Do you want to make purchases on behalf of your company rather than as an individual? Then a business credit card could be for you. They work much like any other credit cards, but come with additional benefits.
If you’re not sure which is the right one for your business, we’ve put together an overview of what to consider when applying for one.
Who Can Have A Business Credit Card?
Business credit cards aren’t just for big corporations. You can also apply for a business credit card if you are starting up a new business, run a small business or are a sole trader.
Benefits Of A Business Credit Card
Business credit cards provide you with a number of benefits not available with a personal credit card to give you the maximum benefits for your business. Here’s an overview of what to look out for…
Cashback Offers And Reward Schemes
Typically such cards provide cash back offers or reward schemes, many of which are relevant to the day-to-day operation of your business. Reward schemes vary from provider to provider, but you may even get a choice as to how you are rewarded.
Business Travel Benefits
Sometimes, business credit cards come with travel benefits too, so if you or your colleagues are frequent business travellers, it could be to your advantage to have one of these cards. It might help you to cut down on queuing times at the major transports hubs, give you more comfortable surroundings in which to wait, help you to build up air miles or give you a discount on travel or accommodation costs.
Organising Your Finances
Even if you’re running a small business, having a dedicated company credit card can help you to organise your finances so that your personal and professional lives remain separate, helping to avoid mix ups or confusion in the future.
Convenience And Practicality
A company credit card should also mean that neither you nor your colleagues have to use your personal money to pay for business expenses, which with the best will in the world, can be difficult and shouldn’t be expected of anyone.
In some cases when you take out a business credit card, you can also take out additional cards for your colleagues, and these can be set up so that you pay a single bill for greater convenience.
Larger Borrowing Limits
Take out a business credit card, and you’ll usually have a much larger credit limit than on a personal card, which could be just what your company needs.
Better Cash Flow?
Another significant selling point of a business credit card is the payment terms, which tend to be less rigid than with a personal credit card.
Typically, you’ll enjoy a slightly longer interest-free period than with a personal credit card, meaning you have a better chance of paying off your purchases without paying interest. This could also be beneficial to your business’s cash flow, helping you to juggle your finances, which is often crucial to a small or new business.
Be mindful of the annual charges that can come with a business credit card, as one significant difference compared to an individual card is that the charges tend to be heftier.
Remember that some cards will offer you a low lead in fee, then rise substantially from the second year. However, there are also some that don’t charge a fee, so just as with any other purchase, it’s a good idea to shop around to find the best deal.
As with any other credit card, a crucial consideration is the interest you’ll be paying on your purchases. Most of the cards we looked at offered interest rates of around the 16% mark, although some were as low as 12% and others around the 20% mark.
However, some of them were subject to significant variations so that you could face far higher charges, which is why you should ensure you understand the rates and any potential charges you could face before you sign up.
Needless to say, some card providers are fussier than others when it comes to their lending procedures, and that’s not a bad thing. So, be prepared to be asked about your annual turnover and to show your accounts for the last couple of years.
Some business credit cards are only available to companies with a turnover of a certain size, but some cards are available to new businesses. You could also face questions about your business credit history and any assets that the company has, so it’s best to get your ducks in a row.
Need A Cash Injection?
If you’re looking at a business credit card as a means of injecting cash into your business, there might be better ways of doing this that wouldn’t incur such large interest rates – a bank loan might be a better option for your business.
Improved Credit Over Time
You should also consider whether you’ll want to increase your credit in the future. Some card providers have a better record of enabling you to do this than others, so it’s a good question to ask when you are in the process of applying.
When taking out a business credit card, one thing that you must understand before you sign any agreement is who will be liable for any debt incurred. Often when a business owner signs an agreement for a business credit card, they are held personally responsible for any debt accrued. However, if you have a “Business Guarantee” with your card, this is not the case, and the card issuer treats the business and not the individual as responsible.
Your Credit Record
Typically, a business credit card shouldn’t appear on or affect your personal credit record, but it will depend on the terms of your particular card, so you should contact the lender to check this out before you accept a card from your company or take a new one out.
If you’re taking out a credit card for your business and your colleagues may be using it too, you should be sure to put in place clear terms and conditions from the start as to how they can use it. This will save you time, trouble and confusion at a later date.
Business credit cards can work really well for companies and often provide great benefits. The key thing in making your choice is deciding what the priorities are for your business – low-interest rates, a larger credit limit or the most flexible payment terms possible?
The final choice, as they say, really is up to you.