A lot of small to medium-sized business owners use credit cards in the course of business. The problem is, many make the mistake of using their personal cards. There are a couple of major problems with this:
First, if you use your personal credit cards for your business you are blurring the line between business and personal finances. The better separation you can achieve between your business finances and personal finances, the better off you will be. For this reason, a credit card in your business name is the best route.
Second, using your personal cards for your business puts your personal credit at risk. If the debt belongs to the business, shouldn’t it be on the business’ credit?
Most people don’t think this is a big deal until they run into problems and no longer have their personal credit to fall back on.
In one example, a couple in business together racked up over $100,000 of unsecured debt on their personal credit for their business. When the business’s income dropped, even though the business was at first able to stay afloat, the couple was forced to file for bankruptcy.
With their personal credit destroyed, they could no longer get credit to support the business–and the business went through some serious struggles as a result. The stress took a toll, and the couple is now divorced. Perhaps things might have gone differently if they had depended on business credit rather than their personal credit.
Maybe you’re thinking that your company won’t struggle, or that you don’t use credit cards much anyway. What’s the point, then?
Using a business credit card in your business does offer some real advantages aside from the two that were already mentioned. For example:
1. Streamline operations and automate expense tracking. Paying expenses can be much easier to manage with a business card, and reports can be generated monthly or annually in many cases to help categorize and analyze expenses.
2. Business cards have “rewards” programs too! If you have a lot of regular monthly expenses for your company that can be paid with a rewards card, you could easily get $500 to $1000 per year (or more) in cash rewards, or even free airline tickets if you use a travel rewards card.
3. Manage employee spending. Business credit cards can be set up to have spending limits for employees, which can aid in managing expenses for in-the-field employees.
4. Using a business card helps you build credit for your BUSINESS, which is of utmost importance in today’s economy.
As you can see, there are several big advantages to using an actual business credit card for your business.
A helpful hint for those wishing to establish business credit: Try to get approved based on your business’s creditworthiness rather than your personal creditworthiness.
This means avoid providing your social security number on credit applications for your business credit card. If you don’t get approved based on your business credit alone, then you can try applying and include your personal credit information as necessary.