Things to Know About Business Credit Cards
Nearly every business card requires a personal guarantee, which is an agreement between the business owner and the credit card issuer. It means the issuer can go after your personal assets to satisfy any balance owed if your business defaults on the card payments—even if you leave the company. That goes for expenses you or your employees charge to the credit card.
Using your business credit card can help you build business credit, which can be useful if you need a business loan in the future. Here's a quick rundown on how it works: Business credit card issuers can report your credit card account activity to both the personal credit reporting agencies and the business reporting agencies, such as Dun & Bradstreet and Experian. These agencies use the information in your report to create a credit score for your business, which helps lenders measure risk before extending you credit. If you're worried about this card affecting your personal credit, ask the issuer how it will report your payments (before applying for the card).
The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, better known as the CARD Act, is a law that improved consumer protections. It regulates how interest rates, fees and finance charges are calculated on credit cards and provides more transparent rules that issuers have to follow. The law doesn't extend to business credit cards, though some issuers are extending the CARD Act's protections to its business products. Get to know the card's features and terms before you apply—and ask questions—so you don't get dinged with unexpected fees.
How We Evaluated
We looked at business credit cards from the major issuers and measured their benefits, rewards and costs, and how cardholders might use the card and redeem rewards. Freelancers are typically solopreneurs who have to pay for every cost, market themselves, manage client communications and do the bookkeeping.
Although always focused on business growth, their income may be lower than a small-business owner who has several employees and a handful of branch locations. So freelancers need a card that rewards their unique spending habits, builds in perks that outweigh any fees, and offers cost-saving measures, such as a 0% intro APR that can see them through cash shortfalls and gaps in projects.
We also took a look at business-management tools, which you won't find on most personal credit cards. The IRS requires business owners to categorize expenses and income for tax purposes, so it’s a nice draw if the credit card offers an app that handles this task for you.
Before applying for a card, know that banks have final say on who's approved. These recommendations were put together assuming applicants would have average to excellent credit, with the exception of the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card. Credit card issuers will check your credit history and use its own set of criteria when evaluating your application.
Please note: The offers mentioned above are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.
Reviewed has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Reviewed and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
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Meet the tester
Kim Porter has written about personal finance topics for U.S. News & World Report, Reviewed, Credit Karma, AARP Magazine, Bankrate, and more. When she's not writing, you can find her training for her next race, reading, or planning her next big trip.
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