If you’re a business owner, it can be difficult to choose the right credit card for you and your employees. Thankfully, there are plenty of excellent choices available for both small and large businesses. Whether you’re looking for top-notch security for your business or the best credit card reward program, there’s an ideal credit card for every business. Choosing the right credit card for your business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about business credit cards.
What is a business credit card?
A business credit card is a special type of credit card intended for businesses. These cards allow you to keep your personal and professional finances separate, and can be distributed to employees of a company to be used for work-related spending. Multiple cards can be opened on the same account, which allows business owners to give separate cards to each employee and monitor their business purchases.
Business credit cards normally allow you to earn cash back on business purchases as well. They sometimes offer business-related incentives such as extra cash back on office supplies or travel. Business cards normally have higher credit limits than personal credit cards, and can be very useful for making large purchases.
Business credit cards are an indispensable tool for both large and small business owners, and when used properly, they can help your business grow much more quickly.
How do business credit cards typically work?
For the most part, a business credit card works the same way as a regular credit card. They allow entrepreneurs to keep business spending separate from personal transactions, and make it easier to keep track of spending for taxes. Both small and large purchases can be charged to a business credit card, and interest accumulates if the monthly bill isn’t paid before the due date. If you pay your business credit card off before the due date each month, you can avoid paying interest on your purchases.
Things can get more involved if a business owner decides to add their employees to the account. The business owner or account holder can manage all attached cards, so they’ll be able to keep an eye on their employees. Most cards allow cardholders to view each transaction online as it’s posted. This lets business owners keep a close eye on their employees’ spending.
Who should consider a business credit card?
Business cards are beneficial for many different types of people. They’re a great choice for small business owners who want to establish credit for their business. Establishing credit with a credit card will make a business eligible for larger loans, so a business credit card is also a good choice for someone who wants to qualify for larger small business loans.
Business credit cards are beneficial for large companies as well. Larger companies tend to spend much more money on gas, travel, and restaurants. This means that they can earn substantial rewards by having their employees use business cards. The more employees a business issues a credit card to, the more rewards that business will earn.
Business cards are also beneficial for freelancers and sole proprietors. They make it much easier to separate personal and business spending. This cuts down on time spent figuring out taxes at the end of the year, and makes it much easier to keep track of spending. Instead of writing down each transaction and tracking it meticulously, a business credit card can be used to pay for every business transaction and keep everything separate.
What type of credit is typically required to be approved for a business credit card?
To qualify for most business credit cards, you’ll generally need a credit score of 600 or higher. Some of the best business credit cards may have stricter requirements and require credit scores of 700 or higher. Also, keep in mind that when applying for a business credit card, your personal credit profile is considered along with the credit of your business. Make sure your personal credit score is high enough to qualify for a business credit card before you apply.
The logic behind this is that credit card companies don't want to trust in a business opened by someone with poor personal credit. Your personal credit will influence your business credit more than you may have realized, so be sure to get your personal finances in order before starting on any risky business credit ventures.
Do business credit cards typically have annual fees?
Like regular credit cards, not all business cards have annual fees. It’s completely possible to find a business credit card without annual fees. However, cards without annual fees may not have as many perks and rewards. By choosing a business card with annual fees, you might have access to premium rewards and extra features. Be sure to research each card and make sure the annual fee is worth it before committing.
Some small business credit cards will charge an extra fee for each card added to the account. This means that you may be charged an additional fee each time you request a card for a new employee. It’s possible to find a card that won’t charge these extra fees, but it depends on your credit score.
What are the advantages of a small business owner getting a credit card for their business?
There are many advantages to a small business owner getting a credit card for their business. One of the biggest advantages is the ability to monitor employee spending. Many small businesses rely on employees spending their own money and being reimbursed through expense reports. Having a small business credit card simplifies the process and gives you instant access to all employee spending. This can save a lot of time that was once spent filling out expense reports, and will make life easier for both employees and business owners.
