Bottom line on small business credit cards

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate

A small-business credit card can be a perfect financial product for a small-business owner. But "can be" doesn't always mean "is." Rather, owners must consider their needs, weigh the costs and risks, and read the small print before they decide.

Business credit cards offer some nice benefits, according to Janet Zablock, global head of small business at payment processing giant Visa in San Francisco.

Specifically, she explains, these cards can help owners separate their business and personal expenses, get better views of their operating costs, bridge the gap between receivables and payables by periodically revolving business debt, establish a business credit history and take advantage of discounts offered through a business credit card program.

"The key is keeping personal versus business separate and making sure they're responsible in managing the financial end of the business," she says.

American Express, Bank of America, Chase, Capital One and Citi all offer small-business credit cards, as do many smaller banks and other financial institutions. Some cards have no annual fee. Others charge $59 to $95 per year or more. The first-year fee is often waived as an inducement to new customers.

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