Overview of spend policies

Learn what spend policies at Payhawk are and which spend controls are suitable and helpful to use at your company.

Tsvetina Yancheva avatar
Written by Tsvetina Yancheva
Updated over a week ago

Spend policies at Payhawk enable you to manage multiple cards with a predefined policy for configured spend limits and card settings for executives, managers, and employees.

All cards that have been assigned a spend policy are subject to the defined rules of that policy.


  • You can define spend controls on a group level while managing all cards in bulk without the need to deal with individual controls.

  • You can set a limit for automatic approval of requests or define custom rules with multiple employees responsible for the approval of each threshold. You can also define a rigid spend policy and set a zero recurring monthly limit for employees, thus approving every request as it comes through the system.

  • With the supported advanced card controls, you can tailor the Payhawk spend policies to blacklist specific merchants or disallow spending in a given country or region, for example.

List of spend policy controls and advanced card controls

The following table summarizes the general controls and advanced card controls you can set for your spend policies in Payhawk.

Spend policy control


Recurring monthly limit
(General settings)

The Recurring monthly limit setting for a spend policy defines the amount of money cardholders under the spend policy are allowed to spend per month through their corporate cards.

If at the beginning of each month, the available funds on the card are less than the defined recurring monthly card limit, the card will be automatically topped up.

Fund requests

Fund requests allow cardholders to request additional funds before the automatic top-up at the beginning of the month if the available funds on the card have been exhausted or have become insufficient.

Fund requests for spend policies are enabled by default.

You can control the spending through fund requests by:

Approval type
(General settings)

The Approval type setting for a spend policy defines the approval workflow for fund requests. With it, you can define the people, roles, or the amount-based approval chain at the company for funds requested by cardholders under the spend policy.

Online payments
(Advanced controls)

Enabled online payments allow cardholders to use their cards to pay online for goods or services.

ATM withdrawals

(Advanced controls)

You can provide your employees with either of the following options:

  • Always allowed - Employees can draw company cash at ATMs within their card limit whenever needed.

  • By request - Employees must submit ATM withdrawal requests each time they want to draw company cash from their cards.

Daily limit

(Advanced controls)

A daily limit allows cardholders to cumulatively spend a pre-defined amount for 24 hours irrespective of the available limit on the card.

Single transaction limit

(Advanced controls)

A single transaction limit allows cardholders to spend only a pre-defined amount per transaction. Any transaction above the specified amount won't be successful irrespective of the amount available on the card.

Country & region

(Advanced controls)

Setting the Country & region advanced card control option prevents cardholders from spending in a given country or region.

Day & time

(Advanced controls)

Setting the Day & time advanced card control option allows cardholders to use their corporate cards only during a given time zone.

By default, this time zone is automatically detected from the browser.

Merchant category

(Advanced controls)

The Merchant category advanced card control option enables you to allow or block Payhawk-defined merchant categories thus allowing only specific merchant categories and ensuring compliance with a company spend policy.


(Advanced controls)

The Merchant advanced card control option allows you to blacklist specific suppliers so that cardholders cannot execute payments toward them.

Auto-blocking of cards

(Advanced controls)

Auto-blocking means that cards will be blocked automatically if cardholders have late expenses that are more than a pre-defined number for a pre-defined period.

Overview of the card auto-blocking policy

In Payhawk, auto-blocking is an advanced spend-policy mechanism. If enabled, it automatically blocks the cards, associated with this spend policy, when the cardholders have not submitted their expenses within a pre-defined period.

To enable card auto-blocking, you need to define:

  • What Payhawk will treat as a "late" expense, that is, the number of days the documents for an expense have not been submitted.

  • The number of late expenses you want to tolerate before blocking the card.

Once you have enabled the card auto-blocking limit, the system will start to track all new expenses for the cards to which this spend policy is assigned.

To avoid unintentional blocking of cards, card auto-blocking applies only to new expenses.

As a result:

  • Cardholders who have late expenses will start seeing warnings both in the Payhawk web portal and mobile app which will prompt them to submit the missing documents.

  • If cardholders are close to the threshold for the maximum pre-defined late expenses, they will receive a 24-hour advance notification on their phones and emails.

  • If cardholders reach the maximum threshold, they will be notified that their cards are blocked by the spend policy of their company.

To unblock their cards, cardholders have to submit their late expenses. As soon as the late expenses fall below the threshold of the spend policy, Payhawk will automatically unblock their cards. For more information, see the articles on company policies affecting cardholders.

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