Small Business Credit Cards
Monday, 21st January 2013 (By Joe Taylor Jr.)
Cash flow helps companies thrive. That's why so many small business owners have turned to specialized credit cards to help even out their accounts payable. Some small business credit cards offer 30-day or 60-day terms with zero interest charges, while more traditional company accounts enable owners to spread out payments on major purchases.
However, small business credit cards don't always carry the same protections as consumer accounts. Some lenders even require owners and directors to personally guarantee new accounts. Our interactive credit card comparison tool can help you find the right small business credit card, based on your company's history and risk level.
- Earn 15,000 bonus ThankYou® points after you make $3,000 in purchases within 3 months of cardmembership -- redeemable for $150 in gift cards.
- 0% introductory APR on purchases for 6 months. After that, 13.24% variable*
- Earn 3 ThankYou® points for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases in rotating business categories*
- Designed for businesses with an established credit history
- Earn 30,000 American Airline AAdvantage® bonus miles and two Admiral's Club® lounge One-Day Passes after making $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership*
- Get the first checked bag free for you and up to 4 traveling companions*
Disclaimer:*These quotes are from credit card issuers which have paid for a link to their website. Offers are subject to change without notice and may not be the same for all consumers.
Find the Best Small Business Credit Card for You
Charge cards and "terms account" credit cards
Even large banks have embraced the idea that small businesses can drive economic growth both in big cities and small towns. Instead of enabling small business owners to dive too deeply into debt, many lenders now provide "terms" accounts that can consolidate record keeping while smoothing out cash flow.
Most of these business credit cards require companies to pay balances in full after just one or two statement cycles, just enough time to collect client payments or close big sales. Some banks let businesses cut their own costs by discounting balances paid early, letting owners reinvest cash back rewards into their companies.
0% interest and balance transfer credit card offers
The best credit cards for business owners can encourage capital investments by offering zero percent interest over promotional periods of a year or longer. For a small company with a long term growth strategy, avoiding finance charges can mean the difference between a successful launch and a withering enterprise. Even established businesses can benefit from preserving cash for the length of an interest rate promotion.
Your business can consolidate multiple accounts using balance transfer offers. Managing a single business credit card account instead of multiple, small accounts can help you stay focused on your customers instead of on multiple due dates and interest rates.
Pitfalls and protections of small business credit cards
Over the past few years, some banks have blurred the lines between small business credit cards and accounts for professionals, like doctors and attorneys. Professionals who own their own practices can use small business credit cards to separate their personal and business finances while earning cash back rewards and other perks that often get used for personal benefit.
However, those hazy boundaries have alarmed at least a few industry watchdogs. For instance, the Pew Safe Credit Cards Project warned that government protections and debt collection rules for consumers don't apply to business or commercial credit cards. Because cardholders often remain personally liable for balances on small business credit cards, company expenses could outlive an organization's bankruptcy or closure.
Finding the best credit cards for business owners
Banks have customized small business credit cards for a variety of purposes. Some cards offer enhanced tracking for expense reimbursement, while others offer gas rewards and other bonuses based on specific, repeat purchases. When combined with more traditional cash rebates and rewards credit cards, small business credit cards offer company owners easy opportunities to stretch their budgets.
As companies grow, customer service plays a more important role in picking a business credit card. Over time, how rapidly a bank gets a replacement credit card to a stranded employee could be more important than just how many hotel points you might earn. Likewise, a credit card from a bank with a strong fraud investigation team can aid companies facing both internal theft and outside financial attacks. Only by balancing the value of short term promotional offers with the efficiency of a bank's operations can you discover the best credit card for your small business.