Another major advantage of a small business owner getting a credit card for their business is the ability to take advantage of rewards. Restaurants, travel and other business expenses can add up quickly. Choosing the right reward program can help you save a significant amount of money on business expenses. Business cards typically have better reward options than regular credit cards, which makes it possible to earn a substantial amount of money back on each statement.
Another big benefit is that corporate credit cards make financing simpler. Qualifying for a business credit card with a high credit limit makes it much easier to make big purchases and take steps to grow your business. By making large purchases on your business credit card, you’ll be able to build business credit and qualify for excellent loans in the future. Business cards allow you to avoid taking out small business loans all the time, and are generally much easier to manage than going down to the bank and taking out a loan every time you need to make a large purchase.
When presented with a cash back credit card offer, what should you consider?
When applying for a cash back credit card, there are several important things to consider. First, you should be sure you’re getting the best possible cash back offer. Are you certain you don’t qualify for better offers, or cards with more desirable rewards? Only sign up for a cash back credit card if you’re completely satisfied with the rewards it offers.
Next, you should also consider the sign-on bonus when presented with a cash back credit card offer. Many cash back credit cards are now offering excellent sign-on bonuses, such as $150 back if you spend a certain amount in the first few months of opening the card. If you’re presented with an offer without a sign-on bonus, you should consider searching for a cash back credit card that offers one instead.
It’s also important to consider whether the rewards categories are what you’re looking for. Most cash back credit cards offer certain rewards categories with extra cash back. This allows you to earn extra rewards on certain categories such as gas or travel. These categories might alternate throughout the year. Be sure to select a cash back credit card with rewards categories that you will use regularly. This will allow you to save a lot of money and make the best of your rewards.
What does it mean when a business credit card asks for a personal guarantee?
When you apply for a business credit card, you may be asked to sign a personal guarantee. This means that you’ll be liable for business expenses if the business falls through. Essentially, it’s a promise that even if the business shuts down, you’ll still pay the charges on the card. If you don’t pay the charges, the credit card company will legally be able to pursue them. Think of it like cosigning, but for a business instead of for another person.
Never make a personal guarantee that you aren't willing to back up. It may be tempting to apply for a business credit card because it feels separate from your normal credit, but with a personal guarantee, this isn't necessarily true.
Do business credit cards have higher interest rates than regular credit cards?
The best Business credit cards don’t typically have higher interest rates than normal credit cards. However, you may encounter business cards which charge high annual fees or high interest in exchange for increased credit limits.
Sometimes, you may find yourself faced with higher interest rates in exchange for much higher credit limits than you could get with a personal credit card. Although this can be extremely useful if you need to make large business purchases in the short-term, it can end up costing you a lot of money down the road if you let interest pile up. Think carefully about your choices to make expensive purchases on business credit cards, especially if the interest rates are very high.
Do business cards have purchase protection?
Most corporate cards offer some form of purchase protection, but they typically offer less than personal credit cards. They’re monitored much less diligently than regular credit cards, so it’s easier to let fraudulent charges slip through the cracks. Additionally, credit card companies may be less eager to give refunds on fraudulent charges for small business cards. It also may be more difficult to get price adjustments and correct billing errors.
However, if you’re worried about basic purchase protection from obvious fraud, your business credit card will most likely be covered. For example, if one of your employees drops their credit card and someone finds it and rings up $10,000 in fraudulent purchases, the credit card company will most likely sympathize and work with you to reverse the problem. But if several fraudulent charges “mysteriously appear” on the card without it being reported lost or stolen, things might not be so easy. The best thing you can do to prevent fraudulent charges is encourage your employees to keep a watchful eye over their cards at all times, and immediately report them lost or stolen if they notice they’re missing.
Can I use my business credit card for personal purchases?
It’s not a good idea to use business cards for personal purchases. Although it’s not illegal, it’s not the best idea for your credit score. If you run your business credit card up too high by combining personal and business purchases, you could damage your credit score.
Also, one of the biggest advantages of having a business credit card is the ability to keep your personal finances separate. By making personal charges on your business credit card, you’ll make things more difficult for yourself when it comes time to do your taxes.
In some situations, you may have much better rewards on your small business credit card than on your personal credit card. For example, you may have an offer such as 5% back on gas for your business credit card but not for your personal card. In this situation, you could use your business card for these purchases. However, you should be vigilant about writing everything down and making sure you're keeping your expenses separate.
How can I decide whether or not to give a business credit card to my employees?
It can be difficult to decide whether or not you want to extend credit cards to all your employees. There are certain factors that may influence your decision, such as extra fees for each new card you add to the account.
Are you having a difficult time keeping track of business transactions and reimbursing your employees every time they go on a business trip? If so, giving business credit cards to your employees could simplify your life. Business credit cards eliminate the need for reimbursing your employees, and will make things easier for accounting purposes.
It’s a good idea to only extend credit cards to employees who will use them regularly. For example, an employee who travels once a week will greatly benefit from a business credit card, but one who only travels once every 6 months probably doesn’t need one.
Deciding whether or not you want to give a business credit card to your employees is a personal decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You also need to make sure you employees with the responsibility of having a business credit card. If you have trustworthy employees who travel regularly, it could be a great decision to give them business credit cards.
What rewards can I expect from a business credit card?
Business credit cards offer many of the same rewards as regular credit cards. However, they may have business-specific rewards such as extra cash back at on travel and wireless telephone services. Some business credit cards offer greater freedom in their rewards program than regular credit cards. For example, with some business credit cards you have the option of choosing what category you’d like to receive extra cash back on for the quarter. Many regular cards don’t offer this choice.
There are many different rewards programs to choose from with business cards, and whether you’re looking for a standard cash back program or a card with luxurious travel rewards, there are plenty of options to choose from.
If you’ve distributed small business cards to all your employees, you’ll be able to earn purchases from all their individual purchases. These rewards will add up much more quickly than a regular credit card used by one person. This sometimes allows businesses to earn premium rewards through the purchases of their employees.
Will a business credit card help my personal credit score?
Small business cards aren’t always reported in the same way as regular credit cards. Depending on your individual credit card company, your business credit card may not be linked to your personal credit report. This can indirectly help your personal credit score because it allows you to carry some debt without bringing down your credit score.
However, this should be avoided because the debt will catch up to you and needs to be paid eventually. Because of the personal guarantee that many business credit cards require, you’ll eventually be responsible for all debts on your business credit card. You can end up damaging your credit score over time if you aren’t able to pay off your business debts.
Do business credit cards have extra features compared to regular credit cards?
Yes, many business credit cards offer extra features such as expense tracking and spending reports. This can be extremely useful when managing many different employees and keeping track of business finances. Expense tracking will allow you to see how you and your employees are spending your money, and spending reports will provide insight into your spending habits.
However, these features can cost extra and may lead to higher annual fees. If you’re planning on getting a business credit card that offers these features, be sure you can actually benefit from them. If you won’t be using them regularly, it’s a waste of money to pay for features you won’t even use.
What if I’m unable to pay off my business credit card?
If you’re unable to pay off your business card, your personal credit may suffer as a result. Since you’re asked to provide your social security number before applying for a business credit card, lenders will be able to seek you out and demand that you personally pay off your business debts. Delaying payment will cause your personal credit score to drop as a result. Additionally, your business credit score will also drop if you don’t pay your credit card bills on time.
Since the consequences of not being able to pay your business credit card bills are steep, be sure to never charge more than you can pay. Avoid making excessive purchases on your business credit card, and be sure to always pay your bills on time if possible. Neglecting to pay your business credit card bills on time is a mistake that can follow you for years and negatively impact your overall credit.
I’m an employee who was issued a business credit card. Am I responsible for the balance if something goes wrong with the company?
Some credit cards have specific rules in the cardholder agreement regarding this situation. Some credit cards state that employees are not responsible for charges on company credit cards, even if their name is on the card. Other cards have no specific rules about this, and may hold you liable for charges years down the road if something goes wrong. Although this situation is extremely rare, former employees of a company have reported being contacted by a credit card company years later and being asked to pay for business charges.
