Personal Liability on Business Credit Cards
Small business owners who are just starting out in the industry, or those who are trying to rebuild their credit, will find that securing business credit cards for their businesses means that they have to accept liability for the business credit cards in their personal capacity.
. Issuers of business credit cards will only waive this requirement if the business has been in existence for at least two years, generates revenues of around two million dollars per annum, and employs 25 or more people. If the business does not meet these criteria, the business credit card issuers will use the credit history of the principal making the business credit card application as their basis for evaluating credit risk.
Do note that most business credit card issuers will not approve your application for a business credit card unless you agree to the personal liability provision. This essentially makes a business credit card the same as a personal credit card from a personal liability point of view. Hence, whenever your business fails to repay the business credit cards, the issuer may invoke the personal liability agreement in order to collect payment from the business credit card principal.
Because of this personal liability provision on your business credit card application, your personal credit reports will also contain a record of your business credit card history. You will therefore damage your personal credit score if you make late payments on your business credit cards. If your business accumulates a big debt, it will inflate your personal debt burden and cause you to appear overextended.
The personal liability agreement, however, is not always cast in concrete. If you can show that you diligently make your regular payments, you should be able to convince the issuer of business credit cards to remove the provision after a few years. It would really be up to the issuers whether they decide to grant you your request or not. Nonetheless, you could always try to negotiate with them. Whatever the case may be, endeavor to have the business establish its own credit history. This will eventually allow you to separate your small business credit card from your personal credit records.
You must be aware that since business credit cards are not intended to be used by consumers, the consumer protections applicable to personal credit card are not necessarily present in business credit cards. When making use of personal credit cards, the law grants you the right to dispute billing errors on your account within the specified period of time. Within this period, the card issuer cannot mark the disputed amount delinquent or cancel the card. This particular right of the consumer is not applicable to the holders of business credit cards.
When you receive ordered merchandise in poor condition, you cannot dispute the charges and in case the vendor refuses to cooperate, request the business credit card company to intervene on your behalf – as they do in the case of personal credit cards. With business credit cards, you are largely on your own.
So, should you carry a small business credit card rather than a personal credit card? The answer is: Yes. Once your business has established its track record, you can separate personal and business finances. That will work well – both for you and your business.
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