This guest post is by by Jason Bushey. Jason runs the credit card comparison website Creditnet.com.
It’s no secret that the majority of small businesses in America are run on credit cards. And why shouldn’t they be? Compared to small loans, credit cards offer an easy line of credit for small business owners, and the best ones allow companies to earn cash, points or miles – all of which can have a positive effect on your company’s bottom line.
That said, each business credit card is different; some business cards are pay-in-full, while others allow you to carry a balance, albeit with the threat of interest fees looming at the end of each month. No doubt, high interest fees can derail your payback plan and – more importantly – your credit score. These days, a low credit score and a high carried balance all but guarantee a rejection letter when it comes to getting approved for the best business credit cards available.
So how do you manage your company’s credit card budget and creditworthiness while earning as many business-friendly rewards as you can? There’s a fine to walk, but here are some tips to make it happen…
1.) Apply for a zero interest credit card
0 percent interest credit cards applied to new purchases are exceptionally useful for growing your small business because they offer an interest-free credit line for a temporary period of time. Obviously, you’re still liable for monthly payments, and running up a high balance will be nothing but detrimental to your credit score over a long period of time. And yet, even a temporary reprieve from paying credit card interest can be a lifesaver for your small business, especially if you’re just starting out.
The best zero interest business cards have a 0% introductory period that lasts anywhere from 6-to-12 months. From there, interest rates vary anywhere from 10 to 20 percent or more, so it’s important to get most of your balance paid down before the introductory period expires. (The lesson? Interest rates are a serious bummer.)
If you’ve been burned by interest rates in the past and would like to steer clear of the acronym “APR”, there are of course other business credit cards to consider.
2.) Consider a pay-in-full business credit card
Pay-in-full business cards are technically interest-free, but that’s because your balance at the end of each month is identical to what you’ve spent. The concept of these business cards are simple – spend only what you can pay back. That’s a tough less to learn for an American business, no doubt, but easy-to-follow nonetheless.
These cards happen to be some of the most lucrative when it comes to earning rewards, points and cash back – all of which can be pumped back into your business and can help pay for the little things that keep your business moving.
Like consumer cash back credit cards, the rewards accrued with a pay-in-full business credit card won’t make you rich. But consider the rewards you’re earning making purchases with your debit card or cash … Right, you’re not earning ANY rewards with those payment methods. And since you’re paying in full each month anyway, why not earn something back that your company can benefit from – like miles, cash or otherwise – while building your company’s credit score, too?
Finally, when picking the right credit card (or cards) to grow your business, there’s one more thing to determine…
3.) Find a card that rewards you for the purchases you already make
Some business cards have a very specific rewards structure. One example – the prestigious Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN – offers 3 points on airfare purchases, 2 points at stand-alone U.S. Gas stations and another point on everything else per $1 spent. If you’re a road warrior for your small business, maybe that’s the right credit card for you.
Other cards will extend bonus rewards on products every company needs to stay afloat – Internet, phone service, office supplies – the trick is doing the research and matching up your company with the right card to earn the most rewards.
So while credit cards can help sustain your business and help it to grow by extending an easy-to-come-by line of credit (compared to taking out a small loan), they’re also extremely worthwhile for their rewards value and the ability to net you and your small business free or discounted supplies.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.