Improve your business’ cash flow, save interest and consolidate debt.
A business balance transfer credit card with a 0% intro APR can help your company save the funds you’ve been using to pay interest charges. It can also free up cash flow, reduce debt and even improve your credit score. This page will explain how it works, why you should consider a business balance transfer credit card and what to watch out for when comparing 0% balance transfer offers.
Compare business balance transfer credit cards
4 reasons your business might need a balance transfer
- Cash flow issues.
If your business is struggling with liquidity, a balance transfer credit card can provide short-term relief by freeing up cash that would otherwise be spent on interest charges. This can help meet short-term or cyclical needs until the business can create a sustainable positive cash flow.
- Startup expenses.
If your business is relatively new, it might not generate sufficient income to meet your capital expenses or bills. Putting those expenses on a business balance transfer credit card that offers a 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers can help you cover those costs interest-free.
- Consolidate existing debts.
If you struggle with several credit card payments, you could transfer them all to a single account with a 0% intro APR using a balance transfer offer. Not only will this make it easier to keep track of your debts, but it should allow you to repay your consolidated debt much faster since you’ll be free of interest charges.
- Improve credit score.
Related to the above, you can help strengthen your credit score if you’re making timely repayments and repaying your debt faster with a balance transfer offer. Plus, your credit utilization ratio also improves when you have a new credit card, as long as expenditure doesn’t proportionately increase.
What types of businesses would most likely use a balance transfer?
The importance of good cash flow management cannot be overemphasized for a startup. The ability to manage multiple expenses and still remain liquid may take a while to master. However, a business balance transfer credit card can be a useful tool to help you manage existing debts without the burden of high interest.
A small business may find itself struggling to regulate cash flow for any number of reasons. Whether it be due to seasonal sales fluctuations, unexpected or emergency expenses, delayed receivables or even growth, a balance transfer credit card can help stabilize finances.
What to consider when comparing balance transfer credit cards
As there are many competitive balance transfer credit cards that offer a 0% intro APR that could suit your business, here are some of the factors that can help you narrow down your comparison:
- Length of offer.
The length of a balance transfer promotion determines how long you will enjoy interest savings on your debt. Naturally, all else being equal, the longer the period — the better. The benefits of a long balance transfer offer period might, however, be offset by a high purchase interest rate, which should then be factored into your comparison.
- Promotional interest rate and revert rate.
Most balance transfer credit cards offer a 0% promotional period, but some may offer a reduced interest rate rather than no interest. As well as the promotional period, you should also consider the revert rate that will apply to any remaining debts at the end of the introductory period. This is especially important if you don’t think you can repay your debt before the 0% offer ends, as it could present a risk of falling back into unmanageable territory as your balance collects interest again.
- Balance transfer fee.
Some cards charge a balance transfer fee between 3% and 5% of the amount you’re transferring when you move your debt to the new card. Be sure to factor in this fee when comparing cards to ensure it doesn’t outweigh the value of your interest savings.
- Other card fees.
Consider and compare other card fees including annual fees, late fees, foreign transaction fees and cash advance fees where applicable. If any of these outweigh the interest savings you’ll make from the 0% period, you should consider another card.
- How much you can transfer.
The card may have a maximum balance transfer limit of a percentage of your credit limit. For example, you may only be able to transfer up to 80% of your approved credit limit. Make sure this limit is high enough to transfer your entire debt, otherwise any remaining amount will continue to collect interest in your existing account.
- Perks of the card.
Many cards offer cashback rewards on certain business purchases. While you may not appreciate this in the beginning, since you’re likely trying not to add new purchases to your card, these rewards could come in handy when you’ve paid off your debt and you’re using your card for everyday business spending. Other perks could include hotel discounts, travel insurance, purchase protection, complimentary access to airport lounges and more.
Pros and cons of business balance transfer credit cards
- Saves your business money. With a low or 0% intro APR, you’re able to cut down on unnecessary interest on purchases you made long ago.
- Gets you out of debt faster. Without paying any interest, your monthly payments go solely toward your principal balance, meaning you can get your debt under control faster.
- Simplifies your finances. Transferring multiple credit card balances over to one balance transfer card can consolidate your many monthly payments into just one bill.
- Lets you enjoy additional credit card perks. After you’ve paid off your debt and you’re using this card for everyday business purchases, you could enjoy travel perks, cashback rewards and more with your new balance transfer card.
- Your interest rate could be higher in the long-run. If you don’t pay off your debt within the intro period, you could end up with a higher interest rate than the one you originally had.
- You could fall into more debt. If you continue to use your old credit card now that the balance has been paid off, you could find yourself with an even larger debt to manage.
- They can get expensive. If your card charges balance transfer fees on top of a high annual fee, then you could find yourself paying more than you realized to transfer your debt over.
- Your credit score could take a dip. Whenever you apply for a credit card, the issuer does a hard pull on your credit, which will likely cause your score to drop between 5 and 20 points. Moreover, if you continue to use your old credit card and rack up more debt, then your credit utilization ratio could rise, further lowering your score.
