Posted in Doing business overseas, Travelling Overseas.

You're a business owner and you want a credit card to use overseas. But figuring out the best credit card for travel and international purchases can be tricky, especially if you're a start-up.

Should you use your personal credit card for your business purchases? Or apply for a new credit card that's especially made for business?

We've navigated the vast number of features, benefits and fees to present you with the best credit cards for overseas use.

Business credit cards Vs Personal credit cards

As a business owner, you might feel like you're missing out on the advantages that come with personal credit cards. Especially when it comes to specialised travel credit cards that have additional features like lower costs, complimentary travel insurance and rewards.

You might also find that the rewards programs associated with personal credit cards fit your spending patterns more closely than the incentive programs of business credit cards. Or maybe it's too difficult to gain approval for the business credit card you've applied for.

Whatever the reason, using a personal credit card to cover business purchases is very common - and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, that’s not to say there aren’t any pitfalls to avoid. Like separating your personal and business expenses for accounting and tax purposes.

Luckily, some business credit cards can be synchronised with accounting software like MYOB or Xero™ for easy bookkeeping, tax and accounts reconciliation, which can make life much easier for you. Plus higher credit limits on your business credit card means you'll be able to make larger business expenses if you need to.

No matter whether you decide to use a personal or specialised business credit card, choosing the best credit card for your overseas trips and purchases is a great way to manage your finances and save money so you can focus on what really matters. Your business.

Pros and Cons: Business Credit Cards

Some business credit cards have specific eligibility criteria, such as minimum turnovers, which can make it difficult to get approval. This is usually the case for newly established businesses that have a limited credit history.

But, if you're an established business with a higher turnover, using a business credit card makes sense.

Saying that, it's not all bad news for start-ups. Some credit cards specifically targets start-ups and small business. The question is, are these cards good for overseas business use?

Well, we need to look at whether the foreign transaction fees and other standard charges offset any extra benefits and rewards from these credit cards in more detail.

Firstly, here are the pros and cons of having a business credit card:

Pros Cons
Tick Control over spending for additional cardholders Cross High minimum credit requirements
Tick Special business rewards for travel & merchandise Cross Greater annual fee
Tick Expense management report & itemised purchases Cross High international transaction fees
Tick Tax deductions on spending Cross Minimum annual turnover requirements
Tick Higher credit limits

Pros and Cons: Personal Travel Credit Cards

For small businesses, especially start-ups, personal credit cards can be ideal for overseas use. But it's important to understand the difference between personal standard credit cards and travel credit cards.

There are plenty of benefits for having a travel credit card that offer attractive reward schemes. However, any gains you receive from these travel-related benefits can be offset by higher annual fees and interest rates.

We suggest having a look at the pros and cons for personal travel credit cards below so you can see if it's suitable for your needs.

Pros Cons
Tick Attractive reward schemes available through travel credit cards Cross High minimum credit for travel credit cards
Tick Low or zero international transaction fees Cross High annual fees
Tick Complimentary travel and/or medical insurance offered with a lot of cards Cross Extra cost for additional card holders
Tick Frequent flyer points to help you get discounted or free flights Cross High minimum monthly salary requirement
Tick Lounge access often available Cross Usually have to be a permanent Australian resident

I've decided to go for a business credit card. Now which one should I use choose?

Payment ATM Cashless Credit Card MoneyAs a business owner, your cashflow will be front of mind. Particularly if you need to spend on overseas purchases and travel. There are two key considerations. Do you want a low cost credit card? Or is a rewards-based credit card better?

For a start-up, you might not have the cash available in the early days to get real value from reward programs. In this instance, a low-rate credit card will be a more cost-effective option.

On the flip side, many cards offer spending rewards, which can be a valuable incentive if you use the card frequently for  overseas travel or purchases. These credit cards offer a range of other perks like fraud cover, travel insurance, access to airport lounge facilities, and ‘concierge’ services. While these credit cards may seem attractive, they are probably more expensive, with higher annual fees, interest rates and foreign transaction fees.

