If you own a business, you know not every aspect of running your company is glamorous. For instance, keeping track of expenses can be a serious chore. That’s why many business owners use credit cards to make their company’s purchases. After all, monthly credit card statements make it easy to keep tabs on spending.
There are a lot of business credit cards on the market. But many entrepreneurs worry that in opting for a card specifically marketed for business, they’re missing out on the advantages that come with consumer or "personal" credit cards.
So can you use a consumer credit card for business purchases? Take a look at the details below to find out.
Is it possible to use a consumer card for business expenses?
Yes, it’s possible.
In fact, there are certain benefits to choosing a consumer credit card over a business card. The most compelling reason is the Credit Card Act of 2009. Among other things, it prevents credit card companies from unexpectedly raising interest rates and charging excessive fees. These protections are available apply to consumer credit cards, but not business credit cards. If you’re worried about a credit card company taking advantage of you, using a consumer credit card might be the right choice for your business.
Another advantage of using a consumer credit card is the rewards you can rack up. Although business credit cards often offer benefits designed to appeal to business owners — such as bonus rewards on office supplies — they may not be a good fit for your business. Personal cards offer a wider range of incentive programs. If you travel a lot for your business, for instance, one of the many personal travel credit cards on the market will provide you with valuable rewards every time you use it. Consider which perks would most benefit your business and look for cards based on those criteria.
Don’t dismiss business credit cards outright
While using a consumer credit card for your business’s expenses is certainly doable, don’t be too fast to dismiss small business credit cards altogether. There are some advantages to cards specifically designed for business owners.
For one, if you’re planning to give credit cards to your employees, this is much easier to do with business cards. Most business credit card issuers offer the option of providing cards associated with one account to several users, while personal cards — which are meant for an individual — do not.
Another consideration is the terms offered by business credit cards, which are, frankly, more business-friendly. For example, according to the Federal Reserve, small business cards tend to offer higher spending limits than personal credit cards. This could come in handy if your company puts a lot of monthly expenses on its card.
Tips for success
It's important to assess all your options when deciding whether to use a business or personal credit card for your company's expenses. Carefully consider your business's needs and the benefits and drawbacks of each type of card before making a final choice.
But regardless of what kind of plastic you settle on, keep in mind the following tips for success:
Never mix business and personal spending on one card. Even if you choose to use a personal credit card for your business, don't put personal expenses on it. This is a recipe for a bookkeeping disaster.
Take advantage of your credit card issuer's online tools to keep track of business expenditures. This is one of the main benefits of designating a credit card for your company, so don't overlook it.
Stick to good credit card habits. Whether you're using a business or personal credit card, always pay your bill on time and in full. This will help you avoid interest payments and keep your credit score in good standing.
The bottom line: Using a personal credit card for your business’s expenses is an option to consider, but it’s important to look at all the cards on the market to find the one with the best value for your enterprise.