Successful SMEs are using their credit cards for these 25 benefits
Running a small or mid-sized business often depends upon having enough credit to fund your business when cash is tight. When they start out, many businesses owners use personal credit to cover these gaps in cash flow, but, as your business grows, you’ll find using a business credit card has many more benefits.
The Obvious Benefits of Using a Business Credit Card
Once your business is in the position of having a business credit card, there are some obvious, initial benefits you can tap into:
- Establish credit for your business. The reason most businesses use personal credit to start is because it is difficult to get small business loans when you have no established credit. A business credit card helps you build a track record of good credit.
- Free up your personal credit again. Using your personal credit to launch your business may be necessary, but once you have business credit you’ll have more total credit and can manage your finances more efficiently.
- Keep your finances separate. If your business is incorporated or exists as an LLC, you should safeguard your status by keeping your personal and business finances separate. Not keeping them separate may put your personal assets at risk.
- Make filing your taxes far simpler. For tax purposes, a best practice is to keep your personal and business expenses separate. Because certain business expenses are tax-deductible, using your business credit card makes it simple to track which expenses are for business.
- Use the technology business credit cards provide. Some business credit cards provide advanced technology that allows you to closely track where you are spending money. Taking BEA Corporate Card as an example, cardholders can use the SDG2 online tools to manage their accounts and spending all at once. This gives you a clearer view on your transactions, and also simplifies your taxes.
A Safety Net in Times of Emergency
The business world is full of ups and downs. Even the most successful businesses experience temporary downturns and unexpected interruptions that can leave you short of available cash. The global COVID-19 pandemic is a great example of the year, GDP of Hong Kong has decreased significantly by 9% in the second quarter, with the retail industry facing the heaviest impact. Over 60% of the retail business have already closed or planned to shut down, and more than 40% of them are implementing compulsory paid leave to reduce the burden of business cost. A business credit card can help you bridge these income gaps and remain fluid even in times of emergency. These cards allow you up to almost 2 months of interest-free credit up until your credit card bill is due – this can help you meet your payables obligations, freeing up your cash on hand for other purposes.
- Meet employee payroll. With a healthy line of on-demand, business credit provided by a business credit card, you can be assured that your employees get paid during times when cash flow is low. CardUp allows you to make payroll with your credit card, allowing you to tap on your under-utilised credit limits to fund salary payments.
- Keep the lights on. Meeting the demands of business overhead can be difficult during business interruptions. A business credit card can help you pay utility bills and keep the lights on until cash flow returns to normal.
- Maintain your supply chain. It can also be difficult during cash flow emergencies to keep your business supplied with the products and raw materials necessary to serve your customers. Here again, a business credit card can help you keep the shelves stocked or the assembly lines running until things return to normal. CardUp also allows you to make credit card payments to your suppliers, even if they do not accept card payments.
- Avoid interruptions in essential, third-party services. From shipping to cleaning to plant maintenance, most businesses rely on third-party services to survive. A business credit card can be used to pay for these services during times of low, or negative cash flow.
- Get a peace of mind. In the end, a business credit card can offer you the peace of mind of knowing that whatever comes your way, your business can weather the storm.
Your Business Credit Card is Your Partner
Running a business means you need partners, especially when it comes to financing as you try to grow your business in a fast but stable manner. If you choose a business credit card that also provides a range of financial and other services, you can instantly have a network of partners providing all sorts of benefits and perks.
- Travel accident insurance. If you’re in business, you may need to travel periodically. One benefit cards like the HSBC World Business Mastercard offer is travel insurance that can cover things such as loss of luggage, luggage delay claims, and missed flight connection claims, with coverage worth up to 1 million Hong Kong dollars.
- Discounts on dining. Some credit card partners offer discounts on eating out. Cards such as the BEA Corporate Card offer dining and entertainment privileges at restaurants and outlets throughout Hong Kong, where cardholders can save up to 20% off!
