Watching your small business grow is a great feeling. Watching its finances get more complicated? Not so much. As your business expands, you might have considered getting a small business credit card to help make operations smoother and simpler. A credit card is a great tool to use as you build your business, but making sure it’s the right option for you before applying can save you time and energy in the future. Ask yourself these four questions before you start shopping.
As your business brings in more revenue and customers, your costs of operation might be increasing in turn. If you’ve been using your personal credit card for business expenses up to this point, you may find that its limit is no longer high enough to make the purchases your business needs, or isn’t offering rewards that are actually helpful to you. If sales have been steady and you’re not having trouble covering basic business or personal expenses, you’re probably in a good position to apply for a card. Just like you would with your personal card, make a habit of paying your balance on time and using it responsibly. If you’re planning to use a business credit card for one big expense that you’ll pay off over time, make a repayment plan and stick to it — it’ll help your business build its own credit score over time, making it easier to apply for loans in the future.
One big difference between personal credit cards and business credit cards is reward categories. Personal credit cards often offer cash back for restaurants, entertainment or grocery stores. These are great features, but they don’t help out much when you’re charging business expenses. Lots of business credit cards offer cash back rewards for things like office supplies and phone bills, which can save some business owners money in the long run. For example, the U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard offers 3% cash back on purchases at gas stations, office supply stores and phone providers. If categories like these are big expenses for your business, a credit card with a good rewards program can help you save on them. Plus, all U.S. Bank’s business rewards credit cards offer access to Encore Rewards, an exclusive feature that lets you earn rewards when you spend and when you take payments, up to $2,880 cash back.
You need to have several bases covered to qualify for a business credit card. Your annual business revenue and average monthly spend are some of the biggest determinants. A bank wants to know that your business is in healthy financial standing, and you’re being wise with its finances. Generally, the larger your annual revenue, the more likely you are to have an application approved. You’ll also need a good personal credit score to get approved. A low one doesn’t make it impossible, but it is a deterrent for most banks. If your score is low, try to boost it before applying for a business credit card. It will open up more doors to a wider variety of cards that might fit your business more closely.
Before applying for anything, take stock of your personal and professional financial standing and get all the correct documents in order. You’ll need these basics:
Once all of these are in order, you’re ready to apply. If you need guidance along the way, U.S. Bank business banking specialists and branch managers are always there to help you find the path that’s best for you and your small business.