If you intend to use your business credit card to finance company purchases, then it pays to shop around for the card with the best possible standard interest rates. But just as you would with any other purchase, you have to get a sense of the larger credit card market in order to know if you are getting a good deal on your card’s interest rate.
Each quarter, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System compiles consumer credit terms for commercial banks and finance companies. One of the statistics it gathers is the interest rates for all credit card accounts, as well as the rates just for those accounts that were charged interest. For the second quarter of 2017, the average rate for all credit cards was 12.77%, while the average for accounts that accrued interest was 14%. To offer some perspective, the latter figure is now at a high not seen since Q4 of 2010.
And although these statistics only represent consumer credit cards, small business cards are issued based on the account holder’s personal credit history, and nearly all require a personal guarantee. Therefore, the average business credit card rates shouldn’t be very far off from consumer credit card rates.
What Rates Are Business Credit Card Issuers Offering?
Nearly all of the major business credit card issuers offer cards with a range of standard interest rates.
The exact rate that you receive is determined by your creditworthiness when you apply for the card. (You can check your personal and business credit scores to see where you stand.) Among American Express, Chase, Capital One and Bank of America, the lowest available rate on a business credit card on the date of publication was a variable 12.24% APR from both the American Express Blue Business Plus card and the Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World MasterCard. The highest rate was a variable 23.99% APR for the Capital One Spark Classic card.
There are several small business credit cards that offer purchase APRs beginning in the 13% to 16% range for applicants with excellent credit. For example, the American Express SimplyCash Plus Business credit card offers rates of 13.24%, 18.24% or 20.24%, based on your creditworthiness, while the Capital One Spark Miles Select and Spark Cash Select have rates of 13.99% to 21.99%.
When you consider small business credit cards that offer premium rewards and benefits, you can expect to pay a higher interest rate. For example, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business credit card from American Express has interest rates of 16.24%, 18.24% or 20.24%, while the Ink Business Preferred credit card from Chase has rates of 16.99% to 21.99%. As with consumer credit cards, the small business cards with fewer rewards and benefits will offer lower interest rates.
Finally, keep in mind that nearly all credit cards now offer variable interest rates that can rise or fall with the Prime Rate. When the Federal Reserve Bank changes its monetary policy, almost all credit cards will adjust their interest rates to reflect the issuer’s new cost to borrow money.
How to Get the Lowest Business Credit Card Interest Rate
If you are planning on carrying a balance on your small business card, it’s better to find a product with the lowest possible interest rates rather than one that offers the most generous rewards and benefits. But because the rates available on a particular credit card vary widely, your personal credit history may be a more important factor in determining your card’s interest rate than the product you choose.
What to Expect With Interest-Free Promotional Financing Offers
Another way to reduce your interest charges is to take advantage of small business credit cards that offer 0% APR promotional financing on new purchases, balance transfers, or both. These offers are less common on small business credit cards than they are with consumer credit cards, but they do exist. For example, the Blue Business Plus card from American Express offers new applicants 15 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee.
The Bottom Line
The lowest standard interest rates will be given to the applicants with the best credit, and the cards with the lowest rates will often be those with fewest rewards and benefits. By understanding what a good interest rate is on a small business credit card, you can find the best product for your needs.