Small Business Owners: Watch Out for Your Business Credit Card Charges

credit card charges
Credit card charges
Business credit cards for small business owners are essential tools to “make your life easier.” Other than providing a form of financing for your business purpose, you can enjoy perks, such as discounts on office supplies, gas, travel purchases, and many more.

Now, if you use your business credit cards on regular basis, chances are you might not be aware of the credit card charges if you happen to do a late payment or exceed your credit limits (well, you shouldn’t in the first place!) These charges are ‘hidden’ in the form of service fees, and they could be unreasonable, especially compared to the amount of the late payment.

In the UK, this become a major controversy as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found out in their investigation back in 2006 that credit card companies charges fees that are unreasonable in amount, averaging £30-£35. OFT then ‘forced’ credit card companies to lower their charges to £12. OFT then recommend credit card holders to claim back credit card charges – not only the difference, but the entire amount.

I remembered that I once had a £20 credit card charge for one late payment when I was living in the UK some years ago, before the OFT investigation – back then, we make no fuss about the charge. Well, maybe we should – on that particular month I only use £50 on the credit limit; with £20 late fee, it’s unreasonable, indeed!

I’m not sure what’s inside the credit card contracts in other countries (including in my home country today,) but transparencies in credit card charges are probably lacking, too. Credit card holders, surprisingly, don’t really care to question their credit card charges (back then, I didn’t, too) – investigating this would probably yield the same findings as OFT’s.

In conclusion, I recommend you once again to closely monitor purchases on your business credit cards. If you happen to have several business credit cards, you might want to consolidate them into one or two credit cards you use on regular basis (which also bear the most benefits than the other cards) – this is to avoid the possibilities of late fees and exceeding the credit limits.

You should also inquire your credit card issuers regarding any unreasonable charges or any other questionable charges – bear in mind, when you are abroad and make a purchase on your ‘local’ credit cards, you might be charged with hidden fees (a.k.a. service fees) you might not be aware of; having yourself well-informed is one of the keys to avoid unnecessary credit card-related expenses.

Ivan Widjaya
On unlawful credit card charges