Looking to improve cash flow, save interest and consolidate debt? A balance transfer credit card could be just what your business needs.
Some business credit cards include a balance transfer offer that gives you a low or 0% p.a. promotional interest rate when you move debt from an existing account onto the new card. This can help you and your business save money on interest charges. It can also free up cash flow, reduce debt and even improve your credit score. This page will explain how it works, why you should consider a balance transfer credit card, and what to watch out for when comparing 0% balance transfer offers.
Four reasons your business might need a balance transfer
- Cash flow issues. If your business is struggling with liquidity, a balance transfer credit card can provide short-term relief by freeing up cash that would otherwise be spent on interest charges. This can help meet short-term or cyclical needs, until the business can create a sustainable positive cash flow.
- Startup expenses. If your business is relatively new, it might not generate sufficient income to meet your capital expenses or bills. Putting those expenses on a balance transfer business credit card allows you to pay either 0% or low interest on those expenses for a promotional period.
- Consolidate existing debts. If you struggle with several existing credit card interest repayments, you could transfer them all to a single account with a low or 0% interest, using a balance transfer offer. Not only will this make it easier to keep track of your debts, but it should allow you to repay your consolidated debt much faster than if the amounts owing are separated into different accounts that charge separate, higher interest rates.
- Improve credit score. Related to the above, you can help strengthen your credit score if you’re making timely repayments and can repay your debt with a balance transfer offer. Plus, your credit utilisation ratio also improves when you have a new credit card, as long as expenditure does not proportionately increase.
What kind of businesses would most likely use a balance transfer?
The importance of good cash flow management cannot be over-emphasised for a startup. The ability to manage multiple expenses and still remain liquid may take a while to master. However, a balance transfer business credit card can be a useful tool to help you manage existing debts without the burden of high interest.
A small business may find itself struggling to regulate cash flow for any number of reasons. Whether it be due to seasonal sales fluctuations, unexpected or emergency expenses, delayed receivables or even growth, a balance transfer credit card can help stabilise finances.
What to consider when comparing balance transfers
Keeping the following factors in mind can help you find a balance transfer option that suits your business needs.
- Length of offer. The length of a balance transfer promotion determines how long you will enjoy interest savings on your debt. Naturally, all else being equal, the longer the period the better. The benefits of a long balance transfer offer period might however be offset by a high purchase interest rate, which should then be factored into your comparison.
- Promotional interest rate and revert rate. Most balance transfer credit cards offer a 0% promotional period, but some may offer a reduced interest rate rather than no interest. As well as the promotional period, you should also consider the revert rate that will apply to any remaining debts at the end of the introductory period. This is especially important if you don’t think you can repay your debt before the 0% offer ends, as it could present a risk of falling back into unmanageable territory as your balance collects interest again.
- Balance transfer fee. Some cards charge a balance transfer fee of 2–3% of the amount you’re transferring when you move your debt to the new card. Be sure to factor in this fee when comparing your cards to ensure it doesn’t outweigh the value of your interest savings. Use finder’s balance transfer calculator at the top of the table to get an idea of how much you can save.
- Other card fees. Also consider and compare other card fees including annual fees, late fees, international transaction fees and cash advance fees where applicable. If any of these outweigh the interest savings you’ll make from the 0% period, you should consider another card.
- How much you can balance transfer. The card may have a maximum balance transfer limit of a percentage of your credit limit. For example, you may only be able to transfer up to 90% of your approved credit limit. Make sure this limit is high enough to transfer your entire debt, otherwise any remaining amount will continue to collect interest in your existing account.
- Eligibility and other options. As well as having different eligibility requirements to personal cards, it's less common for business credit cards to advertise balance transfer offers. So, make sure you check you meet a card's requirements and check that a balance transfer is available before you apply for a business credit card. Alternatively, you may want to consider a personal balance transfer credit card or look at consolidating your debt with a business loan.
A business credit card can be a helpful tool for managing your company’s finances, but there are some key details to consider when you want one that also offers a balance transfer. Be sure to compare all available options and make the necessary calculations before deciding which card is best suited to your needs.
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