Learn when and when not to pay on plastic when managing your business expenses.
Credit is a tool for all stages of the business lifecycle. A credit card can help you pay for startup costs as well as maintaining a steady cash flow once your business matures. Business credit cards can provide points for eligible business purchases, insurances for unauthorised transactions and overseas travel, and extra money when business is slow. We have a look at instances when a business credit card can help your business grow and save you money.
Compare Business Credit Cards
Rates last updated September 26th, 2016.
- American Express Gold Business Card
10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points offer has been extended.
February 4th, 2016
- American Express Platinum Business Card
The 100,000 Membership Reward Points offer has been extended until 3 October 2016.
September 1st, 2016
- Commonwealth Bank Business Platinum Awards credit card
First year annual fee waiver has been extended until 31 October 2016.
September 2nd, 2016
Scenarios where you should or shouldn’t use a credit card
Using a credit card to purchase new assets for your business
Verdict: Yes. Why? The government has temporarily introduced tax breaks for businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million.
- Federal government small business instant asset write-off scheme: Small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million can claim an immediate tax deduction for business assets costing less than $20,000.
The government has tax incentives for businesses looking to purchase new assets such as equipment, vehicles and stock. If you operate a small to medium business with an annual turnover of less than $10 million, you can benefit by immediately deducting the value of the asset (up to $20,000) from your business’s taxable income. The scheme ends in 2017. Now is the time to purchase new assets for your business and a business credit card can help you pay for the purchases. The asset can be immediately deducted from your business’s taxable income. You could use the savings to pay a lump sum off the credit card balance and make instalments over the next year until the debt has been repaid. How to balance transfer your small business purchases
Using a business credit card to pay for day-to-day costs
Verdict: Yes. Why? Manage your business credit card and you and your employees can make business purchases from month to month without paying any interest.
- Interest free days. Compare business credit cards featuring interest-free terms on everyday business purchases. Many business credit cards offer interest-free days, some offers going up to 55 interest-free days. You can usually only take advantage of these interest-free days if you’ve paid your balance in full and they’re not applicable on cash advances or balance transfers.
- Promotional interest free periods. Otherwise, you can look for a card with a 0% interest rate for a promotional period.
Find out how to make the most of credit card interest free days Why? Get rewarded when you make purchases for your business.
- Rewards. A Business credit card with a rewards program could be a great way to get some extra value for purchases you’d have to make regardless/.
- Personal rewards and frequent flyer credit cards have a clause in the terms and conditions that states no points are awarded for business purchases. If you want to get rewarded for your business purchases, you’ll need to use a business credit card linked to a rewards or frequent flyer program.
The Westpac Altitude Business Platinum Credit Card rewards you with Altitude Rewards Points for your business’s eligible purchases. This includes bonus points when you spend at overseas merchants; Westpac Altitude Rewards partners and Westpac will reward you when you make payments to the government too. Altitude Rewards Points can be transferred to a number of frequent flyer programs including Qantas and Velocity. Points can also be redeemed for business rewards such as office equipment, flights, gift vouchers and you can convert your points for money towards you or your employees’ superannuation balances. Compare business credit cards with rewards Why? Make reporting your business expenses easy with a business credit card.
- Tax reporting. Business credit cards can include features such as data feeds which link directly to popular business accounting software such as MYOB and QuickBooks. These accounting features let you easily separate personal and business expenses for ease of business activity reporting. Business credit card tax reporting tools can also let you see how much each employee is spending and on what.
To pay for personal purchases
Verdict: No. Why? Using a personal credit card to pay for business purchases can mean you’re held personally liable for the financial risk that comes with owning and operating a business.
- Personal liability. Keep your business purchases in the name of your business and your personal purchases in your own name. Use a no-personal liability business credit card so you won’t be held liable for your business debt if you’re unable to meet your business credit card repayments.
Why? So your personal purchases don’t eat your business credit limit.
- Spending power. You may need all your business credit for your business. Using your business credit card to pay for personal purchases can mean you’re reducing your business’s spending power.
Why? Keep your personal and business purchases separate for ease of tax reporting.
- Tax reporting. Using a credit card in your own name for your personal purchases and a credit card in your business’s name for business purchases makes tax reporting a simpler process. Separating your business and personal purchases can save you time and money when you’re preparing your business activity statement (BAS).
To pay for employee expenses
Verdict: Yes. Why? Issue business credit cards to your employees and set the credit limit for each card.
- Additional cards. Financial institutions can provide a high number of additional business credit cards linked to the one account. For example, Suncorp Bank allows up to 99 additional Suncorp Clear Options Business credit cards. You can set the credit limit for each additional card so you can control employee spending.
Why? You’re protected if an employee makes an unauthorised purchase.
- Unauthorised transaction insurance. A business credit card can give you protection if your employees make unauthorised transactions. For example, the St.George BusinessVantage Credit Card features complimentary insurance for fraudulent transactions made by your business’s employees. An unauthorised transaction can include instances where an employee continues to use the account once they have been dismissed.
To pay for travel expenses
Verdict: Yes. Why: Complimentary insurances cover you, your employees and family when travelling to work and abroad.
- Transit accident insurance. Business credit cards such as the ANZ Business 55 Days Interest Visa Credit Card feature complimentary transit accident insurance. If you or your employees charge the cost of a travel ticket to the ANZ Business Visa credit card, the insurer will provide financial compensation up to the value of $250,000 if an injury is sustained when riding in a passenger vehicle to and from work.
- International travel insurance. Business credit cards such as the Westpac Altitude Business Platinum Credit Card provide complimentary international travel insurance. When at least $500 worth of prepaid travel expenses are charged to the account, you and your employees are covered for the cost of overseas medical costs, replacing lost and stolen personal items, repatriation to Australia and personal liability insurance.
What else should I consider?
- Alternative business finance. Business loans are an alternative to business credit cards. Business loans have a comparison rate comparable to low rate business credit cards, a maximum loan amount up to $500,000 in value and repayment periods of up to three years.
Outside Australia’s Big Four banks, lenders such as PayPal also provide finance to small to medium enterprises. Before you apply for a business credit card, make sure you’ve compared all your options for business finance to make sure you’re getting the right type of credit for your operation. Although you can use a personal credit card for business purchases, you should avoid using your business credit card for personal purposes and vice versa. Business credit cards with personal liability may be a way to get approved quickly without providing complete business financials, but any actions made on the credit card will have an impact on your personal credit file. Regardless of which card you use, as there are many business credit cards on the market, it’s wise to compare your options before applying to make sure that the card is the right one for your business.Back to top