A new credit card might not be the most obvious must-have for a small business owner. In fact, some people are actually afraid of credit cards. But there's no need for such fear. A dedicated business card can offer a wealth of benefits, especially if the card was designed with the small business owner in mind.
Here are four ways a business card could help you:
1. Separate your business and personal expenses.
With a business card, you can keep your business purchases separate from your personal ones. This can improve your record-keeping for budgeting, accounting and tax purposes. Examples of business expenses that might be charged include airline tickets, hotel rooms, business meals, professional dues, subscriptions, cell phone charges, Internet expenses and office supplies. The annual fee, if there is one, and any interest you pay for your business card might be tax deductible as business expenses.
2. Improve your business's cash flow.
A business card can act as a form of short-term financing to smooth your business's cash flow. This allows you to pay your suppliers while you wait to collect from your customers. Business cards tend to have higher credit limits than personal cards, giving you even more flexibility to manage your cash flow.
3. Establish a business credit history.
Many businesses need to borrow to grow. If you plan to expand and know you'll need a loan to do it, a business card can help you build the credit history that could help you get the loan you want. When you shop for a card, ask the issuer which credit bureaus it will report your payments to. That way, you'll know whether paying on time will improve your personal credit, business credit or both.
4. Rack up rewards.
A business card can enable you to earn points, miles or cash back bonuses for your business expenses. Some cards offer better rewards for business purchases like travel, technology or office supplies. Distributing cards to your employees — with proper controls to prevent abuse and detect fraud — can help you earn rewards faster.
Business cards are subject to slightly different legal protections than consumer cards, so you should read the card agreement and ask any questions you may have before you accept a new card.
One quick conversation might be enough for you to understand the benefits and say yes to a card that meets your needs.