Guide

Using payment cards for your business

Choosing a payment card provider

When you have decided which types of business payment card to use for your business, you will then need to find the right provider.

Debit card choices may be the most straightforward. Your business bank account is most likely to offer a debit card free as part of the package.

However, for other types of card it's worth considering a range of providers as well as your own bank.

Business charge cards are offered by most business banks, and companies such as Barclaycard, American Express and Diners Club. It's worth examining the different deals available and considering a number of key points:

  • Is there an annual fee? If so, how much and is it payable for each cardholder?
  • Can you give individual cards to chosen employees?
  • What are the minimum and maximum spending limits?
  • What are the penalties for late payment of your bill?
  • Are there any extra perks - eg Air Miles or hotel discounts - that would be useful to your business?

The same considerations generally apply if you're choosing a credit card for your business. But here it's essential to compare the interest rate - usually expressed as the APR (annual percentage rate) - of different deals. The length of any interest-free period is also an important consideration.

Whichever type of card you are looking for, it is advisable to shop around and negotiate. Interest rates, charges, interest-free periods and benefits can vary significantly. Your bank account provider may be prepared to amend its terms if you can show that another provider offers a better deal.

To find out about the deals on offer, go into local bank branches or visit the websites of banks with small-business accounts. Compare business bank accounts with Moneyfacts.