The thought of applying for a business credit card right now might seem ridiculous to many people considering how much we still don't know about what's ahead for certain or when we'll travel again. However, there are several reasons why I think now is the best time to apply, provided you can use it responsibly if approved. Along with earning rewards for your business purchases, you can also take advantage of some of the extra perks that can be used during the pandemic.
Also, some credit card issuers are extending the time required to earn their signup bonus (say, instead of spending a set amount within three months of account opening, you now have six months). Additionally, a few cards are offering rewards on purchases like take-out and groceries or 0 percent APR for an extended period of time. If you accumulate enough travel rewards, you can use them for things like free flights or hotel stays later on, which can be helpful when on a budget.
If you think a credit card might be a good idea or are still undecided, here are a few things to think about.
What kind of card is best for your business during this time?
Ask yourself some key questions. Are you looking for a card that will earn you flat-rate rewards (you'll earn the same amount of points/miles, regardless of the purchase)? Or would you prefer one that earns more rewards based on the purchase? For example, some cards earn more points/miles on dining, groceries, or gas. Do you want to earn points/miles that you can redeem for things like future travel or do you prefer to earn cash back?
It may be helpful to look at your spending habits and think of any purchases you know you'll be making in the next few weeks. Also, if you know you have to make a big purchase, you may want to consider a card that has a significant signup bonus.
Even though the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to zero earlier this year, it may not be as helpful as it sounds. Still, some card-issuers are offering 0 percent APR rates on select cards, which may be helpful if you need to pay for something now and know you'll be able to pay it off before the rates expire.
Like mentioned earlier, because of Covid-19, some card issuers are extending the amount of time applicants have to earn bonuses. For example, select American Express card accounts approved between December 1, 2019, through May 31, 2020, have an additional three months to make eligible purchases to earn the welcome bonus.
Some cards like the Hilton Honors Business Card that earns 125,000 bonus Hilton Honors points after spending $3,000 in purchases within three months of account opening now can be earned within six months.
Once you've narrowed down the type of credit card you think will work best for you, compare the different card offers. Finding the one that will help your business but will also be manageable is key.
Consider the long-term probabilities.
While nothing is ever certain, having some understanding of what you might see in the next few months will help you narrow down your options. If there is a good chance that you won't be able to pay the card off monthly and don't have much of a rainy day fund to help, reconsider getting a card. You may instead want to look for other financial assistance that has better rates.
If you can pay monthly but don't have a large emergency fund to work with, you may want to look at no annual fee cards. Fortunately, not all business credit cards have annual fees or need you to be a big spender to earn rewards.