Compare and Contrast – Taking Advantage of Business Credit Card Offers

The usual plethora of credit card offers that flood the advertising schedules has been noticeable by its absence this year, as credit card companies worry about continued exposure to potential ‘bad debt’ from consumers. But business credit cards are a different category, and something that many small and medium size businesses rely on to get them through lean months. Many SMEs utilise business credit cards as part of their financial organisation, and the Federation for Small Businesses is calling for a cap on credit charges to help struggling businesses this year.

“A cap on interest rates will at a stroke not only reduce business costs but give consumers a real boost and cut the cost of borrowing,” says FSB national chairman John Wright. He believes that small and medium size businesses will play a pivotal role in driving the UK economy out of recession and onto the road to recovery, but the interest rate charged on many business cards could scupper some businesses chances of being part of that recovery. According to the latest FSB figures, 23% of entrepreneurs use a business credit card to finance their business, but a worrying 26% use personal credit cards instead. This could cause a business problems in the long term, as it becomes difficult to separate business from personal expenses and exposes the cardholder to personal liability of the debts of the business and a potentially poor personal credit rating.

So perhaps this is the ideal time to start looking at business credit card transfers in much the same way as personal credit card transfer options. A business credit card works in a similar way to a personal card, giving the card holder a period of interest free credit, flexible payments and a much easier accounting system, with purchases and expenditure being listed on one, detailed statement instead of a disorganised wad of receipts. Like personal cards, business credit card suppliers are also anxious to tempt new customers with balance transfer offers, providing customers with the same options to ‘card jump’ as personal credit card holders. For a business this may help cash flow in lean months, particularly in the traditionally slow business months of January and February.

An alternative to the business credit card is the business charge card, which offers the same amount of convenience and flexibility as a credit card. However, with a charge card the balance often has to be paid in full at the end of the month by direct debit, so a charge card can offer a short-term solution to cash flow issues at best. It also has to be remembered that business credit cards often have an annual fee attached (sometimes hundreds of pounds) so this amount has to be taken into consideration when comparing and contrasting the cards on offer.

January is the ideal time to look at transferring to a new business credit card to take advantage of attractive offers that may not be repeated later in the year. It is also the time when many businesses are sitting down to take stock of their financial position and prospects for the remainder of the year, and so is an opportunity to examine the business credit card deals on offer. The competition between business card providers is fierce, with many including ‘reward schemes’ and other tempting sweeteners to get businesses to swap allegiances. The benefits of business credit cards are obvious – they allow the business to have a separate ‘slush fund’ of financing that can be easily controlled and monitored, no matter how many card holders are using the account. Business credit cards also give SMEs in particular another valuable commodity – time. Time not only to balance money in and money out (ensuring suppliers are paid on time and maintaining other lines of credit), but time saved on accounting and administration.

“2009 must be a year of action for small businesses,” says John Wright of the FSB. “The Chancellor and the Government can and must take a very serious look at capping interest rates charged on credit cards,” he adds. If the credit companies take notice of this then credit card charges could stabilise, leaving businesses in a much stronger position to be able to ride out the recession. It could also lead to a greater flexibility in credit lending for SMEs and avoid the knee-jerk reactions of the banks and credit providers seen in previous downturns. All of this means that now is the ideal time to look at business credit cards transfers to take advantage of the best deals, while they’re still on offer.

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Do You Need a Business Credit Card?

Even if your business is small sized, you must have wondered at some point in your business career if you need a business credit card. Well, to answer that question, let us look at the advantages of subscribing to one and how it may help your business.

Legitimacy & Credibility

The first and foremost change you would bring about by getting a business credit card is that of perception. Your customers, business associates, employees and even you, the owner will begin to perceive your business as a legitimate organization with credibility. With this you would have automatically distinguished your business from your competitors and most likely, moved your company up to the next level.

Easier Bookkeeping

Most people dread reconciling the accounts. However, the day-to-day operations of your organization can be made a whole lot manageable with a business credit card. Your expenditure on purchases, operation and office necessities can be made with the card. There is no need to fork out any cash. The best part is that you can keep track of every expense with the management reports that are provided with the card. These reports even include itemised listings of purchases. Now, that makes bookkeeping seem like a breeze, doesn’t it?

Separate from Personal Expense

Business credit cards are issued in the name of the company and not yours. This allows you to keep your personal and business accounts separate. Furthermore, the debts of your company become the responsibility of the business and not you.

Note of caution: If yours is a new business, the business credit card may be issued based on your personal credit history. You may even have to sign a personal-liability agreement. This is not recommended (but mostly unavoidable for new businesses) because if you run into any problems with payment, your personal credit history may be severely affected although the expenses were not personal but for your business. In order to establish a distinct business credit history, you may want to register your company with a business credit bureau as soon as possible. This allows you to eventually give up your personal-liability agreement.

Benefits to Key Employees

It is inevitable, sometimes, for employees to have to shell out their own money to cover purchases made for the company. This practice, albeit common, is not fair to them. Providing your key employees with a business credit card will eliminate this practice and make the running of your company smoother and more efficient.