How to apply for a business balance transfer credit card
The documents and information you need handy when applying for a business balance transfer credit card varies by provider, but in general, you might have to provide:
- Legal name for your business
- Number of years you’ve been in business
- Business address and phone number
- Number of employees
- Industry type
- Company structure
- Annual business revenue and monthly spending
- Tax identification number
- Business bank statements, licenses or utility bills
- Personal information of the card owner, including annual income
- Account numbers of the credit cards you wish to transfer over, as well as how much of each balance you want to transfer
What are my chances of approval?
Every business balance transfer credit card has different eligibility requirements, but here are a few things most issuers will look at in determining whether you’ll be approved for a card:
- Personal and business credit scores. If you’re a smaller business or startup, most credit card providers will look at your personal credit score in determining whether you’re eligible for a business credit card. This is because you likely don’t have enough business credit for an issuer to get a good idea of your company’s overall health. More established businesses are likely to have their business credit scores used in determining eligibility.
- How many hard pulls you have on your credit reports. Avoid applying for multiple loans before submitting your business balance transfer credit card application. The more hard pulls you have on your credit report, the more likely a provider is to think you’re desperate for credit and can’t manage your debt.
- Whether you’re a current customer. Many credit card providers, like Chase, consider your banking relationship to be an asset. This means that you may be more likely to be approved for a credit card if you apply for one with the company you have a business checking account or another credit card with.
- Business revenue. A high business revenue with a low existing debt may make you more likely to get approved for a business credit card. Why? Because providers want to make sure you have the income needed to repay your existing and future debt. However, that’s not to say that smaller businesses with no revenue can’t be approved for a credit card. In this case, the issuer will likely look at your personal credit profile and income in determining whether you qualify.
- Length of time in business. The more established your business is, the better picture a credit card provider can get of the overall health of your company. This will come in handy when determining whether you have the assets and income needed to repay your debt.
Will my personal credit score or business credit score be used?
It depends. First, let’s discuss the difference between your personal and business credit score. Your personal credit score helps lenders determine your creditworthiness and whether you’ll be able to pay back a debt. Meanwhile, your business credit score gives creditors insight into your business’s finances and how likely you’ll be able to make repayments on a loan or credit card.
If you’re a startup just getting off the ground or a smaller business, you may not have enough information in your business credit report for providers to base a decision off of. In this case, your personal credit score will likely be used. Businesses that are well-established and have an adequate history represented in their business credit report may be able to rely solely on their business credit score when applying for a credit card.
How to choose between a personal and business balance transfer credit card
Wondering whether you can use a personal credit card for business purposes? The short answer is yes — and there’s one big reason why you might want to consider it. Thanks to the CARD Act of 2009, providers of personal credit cards aren’t allowed to unexpectedly raise interest rates or charge excessive fees. These same protections aren’t available to business credit cardholders.
Another thing to look at are the benefits offered by a personal and business balance transfer card. There are a fair share of business balance transfer credit cards out there that offer rewards specifically crafted for small businesses, like cash back on office supplies or advertising. Meanwhile, there are quite a few personal balance transfer credit cards that come with great travel perks, if that’s something you’re interested in. Consider what’s important to you before deciding on what card to apply for.
One more factor to consider in deciding between a personal or business card is whether you plan on adding multiple users to the account. This is usually easier to do with a business credit card — and some even allow you to get extra cards at no additional cost. Business credit cards also tend to be, well, more business-friendly. You may be able to get approved for a higher credit limit if you opt to apply for a business credit card rather than a personal one.
Can I transfer debt from a personal credit card to a business balance transfer credit card?
Yes, if you’ve been using a personal credit card for your business and want to transfer the balance over to your new business credit card, you can do this.
How to manage a business balance transfer credit card
So you got a business balance transfer credit card. What’s next? Here are a few things to keep in mind when managing your card:
- Confirm your balance transfer has been processed. Many business balance transfer credit cards take up to 14 days for a balance transfer request to be processed. After two weeks have passed, call your old credit card issuers to make sure they’ve been paid off by your new credit card provider.
- Make timely payments. A lot of credit card providers allow you to sign up for autopay, which makes paying your credit card bill one less thing you have to add to your business’s monthly to-do list.
- Avoid using your card to make new purchases. If you got the business balance transfer credit card in order to pay off your business’s debt faster and more cheaply, then try to avoid using the card for new purchases until after you’ve paid down the balance.
- Avoid fees. Many credit card providers charge late and returned payment fees, as well as fees on cash advances, foreign transactions and balance transfers. Read the terms and conditions of the credit card you end up with to make sure you understand all of the costs you could incur.
- Contact customer service. Keep an eye on your bill, and reach out to your credit card provider if you notice any problems.
A business balance transfer credit card can be a useful tool for managing your company’s finances, but there are some traps to watch out for. While a 0% intro APR on balance transfers can help your business pay off its debts faster and more cheaply, you can easily slide into even more debt if you continue to use your old card for purchases. Be sure to compare all available options and make the necessary calculations before deciding which card is best suited for your business’s needs.
Frequently asked questions about business balance transfer credit cards