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Google Hangout on Air about business cards

We use them to pay for our cell phone bills, getting points in the process. They get us into airport lounges when we’re traveling so we can avoid the screaming babies. We even use them as financing, although we know we shouldn’t.

Credit cards are huge in the U.S. for the small-business owner.

In fact, only 16 percent of small-business owners told the National Small Business Association that they don’t use credit cards. And a third of the businesspeople polled, who were interviewed in January 2014, said they had used cards as a form of financing in the last year to meet capital needs.

Yes, credit cards are a big deal to American businesspeople. But understanding them isn’t easy. There are small-business credit cards and personal cards. There are corporate cards. Some aren’t protected by the CARD Act and the Truth in Lending Act. And you can be personally liable for the debt incurred, even if it’s a business card. That’s why decided to take on some of the work for you by asking the tough questions.

Catch our Google Hangout on Air when our guest, Greg Meyer, the Credit Union Guy, tells us about the ins and outs of business credit cards.

Greg has 30 years of experience in banking and lending. Today, he is Meriwest Credit Union‘s community relations manager in San Jose, Calif., helping Silicon Valley families with credit, retirement and banking problems.

Greg talks with our dynamic editor-at-large, Erica Sandberg, about everything you need to know before you choose a business card.

Some of the information Greg shares:

  • What you should know about the CARD Act and business cards.
  • When a business credit card comes in handy.
  • How to know if you need a higher personal credit score to get a business card.
  • The differences between a corporate and a small-business card.
  • Whether it’s harder to get approved for a business card and what card issuers look for.
  • If there is a time when a personal card is best.



New: Merchant-Friendly Daily Deals

Within weeks, loyalty program provider Affinity Solutions, in conjunction with Sovereign Bank, will test daily deals similar to those offered by Groupon or Living Social, but with a merchant-centric twist.
Traditionally, consumers sign up for daily deals by opening an account online and they get a daily deal offer via email based on the city they live in.
The new incarnation, called Spot ON Deals, will allow merchants, through Affinity’s analytics, to target particular consumers with offers based on what they know from the data about consumer spending trends.
“Today’s daily deals programs more often than not attract bargain hunters; they don’t encourage repeat business, and they don’t allow merchants to meaningfully track results," said Jonathan Silver, President and CEO of Affinity Solutions in a press release.
Spot ON Deals will enable merchants to track the effectiveness of their offers and use information on how the offers are being used and by whom to send follow-up offers to encourage repeat business.
The program initially will be rolled out only to Sovereign customers. Consumers who choose to receive the service, which starts Oct. 18, will get three Spot ON Deals a week through email, according to Affinity. They will also be promoted through a consumer’s online banking experience.
Consumers can also download an app that will integrate Spot ON Deals with Google search results. After a consumer redeems an offer for a particular deal, marketers can set up a bounce-back email that presents the consumer with a new offer.
Marketers will be able to view redemption and sales metrics, as well as how many times a consumer purchased from the location or store after the initial offer was redeemed. That addresses a complaint by merchants who have offered these deals only to find that customers often use them as a one-time bargain.
Analytics can segment a consumer’s shopping behavior into categories, such as clothing, travel, restaurants and groceries.
Spot ON Deals is one of the latest players in a fast-growing field. Research firm BIA/Kelsey reports the daily deals industry in the U.S. is growing so quickly that it has revised its March 2011 forecast, which measures daily deals, flash sales and instant deals.
The revised report projects that consumer spending on deals will grow from last year’s $873 million to $4.2 billion by 2015 (a 36.7 percent compound annual growth rate). This is up from their March estimate of $3.9 billion for 2015.



Businesses Finding Many More Credit Cards Available

Business Credit CardsWhen it comes to choosing a business credit card, what cards rank at the top or your list? While they are not the same cards that you may have seen a year or so ago, there are many that have become available to both large and small business owners over the last couple of months. Each are different in their own way and each can be used in varies ways that can help the business owner manage their spending in tough economic times such as those we are going through today.


As any business owner can tell you when it comes to business credit cards many times it can be hard to find the right plastic that works best in their situation. In an article entitled "Editor’s Pick: Best Business Credit Cards 2010" business owners can find some of the top cards for the situation that they may find themselves. The three listed include those that do not carry a balance, those looking for a 0% balance transfer rate and the best offers for those wish to carry a balance from month to month. As far as plastic goes, you will see many popular cards such as one of the newest rewards card Venture Card from Capital One to the no frills but low interest Platinum Visa for Business from Bank of America.


