Every small business owner knows the power of a good business credit card. You can use your card to rack up rewards points, access perks like insurance and purchase protections, and give yourself a little cash flow breathing room when you need to make a big investment.
For business owners with excellent credit, a certain class of business credit card—those with a 0% introductory APR period, typically lasting between nine and 12 months—is particularly powerful.
APR is annual percentage rate and it represents a holistic look at the cost of using a loan or line of credit like a credit card over the course of a year. It includes annual interest rate as well as other fees, like origination fees.
So a 0% APR for a certain amount of time means that you’ll be charged nothing—zero—for using the card. Even if you carry a balance from month to month, you’ll owe no interest payments or extra fees (as long as you pay a minimum balance and pay off what you owe by the time the offer ends).
At the end of the day, no other small business financing option offers such generous terms. Bank loans, SBA loans, long-term loans—they will all charge you some sort of interest.
If you’re able to qualify for a 0% APR credit card offer, you’ll have a limited window in which you can make the most of it. Here are six tips for using this type of credit card to the biggest advantage possible for your small business.
- Make sure you actually need it
You accrue interest on your credit card purchases when you carry a balance from month to month. If you are able to pay off your balance completely before your due date (typically about 25 days after your bill becomes available), then you don’t owe the credit card company a dime in interest.
What a 0% APR credit card offer does is give you a break from worrying about paying off your bill in full by the due date. If you typically carry a balance, that can be a welcome relief.
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But if you’re not? If you tend to pay off all your debts each month with ease and don’t foresee a large upcoming purchase or two that could change that pattern, then there’s really no point in having a 0% APR card.
In fact, at that point, you may be better off with a different credit card, with benefits and perks that align better with your needs (such as increased airline miles or cash back).
- Be ready to use the credit card to the fullest
If you’ve decided that now would be a good time to take advantage of a 0% APR offer, make sure that you’re ready to maximize that offer to its fullest potential. For example, plan to open up your new credit card just before making some major purchases, such as equipment upgrades or bulk orders of inventory, that you expect you’ll need some extra time to pay off.
The worst thing you can do is start the timer on your limited-time offer, and then just let that offer sit unused. Try to line up a run of large (but ultimately manageable) purchases for when you’ll have your 0% APR offer ready to go. Remember, depending on the credit card issuer, this may last anywhere between nine and 12 months, so check your terms and conditions.