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Old 08-18-2009, 09:44 AM   #21
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I had this arrangement 15 years ago in globo-corp.

Company policy was to use the Diners card solely for business charges usually airfare and hotel. Company had a solid expense accounting process and reimbursement was directly credited to CC, so it was incumbent upon employee to stay current.

Having worked on all sides of the expense account system employee using, manager approving, finance function managing and controlling it is a much better way to manage the process. It deals upfront and directly with a number of expense reimbursement issues cash advance management, expense reimbursement procrastination, use of company funds for non-authorized purposes being the most critical. Clear audit trails are created and maintained by the cc company.

For the Megacorp Diners has the advantage of being accepted worldwide for most travel-related expenses mostly air and lodging but not much else.
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:19 AM   #22
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Why did they choose "Diners Club" for the mandatory card? I've been plenty of places that take MasterCard or Visa but that do not accept Diners Club. Is that going to be an issue with reimbursements for business expenses?
I may be wrong, but I think I heard somewhere that Diners Club is one of the few cards that offers primary coverage on rental cars.
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:42 AM   #23
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There are three types of card agreements, usually. The most popular is where the employee is responsible for all charges. That way if they spend it on hookers and blow, the company will not reimburse them. Not that an employee would ever abuse their card.
The other is corporate liability where the company is solely responsible for the charges. When I worked for an Internet company everyone had to get a corporate card for travelling. All were personal except for one lady who had a bankruptcy and the company had to take responsibility for the card. The company ran out of money, people didn't get reimbursed and everyone was out except for the one lady. Bankruptcy paid off for her.
There is also joint where both the company and individual are liable but this is rare.
This is a scenario I worry about. It's not that I believe my company is going away anytime soon, and I'm really not worried about being reimbursed. But I don't want my credit record affected by the company's failure to pay.

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Why did they choose "Diners Club" for the mandatory card? I've been plenty of places that take MasterCard or Visa but that do not accept Diners Club. Is that going to be an issue with reimbursements for business expenses?
I also wondered about this; apparently it is a Diner's Club card with a MasterCard logo that makes it pretty much universally accepted.

Thanks again everyone for your comments. I'll post back when I come to a decision.
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:56 AM   #24
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Could you put a hold or a lock on your credit reports such that the Diners Club could not run a credit check on you, thereby denying you the card? Make up some BS to tell the company about you think you may be the victim of identity theft, and you need to have the credit report locks on for a year or so.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:15 AM   #25
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I was a treasurer of a very small non-profit for three years. One day it was decided that we needed a credit card to be able to book airplane tickets for contractors. They had to fly to Oahu (usually from California) and they'd usually spend several hundred dollars of their own money before I'd catch up with them to reimburse their airfare expenses. The non-profit board thought that it'd be easier to buy their airline ticket on our credit card.

Our bank was delighted to set us up with a corporate account until I realized that I was personally liable. I deferred to the board and it turned out that none of them wanted to be liable either.

Another exceptionally trusting board member volunteered to arrange the contractor travel on her credit card. (She was motivated by her CC's cash-back program.) Although the CC part went fine, she ended up being a one-woman travel agency for all of these contractors. The hassle was far worse than the putative benefits.

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This is my main concern. My wife and I have a perfect credit record and I want to keep it that way. I have always submitted expense reports and receipts and been reimbursed in the past. I consider this a major imposition, but it sounds like it is common practice.
It's also a colossal PITA. I'd avoid taking their card if at all possible. You don't even want to have one, let alone have one and not use it.

Mention of the military's government charge card program still makes me shudder in revulsion. The biggest problem was being required to pay the card balance (or incur interest & fees) before you'd been reimbursed by the military.

A far bigger hassle was the administrative side. Card delinquencies (even for perfectly legitimate issues) were considered inputs to evaluations and fitness reports. 60-day delinquents were special members in the XO's personal-attention club. Everyone with a govt travel card had to attend periodic training. That started as "upon issue" but then became "annual" and eventually "quarterly". A substantial administrative burden was spent parsing the delinquency report and tracking down everyone's reasons why they hadn't paid yet, or submitting proof that they had paid.

Other veterans would be on orders of longer than 30 days. Since they couldn't file a travel claim until they finished their orders, they'd have to file "interim travel claims" every 30 days in order to be reimbursed for the credit-card charges that they were required to pay. This was an even bigger issue with the spooks special-projects guys who'd disappear at sea for 60-90 days between ports.

Then there was the sailor who retired from the military and didn't turn in his govt travel card. He ran up a multi-thousand spending spree across six states before we figured out what was happening. It's darn hard to transfer a delinquency from the Navy to the DoD's retired pay division. Apparently it's even harder to garnish military retired pay for govt debts. That debt was over two years delinquent before it eventually dropped off our lists.

