you don't manage a business credit card well, you can damage your credit score.

Compare Best Business Expense Cards

What is a business expense card?

It may be difficult for the owner of a small or medium-sized firm to keep track of costs and staff expenditures. Business expense cards provide a solution to this problem by allowing you to better monitor employee spending while also making it simpler to compile data on what's been spent where.

To help you keep track of your organisation's spending and enable your staff to make purchases with ease, this article will discuss some of the best business expense cards on the market. Some are prepaid cards, where you preload them with funds, and some are business credit cards, where you borrow funds on credit.

How do they work?

Expense cards are a type of corporate plastic. Depending on the card you choose, you might benefit from features such as:

  • The option to place a cap on expenses for each employee.
  • Tracking individual card expenditures.
  • Integrating the card with accounting software.

When comparing cards, it's important to consider the annual percentage rate (APR) (if applicable), transaction fees, annual fees and cashback/rewards programmes.

Company NameMonthly FeeCard TypeTransaction FeeATM Fee
1. Capital on Tap£0-£99 per year (primary account)Business Credit Card£0£0
2. Cashplus Bank£0 (one low annual fee on the primary account)Business Expense CardForeign transaction fees apply3% plus interest from the date of the withdrawal
3. SoldoFrom £21 + VAT (primary account)Business Expense CardNo fees for domestic transactions and foreign exchange fee is fixed at 1%1% of amount with minimum £2
4. Tide£5+VAT for every Expense Card (up to 3 free cards depending on the monthly plan)Expense Card£0-£0.20 (depending on the plan)£1
5. WallesterFrom £0 (primary account)Business Expense CardForeign transaction fees applyEurope 2.00% (min £2.00), International £2.00 + 2.00%
6. PleoFrom £0 (primary account)Business Expense CardForeign transaction fees apply£0-£5 (depending on the plan)
7. BarclaysFrom £0Business Credit CardForeign transaction fees applyVariable
8. NatWestNo annual card fee for the first year, normally £30Business Credit CardForeign transaction fees applyVariable
9. American ExpressFrom £0Business Expense CardForeign transaction fees applyVariable

1. Capital on Tap — Best business expense card for businesses earning at least £2,000/month

This credit card is only available to limited companies or limited liability partnerships registered with Companies House. You'll also need to have a minimum monthly turnover of at least £2,000.

The standard card is free and enables you to easily track spending. You can also earn 1% cashback on card spending and redeem points against your balance, for cash or for discounted gift cards.

Bonus points and more flexible redemption choices, like Avios, are part of the Business Rewards card, which costs £99 per year.

After signing up, you will be able to sync cards with accounting software, set up spending restrictions for employees, issue an infinite number of free corporate cards, and monitor card use in real time.

There are 10,407 reviews of Capital on Tap on Trustpilot, with 89% giving it 5 stars and just 4% giving it 1 star.

Pros 

✔️ Rates as low as 15.5% (variable) may be available 

✔️ No ATM withdrawal fees and no foreign exchange fees

✔️ 1% cashback on card spending

✔️ Discounts at popular retailers like Dell, Hertz, and Hotels.com — plus more special deals

Cons

❌ At least £2k in monthly sales is required

❌ Must have no outstanding CCJs

❌ You'll need to pay an annual fee of £99 to access additional rewards

2. Cashplus Bank — FCA-regulated digital expense card

About 26 million merchants across the world accept the Cashplus credit card.

You can apply if you are the director of a limited company that is registered with Companies House, are at least 18 years old, live in the UK, and have no outstanding CCJs or IVAs.

Out of 7,971 reviews on Trustpilot, 54% are for the maximum 5 stars, while 30% are for the minimum 1 star. This card comes with a number of perks, such as protection against fraudulent charges and an easy-to-use app interface for keeping track of your spending.

Pros 

✔️ APR is 29.9% (variable)

✔️ Rates of interest may drop to as low as 19.9%, depending on individual circumstances

✔️ Cashback or reward rate is 1%

Cons 

❌ You must have no outstanding CCJs or IVAs

❌ Cash withdrawals incur a fee of 3% plus interest from the date of the withdrawal

❌ Foreign transaction fees apply

3. Soldo — Top business expense card for businesses for managing staff spending

When it comes to managing employee spending, Soldo is a popular business prepaid card to choose. However, you might find Soldo pricey if you run a smaller firm.

Expenses are easier to manage when you set individual spending limits and approval processes for each employee. You can keep tabs on employee spending in real time via dashboards and load more funds onto the cards instantly if required.

Soldo is a smartphone app that streamlines the process of tracking and approving employee spending. The accounting programmes Xero and QuickBooks are both compatible with Soldo.

Tip 💡: We really like the convenience of the temporary virtual cards available with Soldo. If you need to distribute cards to your staff for a one-time purchase, but don't want to deal with the maintenance and safety concerns of issuing physical cards, this is a great alternative.

