Photo (cc) by rutlo
America is a land of small business owners, from the guy who fixes your roof to the couple who owns your favorite restaurant to the retiree who resells stuff on eBay. As their work grows, these entrepreneurs often look for a business credit or charge card to separate their company’s purchases from their household spending.
When the credit card reform bill became law in 2009, it was against the objections of the banking industry. One exclusion the banking lobby successfully had inserted into the law that ultimately became the CARD Act was business credit cards.
According to a study by the Pew Foundation, most business credit and charge cards still reserve the right to change their interest rates at any time and assess penalty interest rates and fees in excess of what the law would allow in the consumer market. Yet consumers are still exposed to these risks – because they’re often personally responsible for their business card accounts.
Although there are downsides to using a business card, there are still some excellent products being offered…
Delta just announced it’s adding priority boarding and discounted on-board purchases to the already impressive array of perks these cards offer. Both of these cards already include checked bag fee waivers, annual companion certificate awards, and opportunities to earn miles that count toward elite status. The Reserve card adds lounge access and upgrade priority over others.
While many business card holders are sole proprietors, this card’s features are ideal for those who have a staff. Cardholders can receive multiple cards for authorized employees, and they can set individual spending limits for each card. Quarterly and annual summaries are also provided – which will make your accountant smile.
Many business travelers pay extraordinary fares for last-minute, short-distance flights – yet they earn far fewer miles than long-haul leisure travelers on discount fares. Southwest’s new Rapid Rewards program breaks that paradox by offering reward points based on dollars spent, not miles flown. Redemptions work the same way, with inexpensive flights requiring fewer points. Not only does Southwest’s co-branded business card work great with this program, but it offers the same $830 worth of points as the consumer version – which recently made our list of The 5 Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses.
Like consumers, businesses should always pay their balances in full to avoid interest. Yet it can make sense for some businesses to carry a balance in order to make necessary purchases while they await payment. Chase’s Ink Classic and Ink Cash cards are eligible for their Blueprint program, which allows account holders to avoid some interest by paying certain charges in full while revolving others.
Many cards let you earn more rewards when your purchases fit within one of many rotating categories. This card actually lets you choose which types of merchants will qualify for their 3-percent cash-back rewards. Unlike consumers whose spending will touch many categories, a business is likely to concentrate its purchases in a few specific areas. Finally, this card is ideal for international travelers, since Capital One charges no foreign transaction fees.
6. Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express
This is the Swiss army knife of business travel cards. Customers earn points from the Starwood hotel chain – which includes Westin and Sheraton, among other brands. These points can then be used for awards at any of their hotels with no blackout dates or capacity restrictions. Also, points can be transferred to frequent flyer miles at more than 30 different airlines.
You can learn more about these cards and others by using the Money Talks News credit card search tool, which objectively allows you to shop for the best rewards and interest rates.