Credit card companies have products that are specifically designed for small businesspeople. You’ve probably seen the series of commercials where someone whips out a credit card with a cartoon character on it while paying for a business lunch with prospective clients. The gist of the ad is that you need a credit card designed specifically for businesses in order to be taken seriously by clients. But are these business-specific cards really beneficial?
Some cards can give you reward bonuses for office supplies or other business expenses. But other cards can give similar rewards-to-dollars-spent ratios even though they are not specifically for business spending. Perhaps some of these cards will serve you better. After all, if prospective clients are basing their decision to work with you or not on the design on your credit card rather than your presentation or pitch, do you really want to work with them?
Here are some cards that are not specifically designed or marketed towards businesspeople, but can be useful for business-related spending.
The Chase Freedom® Visa is currently one of the better cash-back cards on the market. It offers 5% cash back in certain rotating categories. The categories change every three months. This is ideal for people who make business purchases, but aren’t buying reams of paper or printer ink cartridges every week. When an office supply-related category comes up, you can make your supply purchases. Amazon.com is also part of the Chase Freedom® Visa’s reward rotation, so you can make business-purchases through them as well. The drawback to the Chase Freedom® Visa is that out-of-category purchases only earn 1 point per dollar spent. However, the Chase Freedom® Visa has no annual fee, meaning it wont cost you anything to keep it in your wallet.
The Discover More Card is a great deal for people who are just starting a business. Like the Chase Freedom® Visa, the Discover® More® Card currently offers a 5% cash back perk that offers extra rewards in rotating categories. The Discover® More® Card currently has an 18 month interest free balance transfer offer and a 6 month 0% APR on purchases.* This could be useful for people who are just starting out and want to make some major purchases (computer, phone line, internet service) for their business.
For businesspeople who travel frequently, airline rewards cards are a good choice for a business credit card. American Express has a handful of premium cards that are aimed at business people. While premium cards with high annual fees (such as the Gold and Platinum cards) are the most recognizable, the Blue Sky card is a annual-fee-free alternative. This card has enhanced rewards for fliers and also qualifies users for many of the American Express perks and services that premium cardholders get. These perks include travel insurance, extended warranties, and access to AmEx pre-sales on event tickets. Also, points can be redeemed for statement credits, meaning you don’t have to accept some sort of gift card or coupon in order to get the full reward amount.
Airline and hotel-specific credit cards, like the Marriott Rewards card and Starwood Preferred card offer good deals for people who regularly rely on a specific brand for their traveling needs. Business-people who fall into this category are generally better off going with a brand-specific card rather than a general card because the amount of savings that they get as part of a airline or hotel rewards program will be far more than the cash back via statement credits or other perks.
Choosing a single card to handle all your business expenses is a good idea because you can track spending in one place for book-keeping and tax preparation purposes. While this is not a written-in-stone rule, it can save paperwork headaches when tax time comes around.