To avoid this unusual situation, it’s best to always check the cardholder agreement on any credit card, even if it’s a business card issued by your employer. It wouldn’t hurt to ask your employer specific questions about this situation as well. Ask them if you’ll be liable for charges in specific situations, such as if your employment was suddenly terminated. Your credit it not something to take lightly, and you want to be informed of all possibilities, no matter how unusual.
Are there special deals for businesses that have a lot of employees and have many business credit cards on their account?
Yes, credit card companies sometimes offer special incentives for businesses with a lot of employees. For example, there may be a sign-on bonus where the company can earn extra cash back for each employee they add to their account.
The more employees a company adds to their account, the more rewards they’ll earn over time. By having more employees on the account spending money on gas, travel, and other business expenses, the company will earn rewards at a quicker rate. Businesses with a lot of employees will inevitably earn a lot of rewards using business cards.
Additionally, companies that issue business credit cards to all their employees may be eligible for introductory offers such as 0% APR in the first year. This can end up saving a lot of money on interest over the course of the year, and is a huge advantage if they would have been paying interest for a lot of employees.
How does my business credit score differ from my personal credit score?
Business credit scores are on a different reporting system than personal credit scores. While personal credit scores normally fall between the range of 300 and 850, business credit scores usually range from 0 to 100.
The three largest business credit reporting bureaus are Dun and Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian. You may be familiar Equifax and Experian from viewing your personal credit reports. TransUnion, the third major credit bureau for personal FICO credit scores, is not as well-known for their business credit score services.
What information do you need to apply for a business credit card?
To apply for a small business credit card, you’ll be asked to provide your social security number. You’ll also be asked for a Tax ID number for your business. Credit card companies ask for this information to assure that the business card is linked to an individual. This protects them and ensures the debts will be paid even if the business falls through.
You’ll also need the same basic information that you would need to apply for a regular credit card, such as your address and phone number. Be sure to have all your personal information ready at the time of application. Incomplete applications may be rejected by the credit card company.
What if an employee abuses a business credit card?
If an employee uses their business card for personal use, such as paying bills and buying groceries, it’s a difficult situation. In the eyes of the credit card company, since you’re the account holder, you’re responsible for all charges rung up by an employee. You probably won’t be able to get your money back from the credit card company, because their logic is that you should have your employees under control. They aren’t liable for your mistake of hiring someone untrustworthy.
If an employee abuses their business credit card, there are several courses of action you can take. First of all, you should consider firing the employee or giving them a stern punishment for their actions. Someone who breaks your trust in such an important way is no asset to your company. However, you may want to ask the employee to pay the charges back before firing them. This gives the opportunity to make up for their actions while still staying employed at the company. It’s a good idea to take away their business credit card after an incident like this, because you never know if they’ll do it again. It’s up to you whether or not you want to give them another chance at the company.
If my business fails can I still use my business credit card?
There are no rules that explicitly state you can’t use your business credit card if your business fails. However, many of the advantages of a business credit card will be lost in this situation. You also might end up paying extra fees that you have no use for, so it might be more beneficial to use a regular credit card.
You can still enjoy perks such as increased reward categories if you use your business credit card after your business fails. You should make sure the potentially higher annual fees are worth it.
What can I do if my business credit card is lost or stolen?
If your business card is lost or stolen, you should immediately report it to your credit card company so the card can be cancelled. It’s important to educate your employees about doing this as well. Every second the card is lost gives thieves an extra chance to find the card and make fraudulent charges. And since business credit cards have different rules about fraud than regular credit cards, you want to be sure to avoid losing your cards at all costs.
Is a business credit card worth it if I’m a freelancer?
If you’re a freelancer, you could definitely benefit from having a business credit card. Since all you need a social security number and Tax ID number, you’ll be able to qualify for a business credit card without any trouble. As a freelancer, you still have to keep business and personal expenses separate. You’ll be able to use your business credit card for many business expenses such as gas to get to client meetings and purchases of items used in your business. Freelancers can unquestionably benefit from all the major advantages of business credit cards.
Customers with questions that were not addressed on this list can contact our customer service team. Our representatives will be happy to answer any questions.