Best Citi Business Credit Cards - Bankrate.com

Best Citi Business Credit Cards - Bankrate.com


Best Citi Business Credit Cards - Bankrate.com

Posted: 13 Aug 2020 12:00 AM PDT

Citi is an advertising partner.

Most major credit card issuers are known for offering specific types of cards, whether that includes cards within their own loyalty program (i.e. Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards) or credit cards co-branded with specific airlines and hotel brands.

Citi, which first moved into card-based banking with Citicards (a card-based payment system) in 1974, is no exception. When it comes to Citi credit cards, most consumers know about the Citi ThankYou Rewards program, as well as the issuer's relationship with American Airlines and Costco.

Citi also offers two business credit cards that are geared to specific types of customers. Both are rewards credit cards, meaning the cardmember can rack up points for their spending that they can use within a specific loyalty or rewards program.

If you're a small-business owner who wants a business credit card from Citi, you'll want to compare the available options to see which one might work best for your needs. Keep reading to learn about Citi credit cards for business, their main highlights and who they're best for.

Bankrate's picks for the best Citi business credit cards in 2020:

  • Best for frequent flyers: CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
  • Best for gas and bulk shopping: Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

  • Earn 65,000 American AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $4,000 on your card within four months of account opening
  • Earn 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and gas stations; also earn 1X miles on other purchases
  • Qualify for a first checked bag free on domestic flights
  • $0 annual fee the first year, then $99
  • No foreign transaction fees

Why it's best for frequent flyers

The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard is the only Citi business credit card co-branded with an airline, but it's still an excellent option for frequent flyers. The initial bonus on this card is generous, and the fact you can earn 2X miles in so many categories is another major plus. Further, the sign-up bonus alone (currently 65,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first four months) on this card is enough for two round-trip MileSAAver domestic flights or a round-trip flight to Europe during peak season.

This card also comes with some unique benefits that can make travel more affordable. First, you'll receive a free checked bag for yourself and up to four companions traveling on your itinerary. This perk applies to domestic flights marketed by American Airlines.

You can also qualify for a companion certificate, which lets you pay $99 plus taxes and fees for a domestic economy companion fare when you spend at least $30,000 or more on your credit card within a cardmember year and renew your card membership. You do have to pay for a qualifying domestic Main Cabin fare ticket and meet a few additional requirements to qualify.

Finally, this card waives the $99 annual fee for the first 12 months, and you won't pay foreign transaction fees. If you want to earn the bonus and give the cardholder perks a try for 12 months without a fee, the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard makes it easy to do so.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

  • Earn 4 percent back on up to $7,000 spent on eligible gas purchases per year (then 1 percent), 3 percent back on dining and eligible travel, 2 percent back on purchases made at Costco or Costco.com and 1 percent back on everything else
  • No annual fee with your Costco membership and no foreign transaction fees
  • Qualify for extended warranties of up to two years on eligible purchases
  • Costco membership required

Why it's best for gas and bulk shopping

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi is an excellent option if your business spends a lot on gas. You'll earn 4 percent back on up to $7,000 spent on gas annually (then 1 percent), which works out to $280 in rewards if you're able to max out this category each year. Earning 3 percent back on dining and travel is also a major plus, especially since this rate applies to purchases made through the highly valuable Costco travel portal. You'll also earn 2 percent back at Costco and 1 percent back on other purchases, making this offer well-rounded and ideal for people who shop at Costco often.

The only real downside of this card is the fact there's no initial bonus offer. Also, note that you can only redeem your rewards once per year when your February account statement closes and that rewards come in the form of a rewards certificate good for cash back or merchandise at Costco stores.

Consider pairing your card with consumer credit card from Citi

If you're considering a Citi business credit card but are frustrated by your lack of options, you should also take a close look at personal credit cards from Citi. The Citi ThankYou Rewards program has some pretty valuable options, including the Citi Premier℠ Card and the Citi Prestige® Card. Both of these cards let you rack up points good for gift cards, merchandise, travel through the Citi portal and even transfers to Citi airline partners.

If you're a frequent flyer, you could also pair your CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard® with an American Airlines credit card for consumers, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. Keep in mind that you can have a personal and business American AAdvantage card from Citi, and pairing both options can help you earn the welcome bonuses on both cards and earn more rewards over time.

Finally, check out cash back credit cards from Citi, including the popular Citi® Double Cash Card. This card doesn't charge an annual fee, yet you earn a total of 2 percent back for each dollar you spend—1 percent when you make a purchase and another 1 percent when you pay it off.

The information about the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard, the Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi, the Citi Premier Card, the Citi Prestige Card and the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

How to choose a business credit card

Before you choose a Citi business credit card, you should explore your alternatives and decide which card might work best for your needs. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Figure out the type of rewards you want to earn. Before you decide to earn rewards in a specific loyalty program, you should make sure you can actually use them. Compare frequent flyer programs and hotel loyalty programs along with flexible rewards programs that let you redeem points in more than one way. You may find that a cash back credit card or flexible travel card makes more sense for your business than a card that is tied to a specific loyalty program.
  • Compare annual fees. See how business credit cards stack up based on their annual fees and keep in mind that many business credit cards don't charge one. If you decide to pay an annual fee for a credit card, you should make sure you're getting plenty of value in return.
  • See how earning rates align with your spending. Also, make sure any credit card you decide on lets you earn generous rewards based on how you normally spend. If your business typically spends a lot on Amazon.com or in office supply stores, for example, look for cards that offer bonus points in those categories.

