Small businesses are typically using credit cards to earn rewards – not to finance debt – and travel is a key aspect of this phenomenon

Business credit cards are an important tool for companies to meet short-term financial obligations, better manage cash flow or simply to act as a guarantee and build a better credit score. They can also help businesses to manage and better organise expenses and monitor employee spending. But, rather than being used purely to finance debt, companies are increasingly using them to earn rewards and travel and accommodation perks are a key reason for this.

It is a competitive marketplace, but finding that right card to suit individual needs means companies can get much, much more out of its business expenses by using a credit card. Rewards like hotel stays, cash back, and valuable discounts are among the most popular benefits.

A look at almost 370 business credit cards on the market by credit card comparison service and marketplace, CreditCards.com, has highlighted how importantly rewards are now ranked among the small business community. Its Feb-2020 Small-Business Credit Card Poll of 500 small business owners and senior decision makers found more than two thirds (70%) use business credit cards.

Among them, almost half (46%) said their favourite feature is earning rewards (28% on cash back and 18% on travel). This is ahead of one in five (20%) putting convenience at the top of the list. Interestingly, a mere 7% cited a low interest rate, and just 5% referenced the ability to finance purchases over time.

Those travel rewards come from the fact that travel is the largest spending category for these small businesses with more than one on five (22%) placing it top of their expenditure ranking. It is seven percentage points ahead of internet/phone/cable services (15%), which in turn is ahead of office supplies (13%), equipment/other supplies (11%) advertising (10%), shipping expenses (6%) and restaurants and food expenses (4%)

For the almost a third of respondents that didn’t have a business credit card, 34% said it was because their business was described as being too small to justify one, 19% said they were worried about debt with 11% saying they didn’t think they would qualify.

With rewards as an enticing offer, Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com, says “there’s no such thing as too small,” a business to gain from a business credit card. “You can even qualify as a sole proprietor, freelancer or side hustler using your Social Security number. The sign-up bonus and rewards are well worth it, and it’s a convenient way to separate work and personal expenses,” he explains.

But, when it comes to selecting the right card and cutting through all the noise of cash-back, rewards, booking bonuses among the hundreds of options, Mr Rossman explains the best way for businesses to maximise usage rewards is to “sign up for credit cards that emphasise the areas where your business spends the most money”.

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