American Express offers dozens of cards that are targeted at both consumers and businesses. What you may not realize, however, is that you don’t need to be a business owner to receive a so-called business credit card. In some circumstances, it may actually make more sense to have a business card for your personal use.
A good example is the SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express, which can be used by people who aren’t business owners and which returns substantial benefits for certain types of purchases.
- 5% Cash Back on Wireless Purchases. The Simply Cash Business Card makes it easy to schedule automatic payments to your wireless provider and earn an impressive cash back rate on your expensive smartphone mobile plan. This is one of many ways you can lower your monthly cell phone bills.
- 5% Cash Back on Office Supplies. Get a class-leading cash back rate on all purchases at any office supply store.
- 3% Cash Back on Gasoline. Gas is a huge expense for most families, and chances are that gas prices will keep going up. Unlike a credit card from a specific gasoline retailer, this card will get you a discount at any station you visit in the U.S.
- 1% Cash Back on All Other Purchases. This is not an exceptional rate of return for a cash back card.
- Additional Savings at OPEN Partners. Many credit cards offer increased discounts at merchants selling high-margin goods such as gifts and flowers. The American Express OPEN program offers discounts of as much as 5% at places you likely frequent even more, such as OfficeMax, Fedex Kinko’s, and Barnes & Noble.
- Incredible Cash Back Rates on Certain Purchases. 5% on both wireless and office supplies can’t be beat in a world where 2% reward cards, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards card, are highly regarded. Even the 3% cash back rate on gasoline purchases is above average. However, each of the 5% and 3% cash back categories are capped at $12,000 in purchases per rebate year.
- OPEN Partner Savings. You can realize substantial savings on common purchases at places such as FedEx and OfficeMax.
- No Annual Fee. You can use this card just for gas, wireless, and office supplies in order to maximize your cash back without worrying about covering the cost of an annual fee.
- Delayed Statement Credits. When you make a purchase, your cash back comes in the form of a statement credit the following month. There really is no way to ensure that you get the correct cash back rate for each purchase unless you call every month to verify each charge. You have to trust American Express to properly code the transactions to ensure you get your promised rewards.
- High APR. This is a rewards credit card, and like all such cards, it is recommended only for people and businesses that are able to pay off their balances in full and on time every month. If that is not possible, you should be looking for a card with the lowest interest rates.
- Foreign Transaction Fees. American Express charges its customers a 2.7% fee on all transactions processed outside of the United States. Only the American Express Platinum Card is exempt. While that is still less than the cash back rate on wireless charges, office supplies, and even gasoline, there are other cards that deliver great returns without these unnecessary fees.
- Uncompetitive Reward Rate for Most Purchases. 1% cash back is a fairly marginal rate of return for a cash back card. If you think you’d use this card mostly for purchases outside of the higher-rate categories, you can probably do better with another card. See a list of the best cash back credit cards for more options.
- Rewards Are Capped. You can only earn the 5% rewards on wireless and office supply products on your first $12,000 of spending every year. The same is true of the 3% cash back on gasoline. This is not a problem for most individuals and very small businesses, but it would be a constraint if you have more than a handful of employees.
- No CARD Act Protections. One of the loopholes of the CARD Act of 2009 is that business credit cards are exempt from its protections. If you have this card, you should be aware of this. Be sure to pay your balances in full and on time to avoid the kind of tricks and traps that personal credit cards can’t get away with anymore.
If you were to use this card to pay for all of your expenses, you would probably be better off with a more well-rounded rewards card. The SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express makes the most sense if you use it as a niche product to buy gasoline, pay your monthly wireless bills, and buy office supplies. If you can realize substantial savings in these preferred spending categories, you have nothing to lose by obtaining a card like this with no annual fee.
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.