Small business credit cards enhanced by Chase and MasterCard
Times are tough for many owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at the moment, so anything that helps smooth or improve their working lives is usually very welcome. Perhaps that's why Chase and MasterCard both independently decided to announce enhancements to their small business credit cards in July.
Small business credit cards get better
Chase unveiled its enhancements to its Ink Plus® Business Card on July 31. These lead with a new rewards program (check the website for details), which promotes that points won't expire, and offers:
- Five points per dollar capped at $50,000 a year on spending at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services.
- Two points a dollar also capped at $50,000 a year at gas stations and for hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel.
You can also:
- Transfer on a one-for-one basis points you've earned to participating travel programs with no transfer fees.
- Get 20 percent off many travel purchases if you book through Chase's Ultimate Rewards online portal.
- No foreign transaction fees.
The card comes with a $95 annual fee, however Chase offers a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year.
Credit cards providing enhanced buying power
As one MasterCard executive put it in a statement: "Smaller businesses don't think of themselves as small; they just haven't finished growing yet." The company's primary intention is to help SMEs expand by giving them access to the sorts of purchasing power that big businesses usually have, along with streamlined expense-management facilities.
The new service, which is accessed through the MasterCard Business Network website, "is available to any MasterCard cardholder" free of charge, according to a company press release, so presumably you don't even have to have one of its small business credit cards to enjoy the program's benefits. These include:
- Purchasing: exclusive discounts on some 650,000 product lines, including office, IT, construction and electrical supplies.
- Travel and dining services: manage bookings and employee travel policies.
- Expense management: free access to printable expense reports, with an option to upgrade to a fully-featured expense-management resource.
The mastercardbusinessnetwork.com website is currently still undergoing expanded beta testing, which means you can use it, but should expect to see changes as new functionalities are added in the coming weeks. There are also plans for mobile apps for Android, iPhone and Blackberry devices.
Credit card companies helping
Of course, neither Chase's nor MasterCard's new offerings are likely to appeal to every SME owner. But both could prove useful to many, and it's good to see credit card companies trying to help out a sector that is arguably the backbone of the American economy.
Published 08/22/12 (Modified 03/19/13)