How Small Businesses Can Use Credit Cards to Combat Rising Interest Rates
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Interest rates are on the rise, and there's no sign of relief in sight. That means if you carry a balance on your business credit card, now is the time to act.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve's rate-setting committee hiked short-term interest rates by 25 basis points, or a quarter-point. It was the second increase in 2018 and the seventh since December 2015. The Fed suggested two more increases are on tap for this year, according to CNBC.
Continued rate hikes should soon affect the cost of small business loans, and they're going to make credit card debt more expensive, too. This is no big deal if you pay off your balance on time and in full each month, but the improved cash flow and cheap financing that business credit cards can offer may be an important part of a business' growth strategy. Sometimes there's a legitimate reason to carry a balance.
APR Increases Coming Soon
Each Fed rate hike eventually affects all lending products tied to the prime rate, including many credit cards. Expect to soon see a quarter percentage point increase in your card's APR, perhaps as soon as your next billing statement.
But unlike with other variable rate loans, business owners can use a new credit card with an introductory interest rate offer to put off the impact of rising rates. Although you're not likely to find an offer on a small business credit card that beats the best consumer card introductory interest rates, a number of business cards offer 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for a year or longer from when you're first approved for them.
Here are some of the best interest-free business card introductory offers currently available:
- Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card — 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, then 13.24% - 19.24% variable. Pay $5 or 5% of the amount transferred on balance transfers, whichever is higher. There is no annual fee.
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card — 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, then 13.24% - 19.24% variable. Pay $5 or 5% of the amount transferred on balance transfers, whichever is higher. There is no annual fee.
- The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express — 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months from account opening, then 13.24%-19.24% variable (See Rates & Fees). There is no annual fee (See Rates & Fees).
- SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express — 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then 14.49% to 21.49% variable(See Rates & Fees). There is no introductory balance transfer offer (See Rates & Fees). Pay no annual fee (See Rates & Fees).
Also, if your business needs to occasionally carry a balance but you don't think it will take several months or longer to pay it off, there's another option. The Plum Card® from American Express gives cardholders 60 days to pay off a balance before accruing interest (See Rates & Fees). You'll just have to make your minimum payment — 10% of the balance from new charges, plus any previously deferred balance in full — by the due date in order to avoid interest.
Remember that these rising interest rates won't have any impact on you if you take advantage of one of these offers and pay off the balance in full before the end of your introductory period. And if you don't? Beyond this year, the Fed is expected to raise interest rates as many as three times in 2019.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, please click here.
For rates and fees of the SimplyCash Plus, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Plum Card, please click here.