In our guest post series, we’ll be bringing you advice and tips from industry experts on the other, sometimes non-marketing-related issues affecting local business owners. Today’s post comes from Meredith Wood, the Head of Content and Editor-in-Chief at Fundera


Interest-Free LoansMost of us take out loans several times a day: to pay for lunch, a coffee, groceries, or gas.

You might not think of them this way, but credit cards are really just lines of credit. And when it comes to managing your small business’s finances, business credit cards do more than just help you afford business purchases on credit and keep your personal and business finances independent. They offer cash back, miles, rewards, and bonuses.

And, if you’re lucky, your business credit card will come with 0% introductory APR.

The 0% APR Advantage

But what exactly does that mean?

Well, a 0% APR doesn’t help if you pay off your credit statement in full every month. If you never carry a balance over, you never pay interest on what you’ve borrowed—so the difference between 0% APR and 25% APR means nothing to you.

On the other hand, if you make big purchases and pay them off one month at a time—using your business credit card like a line of credit, not just for minor transactions—then that 0% APR could save you money in a big way. In many ways, it’s like an interest-free loan for however long the introductory period lasts

Keep In Mind…

First let’s talk about what not to do with that interest-free grace period.

While you can and should plan your business’s financials with that 0% APR in mind—taking on big purchases without worrying about exorbitant interest—you shouldn’t go crazy with your spending.

Credit utilization—or how much of your available credit you’re using—is an important factor of your credit score. Regardless of your interest rates, you’ll want to keep your credit utilization down to at least 30% of your available credit.

5 Business Credit Cards to Look Out For:

1. SimplyCash Business Card

The SimplyCash Business Card, offered by American Express, comes with a full year of 0% APR. Here are some other details:

Post-introductory APR: 12.24% variable.

Fees:

  • No annual fee
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee

Introductory Offer: $250 statement credit if you spend $5,000 in 6 months.

Other Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on office supply stores and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (for up to the first $25,000)
  • Pick where you receive 3% cash back, up to $25,000, from the following categories:
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
    • Cars rented from specific car rental businesses
    • Gasoline
    • Restaurants in the U.S.
    • National advertising in select media
    • U.S. shipping

Take special note of the latter two categories—advertising and shipping—as those are especially rare rewards categories, and useful for a small business owner to save some money on!  

2. Blue for Business Credit Card

Also offered by American Express, the Blue for Business Credit Card has a particularly low post-introductory APR.

Post-introductory APR: 11.24% variable.

Fees:

  • No annual fee
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee

Introductory Offer: 10,000 points if you make a purchase in the first 3 months.

It’s true—the Blue for Business credit card is pretty lacking in the “rewards” department. However, its 9 month 0% introductory APR and low 11.24% post-introductory APR more than make up for it if you’re looking to save on interest payments. You’ll just have to weigh your business’s financing priorities!

3. Chase Ink Cash

Chase’s Ink Cash card has a slightly higher APR, but comes with a generous cash back rewards system.

Post-introductory APR: 13.24% variable.

Fees:

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 5% balance transfer fee

Introductory Offer: $200 cash back if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Other Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on purchases for office supplies, cell phones, landline phone service, Internet, and cable TV (up to the first $25,000 each year)
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to the first $25,000 each year)
  • 1 point per dollar spent on everything else—no limit!

The Ink Cash card comes with a modest introductory offer (after its 12 month 0% APR), like most cash cards, but its rewards system can really give back to the thoughtful business owner.

Plus, you can also set spending limits for employee cards—and get extras at no additional charge.

4. Cash Rewards for Business

With MasterCard’s Cash Rewards for Business card, you’ll get a 0% introductory APR for 9 months—plus a low APR afterwards.

Post-introductory APR: 11.24% variable.

Fees:

  • No annual fee

Introductory Offer: $100 credit statement bonus if you spend at least $500 in your first 60 days.

Other Rewards:

  • 3% cash back on purchases at gas stations and office supply stores (up to $250,000 each year, then 1% afterwards)
  • 2% cash back for restaurant spending
  • 1% cash back on everything else

This card’s rewards are pretty formidable, especially with the high annual cash back spending maximum for gas stations and office suppliers.

5. WorldPoints Travel Rewards for Business

This Visa card is perfect for travelling business owners. Its 0% APR deal lasts for 9 months.

Post-introductory APR: 11.24% variable.

Fees:

  • No annual fee

Introductory Offer: $100 credit statement bonus if you spend at least $500 in your first 60 days, plus 5,000 bonus points after your first purchase.

Other Rewards:

  • 3 points per dollar spent for travel booked through Bank of America’s travel center
  • 1.5 points per dollar spent on all other purchases

Picking the right business credit card could give your small business a bit leg-up when it comes to spending—and that 0% introductory APR can go a long way, too.  


 

Meredith Wood is the Head of Content and Editor-in-Chief at Fundera, an online marketplace for small business loans. Prior to Fundera, Meredith was the CCO at Funding Gates. Meredith manages financing columns on Inc, Entrepreneur, HuffPo and more, and her advice can be seen on Yahoo!, Daily Worth, Fox Business, Amex OPEN, Intuit, the SBA and many more.