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Business credit cards

A business credit card may suit you if you own a business or regularly use plastic to pay expenses, but be aware of annual fees - and of the need for a good credit rating.

Key points

  • Business credit cards may offer benefits including rewards points, cashback and/or travel insurance
  • Could offer an interest-free introductory period on balance transfers and purchases
  • Separate business expenditure from personal expenditure
  • Beware of annual fees

If you own your own business, or you regularly use a credit card to pay for expenses which your employer then reimburses, a business credit card may suit your needs.

These products generally offer a range of benefits which might include rewards points, cashback, airport lounge access, concierge services and travel insurance.

Some cards also offer interest-free introductory periods on balance transfers and purchases.

Some cards are fee-free, but others charge an annual fee. As you might expect, you'll typically find that the greater the number of benefits, the higher the fee.

Your employer may already have a preferred credit card provider, but if you can choose your own it's worth shopping around as each card is different.

The pros of business credit cards

A major benefit of a business credit card is that it allows you to keep your business and personal spending separate.

Did you know...?

  • Many cashback and rewards cards designed for personal use will specifically exclude business spending from qualifying for rewards

This means that things like submitting expenses claims and personal accounting are a lot simpler.

If you spend a lot each month on plastic, you could also benefit from rewards points or cashback, assuming you're allowed to keep them by your employer.

You should note that many cashback and rewards cards designed for personal use will specifically exclude business spending from qualifying for rewards.

Business cards generally offer an interest-free period on purchases, usually of up to two months. This can be useful in helping manage cashflow.

If you're just starting out as a business, an additional introductory 0% period on purchases might also give you some breathing room while you get on your feet. But be careful not to rack up a lot of debt that you can't then pay off. How to make your credit card work harder for you

The cons of business credit cards

Many business credit cards charge an annual fee, even though ultimately they're not providing much different to their free personal counterparts.

Some businesses may also struggle to be accepted for a card, particularly if they don't have a credit rating.

What to watch out for

Make sure you choose a business credit card that's suited to you, thinking about whether you'd benefit from things like an interest-free period or cashback.

Things to consider

  • Some businesses may struggle to be accepted for a card if they don't have a credit history
  • Decide if the extras will benefit you or your business
  • Make at least the minimum repayment each month
  • If you don't pay off the full balance every month interest payments may well outweigh any rewards

Don't pay an annual fee for benefits you're not going to use or which are already provided by your employer.

Remember, too, that if you don't pay off your balance in full every month, interest payments may well outweigh any potential rewards from the card.

If you have to submit expenses claims to your employer, make sure you do this in plenty of time so you don't end up being charged interest.

If, for whatever reason, you can't pay the full amount on your card, make sure you at least pay the minimum repayment or you'll get a black mark on your credit report.

Also be aware that you may not get the advertised representative APR (the annual combination of interest rate and other charges).

Legally, this only has to be offered to 51% of applicants and is dependent on your credit rating.

If you do use a 0% period on balance transfers or purchases, make sure you pay it off before the interest-free period ends and you're charged interest.