As communities and businesses re-open to a whole new normal, owners have had to get creative to make it all work. When used appropriately, credit can be a viable way to get through cash flow crunches – and a credit card may just offer the versatility you need to help you improve your cash flow.
Beyond being a convenient payment tool, your business credit card may be a great addition to your business toolkit. When used wisely, your credit card could help you run your business more smoothly by giving you additional flexibility over your cash flow – especially during stressful times.
Here are five ways a credit card designed for business can work hard for you:
1. Gain More Time to Pay Suppliers
Business credit cards typically come with a grace period of up to 21 days, meaning that you have that long between your purchase date and payment date. Imagine what you could do with up to 51 days before you have to pay your suppliers*! With a repayment period like this, a business credit card becomes a valuable tool to improve your cash flow.
2. No Need to Tie Up Your Personal Credit
You need your personal credit card for personal purchases. When you start to layer on business expenses, that credit card can become over-stretched, cutting into both your business and personal cash flow.
It can help you manage both your personal and business credit, in that it can protect your personal credit when business is leaner, and help build your business credit history when you’re actively purchasing on and paying off your card.
3. Pay Your Bills More Efficiently
When you can pay with a credit card — rather than employing your staff or a bookkeeper to cut a cheque and drop it in the mail or in-person — you’re able to pay your vendors faster (and with that grace period you don’t need to wait to get paid before you settle up). Consistently paying quickly can also help your vendor relationships – the goodwill you build up may let you negotiate better pricing or secure a rush job in the future.
Consider too the ease in which you can cover recurring expenses – such as your phone and internet bills, insurance premiums, ongoing digital marketing costs, and more. Set them up as pre-authorized payments and there’s one less item on your monthly to-do list.
4. Tap Into the Power of Rewards
Many business credit cards come with cashback and ‘payback with points’ programs that can help you pay down your balance, cover regular business expenses and improve your cash flow. Also, with built-in rewards programs, you can earn points that can be used for a wide range of rewards for your business or to reward your employees. Keep in mind, there are tax advantages that come with paying cash for some business expenses – it’s a good idea to speak with an accountant to learn the implications of these types of decisions.
Some credit cards also offer the choice of transferring your personal credit card points to your business card, allowing you to combine points to acquire products for your business or boost your overall cash flow.
5. Get a Picture of Your Spending.
When you use a business credit card for all your business purchases, you can see — all in one place — how and where you’re spending your money. Some cards come with analytics tools to provide in-depth insights into your spending patterns and expenses. Depending on the size and scope of your business, even a simple review of your statement can give you a helpful view of the ongoing costs of running your business. When you have this kind of information on hand, you’re in a better position to evaluate your spending decisions, determine where you can save money, and potentially keep more cash in your business.
Just remember, your business credit card is a payment tool to cover short- to medium-term expenses; large capital expenses should be funded separately. A revolving balance on your card could result in high-interest payments — interest payments that might cut into the profits of your business. If you’re looking for a bigger pool of credit for large or long-term expenses, there are a number of options you can consider. Term loans, equipment loans, and lines of credit offer specific uses and benefits to help you manage and grow your business.
Ultimately, a business credit card can help you manage your cash flow efficiently while giving you the opportunity to enjoy perks and rewards as you cover your necessary business expenses. Offering freedom and security, a business credit card can be a great addition to your business toolkit.
* 51 more days refers to the maximum number of interest-free days before you must pay your RBC credit card after a purchase is made (based on a card with a 21 day grace period). To achieve this you must use your credit card to pay your supplier and ensure the payment is posted immediately after your statement closes.
This article was originally published on RBC’s Discover & Learn blog.