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How Using a Credit Card Can Boost Your Small Business

Business Credit Cards, Credit Cards
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Access to capital is one of the biggest concerns for a small-business owner. It isn’t always easy to secure a small-business loan or to get the amount you need. A business credit card gives you access to a standing credit line, and, if used wisely, it can also help your bottom line.

As with personal credit cards, business cards can be dangerous if you don’t use them responsibly. High interest rates and fees can add up. But if your business needs a little leverage and you don’t have more favorable options, a small-business credit card can be a valuable tool both to get your business up and running and to streamline your handling of operating expenses.

Here’s a rundown of the benefits of using a small-business credit card.

Access to credit

If you’re not yet in a position to take out a small-business loan, a business credit card can help your enterprise stay afloat if your cash flow is lacking or irregular. Plus, your credit card bill generally isn’t due until a few weeks after the statement closes, which gives you a small cushion of time.

Keep in mind, however, that credit cards typically charge higher interest rates than standard business loans. If you’re planning to use a credit card for your company, make sure you’ll have the means to pay off the balance fairly quickly, if not monthly.

Establishing business credit history

When you first start a business, lenders generally use your personal credit score when you apply for a business credit card or loan. Over time, using a credit card tied to your business can help you build your business credit score, which will make it easier to get favorable borrowing terms in the future and keep your business and personal credit histories separate.

Streamlining expenses

Putting all your expenses on one credit card makes it easier to keep track of where your money is going. Not only does this help you as you do your accounting, but it’ll also come in handy when it’s time to file taxes.

If you have employees, consider adding them as authorized users on the account. That way, you’ll have an easier time keeping all of your transactions in one place, and you won’t have the headache of dealing with expense reimbursements. Some cards will even allow you to establish individual spending limits for your employees to maintain control.

Rewards

Credit card companies offer large sign-up bonuses and rewards to get your business. Many business credit cards offer up to 5% rewards on certain business-related expenses. Earning a small percentage back on your credit card purchases may seem like peanuts. But if you think of it as adding to your profit margin and, thus, your bottom line, even a small percentage can make a difference.

Whether you choose a business credit card that offers travel rewards or a simple cash-back card, you can use those rewards to boost your business.

The bottom line

Using a credit card for your small business can help you get access to capital on an ongoing basis, stay organized, and give your business a boost financially by offering rewards and establishing a business credit score. It’s important to understand, however, that business cards can do more harm than good in the long run if you end up carrying a balance and paying interest every month.

Ben Luthi is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: bluthi@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @benluthi.


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