Consider pairing cards to optimize your rewards. Decide whether you should only have one credit card or whether you should sign up for a few cards that offer complementary benefits. Sometimes pairing cards with different bonus categories is the best way to ensure your rewards haul grows.

Don't see the card for you? Our CardMatch feature can help you find a card that best fits your needs.

How to accept credit card payments as a business - Bankrate.com

Posted: 14 Mar 2020 12:00 AM PDT

If you run a small business, you need to accept credit card payments. While some businesses manage to survive on cash-only services, today's consumers expect to be able to use debit or credit wherever they go — and if they're shopping online, debit and credit are really the only options.

So that means you need to learn how to accept credit card payments as a small business. There are many different ways of accepting credit card payments as a business, from signing up with a merchant account to using one of the popular third-party services, like Square or PayPal. You can even accept Venmo payments as a small business, which might be a good option if you're marketing towards young people.

Which method of credit card payment processing is right for you? It all comes down to how many credit card transactions you regularly process and whether you need in-person payment processing, online transaction support or both. You should also ask yourself whether you're looking for a provider that can offer a high level of customer service, or whether you're fine with a plug-and-play solution.

How do small businesses accept credit card payments?

The process of paying via credit card might seem simple from the customer's end — swipe the card, sign the receipt — but it's actually a very complex process that involves everything from monitoring credit card balances to checking for potential fraud.

Since small business owners don't tend to have the kind of infrastructure required to check the validity of hundreds of different credit card transactions, they outsource this job to credit card payment processing companies. When a credit card is swiped, chipped or tapped, the processing company contacts the cardholder's bank or lender to confirm the account has funds available. The processing company also runs a few basic fraud checks. All of this happens in just a few seconds, and if everything checks out, the payment goes through.

That's just the first step in accepting credit card payments, though. The credit card processing company also has to ensure that the right amount of money is deducted from the right credit or debit accounts and transferred to your accounts. These transactions tend to happen at the close of every business day, which is one of the reasons why it can often take a day or two for a credit card purchase to show up as a posted transaction.

In exchange for providing all of these services, credit card payment processing companies charge a small amount of money per credit card transaction. Banks and credit card companies also charge a small amount interchange fee for each transaction — and the payment processing company will deduct that money from your credit card payments before transferring the funds to your business account.

Many small business owners find that losing a little bit of money to processing and interchange fees is more than worth the benefits of being able to accept credit card payments. That said, there are ways to minimize the impact of these fees, from choosing the right payment processing service to charging the right prices for merchandise.

Do you need a merchant account?

Businesses that conduct a large volume of credit card transactions (over $10K per month, according to Merchant Maverick) can benefit from a merchant account. Although a merchant account is more expensive to set up and includes monthly fees, it can save you money in credit card processing costs over time.

Smaller businesses, however, may be better served with a payment service provider (PSP). These third-party credit card processing services charge slightly more to process credit card transactions, but they are generally free to set up, with no monthly fees — which means they could be a more economical choice for a business that doesn't quite have the credit card transaction volume to justify a merchant account.

In-store vs. online payments

If your business is entirely brick-and-mortar, credit card transactions may only make up a percentage of the payments you receive from customers. Depending on the type of merchandise you sell and the price points at which you sell it, customers may prefer to pay in cash — or, though it's rarer these days, by check.

That said, giving customers the option to pay by credit is a smart move. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco reports that consumers only use cash for 35 percent of their in-person transactions, which means that retailers who don't offer the option to pay via credit or debit are potentially leaving money on the table.

If your business includes an online storefront (or is solely online), you're going to be working nearly exclusively with credit and debit transactions. Your customers will expect a seamless checkout experience, and anything that makes your payment process appear atypical or unusual might cause them to abandon their shopping carts and take their online shopping dollars elsewhere.

What you need for in-store payments

  • Card reader/terminal: Whether you're using a smartphone attachment or a mounted swipe/chip/tap terminal, you're going to need a tool that can read a customer's credit card.
  • Virtual terminal: If you don't want to get a card reader or physical card terminal, you have the option of accepting credit card payments by typing the credit card number into your smartphone or computer. This is also an effective way of taking credit card payments over the phone.
  • Point-of-sale software: This software charges the right amount of money to the customer's card, gives the customer the option to add a tip, manages receipts, collects emails, tracks purchases, and more.

What you need for online payments

  • Storefront: Your website needs to clearly display all available products or services, in a way that allows potential customers to browse and learn more about what you're offering.
  • Shopping cart: As customers select items to purchase, these items are collected in a virtual shopping cart. A good shopping cart displays both the number of items in the cart and the total cost of the cart (not counting tax or shipping, both of which come into play during the checkout process).
  • Payment gateway: As the name implies, a payment gateway provides a secure way of allowing customers to pay for the products or services in their shopping cart. (Point-of-sale software programs also include payment gateways.)