Plans: The Standard plan is £21 per month + VAT. The Plus plan is £33 per month + VAT. The Enterprise plan has custom pricing.

Pros 

✔️ Spending caps can be tailored to individual needs

✔️ Track employee expenditure in real time using an online dashboard

✔️ Prepaid cards are great for company budgeting

✔️ Connects to financial applications

Cons 

❌ You might find Soldo pricey if you run a smaller firm

❌ The majority of the features are only available to Plus users

❌ Each card costs £5 to issue (or £1 for a digital version)

4. Tide — Excellent expense card for managing business costs

Tide's primary use is as a digital banking platform for micro and small enterprises. Its expense cards are designed to work in tandem with the Tide business current account, making it possible to handle both banking and accounting functions with a single product.

The good news is that a Tide account for the sole purpose of using its expenditure cards costs nothing.

You, as an employer, have the power to create or revoke expense cards, create spending limits, monitor reports and analytics, and manage cash flow. Employees can activate their own cards, see their PINs, and freeze their cards when they are not using them.

Businesses also have the option to receive real-time updates on expenditure card reimbursements. Employees can manage their own expenses by submitting receipts and classifying their expenditure as they see fit.

Each expense card costs £5 plus VAT. Depending on your membership, you could get one or more Expense Cards for free. On Plus you’ll get 1 free, on Pro you’ll get 2 free and on Cashback or Premium, you’ll get 3 free.

Special Tip 📓: With its low entry barrier, simple setup, and affordable pricing, Tide is our best selection for firms with less than five employees who are looking for expense cards.

Pros 

✔️ Value for money

✔️ Superb user interface

✔️ No hidden foreign exchange fees

✔️ Real-time notifications on employee and employer expenditures

Cons 

❌ Mainly just for micro and small enterprises

5. Wallester — Great alternative for fastest setups

Wallester, which also offers prepaid cards, is a bit of an outside pick for us. It's a fintech company based in Estonia that has a presence in the UK.

The ‘free' account is the main selling point. There are no ongoing costs or service fees.

Wallester's online interface provides real-time administration and tracking of expenses, much like the other services on our list. There is no restriction on the number of physical cards you can have with the account, while the number of virtual cards is capped at 300.

Cards are issued quickly and can be used for payments almost immediately after they are issued.

However, cards can only be issued in euros. You can load funds and make purchases in any currency, but a 2% conversion fee will be applied.

As a result, we feel this option is most appropriate for businesses whose employees often visit or do business in the EU. This is not the right expense card for you if you carry out most transactions in sterling.

Pros 

✔️ Infinite number of physical cards

✔️ No setup fees

✔️ Setup takes no more than 10 minutes ⚡

Cons 

❌ 2% foreign exchange fee 

❌ Shipping fee of £7 for the card

❌ The card and associated account can only be used with Euros

6. Pleo — Popular business expense card for budget management

For organisations of any size, Pleo is an affordable expenditure solution and cost management platform. It provides a user-friendly interface for managing and analysing corporate cost cards, whether they are physical or digital.

In addition to expense cards, the Pleo platform allows for invoice payments, which simplifies the process of managing and paying your company's expenses.

You'll also get real-time notifications on spending, and Pleo works with all the main accounting software. In addition, on certain plans, you can get 1% cashback on your purchases.

Pleo has three primary pricing tiers. There is a free plan that supports up to three people, an Essential plan that costs £45 per month, and an Advanced plan that costs £99 per month. Paid-for plans tend to offer a greater range of features and tools.

Pros 

✔️ Quick to register

✔️ Cool, updated user interface

✔️ Integrating finances

Cons 

❌ Withdrawals from your Pleo account will cost you £25 plus a 2% foreign transaction charge and an ATM fee of £5 (with the Starter plan)

7. Barclays — Household name business expense card

There are three different credit cards available from Barclays, and the Select Cashback card is one of them.

With this card, you can easily control corporate expenses and you'll also get 1% cashback on all business spend. Further benefits include access to a free FreshBooks accounting plan and business rewards and offers from selected suppliers and retailers.

The Premium Plus credit card, on the other hand, has an annual fee of £150 but could be ideal for those who regularly travel abroad. It offers cashback on purchases and travel costs, a discounted rate on foreign exchange fees, and travel insurance.

Finally, the Select Charge Card has an annual fee of £42 per account but as its a charge card, you must pay off the balance in full every month.

Pros 

✔️ Three different card types to choose from

✔️ Cashback and other rewards available

✔️Access to FreshBooks with the Select Cashback card

Cons 

❌ Annual fees apply to some cards

❌ Interest rates are high

❌ Depending on the card, foreign transaction fees may apply

8. NatWest — Popular business expense card for business earning up to £2 million

NatWest's business credit card is available to companies with an annual turnover of less than £2 million and who use NatWest Business Banking.