Note of caution: Although business credit cards prove to be advantageous, there is a real danger of employees being dishonest and misusing the business credit cards. Be vigilant and keep track of any spending on the business credit cards using the management reports. If you discover any instance of fraud, report it immediately.

Spending Limits

This feature is usually considered a plus. It helps keep your business expenses in check and prevents the danger of getting into debt. There are usually limitations on purchases as well as withdrawals from ATM. These limits are also applied to the business credit cards that you may issue to your employees.

Savings & Safety

By paying for your expense only once a month, you would effectively be stretching your company’s dollars further. Moreover, as long as you pay within the grace period (please do this religiously), you will not have to pay any interest on the amount that you had borrowed from the credit card company.
Using business credit cards is usually cheaper than using cheques.
With business credit cards, you can make online purchases or orders which are usually more economical as compared to buying in stores.
You can also avoid carrying around large amounts of cash when making purchases or paying for the operations of your company.

Perks & Rewards

Business credit cards are often complemented with perks and rewards such as flying miles and discounted hotel stays. Compare these perks and select a card that suits your particular business needs. Choosing the right set of perks and rewards may help you save on your business operation costs.

Business credit cards can prove to be an asset as long as you use them wisely and carefully. Compare the offers available thoroughly. Watch out for any hidden costs and read the fine print in your contracts circumspectly. Do not be swayed by the attractive perks. Compare the perks as well as the rates, customer service, terms and solutions conscientiously and you’ll probably save yourself a lot of money.

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Best Business Credit Cards – Separate From Your Personal Credit

Finding the best business credit cards is all about what is current and happening right now. Many people may think they are offering you good advice because they worked in business for 20 years, but retired five years ago. Many times, their advice is no longer valid in many aspects of current business because so much has changed from five years ago in the business lending environment. Even six months can make a difference in the world of business and the best routes to take. For example, many people who worked in business might suggest that you go to Bank of America for unsecured business loans of credit if you are trying to get a new business started. This is only a valid option now if you have an established business that can show income verification from the past two years or more.

At this particular time, there are banks you can expect the top corporate credit cards from, but they could change again. That is why it is important that when receiving guidance on the topic that you work with someone who is in the current world of business, out there working for a living right next to you.

Furthermore, when you obtain a current list of banks and lenders, do not simply apply to everything out of thin air. There are tricks of the trade that can help you build your business credit profile the right way and get approved.

First it’s important you understand what the terms/conditions of the cards are. They are lines of credit with the name of your corporation attached to them that will not reflect upon your personal credit. What you do with your money on a personal level and for your business are completely separated with the use of a business credit card. This is as it should be. In fact, utilizing a business line of credit can help you pay off personal debt and help you appear virtually “debt-free” to lenders as a result.

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What’s Up With Prepaid Business Credit Cards?

What are prepaid business credit cards and what types of benefits can they afford you? Credit cards have become a part of daily life for businesses and establishing credit for a new small business has become vital. Unfortunately, not everyone who starts up a new business has a sufficient personal credit history to qualify for a mainstream business credit card with a significant credit line. Prepaid credit can be the answer. Keep in mind that there are both benefits and drawbacks associated with the idea of prepaid cards. If you want to make the best decisions regarding this type of card, then you’ll have to shop around so that you can make an informed decision. But prepaid cards are capable of helping you to build up credit without putting you at risk of falling further into debt, or hurting your credit rating even further.

So what are prepaid cards? Prepaid cards are essentially like any other type of card as they are backed by the traditional companies except that they are completely controlled by the card user rather than by the credit company. The account for the prepaid card is opened with the help of a deposit from the cardholder which then becomes the limit. Whenever the cardholder would like to have more “credit,” they simply make an additional deposit. With a prepaid card, you must keep clear records of your deposits and expenditures because if you have a prepaid card and you try to spend more than you have deposited to the card, your purchase will be denied. In other words, prepaid credit cards, including prepaid business credit cards, operate a lot like gift cards in that you can only spend the limit on the card and nothing more. This makes these a prepaid credit cards an excellent option for individuals and businesses that are looking to build more credit.

There are numerous advantages associated with prepaid credit which differ somewhat from the advantages of traditional business credit cards. For example, in some ways prepaid business credit cards are more advantageous because it isn’t possible to go into debt when using a prepaid card for your business, primarily because your ability to spend is limited by the balance on the card and how much has been deposited into it. Another advantage of prepaid business cards is that there are no interest charges and you can use these prepaid cards absolutely anywhere that traditional business cards are accepted. Finally, prepaid credit make it possible for you to build credit because the majority of the companies offering them report the payments that you make to the credit bureaus.

Because they offer the same convenience as a traditional business card without any of the worry, a prepaid business card might be the answer if you are starting a business and have less than stellar credit. All you have to do is shop around to find the one that works best for your business and apply online. Good luck!

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