If you own a small business, you probably already know it would be nice to have a credit card as a cushion against cash flow emergencies. Business credit cards not only make it easier to separate your personal spending from your business expenses, but many also offer rewards programs that fit the needs of business owners. Comparing rewards programs for business credit cards can benefit your bottom line.
Benefits of business credit cards
Depending on how long you have been in business and the nature of your business, you may not yet have considered the benefit of having a separate credit card for your company. Credit cards for business can make it easier at tax time because you'll have a clear year-end statement of your expenses. While your goal is likely to pay your business credit card balance in full each month, it can be helpful to have the ability to extend your payments on an occasional basis.
For many business owners, the biggest benefit of business credit cards is a rewards program.
Business credit card rewards programs
The best business credit card rewards programs are tied to the way you do business. Many rewards credit cards for business offer rewards points for purchases at office supply stores or for technology. If you travel for business you may want to look into a travel rewards credit card for business. You can compare credit cards that offer frequent flier miles on one particular airline against credit cards that offer rewards points that can be redeemed for airline tickets on multiple airlines, rental cars and hotel rooms.
Business owners who are often on the road may want to compare travel rewards cards that earn rebates or rewards points on gas, hotel and restaurant purchases.
Comparing business credit cards
A wide variety of credit cards for business are available with rewards programs, so be sure you know what to look for when comparing credit cards.
- Annual fee. Some business credit cards are available with no annual fee. If you do pay a fee, make sure it doesn't amount to more than you expect to earn in rewards.
- Interest rate. If you plan to pay off your balance in full each month, the interest rate doesn't matter too much. But if you'll need to accumulate credit card debt and your credit history is good, look for a low APR business credit card.
- Bonus points. One of the benefits of getting a new credit card is the possibility of earning bonus points for your first purchase or for spending a certain amount of money within an initial time period.
- Reward earnings. If you know most of your business purchases will be for gas, look for a credit card with the highest rebate or rewards points for gas purchases. Some credit cards offer as much as two to five points per dollar for purchases in certain categories compared with one point per dollar in others.
- Reward redemption. Check for limits and expiration dates on your rewards points to make sure you can earn and use the maximum rewards.
Qualifying for a business credit card
When you apply for a business credit card you must be authorized as the owner or financially responsible person for the business. The credit card issuer will evaluate not only your business credit history but also your personal creditworthiness, including your credit score. While the credit card is associated with the business, you will be personally held responsible for the credit card debt incurred if it goes unpaid.
You can add an authorized user to the credit card for your employees, but make sure you trust that they will only use the credit card for business purposes.
If you have decided that the time is right for a new business credit card, compare the offers on this page to see which one matches your business plan best.