Taking Credit

Card issuers are really rolling out the red carpet for their business customers, but is there a catch? Not if you act responsibly.

Remember when the kids picked teams back in grade school, and all the captains fought for the school's star athlete? Well, guess what? In the game of business credit cards, it's you the big three are fighting for.

Though American Express, MasterCard and Visa once viewed small businesses as risky bets, they're now aggressively courting you with low introductory rates and perks like vendor discounts, reward programs and consulting services. In fact, there's never been a better time to become a cardholder, says Robert McKinley, CEO of Frederick, Maryland-based Ram Research Group Ltd., which produces the bank card publication CardTrak. "The competition has geared up so much in the business card area that you can benefit immensely from gathering points and miles," he says. "So in addition to building a credit record for the business and helping to separate personal and business expenses, business owners can generate a lot of extra value."

is the estimated percent of disposable income Americans saved in 1991.
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

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This article was originally published in the January 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Taking Credit.

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