Thursday, August 25, 2005

Building My Company's Credit

I'd like to get to the point where my company can apply for bank loans and other financial instruments without a personal guarantee from me, but few banks will lend to a company without some legal recourse against a person should the business fail. To show the business is solid, it needs to have a good credit history. Today, I took the first step towards establishing that credit history.

I received an application in the mail from Chase Bank for a business credit card. Normally, I throw these in the trash, but this one caught my eye because it offers a cashback bonus. You earn 3% cashback on purchases at gas stations, restaurants, office supply stores, and home improvement and hardware stores. All other purchases earn 1% back. Based on what I have read on other personal finance blogs like Savvy Saver and Personal Finance For The New Age, this sounds like a pretty good deal. There is no annual fee and all charges for the first year are at 0% interest. After that however, the interest rates are killer. They offer the program at three different levels: The Elite level gives you a 8.99% rate. The other two levels (I forget what they are called) give you a 13.99% and a 20.99% rate. Of course, they don't tell you what level you will qualify for until after you apply. But reading the fine print discloses some additional gotchas: They can change the program at any time. They can change the interest rate at any time. They can changed fix interest rates to variable or variable to fixed at any time. And, the killer, the interest rate will NEVER go lower than 8.49%, 13.49%, or 20.49%, depending on what level you qualify for.

I would never get a card with terms like this for my personal use. In fact, I probably wouldn't even get this card for a business. However, I am lucky in that my house flipping business is basically a cash business. I have my investor's money to use for all expenditures and therefore, I never need to carry a balance on a credit card. So now I'll use this card to buy all the appliances and materials needed for rehabbing a home, collect the 3% cashback bonus, and then pay off the bill in full each month.

FYI, I couldn't find this offer on Chase's website anywhere, so it might not be offered online.


Steve said...

Funny - I recieved the same offer a few weeks back. I didn't jump on the offer as I want to get more information on bulding business LOC. I did find a good thread that talks about how to build business LOC. You can view it here.

Shaun said...

Good stuff there. Another good source is Donna Fox. She's an attorney and posts pretty regularly on the boards. She's written a book about getting tons of credit for your business. You can find info here.

jim said...

That's pretty good for a business card, you can get 5% for gas/supermarket/drugstores with a personal credit card.

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