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How Does a Corporate Card Affect Credit Scores?

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A friend of mine recently started a new job requiring frequent travel. In turn, his company provided him with a corporate card for use when charging reimbursable company expenses.  Since he is the one responsible for paying the card’s monthly balance, he was curious whether the corporate card will be reported on his credit report and credit score.

The short answer is that it may or may not be reported, a decision influenced by two factors: how the card was set up and the card issuer’s reporting policies.  American Express is arguably the biggest provider of corporate cards; generally speaking, they don’t report such accounts on an individual’s credit file as long as the card member fulfills his or her cardholder responsibilities (paying account balances in a timely manner, for example).

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If the corporate card is reported to the credit bureaus, account information including the date the account was opened, payment status and any balance information may be factored into your own score.

Here are a few things to remember when dealing with corporate cards:

  • If your company requires that you maintain a corporate card, you should first ask whether you are personally responsible for the debt and whether the credit account will be reported on your credit file.  Also, ask if a credit bureau report inquiry will be pulled on you as part of the card setup process when the company first provides you with the card.  The H.R. department should be able to address these questions or provide a contact for the card issuer who can.
  • If you currently have a corporate card and want to know whether or not it is reported, you can ask your H.R. department, call the issuer of the corporate card, or simply obtain a copy of your credit report to check for yourself.
  • Whether the card is being reported on you or not, it is good practice to submit expense reports in a timely manner (especially if you are on the hook to pay the monthly bill!) and make payments as agreed.  Note that the corporate card issuer may not report such cards to the credit bureau as long as they are in good standing. They may, however, opt to report if payments are severely past due (90 days or later, for example).
  • If you terminate employment and have a corporate card, make sure all outstanding expense reports are completed, the outstanding balance has been paid in full, and the account is closed.

These actions will help you most effectively reduce the possibility of surprises down the road.

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