FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Most consumers are familiar with the benefits of paying with personal credit cards, and with the ever-increasing number of corporate card options, businesses and organizations can now take advantage of many of the same perks.

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Two of the most meaningful benefits commercial credit card products can provide to businesses include:

  • Options that give employees the ability to travel and make everyday business purchases while still providing business owners with control
  • Rewards like travel, cash back and money-saving features that were previously available only on consumer cards
    The various kinds of commercial cards

Corporate cards, business cards (also referred to as a small business card), purchasing cards. What’s the difference? All are considered commercial cards and that term is used interchangeably when referring to each, but there are significant and important differences to each. With so many new options, many business owners and managers don’t know the right card for their particular business.

Small Business Credit Cards

The range of businesses and organizations that use a business credit card is endless. Small businesses, churches, organizations and associations can all benefit from this type of payment solution. It allows the owners to keep their company expenditures for gas, supplies, etc. separate from their personal expenses.

“Small business credit cards give employees the freedom to make company-related purchases, while allowing the employer to set spending limits, purchasing restrictions on the accounts and monitor spending habits,” said Michele Young, Director of Purchasing Card Sales and Payment Solutions at Arvest Bank. “These are the businesses that don’t really need an expense-reporting system with all of the bells and whistles, but rather simply need to manage their expenses online and in real-time.”

Purchasing Cards

A purchasing card is a different type of commercial payment solution targeted initially toward clients who require more advanced online functionality. Public and private school systems, municipalities, construction companies and an array of other businesses can benefit from this type of program.

These cards may be used to make travel-related purchases such as gas, equipment, office supplies, etc. Additional information regarding the transaction may be shared with the business owner, such as how many gallons of gas were purchased and the price per gallon. In addition, each company can set specific requirements or limitations for the various cards, such as purchasing restrictions.

“These businesses do need all of the ‘bells and whistles’ of a robust reporting system. Systems that allow the cardholders to create an online expense report with receipt-attachment capabilities and the ability for the transaction information to integrate with their accounting system are a huge benefit to all,” said Young.

Commercial Rewards

Then there are rewards points and perks that have been significantly improved for business cards in recent years that come in the form of cash-back, accumulation of points, money saving options on other business purchases, or other benefits. Cash rewards may be invested back into the company, while other credit rewards may offer various discounts on travel or office products. Fortunately for businesses, the proliferation of rewards cards in the consumer card arena has now fully been embraced with business card issuers.

Research, Research, Research

In addition to determining which card is the best fit, prospective cardholders should research interest rates and the repayment period. In other words, how many days after the billing cycle ends is payment due? 10 days, 15 days, 25 days? Obtaining a commercial card is simple. Businesses and organizations must complete an application and provide the necessary documentation the credit card issuer requires. When doing research, be sure to determine if there are fees associated with the card program, such as annual card fee, or a fee for online access.

“As the type and complexity of commercial cards has expanded rapidly in the past few years, many business owners and managers are confused about the right card for their business,” said Young. “Business owners who aren’t sure should ask their bank’s commercial credit card specialist to help them navigate the possibilities and benefits of each.”