choosing a business credit card key criteria

Choosing a Business Credit Card: 10 Key Criteria

Which credit card is right for your business? This moneyland.ch guide explains the most important criteria to consider when choosing a business credit card.

There is no single Swiss business credit card which is best for all businesses. But some business credit cards are better suited to the specific needs of your business than others. Here moneyland.ch list key criteria to consider in order to choose the right credit card for your business.  

1. Bank or third party issuer?  

In Switzerland, credit cards are provided both by banks and directly by card issuers. Many businesses obtain their credit cards from the bank at which they already have a business account. Some businesses opt for credit cards from a third party issuer because the benefits and conditions of the cards offered by their banks do not match their needs. The business credit card comparison on moneyland.ch can help you make the right choice.  

2. Credit card issuers  

Credit card issuers are responsible for card account administration and customer service. Issuers also determine many of the properties, terms and conditions attached to a card. This also applies to credit cards provided by your bank, because these too are managed by a card issuer.

Example: The credit cards offered by cantonal banks, Raiffeisen banks and many Swiss regional banks are issued by card issuer Viseca. You can obtain cards issued by Cornèrcard and Swisscard regardless of which Swiss bank you work with. Cards issued by UBS and PostFinance are only available to businesses who hold a business account at the corresponding bank.  

3. Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club or Amex?  

Visa and Mastercard credit cards are both accepted by many merchants around the world, though there are differences in the acceptance of each from country to country. Some issuers, like Cornèrcard, offer business credit cards in both Visa and Mastercard versions, with all other properties being identical. Other issuers offer certain business credit cards in Visa or Mastercard versions only. 

Card issuer Swisscard also offers American Express (Amex) cards. Amex cards are not as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard, but may offer additional benefits. Cornèrcard offers Diners Club International credit cards in addition to Visa and Mastercard. Diners Club cards are not as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard, but offer a number of extra benefits. 

4. Business or corporate credit card?  

Many credit card issuers differentiate between business and corporate credit cards. As a general rule, business cards are designed for small businesses, while corporate cards are designed for larger businesses. The number of business credit cards which can be obtained on one card account may be limited (to 5 cards per account in the case of UBS business cards, for example).  

5. Prepaid cards and limited business credit cards

Businesses which want to avoid unwarranted employee spending can place limits on employee credit cards or use prepaid cards. Prepaid cards generally have lower annual fees than credit cards, but also provide less benefits. If you only need a credit card for limited, specific uses, then it is worth noting that there are specialized cards with very specific benefits. For example, there are business credit cards which are designed to simplify purchasing processes and even virtual business credit cards for online purchases. 

6. Annual fees  

Swiss business credit cards are typically somewhat expensive. It is common for business credit cards to have annual fees of 100 or 200 Swiss francs, withe the most expensive cards costing as much as 650 francs per year. As a general rule, the higher the annual fee, the more benefits (insurance, special privileges and rewards) a card provides. The annual fee may be waived for the first year as part of a promotional offer. In that case, you begin paying the annual fee from the second year.

Important: Separate annual fees normally apply to each supplementary card. Some issuers charge reduced annual fees for supplementary cards, but fees can still add up (when you have several employee cards, for example). Note: It is possible to negotiate annual fees when your business requires multiple cards. 

7. Foreign transaction fees  

Pay attention to foreign transaction fees: Depending on the card you use, you will pay a foreign transaction fee equal to between 1% and 2.5% of each foreign currency transaction. Most Swiss credit cards also charge foreign transaction fees when you pay for purchases from foreign merchants in Swiss francs (which is best avoided).

In addition to foreign transaction fees, you also pay hidden fees in the way of exchange rate spreads. Cards from Swiss Bankers do not have foreign transaction fees, but use a significantly poorer exchange rate. If your business regularly uses credit cards to settle charges in specific currencies such as the euro or U.S. dollar, getting a credit card denominated by that currency can be a good idea - ideally in combination with a foreign currency account in the same currency. This can help you avoid foreign transaction fees. Most Swiss card issuers offer euro and U.S. dollar business credit cards in addition to Swiss franc cards.  

8. Online and accounting tools

Whether or not a credit card comes with online tools, accounting tools and options to import purchase records into your business’ bookkeeping software may be another important criteria. Various options may be available depending on the issuer and card. It can be beneficial to get informed about the tools available ahead of applying for a business credit card.  

9. Insurance coverage

Many business credit cards include complementary travel insurance as a benefit. But the specific insurances and amounts of coverage provided vary broadly between cards. If you or your employees travel frequently for business, reviewing the travel insurance coverage provided can pay off. While travel accident insurance which pays a benefit if a cardholder is killed or permanently disabled comes as a benefit with many business credit cards, only a handful of cards offer luggage insurance or fully comprehensive rental car insurance (collision damage waiver and loss damage waiver). You can compare the individual insurance coverages provided by Swiss business credit cards using the business credit card comparison on moneyland.ch.

10. Additional benefits

In addition to insurance coverage, business credit cards may include various other special privileges and benefits. As with insurance coverage, the more special privileges a card provides, the higher the annual fee will normally be. If you do not need special benefits, you can save money by opting for a cheaper credit card. Special privileges which come with some business credit cards include reward programs, memberships, discounts, car rental discounts (at Hertz or Avis, for example), airport lounge access and travel consultation and booking services. Some cards have the option of embedding you company logo on your cards or even customizing the card design, at an additional fee.

Some cards like the business credit cards from Cornèrcard are compatible with mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Garmin Pay or Fitbit Pay. 

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