By Stella Walker,

Small business owners typically have quite a bit on their plates. From hiring new employees, to finding investors, to managing their business plans, the first few years of running a business can be back-breaking. What helps many business owners is a business credit card that acts as a buffer between important purchases. But, when it comes to choosing the right card, too many entrepreneurs fail to do the proper research and keep the right priorities in mind. For anyone opening a business and thinking about credit card options, here are a few tips on how to find the best business credit card for your needs:

1. Determine your desired card use before signing. The first concern for any small business owner looking into a credit card should be planning the way it will be used. Within your business plan, there should be some idea of the types of funds needed for initial purchases or other expenses that you will need to pay off on credit. If you plan to use your charge card and pay it off completely each month, you will want to look for a much different plan than what you would need if you want to make gradual payments. If you plan to pay your debt off gradually, looking into a card that offers 0 percent interest for a select time frame would be your best bet. While cards you plan to pay off each month may be chosen based on benefits or late fees.

2. Choose benefits wisely. If you’re not using a business card that provides benefits, you are losing money. Most business cards offer benefits like frequent flyer miles or cash back programs. If travel is a large part of your business, you will save more money by opting for a frequent flyer card. In fact, even if the card offers higher fees in some areas or slightly higher interest rates, the money you save could compensate for potential losses. If travel is not necessary, looking for a card that offers a high percentage of money back is a great way to save long-term.

3. Look for additional perks. If you’re looking at several cards that provide similar benefits, payment plans, and interest rates, the next thing to consider are the additional perks. Many cards offer discounts on business supplies, purchases at particular stores and restaurants, or percentages off certain types of services. Many cards also provide hotel discounts or free passes to V.I.P. airport sections, which is another great resource for traveling business owners. If you can add up the benefits and additional perks offered by each card in question, you may get a clearer picture of the best card for your business.

4. Don’t immediately shun annual fees. Many cards charge annual processing and usage fees. Business owners typically avoid these types of cards, but it’s important to consider whether the benefits provided by the card will be worth more than the annual fees charged to your account. If you can save hundreds of dollars on free airline tickets, a 25-dollar fee may not sound quite as bad. Keep this in mind before automatically writing a card off.

5. Always compare rates, and keep comparing. Obviously, it’s essential to compare the rates of each card you are considering before signing the dotted line. A full understanding of the interest rates, benefits and annual fees will help your make the right decision on a card. But it’s also necessary to keep comparing rates after you make your decision. Checking up on potential deals or more beneficial pay-off models provided by other card carriers can give you leverage in the marketplace. It is also possible to cancel your credit card account at any time and switch to a new provider.

Stella Walker is a writer for and is always looking for new ways to spread information about using credit to its full advantage for business owners and individuals.