The corporate side was just as bad as the military side. A shipmate ended up running BofA's data network for a few years in the late 1990s. When they were running the military's credit-card program, he said that at one point they were $66 million delinquent on payments. So maybe Diner's Club has it because no one else wants to touch it.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:38 AM   #26
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I had a company-issued AMEX while at megacorp. Was allowed to use it for both business and personal charges. We were able to keep the FF miles/rewards that were generated from all the charges.

The company used an automated expense reporting system which was extremely convenient for the employee and a very powerful data analysis tool for the employer. Expense reports did not get approved (only disapproved later if caught via audit) so the reimbursements were made quickly after the report was entered via phone. That was 10 years ago so they may be using the internet now.

Several folks over the years were invited to pay back reminbursements and/or find another place to work based on issues with expense reports which were detected by the software or audits. There was a story of one sales guy who had a few too many $24.99 charges on his expense report. A receipt was not required for an expense under $25. He was invited to refund several thousand dollars in expenses or leave. He left.
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:35 PM   #27
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Could you put a hold or a lock on your credit reports such that the Diners Club could not run a credit check on you, thereby denying you the card? Make up some BS to tell the company about you think you may be the victim of identity theft, and you need to have the credit report locks on for a year or so.
I like your idea, but accounting is now telling me that Diner's Club will not run a credit check. They will only verify that I am not a former deadbeat Diner's Club customer.

I'm really having a hard time with this. It just seems unreasonable to me that a company can demand that you take out a personal line of credit with a particular company in order to facilitate one of their accounting processes. When I finally pull the plug (in 5-7 years tops), I will have no use for this card, but it will be a part of my credit history and it will affect my credit rating if I close the account.

I probably wouldn't be so anxious about this if I hadn't just recently dealt with over $2K in fraudulent charges on one of our other credit card accounts. It all worked out fine in the end, but it was a PITA.

Oh well...my boss called me to discuss and I think he understands my concerns. For now, I'll just wait and see. My next business travel isn't for a couple of more weeks, so this will get resolved one way or another by then.
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:40 PM   #28
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It's also a colossal PITA. I'd avoid taking their card if at all possible. You don't even want to have one, let alone have one and not use it.
Yes, this is my point exactly, but I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to avoid it. Maybe FIRE date will come in a little ahead of schedule.

Thanks for taking time to share your experience.
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:47 PM   #29
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I guess you could ask whether or not it is a condition of employment. For us, it is.

The reason I don't like it is that our Inspector General is very concerned that we might charge personal items to our government credit card, and this kind of thing blow up into a Big Corruption Newsflash once the media gets hold of it. I would have to pay for it anyway, but even if I did I would consider my job to be in danger. I worry that I might accidently grab the government CC instead of my debit card (they used to look very similar) when paying for something personal.

Once, several years ago, I accidently charged a car rental to my own personal debit card while on travel for work, because I grabbed it instead of my government CC. What a PITA that was to get straightened out.

But the way it was presented to us, travel is part of the job. Government travel has to be this way. So, having the CC is a condition of employment. Take it or leave it.
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:54 PM   #30
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I'm glad I have the corporate credit card where only the corporation is liable on the debt and not me. And I can submit expense reports weekly or monthly and get paid 9 days after the end of the month (if I don't want to us the corp CC).

But I know a guy at a competing firm where they were told to get a corporate AMEX account in their own names for expenses. The guy just doesn't pay it if he doesn't get reimbursed properly, and charges the late fees to the company if he has any. Stubborn for sure, but the guy just doesn't have the money to front the bill each month. I think he is allowed to use any card he wants to charge on though, not just constrained to Amex (or like in the OP's case, Diners Club).

If it were me being required to get the Diners Club card, I'd just do it. Not worth losing a job or getting $hit on at work over something like this. Although if you are ready to jump into FIRE in any event, go for it!
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Old 08-18-2009, 03:18 PM   #31
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Well this just keeps getting better. The Diners Club card has an annual fee of $95, payable by the employee. The annual fee is waived if the rewards program is activated. But this has a $75 annual fee, also payable by the employee.

The rewards appear to be redeemable as airline miles, but since 90% of my business travel is by auto, these would be of little value to me. I would generally only be using this card for hotel and meals.

So now I have the privilege of paying at minimum a $75 annual fee for a card that I don't even want, and get to earn “rewards” that are of little value to me.

