How do spending categories work for cards?
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Written by Robert
Updated over a week ago

💡 Admins, Owners and Managers from Essential, Business and Enterprise plans can set up spending categories on cards. This allows for greater control on employees’ expenses, in addition to payment limits and custom authorizations.

What are spending categories?

Spending categories enable employees’ cards payments to be authorized for specific categories of expenses only. It’s an opt-in setting that the Admin, Owner or Manager can choose or edit at any time.

Qonto proposes six spending categories, corresponding to your main business cases:

  • Food & Grocery - e.g supermarkets, bakeries, coffee boutiques

  • Restaurants & Bars - e.g ****restaurant, bars, delivery services

  • Transportation - e.g airplane ticket, train tickets, car rental

  • Hotels & Lodging - e.g hotels, bed&breakfast, short term accommodations

  • Gas stations - e.g fuel, station expenses

  • Equipment & Tools - e.g construction material providers, office supplies

When a card payment occurs, the Merchant Category Code (MCC) attributed to this transaction is automatically scanned to see if it matches the allowed category under Qonto’s classification. If it does, the transaction is authorized. If it doesn’t, the transaction is declined.

However, as MCC are not attributed by Qonto, some payments can be authorized or declined against user expectation. For example, if a merchant provides multi-services, like take-away and restaurant, its MCC could be linked to the restaurant service and may not be authorized for a card which only had “Food & Groceries” authorized. Spending categories is a tool to gain greater control, but the results may be impacted by merchant’s MCC code attribution.

To better manage expectations, the card transaction of an employee is declined, the employee will receive an instant notification which will advise to contact the Admin to change the restrictions of spending categories. If any problem, you or your employee can contact us directly by chat from your Qonto account, by clicking on the bubble in the bottom right corner.

How to create cards with spending categories?

Spending categories apply to physical or virtual cards (not Instant cards).

  • From the section ‘Business Account’, click on 'Cards' then on ‘Create a card’. Select a physical card (One, Plus, X) or the virtual card.

  • Select the account you’d like to charge and the person you’d like to attribute the card to.

  • Set up the card’s parameters and click on the toggle Specific spending categories to display the drop-down of options. You can select multiple categories. For example, you can authorize “Food & Groceries” and “Transportation”.

  • Continue the set up and validate.

How to edit spending categories?

☝️ As an Owner, Admin or Manager, you can edit cards’ spending categories at any time, from your mobile or desktop app.

To do so, in your Cards section, click on the card and click on the 🖋️ next to Advanced settings.

More information

No warranty - Qonto explicitly excludes its liability (including negligence), to the extent legally possible, for any damage or harm causally related to the use of spending categories, which may result from or in connection with the access of it, as well as for any payment to a merchant (i) classified in the wrong category or (ii) not classified by Qonto.

In no event, you, the Admin or the cardholder may be allowed to seek for the refund of a payment made to a merchant which may fall under the scope of a category which had been excluded by the Admin.

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