If you spend £6,000 or more each year, your yearly card charge of £30 is waived for the first year.

The card also offers 1% cashback at eligible fuel and electric vehicle charging stations.

There are 4,545 reviews of NatWest on Trustpilot, with 8% giving it 5 stars and 86% giving it 1 star.

Pros 

✔️ Get cashback on your spending

✔️ Annual fee waived for first year if you meet requirements

Cons 

❌ High interest rate

❌ You must have a NatWest business bank account to qualify

9. American Express — Popular business expense card for budget management

American Express, the last brand on our list, is also a household name throughout the world.

You need to be aged 18 or over and be a UK resident to qualify.

American Express offers a range of expense card options, including:

  • the Amex Business Platinum card with a £650 annual fee
  • the Amex Business Gold card with a £195 annual fee (£0 in the first year)
  • the British Airways Amex Accelerating Business Card with an annual fee of £250 (you can earn Avios with this card)
  • the Amazon Business Prime Amex card with an annual fee of £50
  • the Amazon Business Amex card with an annual fee of £50 (£0 for the first) year
  • the Amex Business Basic card with no annual fee

When comparing cards, you'll need to consider whether you're looking for a straightforward card with limited perks and no annual fee. Or whether you want to earn rewards as you spend and pay an annual fee.

Pros 

✔️ Wide range of cards to choose from

✔️ Gain access to exclusive business benefits and earn reward points

Cons 

❌ Many cards charge hefty annual fees

❌ Strict eligibility criteria

❌ Some cards are charge cards which must be paid off in full each month

Top business expense cards — Buying Guide

Let's take a closer look at business expense cards.

What are expense cards?

Business expense cards are an easy way to help businesses manage employee expenses. You might choose to use a prepaid expense card or a company credit card.

Prepaid business expense cards work in a similar way to a debit card, but you load them with funds in advance – usually though a business bank account. Employees can then spend the amount loaded on the card as and when they need to, and you can keep track of what has been spent where.

If you use a business credit card, on the other hand, you'll be able to spend up to a set credit limit, but you'll need to repay the balance in full each month to avoid paying interest. You can usually still set spending limits for employees and even block or approve transactions. However, business credit cards can be harder to get accepted for as you'll need to undergo a credit check. Prepaid business cards don't usually require a credit check, and there's no risk of getting into debt as you're not borrowing funds.

Why use business expense cards?

Business expense cards enable employees to make essential purchases whenever they need them and it can be easy for employers to manage those expenses and keep track of what's been spent.

Business expense cards are often used to cover out-of-pocket costs incurred by employees on official business, such as those attending a conference or trade show. That might incur expenses for sustenance and travel. An expense card enables employees to make direct purchases without having to front the money themselves and then submit reimbursement requests.

Advantages of business expense cards

Convenience ✅

Expense cards for businesses save employees the hassle of using their own money or constantly bothering their superiors for money to cover costs incurred while on the job.

Providing employees with their own business expense cards not only facilitates faster reimbursement but also allows them to make purchases online or over the phone without having to submit receipts for review.

Effortless Expense Administration ✅

Having a record of every purchase made is a huge help when it comes to budgeting.

Business expense cards can also make it easier to review expenses and grant or deny requests. All transactions are logged and can be accessed without much effort, which simplifies bookkeeping and accounting operations. 

The ability to scan a receipt immediately from a user's mobile device is a handy feature offered by several expense cards.

Incentives & Rewards✅

Many cards also offer perks such as cashback or reward points and some might give you access to free accounting software.

Disadvantages of business expense cards

Danger of Abuse ❎

If you hand out business credit cards to employees, there is the risk that they might abuse that spending power and rack up debt.

However, with a prepaid expense card, employees can only spend the funds already on the card, making it easier to control.

Fees ❎

Expense cards can charge monthly fees, everyday transaction fees, and foreign transaction fees. If you use a business credit card and don't clear the balance each month, interest is usually charged.

Affect on Credit ❎

If you use a business credit card and it's not managed well, you could damage your business credit score. On the other hand, if you make all your monthly repayments in full and on time, your business credit score could improve. With a prepaid card, there's no credit involved so it won't hurt or harm your score.

Leading business expense cards: The Verdict 

Expense cards for the workplace have several potential benefits, including less paperwork, more employee autonomy, and cost savings. But you'll need to consider whether you would prefer to opt for a business prepaid card and preload the card with funds, or use a business credit card and potentially benefit from additional perks and rewards. In some cases, you can also get access to debit cards for business expenses.

Related Guides:

Top-rated business expense cards — FAQs

Can you put company costs on a personal credit card?

How much do company expense typically cost?

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