Other Costs

When it comes to choosing your credit card, interest rates are not the only costs you have to consider. Most cards have an application or an annual fee, and some may charge extra fees for additional cards or late payments.

For a low cost "no frills" credit card you can get introductory interest free days or lower annual fees, but you need to check whether this is offset by higher interest rates on purchases or foreign transaction fees.

However, if you decide you do want a rewards-based credit card, make sure you’re carrying a credit card that won’t erase all your reward earnings with a needless foreign transaction fee.

Either way, all your expenses may be tax deductible as a business expense.

Key Fees and Charges

All up, there are 8 main fees and charges involved with credit cards:

  1. Purchase Interest Rate
  2. Annual Fee
  3. Balance Transfer Interest Rate
  4. Cash Advance Interest rate and cash advance fee
  5. Late payment fee
  6. International Transaction fee
  7. Emergency fee: Lost or stolen and needs replacement
  8. Additional cardholder fees

Business Credit Card: Fees and Charges

For business credit cards, we’ve put together two tables showing you the main fees and charges involved for cards that are low cost and cards that are rewards-based.

Low Cost Business Credit Cards

Business Credit Cards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Balance Transfer Interest Rate Cash Advance Fee & Interest Rate Late payment fee International Transaction fee  Additional Card Holder Fee
Bank of Melbourne Business Vantage Visa 9.99% p.a. for new cards (up to 55 days free interest) $55 Nil $2.50 if your account is in credit. 2% of the cash advance amount (max $150) if your account is in debit; 17.15% $15 3% $0 for 9 additional cardholders
Bankwest
Business Mastercard Low Rate
0% for 13 months; 11.99% p.a. thereafter (up to 55 days) $99 ($0 in first year) 0% p.a. for 13 months with 2% balance transfer fee 2% or $4, (whichever is greater); 11.99% $35 2.95% $0 for 3 additional cardholders
ANZ
Business Low Rate
12.99% (0 interest free days) $100 21.99% p.a. 1.5% or $1.50 (whichever is greater); 14.49%  p.a. 3% of closing balance 2.5% $0
CBA
Business Low Rate Credit Card
14.55% p.a (0 interest free days) $0 5.99% for first 5 months with 1% balance transfer fee $2.50 or 1.5% (whichever is greater); Overseas is $4.00 or 1.5% (whichever is greater); 14.55%p.a. $20 3% $0
NAB
Low Rate Business Card
13.25% p.a (0% in first year) (up to 55 days interest free) $60p.a. ($0 in first year) Nil 2% or $2.50, (whichever is greater); 13.25%p.a. $15 3% $0

All figures were collected in September 2018

Rewards-base Business Credit Cards

Business Credit Cards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Balance Transfer Interest Rate Cash Advance Fee & Interest Rate Late payment fee International Transaction fee  Additional Cardholder & Rewards Fee
NAB Qantas Business Signature Card 18.50% p.a. (up to 55 days free interest) $295 21.74% p.a. 2% or $2.50 (whichever is greater);
21.74% p.a.
$15 3% plus $4.00 overseas ATM withdrawal $0 for 4 additional cardholders
Bendigo Bank Qantas Business Mastercard 19.99% p.a. (up to 44 days) $89 Nil 0.5% or $3.25 (whichever is greater); 21.99% $15 3% plus $5.00 overseas ATM withdrawal Free Rewards for additional cardholders (Usually $89.50 p.a.)
American Express Gold Business Card Rate Depends on your account (up to 51 days) $169 + $80 for rewards program Nil 2% or $2.50 (whichever is greater); Interest on cash advances are not offered $30 0% $119 for 99 additional cardholders + $80 p.a. for optional rewards program
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card 16.99% p.a (up to 55 days interest free) $395 Nil 2% or $2.50 (whichever is greater); Interest on cash advances are not offered $30 0% $0 for 99 additional cardholders
ANZ Business Black 20.24% p.a (up to 55 days interest free) $300 0% for first 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee 1.5% (whichever is greater); 21.74% p.a. $35 2.5% $0 for additional cardholders +$75 Rewards per card per year

All figures were collected in September 2018

What are the benefits and rewards of these business credit cards?

