Many people assume one cannot apply for a business credit card without having a licensed business or llc, leaving freelancers and sole proprietorships out in the cold, however, this isn’t the case. If you file taxes with the IRS for a business, you can apply for a business card. Business cards can be advantageous in that they generally have higher limits and more generous rewards programs and perks for card holders. One of the best cards on the market right now is arguably the American Express SimplyCash Business credit card.
What does the American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card have to offer?
The American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card has a cash-back-based reward system, which does annoyingly work on a category specific basis. The downside of such systems is you only get points if you spend within said categories and those purchases are billed with the appropriate code. This can sometimes result in no bonus even if your purchase is within the right category.
You get 5 percent cash back at office supply stores, 5 percent cash back on wireless telephone services purchased within the US, 3 percent cash back on gas, and 1 percent back on all other purchases. All offers above 1 percent are only applicable to the first $12,000 spent each year, then they all drop to 1 percent across the board.
Cash back rewards are automatically credited to your account each billing period. This is a nice feature as it saves you the time of logging in and requesting credits, however, it’s also a double-edged blade as you can only redeem your cash back as a statement credit. With many cards you can request a check or purchase discounted merchandise or gift cards, this isn’t’ an option with the American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card.
The American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card also comes with a rather lengthy list of perks, including:
-Purchase protection and extended warranty service: If an item you’ve purchased with your card is damaged or stolen within the first 90 days, you can file a claim for up to $1,000 per incident ($5,000 max per year.) AmEx will also extend your warranty one year, up to $10,000 in coverage not to exceed $50,000 per year. Keep in mind that extended warranties do require registering the product with AmEx. They aren’t automatic.
-Car rental loss or damage coverage: With your American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card, you can opt out of rental car insurance, because your card includes coverage when you reserve and pay with it. Exclusions do apply for luxury or exotic cars of high value as a well as rentals within certain counties.
-Baggage insurance: Your card also covers loss of theft of baggage while traveling. Carry-on coverage is up to $1250 replacement value and checked luggage has a $500 limit. You must purchase your tickets with your American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card to gain this benefit.
-24-7 help hotline and roadside assistance: Whether your car breaks down or you need a translation in a foreign country, you can call 24 hours a day for free service. Though keep in mind the call is free, services that may be incurred as a result (such as cab ride) are not.
-Purchase discounts via “OPEN Savings” partners: You’ll receive a 3 to 10 percent discount or up to 4 membership points with Open Savings partners such as Fedex, Hyatt hotels, and Hertz.
-Receipt match: This is a nifty system that allows you to scan your paper receipts and have them automatically matched to the charge on your statement. For your accountant, this is a huge plus.
What does the American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card cost?
This card has an impressive zero annual fee. Considering the above rewards offer and benefits, that’s unexpected. There is also an introductory 0 percent APR for the first 6 to 12 months dependent on credit worthiness. After that, you’ll be locked in at one of three interest rates, also based on your credit: 12.24, 17.24 or 19.24 percent. Cash advances garner a standard 3 percent fee and an interest rate of 21.24 percent. The late fee on this card is $35. If you make to late payments or have a returned payement, you’ll suffer a penalty APR of 27.24 percent for a minimum of 12 billing cycles. Balance transfers are not an option on all accounts.
Sadly, for being a card with so many perks for travelers, the American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card does have a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee. While this isn’t a concern if the majority of your travels are domestic, this is a huge negative if you do travel internationally as it applies to every transaction.
What type of card users are best matched to the American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card?
The American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card is ideal for small business owners who use abundant office supplies, have long commutes or mileage heavy business types, or have expensive wireless phone plans. All of the above will maximize your cash back offer. Keep in mind that while it is best to separate business and personal finances, you can use a business card for personal purposes as long as you are keep accurate records that are separate.
Other business owners should also consider the American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card, being the perks are rather generous and the fee, well, there is no fee. However, due to the credit-based interest rate, applicants with excellent credit are going to benefit the most from this card. Those with poor credit may benefit from a card with a single-rate offer for all approved applicants that is in the lower range.
This card would not be a good fit for those that rarely buy office supplies, don’t use much gas, or don’t even use a wireless phone being that the general purchase 1 percent can be bested by most other cards, albeit some have an annual fee. International travelers also best look elsewhere, unless they keep a second card for those travels as 2.7 percent adds up fast ad completely negates all cash back bonus offers—particularly because all but the 1 percent cash back only applies to US purchases.
In short, the American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card is a good deal, just not for absolutely everyone, but then what card is?