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6 Business Credit Card Fees You Can Avoid

By Jason Steele –

Credit CardIt seems like America has gone crazy with fees. It’s now standard practice in most industries to quote prices that fail to include several mandatory extra charges, often intermingled with government imposed taxes.

But in the credit card industry, fees are actually under strict government control. All fees must be clearly disclosed in advance, and card issuers aren’t even allowed to use the fine print.

This makes it easy to avoid most fees when it comes to choosing a business credit card. Here are six business credit card fees you should always avoid:

1. Foreign Transaction Fees

Sometimes, it’s necessary to pay a business credit card fee in order to receive a valuable service. However, many credit cards impose a 3% foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside of the United States. This means that you could face this charge when making purchases from a foreign supplier, even if the transaction is in U.S. Dollars. Thankfully, there are many small business cards with no foreign transaction fees. For example, all Capital One cards, including the Spark small business cards, have no foreign transaction fees.

2. Cash Advance Fees

Those who take cash advances on credit cards have a higher risk of default than other cardholders, so most card issuers impose cash advance fees that are often 5% of the amount withdrawn. But there really is no reason why you should ever use your small business credit card for a cash advance. In addition to the high fees, you’ll likely face a very high cash advance interest rate. And to make matters worse, cash advances do not have a grace period. This means that you can’t avoid interest by paying your entire statement balance in full.

3. Late Payment Fees

This is not so much a fee as it is a penalty for missing a payment, usually about $35. There’s no good reason to ever miss a payment and incur this fee, along with a penalty interest rate. With most small business credit cards, you can enable automatic payments to ensure that you are never late. Most card issuers also have email and text reminders that you can enable to notify you of payment due dates. Finally, you can always schedule automatic payments from your bank.

4. Returned Payment Fees

Like late payment fees, most banks will charge you about $35 if your check is returned for insufficient funds. This should be an easy one to avoid.

5. Annual Fees

There are plenty of great small business cards available without an annual fee, and some even offer rewards. For example, Simply Cash Plus Business card from American Express offers you 5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores. You also receive 3% cash back on the category of your choice from a list of eight, and 1% cash back on other purchases. The 5% and 3% cash-back offers apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1% applies thereafter.

But sometimes, it can be worth paying an annual fee to use a premium rewards card that offers benefits that you value in excess of the fee. For example, an airline card could offer you priority service, checked baggage fee waivers and even access to the airport business lounge.

6. Additional User Fees

Most credit cards won’t charge you to add additional authorized users, but some premium cards will. For example, the Platinum Business Card from American Express will charge you $175 to add a total of up to three additional authorized users, but there is an alternative. Rather than giving your employees a Platinum card, you can give them standard Green cards at no additional cost. And if another premium business rewards card charges you an additional user fee, you shouldn’t have a problem opening up an additional account that has no fee for adding employee authorized cardholders.


About the Author: Jason Steele is an expert in the credit card industry. He is frequently quoted in national media and his work is regularly featured by mainstream outlets such as Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, and Business Insider.

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