Spurred by the growth in small business owners since 2001, up 4 percent to 5.9 million, and the business potential of the 90 percent of small business spending not on credit cards, American Express, Visa and others are marketing new cards designed for the small business owner. “Small business growth has been tremendous,” says Tracey Mills, a spokeswoman for the American Bankers Association (ABA), a trade group whose members are among the biggest card issuers, theithacajournal.com reports.
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Entrepreneur Jenny Schmidt, owner of a public relations and marketing company in Atlanta, who is looking to expand her business, says she has seen an increase in the number of business card offers in the mail. Schmidt currently puts $12,000 in business expenditures on her personal credit card but will apply for a business card in 2007.
American Express offers qualified small business owners 0 percent annual percentage rate for 12 months and a $50,000 line of credit with the Platinum Business Credit card. Their Business Green card has no preset spending limit. Late payment charges on the Green card vary from state to state, from zero to the greater of $30 or 2.99% of the delinquent balance. Most companies offer low rates for a certain period of time and a similar line of credit, depending on the applicant’s credit standing.
The line of credit offers small business short-term “loans” more quickly than a bank and is one of the advantages of the cards, creditcardassist.com says.
Schmidt is amazed at the amount of credit these companies offer. “These companies don’t know me from Adam.” She is looking for a rate that is guaranteed for one year, theithaca.com says. Small business owners may need to carry a balance for some months, since spending and revenue can come in spurts and not at the same time.
Other advantages of the credit cards for the small business owner are rewards programs and spending reports that categorize business expenses. Some cards offer cash back rebates.
Visa’s marketing emphasis for its Business Credit card is on smart money management. “With its purchasing convenience, cost savings, available credit and detailed reporting, the Visa Business Credit card offers what your business needs to stay on top,” the company says on its Web site. The cards are issued to qualified applicants by participating financial institutions.
Joe Oricchio of Talisman Consulting Services in Baltimore uses an individual American Express card for business expenses. He has a separate card for personal expense. He pays off his balance at the end of each month and is reluctant to sign up for a new card. “There’s just so much fine print in a credit card contract,” he says, according to theitacajouranl.com, “and I just haven’t carved out a lot of time to make sure I make a good decision.”