Most credit card companies have designed one or more credit card packages that enable small businesses to keep their personal and business accounts apart. These cards, known as business credit cards, are appealing to many small business owners. However, regardless of what these business credit cards may offer, there could be some pitfalls that you need to be on the lookout for. Carefully shopping for the right business credit card is a must, if you want to avoid being exposed to the negative aspects.

Due to mounting competition in the small business credit card market, there is an interminable barrage of high-powered advertisements, extolling the virtues of the various business credit card issuers’ rewards programs, cash back features, airline miles programs, and other benefits, to the point where they are all starting to sound very much the same. The implication for you is that you will need to do your own research in deciding on what is actually and practically the business credit card best suited to your small firm.

As always, the very best starting point is knowing how you will be using the business credit card. Do you plan to pay off all the business credit card charges monthly, or do you expect to maintain an ongoing balance on your account? The answers to these questions shall determine whether you should get a business credit card that has a rewards program or a business credit card that offers a low-interest rate. For instance, if you plan to carry a balance forward from month to month, do not choose a business credit card with a rewards program. It will not work for you because any savings you earn via the business credit card rewards program will be offset by the interest charges that are imposed.

You should decide on what types of business credit card rewards will be most beneficial to your business. The rewards programs offered vary from frequent flyer miles to gift certificates to merchandise. Some business credit cards allow you to switch from one reward feature to another when you redeem the accumulated points. Always make sure that you read the fine print. You may be tempted to choose a business credit card that offers low introductory rates, only to find out at a later stage that the business credit card company raised the rates. Check the applicable APR that will apply after the introductory period expires and compare the future rates with those of other business credit cards. One business credit card, for instance, may guarantee a 7.99% fixed APR after the introductory period expires, while another may impose a 14.99% variable APR.

Another factor that is worth considering is the degree of control and the extent of customer services the business credit card offers. There are business credit card companies that allow you online access to your business credit card account. Among other things, this will enable you to manage your account and download the transaction records for accounting purposes and for your tax reports. Online access allows you to modify or set spending limits on the business credit cards issued to your employees.

If you or your existing business has a good credit standing, you may want to call the business credit card company to negotiate a special arrangement for your business.

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