Tuesday, February 7, 2012
The Lowdown on Contractors' Business Credit Cards
All the major business credit card issuers have set their eyes on the growing small business credit card market and are trying really hard to get a bigger slice of the pie. They have also realized there is a strong segment of the small business credit card market that could equally benefit from the features of small business credit cards: the group of small contractors and construction companies. The business credit cards designed for contractors have the objective of inducing them to do away with invoice-based payments by check and to rather shift to more frequent use of their business credit cards. An industry study has shown that less than 5 percent of all spending in 2006 was done by charging the expense to the business credit cards of business owners. The business credit card issuers would prefer small business owners to think of using their business credit cards for everyday business-related expenses and not just for travel and entertainment. MasterCard launched its industry-specific business credit card designed for construction companies last year. This card also allows longer payment cycles than usual. A similar program for business credit card holders is offered under Chase Contractor Visa Business credit card program. These programs give access to promotional financing and enjoy a strong rewards package. There is no pre-determined limit on spending. This enables contractors to pay bigger-ticket business expenses by using their business credit cards instead of writing checks. Purchases of construction materials amounting to at least $1,000 will be subject to a longer 60-day payment term; purchases below $1,000 will not qualify for this promotional financing benefit. There are limitations that you should bear in mind, especially if you are angling for the rewards points and discounts. The bonus points are earned only on net purchases that are made with contractors that have classified their merchant locations to the company as contracted building services, building and construction materials, and landscaping services. There is a limit to the bonus points that can be earned in the categories mentioned above: 20,000 points per month. That is equivalent to $20,000 worth of purchases on your business credit card. However, there is no maximum number of base points that can be accumulated. You will need to distinguish between the two point types. The business credit card holder should examine the fine print closely to inform him- or herself with the particular services, materials and products that will qualify for rewards points if paid with their business credit cards. The qualified merchants may not be quite as confined as those of the usual branded business credit cards, but still there are limitations. Your business credit card has no pre-determined limit on spending. But that does not mean you can spend indiscriminately. If a particular purchase amount will result in your business credit card account going over your credit limit, only the portion that falls below the limit will qualify for the rewards points. Beyond that, every charge that causes a breach in your credit limit will be subject to evaluation before it is authorized; the evaluation will take into account both your spending pattern and payment history.