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Should you make business purchases with your personal credit cards?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 4:37:20 PM

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Many consumers are now trying to be more cautious about the ways in which they use their personal credit cards, but for those who tend to tap their own accounts for business purchases, there could be a big push by lenders to encourage more of this account use.

These days, more consumers who have their own credit cards are making purchases of some kind as part of their job, but the number who use their credit cards to do so is dwindling, according to the latest data from the Cardbeat study released by the Auriemma Consulting Group. In all, 21 percent of cardholders make business purchases, up from 17 percent in October 2008, but only 45 percent put these expenses on their own cards, down from 62 percent a few years ago.

And while 87 percent said they typically bought office supplies for their company, those who did so on their own cards dipped to 45 percent from 51 percent, the report said. At the same time, the majority still put travel accommodations, such as hotel stays and meals during business trips, on their own cards. This trend may indicate that consumers prefer to have the ability to more easily discern between what constitutes a business expense and a personal one when going through their receipts.

For this reason, it may be a good idea for credit card lenders to start working with other companies to increase the perks consumers enjoy from hotels and other travel-related businesses, the report said.

Who benefits from incentivizing these types of purchases?

The obvious benefit for most credit card perks is to the consumers, who may be able to receive things like discounted or even free internet service in their hotel rooms through these partnerships, the report said. But at the same time, this type of spending would be a boon to lenders as well. This is because businesses are extremely likely to reimburse employees for any purchases made while traveling for work, and therefore, there is a far greater chance of the borrower paying their bills for these purchases on time.

Consumers who want to make sure they get the most out of their spending should review a number of credit card offers to find the best credit card for their unique personal situations.

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