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If you’re a small business owner, you might be looking for the best deal on a small business credit card. But the best fees and interest rates won’t help you if you make these small business blunders. Here are five mistakes to avoid when using your small business credit card.
Mistake #1: Mixing Business with Pleasure
You wouldn’t expect your boss to foot the bill for your car payment, would you? Along those same lines, you shouldn’t use your business credit card to cover personal expenses. You’ll take your business budget more seriously if you use your credit card only for business expenses. Plus, by keeping your transactions separate, you’ll avoid a tax filing nightmare at the end of the year.
Mistake #2: Not Taking Advantage of Payment and Accounting Features
Some small business credit cards come complete with financial software that helps you track your expenses. Others summarize and itemize your yearly expenses for easy tax preparation. If you don’t take advantage of these features, you’ll find yourself sifting through piles of receipts at tax time. Also, most small business credit cards offer online payment, which is a convenient way to manage your finances.
Mistake #3: Not Using Your Own Bank
The credit market has spikes and dips. During times when credit is scarce, you might have an easier time getting approval for a small business credit card through your own bank. When they know you’ve got a demonstrated history of good financial habits, creditors will be more likely to lend to you. Always apply first at a financial institution you have a good relationship with.
Mistake #4: Abusing Cash Advances
Your business credit card might come with a 12% interest rate, but that rate will almost certainly rise when you take out cash advances. Cash advances are subject to different rates of interest than regular purchases. Check your card’s terms and conditions before you cash out; your rate could rise to 25% or higher!
Mistake #5: Applying for Too Many Cards
Lots of available credit is a good thing. However, if you apply for too many cards in a short period of time (six months to a year), your credit will suffer. Why? Because lenders will wonder about your spending habits and whether you plan to max out those cards. Instead, apply for one or two cards a year to build up your available credit. More than that, and you might harm your credit rather than help it.
When they’re managed well, small business credit cards are a great way to handle your business expenses. Some even offer cash back rewards or airline miles.