This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, young firms rely heavily on external debt, receiving about three-quarters of their business funds from banks via loans, credit cards and lines of credit. Choosing a credit card can be tough, but it can be even more difficult for business owners who are unfamiliar with the business-credit landscape.
Here are four things every business owner should know about business credit cards.
Free accounting features
It’s incredibly important to maintain separate personal and business finances. Almost all business credit cards come with accounting tools to help simplify your finances, which can save loads of time when tax season rolls around. When you open a business credit card, you can expect to get things like account monitoring and tracking, expense reporting, downloadable purchase records, year-end summaries, QuickBooks integration and more. Just be sure you check the terms and conditions of your card before applying, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Rapid rewards accumulation
The reward-earning potential you get with business credit cards is basically three-fold. Did you know that Visa, MasterCard and American Express business credit cards have their own rewards program? Once you’re enrolled (if required) in the program, there are additional reward earnings extended to the business account. A few examples include rebates and discounts for purchases made on fuel, hotels, car rentals and shipping providers, or earn rewards for shopping with featured partners.
You can earn rewards on all purchases with bonus reward categories, like 5 percent cash back on purchases made at office supply stores. As an added bonus, you can rack up rewards even faster with employee credit cards.
Free employee credit cards
There are plenty of benefits to issuing credit cards to employees. To start, all employee-issued rewards credit cards are eligible to earn rewards on their purchases, which will be applied to the main account holder, so you never have to worry about losing your rewards. Another bonus to employee credit cards is streamlined reporting and account monitoring, where you can set the spending limit and create alerts for certain account activity. Most business credit card accounts offer employee credit cards for free up to a certain number issued. After that, a small fee may be applied.
Not all business cards report your business score
Although all credit lines opened in your name will be reported, you want to make sure your account activity is reported to the right credit bureaus. If you’re trying to maintain a separate personal and business credit profile, it’s essential that your account activity with your business credit card is reported to a business credit bureau, such as Equifax, Experian, D&B or FICO SBSS.
You can check your business credit score for free by signing up with Nav.com.