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Business credit cards
Manage your cash flow, save time on expense reports and enjoy perks such as points for your spending with a business credit card.
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Business credit cards help you separate personal and business spending, with a dedicated account and the option of additional cards for employees. Many business cards also offer itemised statements and compatibility with MYOB, Xero, Microsoft Excel and other popular services. Just as with personal credit cards, there is a range of factors to consider before deciding if a business credit card is right for you.
Business credit card comparison
What's in this guide?
- Business credit card comparison
- Why a business credit card?
- Who is responsible for the credit card? Personal vs business credit card liability
- What about business charge cards?
- How to compare business credit cards
- Pros and cons of business credit cards
- How to apply for a business credit card
- Frequently asked questions
Unlike personal credit cards, business credit cards are designed for work-related spending and cash flow. Business card accounts also offer specialised features, such as additional cards for employees, customisable spending limits for different users and expense-tracking tools. Some business credit cards even have analytics tools designed to help with business reporting and budgeting. Depending on the card, you could also save time adding the expenses to your financial records by setting up an automatic fee with MYOB and Xero programmes.
Like personal credit cards, business credit cards give you access to funds up to a certain limit (the credit limit) and allow you to pay off your expenses over time (with interest charges). Some business credit cards also include annual fees – either for the whole account or per card – and perks such as rewards, complimentary insurance or airport lounge passes.
Who is responsible for the credit card? Personal vs business credit card liability
Business credit cards may offer either personal liability or business liability for the account. The type of liability determines who is responsible for managing the card and can be an important factor when choosing a business option. We’ve outlined the key details of each option below:
Personal liability credit cards
- The primary cardholder is always responsible for managing the account.
- You’re responsible for how much of the balance is paid off by the due date each month.
- If a payment is late or missed, it’s you who the credit card company contacts.
- If you choose to take personal responsibility for a business credit card, you can usually apply without submitting your business financials.
- You need to include details of your personal income, debt and assets, plus your New Zealand Business Number (NZBN).
Business liability credit cards
- With business liability, it is the business entity that is responsible for managing the account.
- If there is an issue with the account, the entire business is held responsible, rather than a person linked to the account.
- It can be useful if you are a partner in a business.
What about business charge cards?
A charge card acts as a short-term (usually monthly) loan to a business for any transactions charged on the card. These cards defer payment until the end of the statement period when you’re required to pay off the account in full. Interest rates do not apply to charge cards as there is no revolving line of credit, but there are often hefty late fees if you don’t pay the balance in full by the statement due date.
Business charge cards are designed for organisations with the financial stability to clear their balance each billing cycle, which is typically between 25 and 51 days. If you are looking to borrow funds over a longer period, business credit cards may offer more flexibility. Despite these different account structures, charge cards have many similar features to conventional credit cards, including expense tracking tools, supplementary cards, rewards programmes and complimentary extras. As a result, they are often put in the same category as business credit cards.
Are there any business credit cards for bad credit?
If you have black marks on your credit history (such as defaults) or have no credit history, it could make it hard to receive business credit card approval. When that’s the case, here are some options you could consider:
- Talk to your current bank. If you already manage your business transactions with a specific bank, call them and ask about your options regarding credit cards, loans or overdraft accounts. With existing details of your business, the bank may be able to offer you a solution that suits your financial situation and business’ needs.
- Consider a personal credit card with a low minimum income requirement. While you may not currently be able to get approved for a business credit card, you could look at getting a personal card that has a minimum income requirement. These cards typically offer features and credit limits that someone who earns the minimum amount can manage. So if you have bad credit but earn more than the minimum required for the card, you could still be approved.
- Look at business loans and line of credit options. A business loan or line of credit typically offers set repayment terms to help reduce lender’s risk. You can also get a secured business loan guaranteed by an asset or assets that you already have. So in some cases, these options may increase your chances of being approved.
How to compare business credit cards
Comparing business credit cards, side-by-side allows you to find an option suited to your business’s specific needs. Some of the core factors to compare when weighing up business credit cards include:
Business spending habits
It’s essential to choose a business credit card that matches your existing business spending. This means you need to look at a range of factors, including:
- Eligible purchases
- Capital expenses
- Additional cardholder spending
- Business travel needs
You can then match the types of transactions you make with the card features. For example, if your business uses a credit card for flights and regularly pays it off, an Airpoints card might offer competitive value. On the other hand, if your business relies on the card for credit, a low rate, low fee, or interest-free days business credit card might be the most affordable option.
Fees and charges
Business credit cards feature a range of fees and charges. Some of the most common include:
- Annual fees. Business credit card annual fees can range from $30 to $145 (or more).
- Additional cardholder annual fees. While some business credit cards offer additional cardholders at no extra cost, others may charge fees, such as another $50 per cardholder per annum.
- Standard interest rates. Business credit card interest rates vary between card and transaction type. Some cards charge the same rate for all transactions, and others apply different rates depending on whether it is a purchase, cash advance or balance transfer.
- Currency conversion fees. This charge is applied for transactions made overseas or in a foreign currency and is typically around 3% to 3.5% of the transaction value.
- International transaction fees. When you use your card at an overseas ATM, you may be charged an international transaction fee. If you have a Westpac Airpoints Business Mastercard, this fee is waived when you use a Global Alliance Group ATM.
- Overlimit fees. If you or an employee goes over the credit limit on the account, a fee may apply.
- Late payment fees. If you don’t make a payment on your business credit card, you could be charged a fee may be applied. This cost is usually around $10 to $30 but could be higher for some options, particularly charge cards.
- Exclusive business rewards. Business credit cards can provide exclusive rewards benefits that are outside the scope of personal credit card users. Other rewards perks can include free delivery and express shipment.
- Online business banking. Business credit cards usually give you all the access you would expect from banking online, such as 24/7 access to your account plus business security options such as encryption technology for peace of mind. Business applications may also allow mobile management so you can bank on-the-go with your business.
- Complimentary insurance. Many business credit cards include complimentary travel insurance and liability insurance for the account.
- Expense management systems. Keeping on top of business expenses and consolidating your credit card transactions can be difficult amongst the other million tasks involved in running a business. Expense management systems give you control and simplicity, providing an all-in-one solution for:
- 24/7 monitoring, budget tracking by creating standard or custom reports, clear visibility of company spending and recognising patterns to manage cycles in spending better.
- Multiple reporting formats including MYOB, Microsoft Excel, Word, PDF, HTML, XML, CSV and Tab-delimited.
Pros and cons of business credit cards
- Potential tax deductions for claiming a business credit card or charge card annual fee
- Simplified book-keeping/accounting process
- Expense and cash flow management
- Liability options
- Security features
- Customisable credit limits
- Builds business credit
- Additional cardholders
- Complimentary extras specifically designed for businesses
- Available and issued as Amex, Visa or Mastercard
- Personal liability options can expose you to legal issues
- Expensive fees
- Interest charges if you carry a balance
- Can be hard to keep track of employee spending if you’re a large business
- You can only use the account for business spending
If you’re interested in getting a business credit card, the first step is to compare a range of options to find one that is convenient and affordable for your business. Once you have found one, you can usually apply online. Before you apply for a credit card, you need to ensure that you meet the following eligibility requirements and have organised the necessary documents to complete the application.
- Age. You must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a business credit card in New Zealand.
- Residential status. You usually need to be a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand to apply. Make sure to confirm the card’s specific residential status requirements before you apply.
- New Zealand Business Number (NZBN). You must have a valid NZBN to apply, plus you may need to be registered for GST.
- Minimum annual turnover. Some business credit and charge cards may have a minimum annual turnover requirement.
- Credit report. You must meet the credit history requirements to apply for a business credit card.
Necessary documents and information
The other details you will be asked to provide vary depending on the card and whether you choose a business liability or personal liability option. Generally, you need to provide:
- Contact details. Contact details for you and/or your business.
- Proof of identification. A valid form of identification, such as your driver’s licence or passport.
- Financial information. You need to provide information about your income and/or revenue, plus any assets and liabilities, including investments, debt and regular expenses.
- Additional cardholders. If you wish to manage your employee’s spending under the one account, you also need to provide the supplementary cardholders’ details.
- Accountant’s information. If you’re self-employed, you may be required to include your accountant’s contact information.
- Other documents. Supporting documentation such as personal tax statements, payslips
Once you have submitted your application, you could get a response within a few hours or a few days depending on the card issuer. If you’re approved, you could have your card in as few as 5-10 business days. You can then activate the card, and start using it for your business.
You may find that the bank you already have a relationship with offers a business credit card. In this case, your application process is usually slightly easier since the bank already has information about you and your business.
With expense tracking features, additional cards, interest-free periods and reward options, credit cards can be convenient for large and small businesses. Now that you know more about them, you can compare your options and find a product that suits your business’ needs.
Frequently asked questions
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