UK employers risk deepening employees’ cost of living woes

Concerns around tight personal finances are putting people off using their own credit cards for work expenses, according to research commissioned by Emburse, the global leader in spend optimisation. The research also showed that companies were slow to respond to the demand, despite an increase in expense fraud related to current economic conditions.

The survey was conducted by Censuswide, and looked at expense processes within UK-based businesses. 1,242 employees were asked questions about business policy enforcement in relation to spend, and employee preferences around expensing business travel and other related costs.

The data show that 16-34-year-olds were most likely to prefer corporate cards over personal cards, at 55% of respondents – the largest of any age group. Of these, 47% cited the cost-of-living crisis as the key factor. This comes at a time when 78% of 16-24-year-olds reported cost-of-living increases, up from 42% in January/February 2022.

However, the survey revealed just 6% of employees at mid-size and larger (500+ employees) companies are required to use corporate cards. With companies experiencing soaring cases of fraud due to cost of living hikes, the majority of organisations continue to shun corporate cards. This is despite business cards’ ability to minimise the risk of wasteful or fraudulent claims, while offering an effective way to more effectively control and track businesses spend.

Key findings:

Young workers with precarious finances worry about mixing business and personal expenses.

In general, over half (55%) of employees aged 16-34 would use a corporate card if given the choice, compared to 41% of those over 5594% of young employees cite long expense reimbursement processing time, risk of late fees, preference for not mixing personal and business spend, and streamlining the expenses process, as the key reasons for wanting a corporate cardOf those who would prefer to use a corporate card, 40% cited concerns about their own financesExacerbated by the length of time it can take for expenses to be processed incurring the risk of late fees (28%) and low credit limits (12%) were other reasons citedPreference for corporate cards also include a dislike for mixing personal and business spend (34%) and ease in managing expenses at the end of a trip (24%)

Business card adoption and requirement remains low across the board

Despite increasing need for visibility over finances, only one in 10 are required to use corporate cards for business purchasesSurprisingly, there is less appetite for personal card use for air/hotel points for personal leisure and travel – only 10% of employees cited this as a reason for personal cardsCurrently, only 6% of employees working at large enterprises (500+) are required to use a company card for expensesAmong small to mid-size businesses figures remain low for corporate card requirement:

10-49: 12%50-99: 9%100-249: 12%250-500: 14%Of the 38% of employees that report their company provides corporate cards, medium-sized businesses (100-249) are most likely to, compared to just 25% of 500+ enterprises:

10-49: 44%50-99: 45%100-249: 45%

Jamie Anderson, Chief Revenue Officer at Emburse commented:

“We’re all feeling the impact of rising prices, so it’s more important than ever for companies to listen to employees and understand how best to support them. This is even more important for younger employees who often earn less and may not have large amounts of credit available. When almost half of young workers say that the cost of living makes them want a company-paid card for their expenses, it’s something that companies should seriously consider. It’s an easy – and free – way to show employees you care.

“Giving employees credit cards also makes sound business sense. By setting restrictions on how and when, and where they can be used, it’s much easier to control purchases in advance, instead of having to wait for expense claims to come in after the fact. They also give much easier, accurate and timely insight into corporate spend, and the rebates that come back will also benefit the corporate coffers.”

About Emburse:

Emburse is the global leader in spend optimisation. Our expense, travel management, purchasing and accounts payable, and payments solutions are trusted by more than 12 million business professionals, including CFOs, finance teams, and travellers. More than 18,000 organisations in 120 countries, including FORTUNE 100 corporations, high-growth startups, public sector agencies, and nonprofits, count on our intelligent automation, sophisticated analytics, and unmatched spend control to streamline processes, increase spend visibility, enhance compliance, and deliver positive financial outcomes.  We humanise work. We eliminate manual, time-consuming tasks, so our customers and their teams can focus on what matters most in their personal and professional lives.   

For more information on Emburse, visit, or follow our social channels at @emburse. 

The post UK employers risk deepening employees’ cost of living woes appeared first on HR News.

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