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CWT Research: Four in Ten Business Travelers Use Company Cards for Personal Purchases

November 05, 2018

Travel managers need to address the misuse of company cards – and also work out why travelers don’t follow the rules.

According to research commissioned by CWT, the global travel management company, four in ten business travelers admit to using corporate cards for personal purchases – 46% of American and European travelers, and 38% of travelers in Asia Pacific.

“Travel managers need to address the misuse of company cards – and also work out why travelers don’t follow the rules,” said Christophe Renard, Vice President of CWT Solutions Group, the consultancy arm of Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

The practice is rife, even though 63% of Americans, and 58% of Europeans, say their company has a policy against using corporate credit cards for personal purchases, with an enforcement ratio of 85% in both regions. Among Asia Pacific travelers, 69% said their company has such a policy, with an enforcement ratio of 87%.

Overall, six in ten global business travelers said their employer provides them with a corporate credit card. Those in Asia Pacific were likeliest to have one (67%), followed by those in the Americas (61%) and those in Europe (56%).

While corporate cards are used to make personal purchases, the findings show that personal cards are also often used for business travel expenses.

Globally, 49% of business travelers always use their personal credit card when traveling for business. Travelers from Asia Pacific were significantly more inclined to do so (55%) than those in the Americas (48%) or Europe (44%).

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

Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Companies and governments rely on us to keep their people connected. We provide their travelers with a consumer-grade travel experience, combining innovative technology with our vast experience. Every day, we look after enough travelers to fill more than 260 Boeing 787s and 100,000 hotel rooms - and handle 105 events. We operate in around 150 countries, and in 2017 posted a total transaction volume of more than US$ 23 billion.