Your business is your baby, and everyone loves charting their baby’s progress and milestones. Experiencing your first sale, your first employee and your first website can feel just like seeing your child roll over, walk or say their first words.
So when is the right time to get your business its own credit card? If these five indicators sound familiar, now may be time to apply for one.
1. You want a business loan down the road.
Of all the ways to finance your business, an SBA loan is pretty much your best option. If you want very low interest rates, long repayment terms and an affordable down payment, this is this cream of the crop. Unfortunately, they’re not easy to get, especially if you’re just starting your business.
If you have good personal credit you’re much more likely to be able to get a business credit card by using a personal guarantee (and there are still options if your personal credit is less-than-stellar). By using your business credit card and repaying on-time every month, you can start establishing a credit profile for your business so you can get that coveted SBA loan down the road. (You can check your personal and business credit scores for free on Nav.)
2. You travel a lot.
If you travel for work, getting a company credit card should be on top of your ever-growing to-do list. Whether you’re flying or driving on company business, you can use your company credit card to make purchases. This will also help you keep track of receipts and other important information crucial to your bookkeeping.
But a major bonus of using your business credit card is the airline miles you could be receiving. Earn miles for every dollar spent, plus bonus miles for signing up with a travel rewards business credit card.
3. You buy a lot of supplies or inventory.
Many businesses use trade credit to purchase their supplies, which is also a great way to build business credit. Understandably, not everything can be bought on trade credit, which is where a business credit card can come in handy.
When choosing a card that you plan on using for business supplies, look for one with a low APR to avoid paying a lot of interest on purchases. Some cards also reward business owners with double points when used at gas stations, office supply stores, or home improvement stores, so be sure to look for these perks when researching cards.
4. You have employees who make purchases for the company.
As a business owner, you’ll come to the realization that you can’t do everything yourself. And hopefully at some point during your tenure as head honcho, you’ll enjoy the company of a few superstar employees who are willing and able to help you achieve your goals.
There are pros and cons of trusting your employees with a company card, so make sure you know what you’re getting into. Only you can accurately assess who’s ready for such a responsibility, but authorizing an employee or two to carry out purchases in your business’s name can let you skip the cycle of tracking expense reports and reimbursing purchases.
5. You want to maximize your spending.
Maybe you don’t care so much about bonus miles, APRs or double points at office supply stores — but no business owner can overlook cash back. Several business credit cards offer at least 1% cash back on all purchases with higher rewards in certain categories, like the Chase Ink Business Cash Card which allows cardholders to(Cash-back business cards are best suited for businesses that are paying their balance in full every month as APRs can negate any rewards earned if you carry a balance.)
Be sure to follow the common sense rules of credit card ownership: don’t take on more debt than you can handle, pay every month on time and enjoy the benefits of the credit card you’ve selected!