Monthly Archives: January 2017

Best Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards are an underutilized option when it comes to making purchases for your business. In addition to providing a great source for emergency cash, business credit cards offer a few additional perks.

1. Minimize the impact on your personal credit. Businesses tend to make larger purchases than individuals. If you end up with large outstanding balances on your personal card because of business expenses, your personal credit score could take a hit. Use a business credit card that doesn’t report to personal credit bureaus and, as long as you are on time with your payments, your personal credit will not be affected. (Some business credit card companies will report your business credit information to personal credit bureaus. Find out which ones do here.)

2. Build your business credit. Making on-time payments on your card will help you build strong business credit scores, allowing you to secure lower rates and longer repayment terms on business financing, as well as better terms with your vendors and suppliers.

3. Protect your business. Business credit cards offer more protection than business debit cards. They are covered by the Truth in Lending Act, which caps maximum liability for fraudulent purchases at $50.

The Best Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards offer a variety of different features from rewards points to miles to freebies. The following are some of this year’s top business credit cards for four popular categories: cash back, travel rewards, low APR/balance transfer cards and credit builder cards.

Chase’s Ink Business Cash Credit Card makes sense for business owners who make significant purchases of office supplies and telecommunications services. The card has a 0% introductory APR for 12 months and no annual fee. The rewards system is structured as follows:

  • 5% back per dollar spent on office phone, internet and cable (on up to $25,000 in purchases annually).
  • 2% back per dollar spent on gas and dining, up to $25,000 annually.
  • 1% back elsewhere without limit.

 

One of the neat perks of this card is that cash-back rewards are offered as points in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. This means your points can be redeemed for one cent each as cash back, but if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card, you also have the option to transfer your points to airline and hotel partners.

How to Choose Credit Cards for Travel

Business road warriors are used to packing their bags. But wouldn’t it be more exciting to get ready for your upcoming trip if you knew there were sweet rewards involved?

That’s where business credit cards come in. You probably know of or have a personal credit card that rewards you for your purchases with miles or points that you can spend on flights or hotel stays. But business credit cards for travel sometimes offer even better rewards than personal cards, along with a host of other perks including helping you separate your personal and business finances and build business credit.

Here are some of the best business credit cards for travel we’ve identified for frequent flyers that could be a big win for your business.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles card from American Express is a great card for frequent Delta travelers who plan to make a large amount in purchases ($50,000+) on their card each calendar year. This card has a killer signup offer of 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. MQMs help you get closer to reaching Medallion status in the Delta SkyMiles program. As an added bonus, you’ll get a $100 statement credit after you make a purchase on Delta using your card within the first three months.

Added benefits:

  1. Two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, and one mile per dollar on all other purchases.
  2. No foreign transaction fees.
  3. Earn more miles with boost programs: 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs after $25,000 in purchases each calendar year, as well as another bonus after $50,000.
  4. Earn a domestic, round-trip companion pass each year you renew the card.
  5. Added Delta bonuses: free checked bag, priority boarding, 20% savings (via a statement credit) on eligible purchases made in-flight.

Drawbacks:

  1. If Delta isn’t a convenient airline for you, this won’t be the best card.
  2. $195 annual fee.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express offers a flexible rewards program for frequent flyers of many different airlines who enjoy comfortable resort and hotel stays. New cardholders will earn 25,000 bonus points after they spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Along with a generous rewards program, new cardholders will earn additional bonus points if they spend even more. Earn SPG Gold status after 30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, which allows you to score more hotel upgrades, late checkouts, welcome gifts during hotel stays, and more.

Added benefits:

  1. Five “starpoints” per dollar spent at Starwood Hotels, two points per dollar at Marriott Reward hotels, and one point on all other purchases.
  2. Points can be redeemed at over 1,300 hotels and resorts, and over 150 airlines within the SPG program.
  3. No foreign transaction fees.
  4. Free Boingo WiFi at over 1M Boingo hotspots.
  5. Access to Sheraton Club Lounge.

