Opening a business credit card is a critical step for a business of any size. A business credit card immediately increases buying power, allows the business to pay down a balance over time, and can offer powerful rewards in the form of cash back or rewards points.
WHY YOU NEED A BUSINESS CREDIT CARD
When establishing your business, you’ll want to apply for a business credit card to cover company costs. It’ll also allow for building business credit – important if an when you decide to apply for a business loan or venture debt. And if and when you decide to use your business credit to maker larger purchases to fuel company growth, you may choose to pay your balance off over time, oftentimes without interest for the first year of membership.
In addition to affording the luxury of increased buying power, a business credit card will allow you to separate and segment your business expenses from your personal expenses, an exercise that will provide for cleaner bookkeeping and a more streamlined process come tax season.
Financial benefits aside, you’ll also want to consider what kind of rewards program your business credit card offers. Some are in the form of cash back, while others give points that can be redeemed towards shopping, travel expenses, and even statement credit. If a credit card rewards program is important to you, examine your most frequent purchase categories (advertising, travel, office supplies, etc) and identify if you can reap a higher reward by going with one card over another. For example, if your expenses include a heavy emphasis on advertising, look for business credit cards that will reward you accordingly.
One important thing to consider is that, in most cases, you’ll sign a personal guarantee for your business credit card. That is, if you miss credit card payments or your business becomes insolvent, you’ll be personally liable for the company’s debt – which could negatively impact your personal credit score.
Other benefits include, but are not limited to: improving cash flow by optimizing accounts payable and receivable, heightening fraud protection – something that often is overlooked when paying by check – and gaining better insights into your employee’s purchasing decisions.
WHY YOU NEED A BUSINESS CREDIT CARD NOW
Like a business bank account, the sooner you choose the right credit card for your venture, the better. Rewards programs are nice, but the peace of mind that goes along with a clean segmentation of personal and business finances is paramount.
Need to fulfill a large purchase order and don’t have the necessary cash on hand? Choose a card with no interest for the first year and the ability to transfer balance at no cost.
IMPORTANT BUSINESS CREDIT CARD CONSIDERATIONS
With hundreds of business credit cards to choose from, it’s critical to understands your business needs upfront before choosing. This will allow you to greatly reduce the time and legwork involved.
Here are top considerations throughout the business credit card purchasing decision process:
- How much do I intend to spend per year?
- How many cards do I need?
- Do I intend to carry a balance month-over-month. If so, what APR (annual percentage rate) am I comfortable with paying?
- Is the rewards program a priority?
- If there is a rewards program, does it fall in line with the types of items, goods, or services I purchase?
- Is their online experience intuitive and simple to navigate?
- Am I comfortable paying an annual fee?
It’s important to read through your business credit card’s general terms and conditions before signing anything. This will help you avoid unsightly changes that could greatly impact you, such as sporadic increases in APR or high fees for something like a late payment.
Are they available to you when you need them? Some credit card customer service teams might work non-holiday business hour only, others might be available to you after hours and on the weekends. If you’re able to speak with references, inquire about their level of satisfaction with customer support.