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- If you’re a small business owner — even just someone with a personal side gig — it’s important to keep your business and personal expenses separate from each other.
- To avoid financial confusion or mix-ups, it’s best to have a separate business checking account (in some cases you can just have a second, but separate, personal account instead), as well as a separate business credit card.
- One of the best small business cards available is the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, which is offered by Chase.
- The card also has the best sign-up bonus available of any Chase card: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
My dad was a photographer when I was growing up. He ran his own business, maintaining a studio and darkroom, as well as managing the business aspects like accounting. Something I always remember is that whenever we’d drive anywhere, he’d mark the mileage in a little notebook he kept in the center console.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that’s because he was working to separate his business and personal expenses, something that makes sense for any small business owner. In my dad’s case, he’d know exactly how many miles (and how much gas) had gone to business use, and could file his taxes accordingly.
Whenever you’re running a small business, ranging from a freelance side gig to a project with a brick-and-mortar footprint and employees, things are always smoother when you have a clear delineation between your personal finances and your business ones.
On top of making sure actual funds (think: money) are in a separate bank account from your primary personal checking account, it’s smart to use a business credit card for any business or work-related expenses, whether office supplies, advertising, or coffee.
Of course, there are plenty of options for business credit cards. Just like with personal ones, some of these cards can earn rewards on business spending, even offering bonus categories in which you can earn extra points. Best of all, you can use the rewards you earn for either personal or business use, whether you opt for cash back or rewards points.
Of the many choices for a small business credit card, one of our favorites is the Ink Business Preferred from Chase. Read on to see why.
Why should you get a business credit card?
While plenty of small business owners start out using their personal credit cards, that can become unsustainable after just a little while. First of all, unless it’s a card that you never use otherwise, separating your personal and business expenses on your statement can be a massive pain — as I learned quickly when I started to do some freelance work.
Beyond that, your personal card might not facilitate the kind of spending your company does. Business cards can have higher credit limits, and in most cases, the activity on a business card won’t affect your personal credit report (although if you default on the business card, the card issuer can still come after you personally).
If you’re a “sole-proprietor” business, where you work solo and work under your own name and social security number (rather than a business name), getting a business card is more about the convenience of keeping your expenses separate, and protecting your own credit profile and assets — even the smallest of businesses are eligible, such as freelancers, individuals with side gigs, or even people who resell things on eBay.
If you’re a bigger business, though — or aspire to grow into one, with employees and more resources, having a business card is a must — not only to separate expenses, but to establish business credit, so that you have flexibility later on with loans and leases. Plus, you can get additional authorized cards for employees as needed.
Why the Ink Business Preferred is our favorite card for small businesses
Among personal credit card rewards, Chase leads the pack with its strong Ultimate Rewards (UR) program. Popular credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve both earn UR points, as do certain cash-back cards like the Freedom Unlimited.
Like those cards, the Ink Business Preferred earns UR points, and while you can keep them on that card and separate from the rest of your stash, you can also combine them with the rest of your points.
That makes it easy to boost your UR balance, since the Ink Preferred comes with a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. These points can be traded for cash back, transferred to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty partners, or used to purchase travel with a 25% bonus (or a 50% bonus if you move your points over to your Chase Sapphire Reserve).
The card also earns 3x points per dollar on the first $150,000 your business spends on combined purchases each cardmember year in several categories, including travel, shipping, internet/cable/phone, and advertising on social media sites or with search engines, such as Google Ads. Purchases after you reach $150,000, or in any other category, earn 1x point per dollar.
The card has a $95 annual fee, which is on the lower side for a card with such a robust rewards program.
There are some other benefits that come with the card, too.
The card comes with a handful of other perks, many of which overlap with the Sapphire Preferred and Reserve, such as trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary car rental loss/damage coverage, and various purchase protections.
One extra perk, though, which could be incredibly useful for businesses, is cell phone protections. When you use the Ink Business Preferred to pay your cell phone bill, you’re covered for up to $600 for damage, loss, or theft of your cell phone — or your employees’ work-provided phones, if you provide them. You’re limited to three claims per rolling 12-month period, but this can save you a fortune.
If you have a small business, the Ink Business Preferred is a great way to earn rewards on everything you spend to keep your business running day-to-day. Whether you use those points to give yourself a vacation, reward an employee, or contribute to your bottom line, they’ll definitely come in useful.