Credit Cards for Startups

As the founder of a startup, there are plenty of good reasons for you to consider using a business credit card. Not only can it help you keep personal and business finances separate, it can come in handy for covering cash flow, building your credit history, and saving money through various perks and rewards.

Not all business credit cards for startups are equal, however, and you’ll want to choose one that best fits the needs of your business. If you’re required to travel often, for example, you might want to go with a card that offers great airfare and hotel rewards. If you’re looking to transfer existing debt from a high cost loan or credit card, you’ll want to choose a card with a low or zero balance transfer fee. Others who plan to carry a balance might choose one with a low interest rate.

 

Why wouldn’t I just use my personal credit card?

Well, glad you asked. Here are three serious advantages to using a business credit card for business purchases:

  1. Having a business credit card allows you to keep your personal and business expenses separate. You’ll be able to track business expenses more easily, making tax time, as well as maintaining a company budget, much less of a headache.
  2. By getting a card in the name of your business you’ll start to establish a business credit scoreseparate from your personal one. That means that if you have to make a late payment, your business credit will take the hit instead of your personal credit (there are exceptions—read about which business credit cards report to personal credit bureaus here).
  3. As you start to establish a business credit profile, you’ll build your business’s credibility. When it comes time to apply for other business financing, solid business credit scores can help you qualify for more financing at better rates.

Established businesses with good to very good credit

Funding Circle sits at the top of our list as one of the only online lenders as a lender that has consistenly improved their loan offerings by lowering costs for the best borrowers and expanding what they can offer. Their loans range $25,000 – $500,000 with 1 – 5 year repayment terms. Funding Circle’s interest rates range from 5.49% – 22.79%. Their origination fees range from 0.99% – 4.99%. If you miss a payment, there is a missed payment fee charged at 10% of the total missed payment, and if your payment bounces, there is a  $35 insufficient funds fee.

Businesses can be funded in under two weeks. Funding Circle requires collateral on their loans in the form of a lien on your business assets and a personal guarantee from the primary business owners.

Requirements to qualify:

  • 2 years in business (or qualified franchises)
  • $150,000+ in annual revenue
  • Owner must have a personal FICO score of 620 or above
  • Owner must have a history free of bankruptcies, current tax liens, judgments or criminal activity.

Able has introduced a new lending model to the marketplace, which allows borrowers to crowdfund a percentage of their loan from friends and family in order to receive a lower interest rate. On average, they ask borrowers to find backers to fund 25% of the loan.

They offer loans from $25,000 – $500,000 with interest rates between 6% – 16% plus a 3 – 5% origination fee. Loans can be paid back over 1 to 5 years, and payments are made monthly and equally amortized over the term of the loan. The average APR on an Able loan is 10.9%.

Requirements to qualify:

  • 6 months or more in business
  • $50,000 or more in annual revenue

SmartBiz: For businesses with excellent personal credit and solid business credit

SmartBiz is an SBA loan provider whose entire application process is online, making it much more flexible process for business owners than many other SBA loan providers. They offer 7(a) loans with interest rates starting at 6% (Prime Rate + 2.75% – 4.75%). The total financing cost or Annual Percentage Rate (APR), will include associated fees: referral fees, packaging and guarantee fees, and estimated closing costs. SmartBiz boasts that their APR ranges from 6.96% to 9.06%.

SmartBiz loans are available up to $350,000. If you need a larger loan, Celtic Bank is another great option that offers SBA 7(a) loans $350,000 – $5M.

Requirements to qualify:

  • FICO SBSS score of 160 or above (get your FICO SBSS score with a Nav Premium Plus account).
  • Must have 2+ years of tax returns filed for the business
  • The SBA has a few additional requirements, including:
    • Business must be a small business. The definition of “small business” will vary based on your industry.
    • Business location must be in the U.S., and some business must be done in the U.S.
    • Applicant must have reasonable invested equity. This means the applicant must own a significant portion of the business (>20%).
    • Must be able to demonstrate a need for the loan, and that the loan will be used for a reasonable purpose.
    • Must not be delinquent on any existing debt obligations to the U.S. government.