If you have a small business or nonprofit organization and need a business credit card, there are several options to help you get started on credit with little risk.
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Dear Your Business Credit,
Our church would like to get a credit card. What card is best for us? We would use it for small purchases and for the pastor’s travel. – Claudia
Getting a credit card can be a great way to keep organized records of the church’s purchases. And you’re smart to shop around for the best deal. Keeping the cost of borrowing down will help you stretch the church’s budget.
It’s possible to opt for either a personal credit card or a business credit card in this instance. I’d suggest a business card, given that there may be occasions when you need to make larger purchases, perhaps for a church event, and business cards often will offer a higher credit limit.
Business cards frequently require someone to provide a personal guarantee, so given that the pastor sounds like the major user, it will likely make sense for the pastor to provide that.
Determine what rewards matter
Usually these teaser deals only last for a certain number of months, but you can likely transfer the balance to another 0-percent interest card at the end of the deal to avoid that challenge (though there will be a fee for the transfer).
If you aren’t worried about interest because you plan on paying your balance off in full every month, the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card offers 2 percent cash back on all purchases, which can quickly add up for more money for the church.
Alternatively, if travel is your main expense, a good rewards card like that Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card ($95 annual fee) can help you accumulate points for future trips the pastor may need to take.
When looking for a credit card, check out the rewards and perks. Many cards offer rewards that could be useful to a church.
For instance, if the pastor flies frequently, a card that offers attractive mileage rewards could be helpful.
If you don’t mind a high annual fee, the Business Platinum Card from American Express ($450 annual fee) rewards handsomely when travel is booked through their portal (5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels).
If the pastor drives frequently for church-related meetings, then a card that offers generous rewards for gas purchases or cash back on them could be valuable.
Any cash you get back could be directed to the church’s coffers. Some cards also offer rewards that may be redeemed for purchases at particular stores. You may find it helpful to check them out to see if you might be able to buy some things the church needs using those points.
Alternative credit options
Although a credit card can be a convenient way to make purchases, I’d suggest availing yourself of other forms of credit, as well.
For instance, if you establish ongoing accounts with your office supply provider and other places you frequently make purchases, you can minimize the size of the balance on the credit cards.
And if anyone else is using the credit card besides the pastor, make sure to require that, like the pastor, they turn in receipts.
Sometimes when multiple people use a credit card, record keeping tends to get disorganized, and receipts never make it back to the organization.
Put procedures in place for submitting receipts, so you don’t lose control of what purchases are being made. The better your financial records, the easier it will be to run the church.