In any situation, make sure you're happy with the level of benefits and rewards you get for your expenses, before you commit to a business credit card.

We’ve put together a table below summarising the benefits and rewards for the cards mentioned in this article in the month of September, 2018. This should give you some idea of what you will get, but we suggest doing your own research before applying, because offers can change.

 

Low-Cost Business Credit Cards Benefits Rewards-based Business Credit Cards Rewards
Bank of Melbourne Business Vantage Visa
  • Complimentary insurance against fraudulent use and unauthorised transactions
  • Cardholder management for up to 9 additional cardholders
  • Easier expense reporting
NAB Qantas Business Signature Card
  • 100,000 bonus Qantas points for $5,000 spend within 60 days of new account
  • Earn 1 Qantas Point for every $1.50 spend and you decide which cardholder gets the rewards
  • Complementary travel and medical insurance
Bankwest
Business Mastercard Low Rate
  • Cardholder management with 3 extra cardholders
  • Card personalisation at no extra cost
Bendigo Bank Qantas Business Mastercard
  • Earn 0.3 Qantas points per $1 spent on eligible purchases
  • Save 20% on Qantas Club Memberships for you and your employees
ANZ
Business Low Rate
  • Unauthorised transactions insurance for up to $37,500 per cardholder
  • Simple monthly statements with data feeds to Xero, MYOB, etc
  • Cardholder control spending
  • Complementary Transit accident insurance
American Express Gold Business Card
  • 3X points from 5 categories, 2X points on remaining 4 categories
  • Extra 50,000 membership reward points after $5,000 within first 3 months
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Travel and transportation protection including car rental loss and damage, roadside assistance, baggage insurance
CBA
Business Low Rate Credit Card
  • 24/7 emergency assistance overseas if you lose your card
  • Access to experiences and offers exclusive to MasterCard holders
  • Complimentary Transit Accident and unauthorised transaction insurances
  • Transaction location mapping
ANZ Business Black
  • 1.5 ANZ Reward points per $1 spend up to $10,000; 1.0 ANZ reward points per $1 spend over $10,000 (excludes tax)
  • 0.5 ANZ reward points per $1 spend on tax
  • Complimentary transit insurance
  • Business Concierge & ANZ Spend Insights
NAB
Low Rate Business Card
  • Complimentary Unauthorised Transaction Insurance
  • Personalise your card with your business name
  • Attach multiple cards and set individual credit limits under one facility.
  • Monthly statements for each cardholder
  • Link your accounting data via Xero or MYOB online
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
  • 75,000 bonus reward points when you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
  • $400 travel voucher awarded to additional cardholders
  • Complimentary lounge access 2x at Sydney or Melbourne
  • 2 points per $1 spent (no cap); 0.5 points per $1 spent for government payments

Final Tips for Your Decision

Businessman pressing Payment button at his office

You should only apply for a business credit card if you are confident you can pay back your loan. You need to be able to meet your minimum repayments, otherwise you'll be hit by hefty interest rates.

Most lenders offer a range of business credit cards aimed at different types of business, and some of these cards have specific eligibility criteria, such as minimum turnover. Make sure you understand your requirements before you apply for a business credit card, so you're not wasting time sending in all the relevant documents, only to get rejected from your application.

Whether you’re just starting out in business or are well-established in your field, here are five business and five personal credit cards we think you should consider using for your overseas travel or purchases. We have taken into account total fees, pros and cons, rewards and interest rates to come up with this list.

Business Credit Cards Personal Credit Cards
1. Bankwest Business Low Rate MasterCard 1. 28 Degrees Card
2. American Express Business Explorer Card 2. Citibank Simplicity Card
3. American Express Gold Business Card 3. ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Card
4. NAB Low Rate Business Card 4. American Express Explorer Card
5. ANZ Business Black Card 5. Virgin Velocity High Flyer Card

 

Whatever your reason for applying for a business or personal credit card, there is plenty of information online so we suggest doing your own research first before applying to make sure you get the right card for you.

 

 

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