Years ago, it was a big deal for company employees to earn the key to the executive washroom. (No, really.) Today, a much more looming—and practical—question involves finances, not upscale sinks. It’s whether or not to give employees business debit cards.
Handing over a debit card to certain workers makes sense in plenty of situations. Case in point: Do you enjoy having customer service personnel text asking to spend $5 on a client sympathy card?
Yet handing out debit cards can be a tough decision because this isn’t a must-do task. Additionally, it brings up some serious questions: Will issuing debit cards pay off in improved efficiency? Will it expose the company to potential problems? Ultimately, the choice boils down to what’s best for your organization.
Maybe you aren’t on the fence about giving out debit cards, but you’re wondering who deserves one. After all, your business structure is bound to be unique. Nevertheless, there are a few team member types who may benefit from carrying around corporate plastic.
Anyone who’s involved in the everyday buying of materials to keep your supply chain running deals with money. True, many procurement purchases are made through bank account withdrawals or checks. But sometimes, your procurement specialists may need to make last-minute buys. At those moments, having a business debit card available eliminates the need for them to go elsewhere.
Why hold up their ability to get the best deals on the market? The global supply chain is still undergoing Covid-related hiccups. Enabling your procurement crew to snag items when they’re available can make sense.
You’ve chosen your administrative staffers thoughtfully. They’ve been background checked and have proven their mettle. Do they deserve a corporate debit card? Many bosses would say yes, particularly if your administrators order small amounts of supplies occasionally.
Obviously, not every administrator needs to have a clear path to shop on the business’s behalf. However, higher level administrative professionals can benefit tremendously from being able to use their cards judiciously. This is especially advantageous if your administrators work remotely, which means they can’t just ask to borrow your card.
Employees Who Make Regular Purchases for Their Jobs
Do you have employees who are out and about? For instance, salespeople who spend a lot of their time on the road? You don’t have to issue each of them a separate credit card or wait for them to access petty cash. You could solve their money access problems with a business debit card.
A huge bonus to giving on-the-road staffers debit cards is that they’re not flashing wads of paper money. Rather, they can discreetly pay for anything from client lunches to parking garage fees with a swipe. Also, you won’t have to go through the rigamarole of them having to submit reimbursement forms every month.
You (and the Rest of the C-Suite)
Most corporate C-suite executives need to have at least a debit card, if not a credit card. In fact, this is fairly standard across most industries.
To be sure, not every member of the C-level team will make purchases regularly. Some may go months before needing to grab their debit cards. No matter: They should all have the freedom to place orders, re-up subscriptions, or test low-cost software solutions.
Best Practices for Business Debit Card Use
At this point, you have a better understanding of who might be well-positioned to receive a debit card. Once you determine the “who,” though, you’ll want to get granular and close any system gaps. The last thing you want is to feel uneasy about exposing your corporate funds.
First, you might want to choose a card that allows you to pre-load amounts. For example, some debit cards take money from just one savings account. As the money is drawn from the account, the account figure goes down. When the money’s gone, you can add more—or not. Yet your employees won’t ever gain entry to your main accounts.
Secondly, you’ll want to pull together a set of rules and guidelines for each card holder. Spend some time coming up with your game plan and scenarios. Be sure to include language that’s clear and easy to follow. You don’t need to complicate your debit card use regulations. The more straightforward they are; the less confusion will arise. Make certain that you add a note about employees handing over cards when they leave the company. You’d be surprised at how many ex-workers still have old business debit cards in their possession.
Next, give each cardholder authorization to purchase only a certain amount per transaction. You can set the limit anywhere you like. For your administrative assistant, you might issue a cap of $100 per use. On the other hand, your sales team leader may be authorized to spend up to $400 at once. Over time, you may want to up these parameters or allow one-time exceptions. Always put any changes or permissions in writing. Otherwise, you could end up in a contentious situation.
Finally, always put robust checks and balances in place. You might not want to look up debit card use every day, but do it frequently. By keeping tabs on all business card spending, you lessen the likelihood of discovering fraud later. Of course, you don’t want to assume that anyone on the payroll would commit an act of theft. Nonetheless, you can’t be too careful when it comes to protecting the finances of your corporation.
Ready to begin the process of putting business debit cards in the hands of your key players? Start by picking the right debit card issuer for your needs. If all goes well, you’ll end up with a smoother system that enables quick buying and more empowered colleagues.