3 Mistakes You’re Probably Making with Your Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards are a great solution for many of a small business’s purchasing needs. They eliminate the need to carry cash, make reporting easier at tax time and give you access to cash when you need it. But if you’re making one of three common mistakes with your business credit cards, you could be hurting your credit rating—and the future of your business.

Ask yourself these three questions to find out if you’re making these all-too-common business credit card mistakes.

  1. Are you using your personal credit card for business purposes?

While this is common, especially among startups and one-person businesses, it’s a big mistake. When you put business purchases on a personal credit card, you can’t write them off on your business taxes. If your business begins to suffer and you can’t pay off the credit card, your personal credit rating takes the hit. Finally, even if you do manage this credit card wisely, it does nothing to help build your business credit score, since it’s a personal card.

  1. Are you using too much of your available credit on a business credit card?

In general, if you use more than 30 percent of your available credit on a business credit card, it will have a negative impact on your credit score. This makes it harder to get business financing, such as loans or lines of credit. If you do get financing, your interest rate is likely to be higher than it would if you weren’t over utilizing your available credit.

  1. Do you have enough available credit?

It may sound counter-intuitive, but you’re better off having (and using) several business credit cards. For instance, let’s say you have just one business credit card, with a credit limit of $20,000, and you have a balance of $7,000 on it. What would happen if your credit limit were suddenly lowered to $10,000? You’d suddenly be using almost all your available credit, and only have $3,000 left to cover ongoing expenses.

Instead, if you used multiple business credit cards and spread your expenses among them, it would help ensure you don’t use more than 30 percent of your available credit on any one card. It also gives you more flexibility. If you have four business credit cards with limits of $20,000 each, you’ve got $80,000 at your disposal altogether. (Of course, use those cards wisely.)

If you’re making any of the above mistakes, start correcting them now. If you’re a new business owner, read our tips on budgeting for a business. Pay down excessive credit card debt to improve your credit score. Monitor your business credit score regularly to protect it. As your credit score improves, you’ll be able to request higher credit limits and open new business credit card accounts.

What if you still need quick cash to take advantage of an opportunity or pay an unexpected bill? Instead of automatically putting it on your business credit card, consider invoice financing. Using the Fundbox invoice financing solution is fast and easy, just like opening a credit card account. Simply create a free account, link it to your bank account or accounting software, and if you’re approved, you can advance money against your outstanding invoices. You can receive the cash as soon the next business day, and pay it back over a 12-or 24-week period—the choice is up to you.

Rieva is a small-business contributor for Fundbox and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. She has spent 30+ years covering, consulting, and speaking to small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.