I wrote last month about how federal credit-card reform left business credit cards out in the cold. Now, reports are coming in that business-card owners may be getting some breaks that stem indirectly from the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) act.
Apparently, some major banks are making the CARD-required changes for business cards as well, possibly because it's just easier to have one set of rules for all its cardholders. Bank of America will join this group by July, offering its two million business-card holders a freeze on rate increases for existing balances, the elimination of overlimit fees, 45 days' advance notice of rate changes, and 25 days from statement closing dates to due date.
American Express and Chase have also changed some of their policies for business cards. The banks reportedly will redesign statements to make fees clearer and improve their payment cycles.
Meanwhile, opinions are divided on whether business owners would be better off if their cards got the same official, federal protection consumer cards recently received. Business groups including the National Small Business Association would still like to see business cards officially covered by federal reform law, rather than leaving it on bankers' honor to give business card owners the same breaks. Others worry that official business-card reform might lead to rate hikes that could put cards out of reach for more entrepreneurs.
In any case, current business-card owners now have ammunition to go to their banks with and ask for improvements to their card terms -- and a good thing too, since some business card interest rates are rising, and experts feel too many small businesses rely on plastic for funding.
Some of the biggest small-business banks are extending CARD rules to their business-card customers -- so there's your opening to tell your card issuer they should do it for you, too.