Edit: Okay, now my company says "it was intended to be clear that this is a company-sponsored card and there is no annual fee for the cardholder". Only the fee for joining the rewards program (which benefits the cardholder) is payable by the employee. However, this is not what is stated in the policy or on the application.
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Old 08-18-2009, 03:26 PM   #32
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Seems un-American to me. Padding my expense account and coming away from traveling with excess cash was an excellent way to make some pretty sweet untaxed $ when I was w**rking for the man. No doubt it's also a good way for Diners Club and other CCs to broaden their market.
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Old 08-18-2009, 03:32 PM   #33
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Just figure out a way to pad $75 a year into your expenses somehow. How do you expense things like mileage, $2 in a coin operated parking meter, $2 tip at a restaurant, $2 tip to concierge or bellboy or skycap, etc? Can you expense the $75 card fee?

Or if it comes down to it, purloin stuff from work (staplers, post it notes, expensive pens, the boss's keyboard and mouse, etc) and ebay/craigslist those things for $75 a year. When you take the stuff, just make sure you intend to use it at home. Then forget and sell it. Renegade justice.
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Old 08-18-2009, 03:47 PM   #34
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Seems un-American to me. Padding my expense account and coming away from traveling with excess cash was an excellent way to make some pretty sweet untaxed $ when I was w**rking for the man. No doubt it's also a good way for Diners Club and other CCs to broaden their market.
Yes, I suspect that there may have been a little too much of this going on, hence the new policy.

I will state my case, and if they insist it is a condition of employment, I will bend over, grit my teeth, take it up the wazoo, and keep counting down the days until I declare my freedom.
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:52 PM   #35
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Or if it comes down to it, purloin stuff from work (staplers, post it notes, expensive pens, the boss's keyboard and mouse, etc) and ebay/craigslist those things for $75 a year. When you take the stuff, just make sure you intend to use it at home. Then forget and sell it. Renegade justice.
I hope this is not serious advice.

Does seem like a poor system if Wino is required to pay the $95 or $75/year but wants nothing to do with the card. Seems as though some Diners Club account manager "got to" somebody at Wino's employer.
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Old 08-18-2009, 06:22 PM   #36
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Okay, now my company says "it was intended to be clear that this is a company-sponsored card and there is no annual fee for the cardholder". Only the fee for joining the rewards program (which benefits the cardholder) is payable by the employee. This is not what is stated in the policy or on the application.

I asked if the getting the card was a condition of employment and the reply was "it is not a condition of employment, but it is a part of our travel policy that is being mandated by upper management". Not sure how to interpret that.

Oh well...I think this has run its course. Thanks to all of you for the advice and comments.

-Wino
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:06 AM   #37
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Seems un-American to me. Padding my expense account and coming away from traveling with excess cash was an excellent way to make some pretty sweet untaxed $ when I was w**rking for the man. No doubt it's also a good way for Diners Club and other CCs to broaden their market.
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George Washington's Expense Account: Gen. George Washington and Marvin Kitman, Pfc. (Ret.)

In George Washington's Expense Account -- the best-selling expense account in history -- Kitman shows how Washington brilliantly turned his noble gesture of refusing payment for his services as commander in chief of the Continental Army into an opportunity to indulge his insatiable lust for fine food and drink, extravagant clothing, and lavish accommodations.
Amazon.com: George Washington's Expense Account: Gen. George Washington and Marvin Kitman, Pfc. (Ret.) (9780802137739): Marvin Kitman: Books

Probably the best book ever written about padding expense accounts. Hilarious and quite instructive.
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:44 AM   #38
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Amazon.com: George Washington's Expense Account: Gen. George Washington and Marvin Kitman, Pfc. (Ret.) (9780802137739): Marvin Kitman: Books

Probably the best book ever written about padding expense accounts. Hilarious and quite instructive.
I remember reading something about Washington's expenses (not the referenced book). His expense bill was something horrendous (more than we pay generals today) but there was the question of the exchange rate. As the war progressed the US Dollar became darn near worthless, just like the Confederate Dollar did in the War of Northern Aggression. It took hundreds of paper dollars to buy a single dollar coin in the Revolution.
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:15 PM   #39
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I asked if the getting the card was a condition of employment and the reply was "it is not a condition of employment, but it is a part of our travel policy that is being mandated by upper management". Not sure how to interpret that.
I have a corporate Amex card which is similar to this. When we travel on business, we are to use this card for as many of our reimbursable business expenses as possible. When the trip is over, we fill out an online expense report which generates a hard copy to attach the receipts to. The company then pays the Amex bill directly. Fortunately we have 30 days to pay it after a bill is generated, which usually gives us at least 45 days to pay so we can get it through the pipeline in time and I don't pay it out of pocket.
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Old 08-27-2009, 05:10 PM   #40
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Ah this thread brings back fond memories of stimulating conversations, with the nice folks at American Express, regarding my corporate Amex Card. I do remember them eventually canceling the card and than not having to get another card for several years. Meanwhile collecting frequent flyer miles on my personal card.

I think I'll polish up my resume, and get a job, just so I can relive the experience.

Ok we need an emoticon for happy I'm retired.
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