You can qualify for a small-business credit card even if your company is just one person based in a garage. It's a good idea to get a card designed for business because its benefits typically work best for folks juggling the ups and downs that come with entrepreneurship, says Justin McHenry of Index CreditCards.com. Most cards offer higher credit limits to smooth out cash flow, as well as more detailed spending reports that come in handy at tax time. Not to mention bigger rebates on expenses like office supplies and broadband connections. Choose your card by the needs of your business, suggests Ben Woolsey of CreditCards.com. Here are some of the top deals:
• If your income ebbs and flows: The American Express Plum Card allows you up to two months to pay in full without interest, as long as you pay 10 percent of the balance by the due date. The Advanta Platinum With Rewards MasterCard floats a zero percent interest rate on purchases for 15 months, with a 7.99 percent rate thereafter.
• If you're going for the rewards: The Capital One Business Platinum With No Hassle Cash gives you 1 percent back on everything you spend, without any caps. The next year, it follows up with an additional one-quarter percent extra cash rebate on your previous year's spending. The Discover Business Cash Back Card offers 5 percent back on office supplies. Check with your professional association, too: some offer cards that tailor the rebate to the business, like cash back on tools for contractors or dentists.
• If your vendors don't want to extend your credit: The Discover Business Card gives you convenience checks that really are. You can use these "purchase checks" to pay bills; the totals will get posted to your credit card without any of the fees usually accompanying credit-card checks.
A separate business card will also help you keep your business and personal purchases separate. If the IRS comes calling, you'll be better able to demonstrate your legitimate business deductions without taking the auditor through a tour of family dinners and movie tickets.