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When you think of a business, something such as a restaurant, a retail store, or an online merchant may be the first thing that pops into your mind. Yes, these are what any of us would likely call a traditional business. Businesses that have a dedicated location or office space, a group of employees and hopefully generating enough revenue to support all of its employees while passing on a healthy profit to the owners or shareholders.
These businesses likely have credit cards that help manage their finances by isolating expenses and potentially giving employees the ability to make purchases on behalf of the company. In the end, the business owners and person that was issued the card enjoys the card benefits and rewards generated.
If you have a small business or a side job that you use to generate some extra income, you may be eligible for these types of cards and associated benefits.
Top Cards to Investigate
There are many business credit and charge cards issued; all of the major banks offer some form of a small business credit card. Here are some of the most lucrative rewards (some other cards with huge bonuses):
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express – Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points. Terms Apply. (Our review)
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card – Earn 100,000 bonus points (Full review)
- Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card – Earn $500 bonus cash back (Full review)
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card – Earn $500 bonus cash back (Full review)
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express – Earn 2X Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners (applies to first $50,000 spent each year, then 1X). Terms Apply. (Full review)
- American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card – Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Terms Apply.
- JetBlue Business Card – 30,000 Bonus points + the ability to earn Mosaic status (JetBlue card review)
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Why You Want a Business Credit Card
There are any number of reasons why a business credit card; here are some to consider:
- Isolate your business expenses – Even the most organized people need a hand keeping personal, and business expenses separate. Logistically, a separate card account makes managing expense for you and your bookkeeper or accountant infinitely easier
- Specific rewards & bonus categories – Your personal rewards card may earn you points with your favorite hotel program, but doesn't provide any bonuses on a big business expense like advertising. There are several cards that offer bonuses when you spend on advertising to help grow your business
- Build or Grow your business – Credit cards help with cash flow, and while we'd never recommend you carry a balance, they are there to help provide a cushion when needed. At a minimum, by using a credit card instead of a check/debit payment you're giving yourself 20+ days depending on when your statement closes and when your bill is due. If you're looking for extra time to pay a bill, perhaps check out The Plum Card® from American Express, which will provide up to 60 days to make a payment on select charges.
- You're looking for additional rewards – Let's face it, one of the reasons you use credit cards is for their rewards. The more you spend, the more you get. Finding the right rewards program to earn with for your business is a part of deciding which card is best for you.
- You want protection/insurance services – Business credit cards come with different insurance and protection services than personal credit cards. While many perks overlap, you may find different coverage available, such as cellular phone coverage available with the Ink Preferred.
Truths & Myths About Business Credit & Charge Cards
There are plenty of myths about credit cards, but here are some truths and myths specifically about business cards.
- Myth: You need a Federal EIN or Tax ID to get a business credit or charge card. In fact, a sole proprietorship, where you use your Social Security Number is perfectly acceptable to use on a business credit or charge card application.
- Myth: You need to have multiple employees and a storefront to be eligible for a business card. No, you don't. A single person business that wants to manage expenses and rewards is perfectly suitable.
- Myth: The business must be your primary form of income to be eligible for a business card. Completely false. Many small businesses start off as a hobby or side project and grow into a labor of love and passion.
- Truth: Business credit cards will help you build a financial profile for your business in case you need a bank loan. Regular use of your business credit cards show that you have the financial wherewithal and stability to take and manage credit/debt.
- Truth: If a credit card issuer has both a personal and business card, you can receive both and receive the bonuses on both. You need to think of business and personal credit cards as separate businesses within the business of a credit card issuer. Yes, they've both credit cards, but different business units issue and manage personally issued and business-issued card products.
- Truth: Credit card issuers want to recruit new small businesses. Just as card issuers want their card to be the first one out of your wallet for your personal expenses, they want the same for your business expenses. If you have a personal credit card, perhaps look to that issuer for a complimentary business card product. If you can earn rewards in the same program; bonus!
Really, Almost Anyone?
Yes, small businesses are everywhere. According to the U.S. Small Business Association in 2013, there was 28.8 million small business and over 80% of them had no employees! Just because your business is new, you're the only person working in it, or you don't have a “real” office space, this doesn't mean you're not eligible to obtain a business credit card.
Take a look at how you're managing your small business or side project expenses and see if there is a way for you to grow your business and ramp up the rewards you're earning.
Do you have any small business credit cards? Which are your favorite? Share with us in the comments.
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