A corporate credit card can seem like a useful tool for churches: a convenient and easy way for staff to make the purchases they need to do their jobs. Yet at many churches, the corporate credit card results in headaches and hassles. The bill is due whether or not staff members have submitted the necessary receipts and information, but documentation always seems to be missing or late.
Misuse of a church credit card can lead to more serious issues than headaches, hassles, and wasted time, however. It can result in inappropriate expenses and even finance charges. Fortunately, this can be prevented with adequate considerations and policies.
Assessing the Need
If your church does not currently have a corporate credit card, the first step is to assess whether or not you truly need one. While a corporate credit card can make purchases more convenient for staff, consider what it will take to create and enforce a credit card policy, and to reconcile the account each month.
If your church decides that it would benefit from a credit card, the next step is to determine which staff members will receive one. You may have staff members who want access because they don't have enough financial credit to use their personal cards for large purchases. Church leadership should be responsible for deciding who receives a card, however, not the individual staff members.
It's important to set clear policies governing the use of corporate credit cards. These should address:
- How individual reporting will be monitored. Each credit card charge should be reviewed and approved by the individual's immediate supervisor. This protects the individual as well as the church. If there are staff members without a direct supervisor, such as the senior pastor, a member of the governing board should periodically review the charges.