Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

RESOURCE DROP:
Credit Card Database

Sarah Nathan is Founder of the CPG consulting group Bloom CPG. This resource is proudly sponsored by GetParker, an all-in-one financial solution designed specifically for your ecommerce. Track your financial metrics, campaign profitability, and pay all business expenses with a card that can keep up with your growth.

**Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.**

Tax time is around the corner and the first thing you will hear from a tax professional when starting a new business is to keep your personal and business accounts separate. Along with a bank account, you are going to want a credit card that works for you and your business. Whether it is maximizing rewards and cash back, prolonging payment terms, or being able to provide corporate cards to your employees at no additional cost, we have researched and compiled the best business cards to suit your needs and provide optimal value. We have included both the traditional big bank credit cards and some newer Fintech solutions as the financial landscape is quickly changing and so are the needs of startup businesses.

Big Bank Credit Cards

When you click on our corresponding Credit Card Directory you will see we sorted through the options and outlined the best of the best. The first 6 big bank cards listed at the top of the sheet were all rated a 4.8/5 or higher with both NerdWallet and Forbes as being the best cards for small businesses. The other big bank cards we included were also well rated and fit niche business needs that we felt were important to highlight. When we polled the StartUpCPG community, these 6 cards were mentioned over and over again as being trusty companions to their business needs. The Amex Blue and the Chase Ink Business Unlimited being the most popular choices for early stage businesses. It is no surprise, as both have no annual fee, 0% APR for the first year, and simplified models for across the board cash or rewards back. The main con for both of these cards is high foreign transaction fees, so if you run a large portion of your business overseas or are paying foreign vendors, this is most likely not the card for you.

Bumping up to the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card will get rid of the foreign transaction fees and pay out better rewards on certain business categories – but does have a $95 annual fee and a higher APR after the first year. It is equally well rated and can be great for taking your business to the next level. David Dranitzke of Treat Street Snacks gave a few of the following reasons that they chose the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card for their business. David says, “It has a great app to review charges, authorize (or De-authorize) employee cards, track usage, and set push alerts for charges over certain amounts. There are different card #’s for different owners/employees, it is easy to track usage. Chase miles can be used for travel but better use these days is to pay back credit card and/or buy items with bonus points through Chase, it interfaces nicely with Quickbooks and Bench.co accounting, and the best part: No annual fee!” James from Jibby’s Coffee echoes, “It’s got a great points bonus on sign up and some of the best travel redemptions on Chase—I run two businesses that each use a card.”

Another card that got a few enthusiastic shout outs was the Amex Platinum Business Card. This card can really pay off for road warriors, but will take time and organization to really max out the benefits and it comes with a hefty annual fee ($695) and an additional charge for any cards on the account beyond the primary card. One community member gave it the following endorsement – “If you travel extensively, I recommend Amex Platinum business! It’s pricey but use every benefit to get your money’s worth! Invaluable concierge and airport lounge access, money back on select shipments, business purchase power, global entry/TSA credit, $200 airline credit, mobile phone plan credits, etc.” If you travel for business a lot, it sounds like it can definitely make traveling a little less stressful with a credit for a Clear membership and access to 1,300 airport lounges around the world. NerdWallet gives this card a 5/5 rating, where Forbes gives it a paltry 3.6/5. I leave it up to you to use the information in the chart to take stock of your business priorities and weigh the pros and cons.

Fintech Solutions

In addition to the big bank cards we are all familiar with, we wanted to include and highlight what many of the top online lists are not yet mentioning – Fintech solutions for a modern founder looking for more than a one size fits all solution. Along with our sponsor Parker, we included four other options, Brex, Jeeves, Ramp, and Rho Bank. Saving a business time and offering transparent and robust real time reporting is the main thing that these new Fintech cards are touting, and with a scrappy team, that can be worth a whole lot.

Parker describes themselves as an all-in-one financial solution designed specifically for e-commerce. You can track your financial metrics, campaign profitability, and pay all business expenses with a card that can keep up with your growth. With robust reporting and plugins, being able to track your profitability and customer acquisition costs can save hours each month and give you a clear look at your spending to be able to pivot and make changes to your e-comm strategy before you’ve made costly mistakes. This is a great option for startups who are doing business heavily through e-commerce – whether it is running your shopify site or tracking your ad spend on each social and search platform, Parker’s centralized dashboard allows you to categorize transactions, link receipts, read live data, and get accurate real time reports on the profitability of each product. Parker has three card options to be able to choose the terms that are right for your business – a standard 30 day card with 1.5% cash back on all spending, Net 30 day with 1% cash back on all spending, and a Net 60 day card that can help extend payment terms. Net terms mean that you are getting 30 or 60 day terms with each invoice paid. Underwriting is based on the revenue generated from the site, and has a credit limit up to 100% of your monthly sales.

One community member Trevor Pare of graphic design agency Darkroast says he uses and recommends Jeeves to all of his clients. He attributes the very little red tape and ability to easily create and distribute cards as a driver for his recommendation. Jeeves directly monitors a client’s bank account and uses machine learning to assess risk – allowing them to offer a higher credit limit and no personal guarantee. It is a great option for global startups, allowing you to pay an invoice or employee in their local currency with no fees.

Ramp is highlighting its expense management tools and real time insights to promote closing your monthly books 86% faster than traditional accounting by using their platform to create smart rules that automate reconciliation and collecting and verifying over 90% of receipts, eliminating the need for additional pricey expense reimbursement reporting tools.

Since it is still early days for the fintech space, aside from Brex, you will not find many reviews online for these new companies offering no fee credit. Because each of the FinTech companies does not run a credit report and does not require founder guarantees, they are assessing and analyzing their risk by monitoring the businesses assets and creating individual payment terms with each company based on the risk. These cards are different from your traditional credit card in that they are offering credit yes, but also in some cases shorter payment terms. You will need to pay in full in the terms they offer you, which can vary from 2 to 60 days, where in many of the business cards from larger banks have 0% interest for the first year – that is if you have the credit score to obtain one. One review online mentioned that Brex card for example can be great option for when a business owner has a thin credit file but is well-capitalized as Brex requires a bank balance of $50,000 to authorize an account. Since each offer is unique to the financial situation of the business, we recommend reviewing the websites for the cards that stick out to you and scheduling a call with someone from Parker or any of the other fintech cards on our list if you’d like to learn more.

We hope this article and complementary directory have given you some insight to help you prioritize your business’ financial needs and pick the card or cards that are right for your startup CPG business. Sound off in the #topic_finance channel on Slack as to what credit card you use in your business and why.

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