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If you’re a small business owner without a dedicated small business credit card, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful tools you can have in your wallet.
If you’re new to business ownership, you might think that your existing personal credit cards are a decent-enough option for your business spending. However, business credit cards are not only a better option from a logistical and accounting standpoint, but they come with a slew of perks that make using one a reward in its own right.
Every business credit card has different perks, depending on the lender and your qualifications. Every card comes with different pros and cons and it’s up to you to decide what matters most. Do you want a card that rewards frequent travelers, or would you prefer one that subsidizes your cloud-based subscriptions? The choice is yours.
There are some basic benefits that come with using a business credit card that you should be aware of. But when it comes to additional credit card perks, there are some that can help make running your business more affordable, easier, and more fun.
The Benefits Of A Business Credit Card
Before we discuss the various additional perks that certain credit cards provide, there are a few major pros that are ubiquitous among all business credit cards.
Some of the universal benefits of using a business credit card include:
- Separates business and personal expenses: Whether you’re a sole proprietor or the owner of a growing business, keeping business and personal spending separate is incredibly helpful come tax season, and may be required depending on if you want to keep your personal assets from being seized to satisfy a business debt.
- Builds your business credit: Your business credit score is separate from your personal credit score, and responsibly using a business credit card helps build your score. A high score will make obtaining financing more affordable in the future.
- Creates a source of low-interest lending: Some business credit cards come with a low or zero-percent introductory APR for a limited time—which functions as an interest-free loan for the life of the offer.
- Allows for more robust spending: Many business credit cards come with higher credit limits than personal cards, so you won’t have to spread spending across multiple cards.
Now that we’ve made a case for having a business credit card in the first place, it’s time to decide what sort of perks you might want in a business credit card.
The Best Business Credit Card Perks
Some business credit cards come with a slew of perks, while others are focused on maxing out one or two benefits in particular. You’ll likely want to focus on some combination of the below when selecting a card:
A points bonus for spending a certain amount within the first several months of having your card is a staple of credit card ownership.
How those points are redeemed varies from card to card, but generally you can use them to pay off your card balance, or transfer them to partner accounts to gain extra discounts on things like hotels, airfare, or business services like utilities.
Again, each card offers different sign-up bonuses, but you might see anything from 50,000 points to a whopping 125,000 points, which can add up to hundreds of dollars in discounts.
Reward Multipliers In Select Categories
Almost every card will give you points with each purchase you make, but some award point multipliers in select categories, such as travel, shipping purchases, utilities, or social media and search engine advertising.
That means each dollar spent on these categories will give you extra points that can be redeemed, essentially discounting each purchase.
Some cards specify which category will always provide a multiplier—for example, travel-specific business credit cards will boost your travel purchases—but some allow you to select your own categories each month. That means you can rotate which type of spending gives you the most points, and you can vary it depending on your needs each month or time of year.
Free Subscriptions And Discounts For Helpful Tools
Some of the most important tools that small businesses use today are cloud-based or web-based platforms. There are credit cards that will offset the costs of these tools by providing free subscriptions.
For example, some credit cards (such as the American Express Business Gold card) offer free year-long subscriptions to G Suite—which comes with useful, collaborative apps like Google Docs and Sheets—and ZipRecruiter, for businesses interested in growing their ranks without spending too much on job postings. Others—like the Brex Corporate card—might offer hundreds or even thousands of dollars in credits for things like Amazon Web Services (for web hosting), Zendesk (for customer support), and Salesforce (for customer relationship management), among others.
Cell Phone Insurance
Smartphones have become staples of our everyday existence—not to mention, in many cases, a primary means of communication for business owners.
Your card may offer insurance not just for your phone, but the phones of your employees (provided you pay their bills using your card). This insurance typically offers hundreds of dollars of protection against theft or damage, for multiple claims each year.
Car Rental Insurance
Need to rent a car while on a business trip, or to make a last-minute delivery to a cross-town client? Many business credit cards offer excellent car rental insurance, helping you save on having to purchase expensive plans through your car rental company.
Airline Miles And Fee Credits
One of the most common, and coveted, business credit perks is airline miles. If you travel a lot for business, you might earn anywhere from 5 points per dollar spent, or you may get a yearly $200 airline fee bonus. Some cards (like the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card) offer as much as 6x points if you book flights through the credit card provider itself.
Use these airline miles to book additional travel at a discount, or pass them along to employees for them to use to subsidize their vacations.
Bonus Travel Perks
Lots of business credit cards offer a wealth of excellent travel perks that can be used to reduce the overall cost of travel, or simply to make travel more enjoyable.
Some cards will grant owners VIP airport lounge access, pay for their checked bags or seat selections, grant them preferred boarding privileges, offer travel insurance, gift them free hotel nights, and more. If you’re on the road often, you know the value of the occasional upgrade or the flexibility to reschedule your plans as necessary.
No Annual Fees
Sometimes, you don’t need all the bells and whistles of credit card perks: You just want a simple card with a low APR that tracks your business spending and gives you some points or cash back. Many basic, entry-level business credit cards come with no annual fee.
In a way, the perks of business credit cards are a way to offset the fee you pay each year to maintain your account. You can cut to the chase by finding a good card with no annual fee for the first year—or ever—and not spending more just to get your money’s worth.
A business credit card is a useful tool no matter how many perks you get. That being said, it never hurts to be rewarded for something you were going to use anyway. Keep your eye on these perks and make sure you’re making the best use of your business spending when it comes time to apply for a card of your own.
May 3, 2019 at 04:50PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs