A low-interest business credit card can be a small business owner’s lifeline: It offers more flexible financing than a bank loan, and you often get a 0% introductory APR period that lets you make big purchases and pay them off over time.
We break down the best low-interest credit cards to help you find the top offers for 2017.
1. Chase Ink Business CashSM: 12 months of 0% APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers
The Chase Ink Business CashSM is a twofer: good rewards and a yearlong zero APR period. To start off, you get a $300 cash bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You also get 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months (after that, your APR is 13.99%-19.99% depending on creditworthiness). You also get ongoing rewards (paid out on your account anniversary):
- 5% cash back on office supplies and landline, cell phone, Internet, and cable TV services (up to $25,000 spent combined annually)
- 2% cash back on gas and restaurants (up to $25,000 spent combined annually)
- An unlimited 1% cash back elsewhere
The Ink Business Cash maximizes both length of introductory APR period and cash back rewards. For small businesses looking to make big purchases in typical office categories, it’s hard to do better than this.
2. American Express SimplyCash® Plus: 9 Months of 0% APR on Purchases
The American Express SimplyCash® Plus is another cash-back keeper, offering nine months of zero interest on purchases, after which your APR is 12.99%, 17.99%, or 19.99%. You also earn 5% on the first $50,000 spent annually on office supplies and wireless phone services, as well as 3% on the first $50,000 spent annually on your choice of eight categories: airfare; hotels; car rentals; gas; restaurants; shipping charges; advertising; or computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases. You earn an unlimited 1% cash back elsewhere. There’s no annual fee or additional card fee.
Though its intro APR period is shorter than the Chase Ink Cash’s, the Amex SimplyCash offers better rewards for bigger-spending businesses. If you’re spending over $25,000 in the Ink Cash’s bonus categories, you might as well be able to earn more with the SimplyCash.
3. Citi Simplicity®: 21 Months of 0% APR on Purchases and Transfers
The Citi Simplicity® is a personal credit card that can be just as useful for business owners who need a long 0% APR period. With 21 months of zero interest on purchases and balance transfers, it has one of the longest intro periods available. The card also comes with no late fees, penalty interest rates, or annual fees. Nearly two years of zero interest make it a compelling alternative to small business loans.
There are some downsides to using a personal credit card for business expenses, though. You’ll typically use your personal credit score when applying for both business and personal credit cards, and almost always have to provide a personal guarantee on both loans. However, not every business credit card impacts your personal credit score.
Bank of America and U.S. Bank, for example, won’t report your business credit card debt and payoff information to personal rating agencies; Chase won’t report unless the account is delinquent. (Capital One is among the few banks that send reports on non-delinquent accounts).
If you have a personal credit card that you use for business purchases, that’ll go straight onto your personal credit history. Your business’ missed payments or high balances can impact your own chances of getting an auto loan or qualifying for a low-rate mortgage. Still, if you’re confident in your ability to use the card, you can get a longer 0% APR period with the personal Citi Simplicity.
4. Chase Slate®: 15 Months of 0% APR on Purchases and Transfers
The Chase Slate® is one of the best credit cards for balance transfers out there, full stop. There’s no balance transfer fee (most personal credit cards charge 3%; most business cards 5%), which combined with a 15-month 0% interest offer, makes it a very attractive option for your existing credit card debt. If you’ve already racked up a balance, transferring to the Slate gives you some time to pay it off interest-free.
Like we mentioned, it is possible to use a personal credit card for business use, but the downside is that your card usage gets reported to personal credit bureaus as well as business ones. Transferring a business credit card balance is usually only a good idea if your business’ debt is already on a personal credit card.
5. When Is a 0% APR Credit Card Better Than a Small Business Loan?
In many cases, a zero-interest credit card can be a better financing option than a small business loan. Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons.
Advantages of credit cards:
- You have the intro period to pay down your balance interest-free
- A revolving line of credit means you only borrow what you need
- Since you can apply using your personal creditworthiness, you might find it easier to qualify
Disadvantages of credit cards:
- You’re personally guaranteeing the loan, so you’re on the hook for debts even if your business is an LLC
- If you can’t pay off your balance during the 0% period, the card’s ongoing APR will be much higher than a small business loan’s
- Business credit cards have fewer protections than consumer cards, so you may face higher fees or overnight rate hikes
- If you use a personal credit card for business expenses, it’ll impact your own FICO score
Generally speaking, if you’re confident that you can pay off your balance during the zero-APR period and aren’t worried about missed payments or defaults, a 0% credit card might be the way to go.
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from Fundera Ledger https://www.fundera.com/blog/low-interest-business-credit-cards