A credit card is a handy tool for your small business, but you first need to study the options and choose the card that best fits your needs. It provides a convenient way to establish credit, manage cash flow and keep your business and personal expenses separate.
According to the Small Business Administration, there are numerous possibilities, including teaser rate cards (among the most popular), low interest rate cards, rewards cards, airline or frequent flyer cards, unsecured business credit cards, secured cards and prepaid cards.
Start by analyzing how you spend money in your business. Do you want to pay the charges monthly or over time? What grace period does the card you are considering allow?
Expect a credit check when you apply for a business credit card. In most cases, a personal check will be conducted as well as your business credit. Find out if you will be personally liable for outstanding debt on the card. That may depend on whether the card carrier offers commercial liability, joint or several liability.
Don’t begin using your business credit card without being firmly conversant with the card’s interest rate, payment terms and whether it requires fees. Do the benefits offered outweigh the fees? Fees may be charged for cash advances, late payments and foreign transactions. If you expect to carry a balance, what is the annual percentage rate? Create an action plan for using the card, including payoff limits on the balance.
If you will use the credit card for company travel, you might look into a card that offers airline-mile rewards. Look at other awards a card offers, such as internet and phone services, shipping services, gift cards and discounts to selected retailers or simple cash rebates. If your business spends consistently in particular categories, compare cards and get the most benefit for the way you spend company dollars. If you tend to carry a large balance, you could pay more in interest than you earn in perks.