Avoid risks using your credit cards for your business

In the US many people use personal credit cards to finance their business transactions. Business people are eager to use credit card accounts because their higher credit limits enable the business to access more cash toward business objectives.

An owner can avoid investing their own money while setting up a business by opting to use a credit card to tap into extra funds. But they should be cautious and exercise discipline to pay back the full monthly charge amounts otherwise face an insurmountable level of debt for the young enterprise.

Here are a few other risks involved with using credit cards that you should be aware of:

Accumulated debt: When using credit cards for business transaction, the owner risks spending money they may otherwise avoid if relying solely on cash. Therefore it’s advisable to track all your expenses and be aware of which ones were spent from credit accounts. Limit them to what you believe you will be able to repay in the next 30 days. If you will dedicate subsequent income receipts to be applied toward paying off your credit charges, then you avoid accumulating long term debt.

Fraud and Theft: Identity theft and credit card fraud are two serious risks associated with credit card usage, so be careful as to who you provide your account information to. Also be aware of the charges you make and confirm that your monthly statements do not contain others Charles that you did not make. Don’t pay for charges you did not make, which you are not legally responsible, but rather report them immediately to the lender.

Never disclose your credit card PIN number to anyone – it’s designed only to be used either at an ATM, through the telephone keypad or online.

Avoid prepaid credit cards (if you qualify): Apply for a regular credit card to avoid the risk of loss from misplacing or theft of a prepaid card. You can cancel a regular account card with a maximum $50 loss, but the prepaid account balance will be irretrievably lost.  

Credit History: Avoid the adverse consequences to your credit history by paying all bills, especially credit card accounts on time or even ahead of schedule. Be aware that some low-interest accounts have a zero tolerance for your payments being received even being one day past the due date. Schedule it and all bills to arrive safely ahead of time to build and protect a good credit rating.    

High interest rate: Late payments, poor credit histories and using the accounts for “cash advances” rather than purchases raise the interest rate charged by lenders. Payoff these sums as quickly as possible to lower borrowing cost and work toward performing better on your credit accounts to improve your score.

Christina Jones is a contributing writer to many financial publications and has written several articles on debt relief programs and Chapter 7 and 13c bankruptcy. Her expertise is in debt finance.

Charles H. Green is Executive Director of Small Business Finance Institute that educates business owners about finance. He is the author of The SBA Loan Book, 3rd Edition (Adams Media).        




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