A guestpost from our friends at Fundera on the best credit cards for small business start ups and ecommerce founders.
New e-commerce business owners on the hunt for financial tools to help get their business moving should start by looking for a business credit card that matches their needs.
Why would a Business Credit Card be valuable? Shouldn’t we keep costs low?
There are a few reasons why a business credit card is such a helpful tool. For one, you can qualify for a business credit card using your personal credit history, which makes business credit cards ideal funding solutions for new e-commerce businesses.
Spending responsibly on a business credit card may help you build business credit, as well. This will depend on which credit bureaus—personal, business, or both—your card issuer reports to, so do your research before you choose which business credit card to pursue for a new e-commerce venture.
Using a business credit card as your short-term financing tool, and building business credit with every purchase you pay off, eventually puts you in position to take out a longer term loan when it comes to expand your e-commerce business.
There are many different business credit card issuers and options, and the exact right choice will depend greatly on your history, your preferences, and perhaps your existing relationships with a bank. What we can say is that different categories of cards may make more sense for certain new business owners with particular needs.
With that in mind, let’s review what you should look for when getting your hands on this excellent source of business credit.
What to Look for in a Card for Your e-commerce Business
Beyond building business credit and providing access to a credit line to finance your business with, business credit cards can offer a whole host of rewards and perks to new businesses. So, what else should you look for in a business credit card for your e-commerce business?
- Rewards that are valuable to your business: If the card offers reward points, confirm that you can convert them into something useful for your business at a reasonable conversion rate. Otherwise, opt for cash back.
- Reward rates that align with your needs: Make sure that any card you’re interested in offers high rewards rates for purchase categories in which you spend the most. For e-commerce businesses, these spending categories could be shipping costs or even travel.
- Introductory perks: When you first obtain a new card, you may be eligible for Intro spending bonuses and 0% intro APR periods. Introductory spending bonuses will give you a lump sum of rewards for spending a certain amount within your first months with a business credit card. 0% intro APR periods offer no interest on balances for your first months with the card, as long as you make your minimum monthly payments on time.
- Annual fees: Believe it or not, business credit card annual fees can be as much as $450 or as little as $0. Before you sign on to a business credit card account, be sure to calculate whether or not the perks and rewards a business credit card offers will be worth its annual fee.
Category Breakdown Based on What your Business Needs
Now that you know what to look for in a credit card for your new e-commerce business, put your knowledge to practice. What category will make the most sense for you and your new business, considering your current and future goals? The following four categories
1. Cashback Card: To gain cash back
Best for: New businesses with narrow margins
For some business owners, the most important thing is to, essentially, gain a discount on every purchase they make. That’s an understandable goal: cash flow crunches are one of the biggest issues that small businesses face, and any dent you can make in your deficit can be a difference-maker.
Many cash back cards offer up to 2% cash back on eligible purchases up to a certain dollar amount, then 1.5% or 1% after that. You’ll have to check the fine print of your card issuer to see the exact details. But just to give you an idea—if you put $1,000 on business purchases on your 2% cash back card, you’ll receive $20 at the end of your statement period.
2. Rewards Card: To garner reward points in certain categories of spend
Best for: Businesses that spend highly in one or two areas
Some cards offer reward multipliers on certain categories. Depending on what kind of business you run, 2x, 3x or even higher reward multipliers on things like travel, shipping purchases, social media advertising purchases, or internet services may be a points goldmine for you.
3. To build credit scores (if you want to build up your business credit)
Best for: Business owners with less-than-stellar personal credit
As mentioned above, business credit cards can help you build up your business credit, with the goal of improving your score to the point that larger forms of affordable funding (such as business lines of credit or business loans) are available.
Some quality business credit cards are available to business owners with low or average personal credit (below 600, typically), which is the primary factor credit card issuers review when deciding whether you’re eligible for an elite card.
4. Low Interest Card: To finance large purchases
Best for: Business owners with elite personal credit and big financing needs
Want to make a large investment on behalf of your business—such as buying a piece of heavy machinery, or an ambitious marketing campaign—but don’t have the cash on hand to pay for it? A 0% introductory APR card is the perfect choice here.
These cards won’t charge you interest on your payments for as much as one year, meaning that assuming you make minimum payments, you’ll essentially have access to an interest-free loan for 12 months. No financing option on the market can beat that.
For a full rundown of the best cards in every category, including the latest information on signup deals, fees, and more, we covered more details on our blog on Fundera: the Best Business Credit Cards page.
Earn More for Your E-commerce Business Spend
So, now that you’re familiar with the ins and outs of the top credit cards for new e-commerce businesses, you know that your spending can earn you more. Even if your business is young, you can likely access a credit line—plus rewards and perks—with your own personal creditworthiness. Make sure you get more for the spending that you’re already doing to make your e-commerce business a success.
About the author
Eric Goldschein is an editor and writer at Fundera, with nearly a decade of experience in digital media. He writes on financing, marketing, entrepreneurship, and small business trends.
Fundera is a marketplace for small business financial solutions such as business loans.