Weighing your Options – Deciding on the Right Business Credit Card for You

By Leni Parrish on September 2, 2007

It’s been said that you don’t know how much you’re capable of accomplishing until you start your own business. All of a sudden you are responsible for making decisions that require loads of knowledge and experience and it can be daunting.

The same is true for choosing a business credit card. There seem to be thousands out there and, in reality, there just may be that many. Each of them touts their benefits loudly while downplaying the requirements. Each of them claims to be the best. But there is not ‘best’. The important thing when getting a business credit card is to figure out which one is right for you.

So here’s the $10,000 question: what do you need?

Perhaps what you need most in a business credit card is a low APR. This is one of the simplest benefits out there, but sometimes all you need is something simple.

Low APR is a good thing to have if you plan to use your business credit card to make large purchases that you will have to pay off over time. Having a business credit card that maintains a low APR will enable you to carry a balance forward at least a little more affordably. Obviously, no credit card will enable you to do this ‘cheaply’, but there are business credit cards out there that offer rates that are at least comparably inexpensive. Business credit cards like this are good choices for companies that have to invest in computer systems, expensive upgrades to equipment, or other large, one-time purchases.

Maybe it would work better for your business to simply have a card that offers no annual fee. Another very simple benefit, this isn’t a difficult one to understand. Any sole-proprietorship or home-based business can understand how this is relevant to them. Oftentimes these businesses are responsible for the bills of an entire household, and the annual fee is just one more expense that they’d rather not worry about. This benefit is usually especially good when it comes on a business credit card that also has a low APR. The combination of benefits can result to some worthwhile savings for the cardholder.

Usually, a business credit card will have some kind of additional tangible benefits, and these bonuses can be very useful. Frequently, these are the things that separate a personal credit card from a business credit card. Unfortunately, the more comprehensive benefit programs tend to come with high interest rates and annual fees. But, depending on your needs, these additional expenses could be well worth it.

Many of the business credit cards out there with bonus programs offer discounts at retailers who serve businesses. Many of the office supply stores have signed up with major credit card companies to offer a certain percent discount of every purchase. This can help a business owner save money on the things that he or she may need often. Copies, expendables (e.g. staples, paper, envelopes, etc.) and even office furniture as it wears out or becomes outdated. Additionally, many of these stores offer tools like personal organizers, printers, and file storage. All essentials for running a business.

Some business credit cards have benefits programs with the traveling salesperson in mind. Programs that offer frequent flyer miles for every dollar spent have always been popular with businesses. Especially useful for executives and high-ranking salespeople, business credit cards that offer frequent flyer miles for purchases can help a business save money on expensive flights. Also for travelers, some credit card companies have begun to offer discounts or cash-back rewards on all purchases of gasoline. Not a bad little benefit to have with gas prices sitting comfortably inflated. The cold-calling salesperson would have a lot of use for a benefit such as this, and could save the company money on all the miles it reimburses the salesperson for.

As add-ons to travel-specific benefit programs, some companies even offer things like travel insurance, insurance for luggage, free check-cashing in most of the major business travel countries of the world, and even in-flight bonuses. Or, if you’re a traveler but have your flights squared away, perhaps you’d like a card that earns your points toward stays in a hotel.

Discounts on business services are other popular offerings that business credit cards offer. Everything from phone service to restaurant discounts can be had through choosing the right credit card. It’s all a matter of figuring out what you need.

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