If you’re an entrepreneur and own a small business of your own, chances are that you’ve had to rely on a small-business credit card to either buy or finance the products and services you need most, at least at one time or another. But with so many business-branded credit cards available today, it’s hard to know which one offers you the most benefits at the least risk.
Now the process has been made easier thanks to CardHub’s annual Small Business Credit Card Study for 2013, the first year in which all major credit card issuers were transparent about their small-business credit card policies. Once again, CardHub has examined which credit card issuers offer the best deals for small business owners. However, this year it’s through a new prism, one established by the CARD Act of 2009.
A landmark piece of legislation, the CARD Act was designed specifically to protect consumers from unfair credit card practices and policies and addresses such hot-button issues as interest rates, changes in terms, exorbitant and unnecessary fees and so much more. Since then, a number of issuers have chosen to use it as a guidepost in setting standards for their business-branded cards as well, wisely recognizing the intrinsic relationship between many small business owners’ personal and professional finances.
“If a given issuer has not proactively adopted these protections for all of its customers or is not transparent about it policies, small business owners cannot use its business credit cards without worry,” warns CardHub on its website. It's something any small business entrepreneur would do well to think about.
So before you apply for a new line of business credit, take a moment to review these key findings from CardHub’s latest study. After all, knowledge is power…
• First, it’s important to note that EVERY major credit card company holds its customers PERSONALLY liable for business credit card use, so messing up your business credit means potentially messing up your personal credit history and vice versa.
• The most small-business friendly credit card issuer? Bank of America holds that distinction. Why? Because it is the only issuer to have extended all of the major CARD Act protections to its line of business-branded cards.
• Among the least small-business friendly card issuers? Citibank, Discover, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, for the reason that they have extended fewer protections than the competition.
• As for how your business credit card might affect your personal credit history, seven out of eight business credit card issuers do provide usage information to their customer’s personal credit reports. Citibank is the only major issuer that doesn’t.
• Perhaps it not surprising that every major business card issuer taps personal credit information to determine an applicant’s eligibility.
• While the CARD Act has not been universally applied by business credit card issuers just yet, the fact that so many of them willingly have implemented some of its protections recognizes that it may be just a matter of time before the law is extended in this regard.
• Eighty percent of the largest card issuers in the U.S. now offer a business credit card, making the integration of any small business owner’s personal and business-related finances not only possible, but more probable than ever before.
Protect yourself. Protect your family. Protect your assets. Do your homework, and make sure that any borrowing you do is within your means as a small business owner. If you don’t, you could lose not only your business itself, but everything else you’ve worked so hard to build as well.
Business opportunity, distributorship, licensee opportunity, franchise and other small business owners, how much do you rely on a small-business credit card to buy want you want and need? Have you found one with great terms that you can't live without? If so, please share your story with our readers...