The business credit card is a useful tool for a business of any size to streamline purchasing, track expenses and manage cash flow. As with any tool, there are best practices for use of a business credit card. With an overview of these best practices, along with the selection of a card with the right features, business owners and managers use them to build and maintain a successful operation.
Interest Rate Awareness
Compare interest rates when shopping for a business credit card. Check every statement to insure the interest rate has not increased. If it has, call the card issuer and request a return to the old rate, or a reduction in the rate. Let the card company representative know you will take your business to the competition if necessary. As a last resort, change to a card with a lower rate.
Use the Card for Business Only
Do not use a business credit card for personal purchases, it confuses business expense tracking and tax planning. The IRS does not want to see your personal entertainment or vacation expenses listed as business expenses.
Pay the Balance Monthly
As with personal credit cards, it is easy to run up a balance and hard to pay it down. Think of purchases as coming out of cash, not as credit purchases. Buy only the goods and services necessary to the ongoing needs of daily operation. Avoid taking cash advances, as there are additional fees incurred on top of interest charges.
If You Run a Balance
Businesses offering payment terms (such as net 30), maintaining a retail inventory, and with seasonal lows may need to borrow funds to finance cash flow. Borrow only within proven cash flow, realistic sales projections, or to finance accounts receivables. Account for the cost of interest in profit projections. Pay the balance promptly when the expected funds come in. Consider other forms of finance with low interest rates, such as a business line of credit or an asset based equity loan.
Get a Card that Works for Your Business
Shop for features that work best for your business. Compare interest rates, annual fees, grace periods, and reward features. Here are suggestions for a few competitive business credit cards. The wise shopper will expand their search from here.
The Ink Cash Business Card from Chase is a superior low interest and rewards card with no annual fee.
The Ink Plus Business Card from Chase also offers outstanding for travel rewards, but with the second year, an annual fee of $95 begins.
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business card is perfect for businesses looking for great travel rewards in a card with no annual fee. This is just one of several Business Card products from Capital One, with each card offering a different mix of features. Capital One also has a cash rewards option if you prefer simply getting money back.
The Citizens Bank Everyday Points Business Mastercard offers an impressive array of features. There are generous travel rewards, rebates of 20% from participating companies such as DHL and Avis, and 0% liability for unauthorized purchases. There is no annual fee for this card.
Once you have obtained a business credit card with the features best suited to your needs, stay on top of best practices for managing it. Budget time in your schedule to monitor fees, rewards and interest rates via online tools and phone. Take advantage of expense tracking features of the card for tax planning and management of employee expenses. Enjoy building business credit and sales with proper use of this key tool in your arsenal.