Employer and Company Credit Cards

27 Sep Employer and Company Credit Cards

Are you responsible for a credit card supplied and reimbursed by an employer? The answer is often “yes”, which leads to painful complications.

You are very likely responsibleif you signed the credit card agreement. Another warning sign isif you must pay the bill and then get reimbursed. If it shows up on your credit report, thenthe creditor certainly thinks you are personally responsible.

You must list the card as a debt in a bankruptcy filing if you are obligated on the account. The account may then be closed, which canembarrass you toyour employer.

You also mustlist the employer as a co-obligor. The company will get a notice of filingfrom the bankruptcy court and you really don’t need THAT embarrassment. I suggest using a person’s name in Human Resources and adding a note of confidentiality. It could look like this: PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL, Jane A. Smith, Human Resources, Paragon Employer, 124 Main Street, Anytown.

I tellmy clients to do their best to have both a zero balanceand no mid-billing cycle charges in process on the filing date. There is no otherlawful way to avoid listing the joint company card account. I’m sorry to say that the card issuer could still cancel the account even if nothing is owed.

An aggressive trustee might argue that the employer’s pending reimbursement to you on the filing date is yourasset, or an employer’s pending credit card payment is also your asset instead of beingrequired to be paidto the credit card account. If raised, you have some extra litigation to pay for andeven more unneeded embarrassment with your boss. My same advice above would apply here: file on a day when there is a zero balance and minimal mid-billing cycle charges.

Then thereis the worst consequence that no one really thinks of. As ABC News reported, you are the only one responsible if an employer shuts its doors.

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L. Jed Berliner practices exclusively in consumer bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, and related consumer protection litigation such as credit card defenses and suing debt collectors. He established his Springfield, MA practice in 1988. Attorney Berliner is a regular and active contributor to the Bankruptcy Law Network, the Bankruptcy Roundtable, and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, three specialized consumer bankruptcy forums on the Internet, and is an informal mentor to regional practitioners. He is recognized by his peers as an expert in consumer bankruptcy issues. He thoroughly enjoys being rated "excellent" in his client surveys.

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