Hey everyone. I recently signed up for my first business credit card.
For those of you who know me, it might not surprise you that I’ve been dragging my feet about getting one, because you know I’m super cautious about finances.
If you don’t know me so well, you might be wondering what took me so long.
And, of course, you might be curious about what made me take the plunge.
First, let me start off by saying that it’s important to separate business and personal expenses. Things can get confusing if you try to use one bank account or credit card for both sides of your life, especially at tax time.
When I started Selling the Couch, I decided to put all of my business expenses on the debit card that came with my business account. I chose a debit card instead of a credit card because I wanted to be able to accurately gauge my monthly expenses and make sure I didn’t overspend.
That was five years ago. With this solid understanding of my business expenses, I felt very confident making the transition to credit.
Now that I’ve taken the plunge, I kind of wish I had taken this step sooner. A business credit card can definitely help you reach your business goals faster.
Let me explain.
The business card I signed up for is the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
If you’ve ever looked around for a perfect credit card, you know how mind-numbing all the choices can be. You need to consider the annual fee and weigh it against the rewards and whether or not you’ll use the card enough to earn those rewards.
The rewards are what make a business credit card worth it.
I kept five key points in mind as I sorted through dozens of different card options and ultimately decided on Chase Ink Business.
I’m a bit of a nerd, so I had a spreadsheet going the whole time showing how the different cards rated for each point, but I know not everyone is into spreadsheets. That’s OK. Just reading over these points will help you be intentional in your decision making.
1. Know your expenses before signing up
Because the value of these cards is usually in the number of points you can accumulate in a year with your purchases, it’s a good idea to have an estimate of how much you’ll spend, especially during the first few months when you can earn a nice bonus.
For example, the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card awards you a pretty amazing 80,000 points after you’ve spent $5000 in the first three months. But will you spend $5000 in the first three months?
If your business is just starting out, $5000 might be a lot in that span of time. However, if you have some significant expenses coming up – a new computer, for example, or a big conference – you can time your sign-up accordingly.
2. Know your spending habits
Credit cards are so easy to obtain and use that you might be tempted to carry a balance on the account and pay later with interest. I’m a big proponent of not getting into that habit. Instead, make a commitment to yourself to pay your card off each month. Realize that just because you can buy that $1000 podcast set up, doesn’t mean you should.
Also, keep in mind that even if you’re earning points with your big purchases, the benefits could be wiped out if you’re paying interest on a balance.
3. Match your business needs to the rewards
One of the biggest reasons to get the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is to make use of its travel rewards. The sign-up bonus of 80,000 points is estimated to be valued at between $1,000 and $1,600 when used for travel. When you use Chase Ultimate Rewards® to redeem your points for miles, you receive 25 percent more than if you go through another travel site.
If you have a couple of conferences on your calendar this year, this card could potentially cover your flights and a few nights in a nice hotel.
Cell phone protection and other extra perks
Most credit cards offer special perks that you may or may not find useful. Some offer travel protection, car rental insurance, or baggage insurance. The Chase Ink Business card includes all of these plus cell phone protection, which is like a nice little gift you weren’t expecting but know you’ll definitely use.
As careful as I’m sure you are with your equipment, cell phones tend to take a beating in our day-to-day lives. Coverage for $600 of theft or damages will probably come in handy at least once. And you can use it up to three times a year if you’re particularly accident prone.
4. How easy is it to earn points?
The main reason to get a business credit card is for the chance to earn points that will benefit you in the future. The more you spend, the more points you earn. The best way to earn points is to be strategic in your spending.
Most cards give you more points for specific categories of expenses. For example, the Chase Ink Business card awards 3 points for purchases in the areas of travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising on search engines and social media sites. These triple points rack up until you reach $150,000 in purchases – an amount that resets each year.
5. Is the annual fee worth it?
Business credit cards usually come with an annual fee. If you’ve been using no-fee personal credit cards all your life, the amount might come as a shock. That’s OK. Once you start adding up what the perks and rewards are worth, the annual fee starts to make sense.
For example, the Chase Ink Business card annual fee is $95. If you use the cell phone protection once, you’ve made up for at least three annual fees. If you take a domestic flight to your next conference, that’s also probably at least three annual fees, and with the sign-up bonus of 80,000 points, you’ll be able to take a few flights in that first year.
I’m being very conservative here. If you need to use the full $600 cell phone protection, that’s six annual fees.
Only you can ultimately decide if you’ll use enough perks to make up for the annual fee.
Why I became an affiliate
One of the many things I enjoy about the work I do is that I get to figure out what works well for me, then spread the knowledge so others can benefit.
It’s a great feeling.
I’ve found that the small business community, especially in the behavioral health field, is a pretty tight group, and we can all learn from each other.
I hope this article helps you find the perfect credit card for your business. If you think the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is the one, please consider applying through the affiliate links in this post. Doing so supports the blog and helps me continue to provide great content that supports our private practice journeys.