Overall, when it comes to business credit cards things are changing for the better and issuers are looking to right the wrongs of leaving so many businesses without plastic. Now that many cards have voluntary protection from issuers, businesses are finding that they are much friendlier than the first part of 2010 (even after the CARD Act was put into place). If you are a business owner I would love to hear from you. Let me know what plastic if any you have turned to and the reasoning behind it.


Chase Focuses on Reliability with Business Owners

Chase Business Credit CardsWhen it comes to any company getting in front of your primary audience is key, and credit card issuers are no exception.  While in majority of the cases we see marketing focused primarily on the products or services being sold, we rarely see the spotlight on the costumer. Like anything else one of the best and most effect things any company can have is a positive recommendation from "word of mouth". In a few days we will start to see one credit card issuer show their cardholder’s opinion in an effort to get the attention of other potential customers.


Starting early July, business owners will begin seeing advertising from Chase in an effort to focus in on the reliability actual New York business owners have in their "Ink" cards. For the most part they detail what business owner love most about their plastic and how they benefit most by using their Ink business card over other business credit cards that are available to them. When it comes to where Chase plans to advertise, they plan to put their ads on highly viewed television stations as well as highly read publications. As for television stations they include Discovery, ESPN, FOX News, History Channel, MLB on FOX, The Science Channel and even the Weather Channel. For print ads they can be viewed within The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, as well as a couple others.


When it comes to the Ink line of cards, Chase has made them a priority as one of the newest business cards available to small business owners. As when they were first announced the ultimate goal for the Ink cards was to address the needs that small businesses have displayed from daily operations. In addition to that they also wanted to give quick access to capital as well as improve cash flow. From the real life responses that business owners have concerning their plastic, it looks like Chase has done exactly that.


Change Nearing on Interchange Fees for Businesses

When it comes to interchange fees also known as swipe fees, it looks like businesses may soon get the changes they have been fighting so hard to get. While some have been putting the measure off for months and in some occasions until next year, a few have recently added it to amendments in the Wall Street Reform Bill that is currently pending in Congress.


When it comes to the two amendments each would have a major impact and both are what business owners have been looking to have established for months now. The first change requires the fee that is incurred by business to be proportional to the cost that was incurred by the processor. This fee must be "reasonable" and will be able to be determined by the Federal Reserve. Secondly, business will be able to offer customers discounts that pay with a debit or credit card that carries a lower transaction cost.


As for the amendments, these changes were recently voted on earlier this month by the state of Vermont and passed.  While there was a little different by allowing business owners to announce a minimum amount that consumers must meet on purchases in order to pay with their credit cards, it essentially helps business owners at the end of the day. In addition to that; these amendments also gives many business owners the ability to help keep prices low as well as stay in business all at the same time.


Business Owners “Venture” to new Heights with Capital One

Capital One Business Credit CardAre you a business owner looking for a reward credit card where you can earn more on purchases? If so you may now be in luck as issuers have started to put more focus on not only your needs but your wants as well. While recent voluntary moves by multiple issuers now make business credit cards a little more cardholder friendly, there has also been many cards released that offer great rewards. One of those cards is from Capital One as they have decided to give both small and large businesses the same benefits and reward as consumers by recently announcing the release of the Venture for Business Card.


Much like the card that offers consumers double miles on every dollar used in a purchase, it offers business the same and other features and benefits including the following:

  • Double miles per dollar on every purchase
  • Up to 15,000 in bonus miles (which includes 5,000 for signing up)
  • Ability to redeem for travel, cash back and much more
  • Annual fee free for the first year
  • No foreign transaction fees

When it comes to reward credit cards, they have grown in popularity tremendously over the past couple of years within the United States. While most have been for consumers looking to get more on their everyday purchases, businesses too have been utilizing reward cards that could help cut cost in the long run. Within the last couple of months we have seen numerous reward business cards become available from multiple issuers and it does not look like this trend will let up any time soon. As long as rewards continue to competitive, business should be able to reap the rewards from the healthy card issuer competition.


State Businesses Receive Help from Credit Card Fees

As the fight against fees and other cost merchants are charged with when consumers make a payment with a credit card continues across the country, it seems that one state has had enough and is moving forward with a plan to help local businesses. By way of a bill that was recently passed by the Vermont Senate, Vermont is one step closer to allowing their businesses to keep more of the money they depend on to stay afloat.


