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Nearly 40 per cent of Asia-Pacific travellers use company cards for personal purchases

6 Nov 2018 by BusinessTravellerAsiaPacific
Credit cards

Nearly 40 per cent of business travellers in Asia-Pacific admit to using their company cards for personal purchases, even when their companies have specific policies against such practices, a recent study says.

According to global travel management firm Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), 69 per cent of business travellers in the region polled said their companies have policies against using corporate cards for personal purchases, with an enforcement ration of 87 per cent. However, this doesn’t seem to have deterred 38 per cent of them who admitted to doing so in violation of such policies.

The issue is cause for concern for companies that issue employees with company credit cards, says Christophe Renard, vice president of CWT Solutions Group, the consultancy arm of CWT.

“Travel managers need to address the misuse of company cards – and also work out why travellers don’t follow the rules,” said Renard.

That being said, the issue is less pronounced among business travellers in Asia-Pacific than those in America and Europe, where 46 per cent of business travellers admitted to using company cards for personal use. This is despite employers in Asia-Pacific being most likely to provide company cards to their employees (67 per cent).

However, travellers in Asia-Pacific were also the most likely to use their personal cards for business expenses, with 55 per cent of travellers in the region doing so compared to 48 per cent in the Americas and 44 per cent in Europe. The practice is most common in China, Singapore and India, the survey found.

This comes with its own issues for businesses, however. “The use of personal credit cards for business expenses means companies find it difficult to track spend – and that makes it a lot harder to enforce policies,” added Renard.

Instead, Renard suggests issuing employees with virtual credit cards as a way to improve transparency.

“If companies don’t want to issue credit cards to all employees – which is understandable – virtual credit cards are a useful compromise,” he said. “Travellers don’t have to use their personal cards for business expenses, and companies know exactly how their money is being spent.”

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