- Business accounting services. Many cards and business bank accounts have tie-ups with apps and online tools to help you keep track of your purchases and expenditures, such as BEA with Mastercard online reporting system SDG2 and HSBC expense management and reporting tool. Making payments with CardUp also gives your transactions a digital trail, tracked within one singular dashboard. These can be especially helpful during tax season.
- Monitoring spending. If controlling your spending is important to your business, you can find a business credit partner, like the DBS VISA Business Card that allows you to monitor and limit spending right from your desktop.
Keeping Your Business Safe and Secure
The world is not a perfect place. Every business owner should be concerned with protecting their business from an increasingly sophisticated criminal element. Funnelling business transactions through a business credit card allows you to take advantage of cutting-edge security measures to keep your money and other assets safe.
- Minimised use of physical currency. Money can be easily stolen and used by criminals, but most business credit cards employ several levels of authentication. So, even if a card is stolen, your assets are protected and criminals attempting to use it can be easily tracked.
- Protection against identity theft and unauthorised use. Today’s credit card companies are constantly working to face the growing concern of criminal cyber activity. They employ state of the art encryption and monitoring to defeat hackers and protect your business and personal identity.
- Real-time monitoring and automatic alerts. Many business credit cards offer real-time monitoring of purchases. They employ algorithms to identify uncharacteristic purchases and automatically alert you to potentially fraudulent activity.
- An employee fraud solution. Employee fraud is a concern for any business owner. Business credit cards can help you monitor employee spending as well as track inventory purchases alerting you to unauthorised spending and employee theft. The DBS VISA Business Card also offers your business up to HK$12,000,000 liability waiver protection per company in coverage for employee misuse of your business credit card.
- 24-Hour support and assistance. Most Business cards offer 24-hour call centres with whom you can quickly address concerns at any hour. From removing access to misused cards to addressing perceived discrepancies, 24-hour support services can help you resolve issues and restore your peace of mind.
Helping You Manage Business Processes
Managing a business requires the orchestration of multiple business processes from bookkeeping to purchasing. Many business credit cards and bank accounts offer you tools and apps to help you run things smoothly and efficiently, such as the BEA Corporate Card.
- Delegate authority to your employees. As your business grows, more employees are hired, and organisation structure becomes increasingly complex, delegation becomes critical. Many business credit cards offer tools that allow your employees to make business decisions that you can monitor and control.
- Maintain control while empowering your employees. A business credit card is an easy way to empower your employees to make appropriate business decisions while allowing you to maintain control. On CardUp, you are also able to assign different roles and permissions to your team members, streamlining the payments process.
- Get free cards for employees. Many business credit cards are free additional cards drawing from your business account for use by your employees. This saves you money and avoids an undue hassle.
- Set and monitor employee spending limits. Apps included with many of these business credit cards allow you to set employee spending limits and monitor spending activity. With these cards, you will always know how your business credit is being used.
Rewards Programs Can Bring Real Cash Benefits
There are a variety of business credit cards that allow you to earn cash rewards and other benefits on purchases. Depending upon your level of spending, these programs can result in a significant financial gain for your business.
- Straight cash rewards. The BEA Corporate Card allows you to earn 1% cash rebates on eligible transactions. The HSBC Business Mastercard has a unique benefit that allows you to earn a welcome offer upon registration – simply fulfil the spending requirement of HK$15,000 to HK$55,000 within the first 3 months and get up to $1,500 RewardCash.
- Earning Air miles for frequent travellers. The HSBC Business Mastercard helps you save more on business travel, it earns you $1 RewardCash for every HK$250 spent, and double rewards for overseas and online spending. You can then enrol in HSBC Mileage Programme, and redeem Asia Miles with RewardCash at a rate of $1 RewardCash for 10 miles.
From cash rewards to peace of mind, business credit cards offer benefits that make running your business easier, more efficient, and more profitable. They can help keep your business running during disruptions and down times by bridging income gaps, help you keep your assets safe and secure, and even boost your income through various rewards programs. With all the benefits they offer, a business credit card can quickly become the most versatile partner you can carry in your pocket.