Getting Credit

The lowdown on business credit cards--what's out there and what to watch for
Magazine Contributor
Writer and Author, Specializing in Business and Finance
2 min read

This story appears in the March 2010 issue of . Subscribe »

The credit card industry is still making its way through recessionary times, and business card issuers are no exception. A report by the National Small Business Association found that 59 percent of small businesses surveyed used credit cards to finance their businesses, and 33 percent had their credit lines decreased during the past year.

But there are still opportunities for small businesses to get credit, according to credit card guru Scott Bilker, founder of, a credit card information site, and author of Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt. "The key is to have several cards open so you have the credit lines you need when you need them," he advises. But be smart about it: Check interest rates and fees to make sure you're getting the most competitive deal out there. Check sites such as, and He also suggests that small-business owners look for cards that offer rewards that will be useful to them, such as airline miles, discounts or cash back at certain retailers.

Here are some of the business card options available.

Discover Business Card

  • 5 percent cash back on office supplies, 2 percent on gas, as much as 1 percent on all other purchases
  • Fee-free checks that earn cash back to pay merchants who do not accept credit cards
  • Earn 5 percent to 20 percent cash back at top retailers through Discover's online shopping site
  • No annual fee

Regular APR: 13.99 percent
Credit needed: Good (FICO score above 740)

The Gold Card from American Express OPEN

  • For businesses with two or more employees and at least $250,000 annual revenue
  • Flexible rewards through the company's Membership Rewards program
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points if you shift $50,000 in business purchases onto the card
  • Discounts when you use the card at Hertz, FedEx, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and others
  • No annual fee the first year ($125 savings)

Credit needed: Good (FICO score above 740)

AT&T Universal Business Rewards Card

  • 0 percent APR on purchases for six months
  • "Thank-you" points awarded for specified purchases
  • Additional employee cards with adjustable limits
  • No annual fee

Regular APR: 16.99 percent
Credit needed: Good (FICO score above 740)

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