My friend Matt started a business and wanted to know what the best business credit card was. I’ll list what I consider the best options below but in general here’s what I look for:
- No annual fee: If you’re a startup, you want to keep costs as low as possible until you get your revenues up. Having to pay a hundred dollars a year, as little as that sounds, is a hundred dollars you can’t put back into your business to grow it as quickly as possible. Just as I wouldn’t get a consumer credit card with an annual fee, if I was a startup I’d avoid a card with an annual fee. Fortunately there are plenty of options.
- Rewards: I look at rewards from two angles. First, I want to get better than 1% rewards or cash back in categories that I will be spending a lot in such as office supply, advertising, etc. Second, if I’m getting points, I want to ensure the reward catalog has products I would buy with my own money. I don’t want gift cards to chain restaurants I never visit. I don’t want electronics or DVDs I can buy for cheaper online.
- Promotional APRs: Many businesses have been built on the shoulders of consumer credit card debt. I don’t advocate going into debt to start a business, but if you’re going to then it’s best to get a credit card that will give you 0% APY for six or twelve months on your purchases or balance transfers. These offers are becoming rarer because credit card companies are reducing their risk but they still exist.
- Don’t use your consumer credit card: You can use a consumer credit card as a business card but be sure to use it only for business expenses (even this is suspect, depends on who you ask). If you don’t properly separate the two “worlds,” then you could run into liability issues down the road. Be sure to check with a business attorney or your accountant though.