When it comes to the bill that was passed, it is broken down in to multiple parts and the first phase will be implemented in July. Ultimately the bill allows business owners to announce a minimum amount that consumers must meet on purchases in order to pay with their credit cards. With this, card processors can no long implement fines for having this amount posted on the premises. The bill also allows business owners to offer discounts and incentives to those who use cards that may charge the owner less when it comes to fees.


The bill itself is something that many local business owners believe should have been passed much sooner. Just like consumers, many owners have seen an increase in cost just to accept credit cards which in most cases have grown overly expensive. At the moment Vermont is the only state that have passed such a bill, on all accounts and purposes they probably won’t be the last. Like many things that happen within the United States, it only takes one person (or in this case, one state) to set a precedent before others move to do the same.


Business Credit Cardholders Seeing Better Days

When it comes to small businesses and credit cards the last couple of months have been full of changes. Not too long ago, millions of business owners found themselves without a way to make purchases as one of the largest business credit card issuers collapsed and replacements were hard to find. Now it seems as things have changed for the better as new offers from multiple issuers have been introduced as well as voluntary changes by issuers to make changes to things that were not covered by federal regulations detailed in the Credit CARD Act.


When looking back at some of the biggest changes in the small business credit card industry, one of the moves that was considered one of the game changers belongs to none other than Chase. This occurred when the newest line of business charge cards known as "Ink" were introduced. During the time many business owners weren’t quite sure where to turn before it was stated publicly that Chase would try to relieve this stress. They announced a plan to provide business owners with more cards, access to working capital, lines of credit and commercial mortgages. After releasing the initial four cards, additional cards were released offering rewards to those businesses that had both a Chase business card as well as checking account.


Months later and the biggest news to date involves the pledge of many issuers volunteering to add protection to business cards that previously were overlooked during the implementation of the Credit CARD Act. With these changes multiple issuers have started extending the seeing the extension of time between the billing statement’s closing dates and when payments are actually due, as well as remove fees for going over one’s limit as well as rate increases on existing balances. While not all issuers have made these changes, it is believed that these plus others will be adopted and announce soon.


Consumers Join Credit Card Interchange Fee Fight

As all things seemed lost for business owners in the fight against "interchange fees" at least until 2011, it seems that support is coming in by the millions to help reignite this issue. In a effort to have Congress re-evaluate their decision to hold off on making any changes to the industry petitions with millions of signatures have been sent to help showcase the urgency on the growing need to have these fees regulated to help drive down cost to businesses.


In an effort to help regulate interchange fees otherwise known as "credit card swipe fees", over the past two years many companies have asked their customers to sign petitions in hopes that these will change the mind of those in Congress to act sooner than later. While petitions were first mentioned last year by 7-Eleven, which resulted in a staggering number of signatures, these recent petitions were looking to get much more.  Although just over 1.5 million were submitted to Congress last year, this year over 2 million have been sent by other organization wanting a change. In all, the over 3 million signatures were much more than expected, and business owners hope that the voice of the people will weigh in heavily with those looking to for re-election in the coming months.


When it comes to interchange fees the fight has been long, and for the most part has fallen on deaf ears of those who have the power to regulate the industry. For many companies, this fee is one that adds up and is labeled as the second largest expense following labor costs. As the fight continues businesses hope that an end is in site and are hoping the voice of the people will prevail. If not, many will be force to find a way to offset these fees and for many the only answer may be to pass it down to the consumer.


The New Face of Customized Business Credit Cards

Vistaprint Business Credit CardAs customized credit cards continue to grow in popularity they have been something that we have seen more of lately. While for the most part they have been geared more to the consumers, now things are changing as businesses are given the opportunity to extend their brand via plastic. One of the newest options business owners have to design their company’s credit card is thanks to a recently introduced partnership between U.S. Bank and Vistaprint.


Under this partnership, customers of Vistaprint are now able to design and personalize their very own business credit card online. Not only that, the card also gives its cardholders the ability to earn rewards on purchases and discounts on eligible purchases. When looking on the exact details on what cardholders can look to receive, they include the following:

  • Earn rewards with every purchase
  • No annual fee
  • Get $20 back upon first purchase
  • Receive 5% OFF on select Vistaprint products

As for points earned, business owners will receive one point for each dollar of net purchases spent on the card. These points can then be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, travel and even account statement credit. If you would like to learn more about the Vistaprint Visa Business Card it can be found at


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