How to choose the right small business credit card

How To Choose The Right Small Business Credit Card (several generic credit cards close up)

Post by Affiliate: Mercantile

How To Choose The Right Small Business Credit Card

 

The right small business credit card for your opticianry practice can be very rewarding in terms of cash back, product discounts, and other benefits. One of the primary considerations with rewards-based business credit cards is exactly that: how rewarding will it really be?

Here are some questions to ask, and things to watch out for, when you’re looking for the best business credit card for your opticianry practice.


How much cash, or how many rewards points would you earn on your typical monthly charges?

This is a key: what does your practice spend each month, and what will you actually earn based on the spend patterns you already know?

On the flip side of this, it’s also important to look at factors like fees and interest rates on rewards cards—they can add up quickly, and often mean that you’re paying more than those rewards and benefits are actually worth.

Card management and integration is also something to consider. For example, do you have business partners or staff members who use cards attached to the same account? It’s important to have complete visibility and the ability to set specific limits and restrictions for each card. Integration with your practice management or accounting software is also a tremendous timesaver.

All of these factors inspired us to create the OAA Card*, built expressly to provide the best discounts, highest rewards, and greatest convenience for opticianry practices.

We’ll cover some of the key factors to look for, to help you make the most informed decision, whether you choose the opticianry-specific OAA Card* or another business credit card.


What can the card do for you?

As you start shopping for a business credit card, it’s important to think about how you’ll use it so you can find the card that will provide the most benefit for your specific needs.

What types of purchases will you make?

Are there benefits, such as discounts, favorable terms, or greater rewards for certain vendors or types of purchases? It’s best to take a look at your largest expenditures, and assess which cards can provide the best discounts or rewards multipliers for those categories or vendors.

If there are rewards points, what can you redeem them for (e.g., airline miles), and does the ratio of dollars spent to the value of rewards earned make sense?

This is something to be wary of with rewards credit cards: it sounds so enticing to earn airline miles for that next big vacation for example. But often if you crunch the numbers and see what the miles to get that ticket really cost you, you might find that it’s cheaper to simply buy that ticket the normal way rather than earning and redeeming rewards miles.


True costs of a small business credit card

With rewards cards, there can often be more than meets the eye—what seems like a good deal at first might not be, if there are too many ancillary costs. Even small fees and differences in interest rates can add up quickly and end up costing instead of saving you money.

Here are some key factors to consider, to make sure you choose the best card for your business:

Annual fees

Many rewards cards have significant annual fees, so you’ll want to take a close look at those—and whether the rewards you’ll potentially earn outweigh them, or not.

For example, the AmEx Business Platinum Card allows you to earn rewards points and also has perks like airport lounge access. But it has a $695 annual fee—so you’ll have to assess the actual dollar amount of the perks and rewards it offers, and make sure you’ll use enough of them to justify the cost.

Ongoing fees

You’ll want to make sure you’re aware of all the potential fees a card may charge for things like foreign transactions, late payments, balance transfers, or returned payments. Some may not apply to the way you’ll use the card, but for the ones that do, it’s important to know what you’ll be paying.

Many business cards charge fees, and sometimes they’re easy to miss. For example, that AmEx Platinum card that charges a $695 annual fee also charges $350 annually for each additional (other practice managers and employees) card you add to the account.

Additionally, many business cards charge foreign transaction fees that can be 5% of the transaction total or more, so if you plan to use your card outside the US, that could cost you quite a bit.

Credit limits

It’s important to look at credit limits, to make sure the card you’re considering will meet your spending needs, and that you won’t be paying any paying penalties if you’re bumping up against or exceeding that limit.

Many cards do charge over-limit fees if you reach or exceed the card’s credit limit; it typically starts at $25 to $45 per instance.

APR

Annual percentage rate can be the most critical factor to consider. Interest adds up quickly if you carry a balance, and every percentage point means more money out of your pocket—you’ll definitely want to run the numbers to see exactly how high these costs might be.

Typically, these rates range from 5% to more than 30%, and are based on factors like your business’ credit score, industry, annual revenue, and more. The impact of these interest rates cannot be overstated—think about just how much you’ll be paying each month if you’re carrying a balance at 20% to 30% interest.

Every extra percentage point of interest that you’re paying is essentially throwing money away, so it’s critical to make sure your card has the lowest APR possible.

Personal guarantee

It’s very common for small business credit cards to require you to make a personal guarantee—which can not only impact your personal credit score, but also means that you’re personally liable for charges incurred by the practice. While this may never become a problem, it’s a substantial risk in the event of unforeseen circumstances or disputes relating to your practice. You can avoid this exposure by choosing a card that does not require a personal guarantee.


Additional considerations

As with most credit cards, there are aspects of business cards that may matter to you based on your particular needs.

For example, are there additional costs to add cards for your business partners or employees? Some cards will charge you for each additional card, so that’s something to be mindful of. Perhaps even more importantly, you’ll want to make sure you can easily see the activity on each card so you can identify any unapproved spending or fraud right away, in the event a card number is compromised.

It’s also important to have the ability to set specific spending limits for each card user, and a card that can integrate with your practice management or accounting software is also very useful to simplify bookkeeping and reconciliation.


* Conditions apply. Subject to approval. Mercantile Financial Technologies, Inc. is a financial technology company, not a bank. The OAA Credit Cards are issued by Hatch Bank pursuant to a license from Mastercard. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Review the cardholder agreement here.

As of 7/27/2022 - American Express Business Platinum Card.

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