Needed: Credit Card That Allows Hard Spending Limit On Companion Card/AU
March 21, 2013 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Hello I am in need of a credit card that allows me to set a hard limit on authorized users. In addition I need for the card to allow a different limit for the primary and secondary card.

Other then the above here is the rest of my wish list:

I need MC/Visa. (Amex not excepted at enough of the AU's vendors.)

I would like a card with no fees, annual, or for the second card.

Decent customer service would be nice.

Having it be possible for the AU to go online and see their account details without being able to make any changes could be helpful.

Other considerations:

The balance will be paid in full every month.

There is no need for any type of rewards.

A debit card will not work in this situation.

This card/account will only be used for the maintenance of the AU.


I am using this card to help a family member to pay for basic living expenses. Sadly my family member is not always good about keeping track of or managing expenses.

I currently am using a BoA business card but a year or more ago they changed their policy and allow the AU to spend above the limit I have set. With the new policy spending is only supposed to go over the limit by 20% ,if I remember correctly, but they routinely allow the AU to go over by >50%. This is very frustrating, I have called customer service multiple times about the issue but there seems to be no way for them to enforce a hard credit/spending limit on this card.

Thanks for your help.
posted by flummox to Work & Money (14 answers total)
Limits from credit card companies are not for your connivence, they are for their protection. They will raise them arbitrarily.

For YOUR protection, you should have this under a separate account, with seperate terms from your own card - is having things consolidated on one bill that much of a convenience?

The other option is a secured card (not debit) where the limit is the security - they won't go above that limit.

If I were in your shoes, I'd open a joint account with the other person and make sure the limit for the card is set permanently.
posted by bensherman at 12:05 PM on March 21, 2013

Could you use prepaid debit cards instead?
posted by srboisvert at 12:21 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

The only way you will reasonably protect yourself from your family member's bad judgment is to use a prepaid debit card.

Any other solution exposes you to risk.
posted by DWRoelands at 12:30 PM on March 21, 2013

Similar question.
posted by Melismata at 12:30 PM on March 21, 2013

Thanks for your concern but I am not asking a question about my risk exposure.. I have a handle on that. It can never go more then one month of spending on the card. A hard limit would also mitigate my risk.

Debit cards will not work because of means tested benefits being received by my family member, benefits that help but do not nearly cover expenses. Credit is not considered a resource with these programs but the cash behind a debit card is.

A prepaid card might work because I would then be in control of the credit limit. I suspect that there would be the same consideration when it comes to calculating "resources" as with the debit card.

In addition the companion card is for groceries laundry transportation etc. I use the primary card to pay the phone, electric, heat etc.. That is why I would like/need to be able to set a separate lower limit on the secondary card while maintaining a higher limit on the primary.

As I said in my explanation, when I first signed up with the BoA business card they did offer hard limits for the secondary card.
posted by flummox at 12:40 PM on March 21, 2013

Can you get a credit card for yourself, and ask the bank to lower the credit limit? Then put your family as AU on that card.
posted by ethidda at 12:48 PM on March 21, 2013

Can you get a secured card for your relative (possibly in their name) and pay the other expenses from your usual card (or a third card you get for this purpose)? Sorry if you already thought of this.

Another thought is to try and get a card from someplace known for customer service (credit union?) and see if they can set things up for you.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 12:53 PM on March 21, 2013

A Small Business credit card is *the* way to do the thing you're asking. It sucks that BofA has changed the game on the card that you have - my advice is to shop around other banks for an SB card that is tighter on that limit. I'm not sure which market you are in, but SunTrust and PNC are very good SB banks, as is Regions Bank.

The recent rule that you have to "opt in" to banks approving things over your credit limit is only a consumer regulation, so banks can (and do) allow SB card users to blow by the limit.
posted by ersatzkat at 1:19 PM on March 21, 2013

Ersatzkat thanks. If I remember correctly when I first started this I ended up with the SB card because it was the only card I could find at the time that would set a separate limit for the AU card.

Asked the question hoping someone would have experience with a company that was good on holding the line on the secondary card, or knew of another card/company that offered a card other then a SB one that would do the same.
posted by flummox at 1:33 PM on March 21, 2013

Having been through many different corporate card programs, unfortunately the only one I can think of that comes close to doing what you want is Amex. I've worked with Visa/MC card programs and I have yet to find one that cared about the credit limit we set.
posted by magnetsphere at 2:25 PM on March 21, 2013

Prepaid cards would seem to be the easiest. They can be run as credit or debit, and there are no names attached to them so there is no issue with a papertrail. Just mail 'em a card every month.

I would be worried about any kind of credit card, because different merchant processing systems deal with things differently. They'll often happily let the user spend money after the card is at the limit and then at the end of the month you get a bill. My experience is that cards don't get declined until after the limit has already been breached, sometimes with a number of days of overhang. But with a prepaid card, there is no such issue.
posted by gjc at 5:08 PM on March 21, 2013

Looks like Chase Ink Bold (business charge card) or Ink Plus (business credit card) would be a good fit.
FAQ link:
Q. What is the 'FREE EMPLOYEE CARDS' benefit?
A. Get free additional Ink Cash Cards for your employees' business expenses and earn cash back on their purchases. Manage employee purchases by setting spending limits for each employee and stay in control of your account with free custom text or e-mail account alerts and our fraud early warning service.

Q. Can I limit where my employees can use their card?
A. While you are able to limit your employees access to cash/cash advances, you are not able to limit their card usage by location or merchant.

Q. Can I limit how much my employees can spend?
A. Yes. You are able to set spending limits on any number or all of your employee cards either by calling the number on the back of your card or by logging into your Ink business card account online.
I know you said Amex won't work, but in case you change your mind on this, you could get a Amex Bluebird for each of your AU's. These are "reloadable" debit cards by Amex that you can load with any amount you like.
posted by thewildgreen at 10:38 PM on March 21, 2013

Forgot to add you can get these Chase Ink cards as MC or Visa. You need to request your preference after you apply by calling them -- by default I believe they send you MC.
posted by thewildgreen at 10:42 PM on March 21, 2013

Thanks for everyone's ideas.

I am going to check on the pre-paid and see if they will work with the "resource" test.

Perhaps I have to rethink using Amex, and come up with a plan b for stores that don't take it.

I have seen that the Ink card is highly rated at some of the credit sites, wonder if they really hold the line on the credit limit.
posted by flummox at 7:00 AM on March 22, 2013

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