Business Credit Cards

By updated on April 23, 2014

Business credit cards can be a necessity for keeping your small business running smoothly. Small business credit cards can help a business owner better manage their expenses and cash flow and also often offer generous rebates. However, you may be personally liable for any unpaid debt that is associated with the credit card and your personal credit score could suffer.

What types of business credit cards are available?

Just like personal credit cards, many types of business credit cards are available. For example, there are cards:

1. With introductory interest rates and terms, including the initial waiver of annual fees
2. With rewards programs, including cash back and travel programs
3. For business and owners with excellent, good and less than stellar credit history
4. With varied credit limits based on credit history

How can I find the best business credit card?

If a credit card is part of your business plan, think first about your cash flow. Will you use the business credit card to stay afloat in slow months? If so, you may want to look for the business credit card with the lowest interest rate, since you may need to carry a balance from one month to the next. If you intend to pay off your balance each month, you may want to look for a business rewards credit card that will give you points or cash back on your purchases. You can also look for a credit card without an annual fee or with the annual fee waived during your first year. If you already have a business credit card with a balance, you may also want to look into a balance transfer offer to see if you can qualify for a lower (or zero) interest rate and reduce your balance faster.

Many business credit cards link their best rewards to purchases related to your business. If you travel often for work, your best bet could be a travel rewards card. If you fly a lot, you can build your supply of frequent flier miles more quickly by using an airline credit card. If you drive to business appointments, you may want to look for a credit card that gives you a rebate on gas purchases.

When I apply for a business credit card, will my personal credit history be checked?

When choosing a business credit card, you may be mixing your personal credit history and your business credit history. Before you complete an application, find out whether the credit card company will be reviewing your personal credit history. Some credit card companies offer a business credit card to a business with a verifiable income stream and a checking account without looking at the personal credit history of the applicant. Business credit cards are available to applicants with excellent, good, and even fair credit.

Besides checking into how your credit history will be viewed when you apply, you should find out whether the credit card company will report your use of your business credit card to all three major credit bureaus or whether they will only provide reports to business credit bureaus. If you are being held personally liable for unpaid debt on a business credit card, it could hurt your personal credit score.

If you think a business credit card could help you manage your expenses and cash flow, compare the business credit card offers on this page to help you find one that meets your needs.

Do business credit card companies report to personal credit agencies?

It depends on the company that issued your credit card. Some credit card companies don't report to personal credit agencies like Experian and TransUnion, but they do report to business credit bureaus like Dunn and Bradstreet and the Small Business Financial Exchange. Review the terms and conditions on every business credit card application before applying. That's the best way to know for sure how the particular card is reported.

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