Learn everything you need to know about business credit cards and find the right card for your company
Business or company credit cards could be an invaluable asset to your business, simplifying your accounting, improving your cash-flow and making it easier to buy what you need.
Read on for everything you need to know about business credit cards and find out how to pick the best business credit cards for you and your company.
Business credit cards can be a useful way of keeping track of your company's spend, paying for expenses and having access to extra credit if needed.
Similar to the way you would use a personal credit card, business credit cards allow you to pay off the money you spend, whilst using the bank balance to pay for more urgent costs.
The credit limit amount available will be based on the businesses status and accounts.
If you pay your credit card bill in full, you can expect to receive up to 56 days interest free credit on your spending, which could help to spread the cost of your business expenses and improve cash-flow.
If you know you'll be able to pay off the credit in a month or so, paying for items on credit can keep your company's bank balance safe for emergencies or expenses that require immediate payment.
Many business credit cards have high spending limits, or, in some cases, no limit at all – which can boost the purchasing power of your business, but of course it's important to only spend what you know you can pay back.
However, new businesses are usually only likely to see huge amounts of money coming into the company after a gradual amount of time.
Spreading your repayments out over several months can ensure that the money you have coming in, isn't going straight back out to cover the start-up costs you had to pay for.
Moreover, using a business credit card makes it easier to buy what you need online or over the phone.
A business card is also a real asset if you or your employees have to travel abroad for business, or are taking external meetings with clients.
This means the payments are limited to the company credit card, rather than your employees having to collect the receipts and file them off to be expensed.
As well as being a convenient way to pay for business expenses while travelling, some cards offer preferential exchange rates, free worldwide travel and medical insurance, and even other perks, like hotel discounts, upgrades and concierge services.
If your company credit card has some of these perks, then in theory, if you have spent enough throughout the year, you could reward your staff with a weekend break, or something else paid for by the credit card's rewards scheme.
Essentially, using a business credit card can help you to simplify your business finances. A monthly statement means you can keep track of expenses and see them all in one place.
It can also cut the need for petty cash – you may get supplementary credit cards for your employees, making it easier to administrate employee expenses.
Your statement will show who spent what and when, and you can set personal spending limits for each supplementary card.
You may be able to collect airmiles or Avios with a business credit card, so you can reward your staff in future
Company credit cards also offer fraud protection. If there's fraud on your card, as long as you report the fraud within a designated period, you won't be liable.
Some card issuers even offer Cardholder Misuse Insurance, to protect you in the event that an employee misuses their credit card.
A number of business credit cards offer discount and reward schemes. Your credit card could entitle you to discounts on everything from flights to office suppliers, depending on the card provider.
You can also earn rewards points like AirMiles or Nectar points with some cards, which means you could earn enough to treat some of your staff without having to spend any more than you normally would.
Ultimately, finding the best business credit cards comes down to you and your company's needs.
Some companies will prefer to have an expenses system or pay for things only with the money they have coming in, but a business credit card, if used wisely, can be a real financial asset.
Think about how you plan to use the credit card – knowing what you want to get out of it will make it easier to pick the right deal. There are a few important criteria to consider when choosing the right credit card for you:
Are you planning to borrow on your business credit card? If you're planning to borrow beyond the interest-free period, the APR is key. Introductory rates can look very appealing, but check that the standard APR is also competitive, or look for a credit card with a low standard APR.
Will you pay the balance in full every month? If you're going to pay your balance in full each month then discounts and rewards packages might be more important to you than the APR. Look for a business credit card that offers the discounts or rewards that will be of the most value to your business.
Do you need supplementary business credit cards? If you want to give supplementary cards to your employees, look into the supplementary services offered by the different providers. For example is there any charge for supplementary cards or a limit to the number you can have, and can you impose your own credit limit on each one?
How much can you afford to borrow? Think about how much you can realistically afford to repay and the maximum amount your business is likely to need to spend in a month. Even if you're offered a higher credit limit, don't be tempted to accept it, as you may be straddling debt for a long period.
Always compare company credit cards and check the various offers available to make sure you get the right deal for your business.