It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the choices of corporate credit cards available. How important are fees and interest rates? How do you measure the value of rewards offered? What features and protections should you prioritize? Here are five things to keep in mind when comparing credit cards for small business expenses:
The Annual Fee
Some credits cards for small business customers do not charge an annual fee, but this varies widely depending on the program's perks. Most rewards cards do charge a fee. Compare the costs and consider them against the benefits, rewards and special offers, such as time-limited low rates, that come with the account.
Credit Card Balances
If you don't plan to carry a balance on your small business credit card account and anticipate paying off the balance in full each billing cycle, then a credit card that will give your business rewards may be more valuable. If you do expect to carry a balance on the account, you may be better off getting a credit card with a low APR or a card with a low- or zero-rate introductory offer. Alternatively, if you have room on a secured business credit line, it may be advantageous to select a rewards card and pay off the balance each month with your secured credit line. A secured credit line may have a lower interest rate than a typical business credit card.
Everyone loves getting rewards, but before you sign up for a business credit card because of a great "rewards offer," think carefully about the type of rewards offered, and the earning and redemption conditions. Are rewards limited to a catalog of items your business isn't likely to need? Will they expire?
A cash-back rewards program may be a good option for businesses that want a credit card account for charging expenses. Cash back can then be applied to future purchases or statement balances, saving your business more money.
Travel Credit Cards
If you provide your staff with company credit cards for charging travel expenses such as flights, hotels and rental cars, travel credit cards for small business customers may be a strong option. Miles or travel points add up quickly for those who travel frequently. These cards often come with an annual fee, but reward points can be applied to future travel expenses.
Employee Card Conditions
Look for business credit cards that supply extra cards for free — a money-saver if you have many employees who will be carrying cards. Also, find out about spending limits and limiting access to account information on staffers' cards to protect your business.
Credit cards for charging business expenses can be convenient and save you money if you select the right one for your business, so do your research before committing. Speak with a qualified financial advisor if you have any questions or concerns.
Interested in this topic? Then check out this post about managing finances for a single-person business.