What is the easiest and cheapest way to accept payments?

There's no single "easy and cheap" method of accepting credit card payments. What's easiest and least expensive for your business will depend on your business's needs, the number of credit card transactions you process on a monthly basis and whether you expect your business to grow significantly in the future.

If your business is just getting started, you'll probably be best served working with a PSP or third-party credit card processing service. While this option comes with slightly higher credit card processing fees, you won't have to pay set-up costs and won't be locked into a monthly contract. In fact, you can stop using the PSP whenever you want, at no charge — which you might want to do when your business has scaled to the point where you are more likely to benefit from the lower fees associated with a merchant account.

If you're interested in exploring payment processing options, Merchant Maverick offers trustworthy merchant account reviews and mobile payment app reviews. Here's a quick rundown of some of the most popular options:

Square

Square offers a variety of payment processing solutions, from point-of-sale terminals to ecommerce platforms — and yes, you can even use Square to process credit card payments on your smartphone. Larger businesses can benefit from Square's customized built-from-scratch payment processing. Prices vary depending on the solution you choose, but the basic point-of-sale system is free to use and charges 2.6 percent + $0.10 per transaction.

Shopify

Shopify offers a single platform with all the ecommerce and point-of-sale features you need to run a small business. The basic Shopify plan is designed for people who are just starting a new business; it costs $29/month plus 2.9 percent + $0.30 per online transaction and a flat 2.7 percent per in-person transaction. Larger businesses might want to consider the more expensive Shopify or Advanced Shopify plans.

PayPal

PayPal helps small businesses by providing a fast, easy online checkout process that consumers already know and trust. Plus, you can use PayPal Here to take in-person payments — whether that's through a chip-and-tap charging stand connected to a point-of-sale system, or a mobile card reader attached to your smartphone. Both the online and in-person payment processing services are free to use; businesses pay 2.9 percent plus a fixed fee depending on the currency for online transactions, and 2.7 percent for in-person transactions.

Stripe

Stripe offers an integrated platform that supports both online and in-person transactions. Businesses pay 2.9 percent + $0.30 per transaction with no setup, monthly or hidden fees. If you use Stripe Terminal to take in-person payments, you'll pay 2.7 percent + $0.05 per transaction; you'll also need to purchase either a $59 or $299 payment reader, depending on your business's needs.

Venmo

Venmo is known for its peer-to-peer transactions, but businesses can also use Venmo to process online credit card payments. You'll need to link Venmo to either Braintree or PayPal Connect before you can begin accepting Venmo payments from customers, but it's one more way to provide a trusted, name-brand method of payment. Venmo transactions cost 2.9 percent + $0.30, with no setup or monthly fees.

How can I accept credit card payments without fees?

There's no way to accept credit card payments without paying fees, so small business owners need to work credit card processing fees into the cost of doing business. Maybe that means raising prices slightly, to ensure your business makes the necessary profit on each item sold. Maybe it means adding a surcharge or convenience fee to payments made via credit, though you'll want to be aware of both state and federal laws regarding surcharge and convenience fees. Some businesses even refuse to accept credit card payments for transactions below a certain dollar amount — there are rules around that as well, so learn them before you start telling customers when they can and can't use credit.

How to choose the best way to accept credit cards as a business

If you are trying to decide how your small business should accept credit cards, start by asking yourself how many credit card transactions your business is currently processing. If your business doesn't currently accept credit card payments, adding a trusted third-party PSP like Square or PayPal can help you begin to process credit card transactions. As your business continues to grow, keep an eye out for the point at which credit card transactions exceed $10K per month. That's when you'll benefit from switching from a PSP to a merchant account; yes, you'll pay a monthly account fee, but you'll save money on every credit card transaction — and once your business hits a certain level, that's the smart move.

If you are trying to choose between credit card processing services, do the math. Add up all the costs of each service on your list, from per-transaction charges to monthly fees, and see which service would charge you the least money to process credit card payments. Fee structures are often different depending on whether the transaction takes place in person or online, so make sure you ask yourself where the majority of your credit card charges are likely to originate. Remember that a business with a large number of credit card transactions might benefit from a service that charges monthly fees but offers low payment processing rates.

You should also ask yourself what other benefits you're getting from each potential service. A payment processing service that also offers a pre-built online storefront, for example, might be a good option for a small-business owner who doesn't want to build out their own storefront and shopping cart functionality. Lastly, don't forget about customer service! Are you the type of business owner who can handle a third-party processor with limited customer service, or would you prefer working with the type of company where an agent is always available to help?

Once you know exactly what you want from your credit card payment service, and how to compare what each service is offering, you'll be able to make the best choice for your business.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Window for Small Businesses to Apply for PPP Funding Closes Saturday - Bay News 9

List of Easy Approval Net 30 Accounts for 2020 - Nav

This new business index offers a more accurate way to forecast recessions - MIT Sloan News