Restricted cashflow is a problem that comes up throughout the life cycle of most businesses. And one way to improve this quickly and easily is via getting a business credit card.
But are credit cards the right choice for you? Or should you consider alternatives such as a traditional bank loan to tide you over?
I’ll explore how they can help, while also pointing out the reasons you might wish to hold back.
7 Reasons to Get a Business Credit Card
(1) Business Credit Cards are not Just for Limited Companies
Many individuals mistakenly believe that business credit cards are reserved exclusively for larger, incorporated entities.
In reality, freelancers, solo entrepreneurs, and even side hustlers can benefit from them. The eligibility criteria often revolve around a profit motive rather than company size, making these cards accessible to a diverse range of businesses, no matter how small.
(2) Immediate Access to Capital
For businesses, cash flow can often be unpredictable, posing challenges during periods of expansion or unexpected expenses.
Business credit cards provide immediate access to funds, bridging the gap between revenue cycles. This enables businesses to seize opportunities, stock inventory, or manage emergencies without the hassle of securing a traditional loan.
(3) Simplified Expense Tracking
Juggling multiple expenses and receipts can be a daunting task for any business owner. With a business credit card, expenses are automatically categorized and logged, providing a streamlined overview of where the money is going.
Monthly statements and integrated accounting tools make tax preparation and financial analysis easier, reducing administrative burden.
(4) Build and Boost Business Credit
Just as individuals have personal credit scores, businesses have credit profiles too. Using a business credit card responsibly—by making timely payments and managing the credit utilization—can help a business establish and bolster its credit rating.
A robust business credit score can pave the way for better loan terms and interest rates in the future.
(5) Earn and Reinvest Through Rewards
One of the enticing aspects of business credit cards is the rewards program. Whether it’s travel miles, cashback, or other incentives, businesses can earn rewards on their everyday spending.
These rewards can be reinvested into the business, covering travel costs, purchasing equipment, or even treating the team, thereby optimizing operational costs.
(6) Protect Your Personal Credit
Mixing personal and business expenses can be detrimental to an individual’s personal credit score.
Business credit cards allow entrepreneurs to separate these expenses, ensuring that the company’s financial activities don’t adversely affect personal credit. This separation is essential, especially when the business faces financial challenges.
(7) Enhanced Purchase Protections
Business credit cards often come with added layers of protection that go beyond what personal credit cards offer.
From extended warranties on purchases to robust fraud protection measures, businesses can have peace of mind knowing their transactions are secured. These features can save businesses from potential losses and provide confidence in every transaction.
Reasons Against Getting a Business Credit Card
(1) Potential Debt Accumulation
One of the most significant concerns with any credit card is the potential to accumulate debt. If a business isn’t generating enough income or isn’t managing its finances wisely, credit card balances can grow, leading to high interest and debt that becomes challenging to manage.
(2) High Interest Rates
Business credit cards can sometimes come with higher interest rates than personal cards or other financing options. If a business carries a balance month-to-month, the interest can become a substantial financial burden, eroding the company’s profits and overall financial health.
(3) Complex Fee Structures
Some business credit cards have intricate fee structures, including annual fees, late payment fees, cash advance fees, and more. Businesses need to be vigilant to avoid these fees, as they can quickly accumulate and become a significant expense.
(4) Impact on Credit
Just as responsible usage can boost a business’s credit score, irresponsible or erratic behavior, such as late payments, can harm it. This negative impact might affect the business’s ability to secure other financing options in the future, limiting growth and expansion opportunities.
(5) Temptation to Overspend
With the convenience of a credit card, there’s always the temptation to make unnecessary or impulsive purchases. For businesses, especially those still finding their financial footing, this can strain cash flow and lead to financial instability.
(6) Potential Personal Liability
Some business credit cards may require a personal guarantee from the business owner or primary account holder. In such cases, if the business defaults on its payments, the individual could become personally liable for the outstanding debt, putting personal assets at risk.
(7) Less Protection than Personal Cards
In certain jurisdictions, business credit cards may not offer the same levels of consumer protection as personal credit cards. This can include fewer safeguards against fraudulent charges, billing disputes, or other issues that might arise.
(8) Complicated Reward Structures
While many cards tout impressive rewards, their structures can sometimes be complex and confusing. Businesses must fully understand these programs to maximize their benefits and avoid making spending decisions based solely on reward accumulation.
(9) Potential Strain on Business Relationships
If multiple employees have access to a company card, and one misuses it, it can lead to internal conflicts, trust issues, and potential financial discrepancies. Clear guidelines and monitoring are essential to avoid such scenarios.
(10) Alternative Financing Options
Sometimes, other financing avenues might better suit a business’s needs than a credit card. This could include trade credits, term loans, or lines of credit. It’s essential for businesses to explore all available options and choose the one that aligns best with their financial goals and operational needs.