The Wall Street Journal has a great collection of resources for small business owners, offering advice for everything from finding angel investors to crafting a disaster plan. Here, we’d like to share some of their advice for choosing a credit card that’s right for your business. Use these tips to help get your business off on the right financial footing.

First, why get a business credit card? There are a few reasons: one, start-ups can often get a credit card set up much faster and easier than the time it takes to get a line of credit from a bank, and two, having a business credit card helps to create credit in the name of the business. In addition to all that, the options available for small business owners seeking to get credit cards have become more numerous, giving you a selection of possibilities when choosing your own business credit card.

How do you get started in choosing a card for your business? Before you choose, figure out your own needs. What are your spending habits going to be like with this card? Will you be paying off the balance every month, or carrying a balance over time? Check the annual percentage rate if you intend to carry a balance; some cards will give you rates as low as 0% at the beginning if you have good credit, and others feature fixed rates, which might be a good idea if you’re concerned about the rate going up over time.

If you plan to pay off your business credit card each month, you might consider looking into a card with more rewards or a longer grace period, since the interest rate won’t be an issue for you. Paying your entire balance each month doesn’t give you a lot of flexibility in your spending, of course, but the trade-off for your financial discipline is that you don’t end up facing down a growing balance and increasing interest charges.

I mentioned rewards in the last paragraph, and credit cards today have a variety of rewards programs for customers. You could get a card that gives cash back for purchases (anywhere from 1%-5%, depending on the card and the types of purchases you make). If you travel a lot, you could look into a card with airline miles as rewards. Still other cards use point systems that accrue towards larger rewards, and some come with discount and benefit programs attached, like special discounts for hotels or retail shops. The key for any rewards program is to ALWAYS read the fine print so that you know exactly how you’re earning the rewards and where they can be used once earned.

Should you get a card with an annual fee? The knee-jerk response is no, but sometimes, cards with annual fees have other benefits. Some annual-fee cards have longer grace periods to pay off balances each month, and others have lower interest rates than the no-fee cards. It’s worth looking into a card with an annual fee if you intend to carry a balance or if you think you could benefit from the longer grace period, provided that the annual fee is reasonable to your budget, of course.

One last thing to consider: what happens if you miss a payment, make a late payment or otherwise drop the ball on your credit card? You need to know what the penalties are for whatever card you choose in the event of a problem. In some cases, card issuers will jack up interest rates (up to 30%), remove rewards, add fees and even drop your personal credit score if you miss a payment on your business card. Be sure you know what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line.

In the end, it’s up to you to determine your business’s needs when it comes to a credit card. There are several sites that allow you to compare various cards in order to determine what’s best for you: CreditCards.com, CardRatings.com and Bankrate.com are the ones listed in the Wall Street Journal article. You can even apply for the card of your choice online, once you’ve made up your mind.

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