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Welcome to the next installment of our Small Business Card Reader Success Series, where Million Mile Secrets Readers share how they opened a small business credit card to get Big Travel with Small Money!
Small Business Card Interview: Kim Crossley
Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your small business.
Hi, my name is Kim and I’m a travel junkie. I own 2 small businesses: one is printing & promotional products, and the other is pest control. To support my travel habits, I use credit cards exclusively for all my business expenses.
I am married to David, also a business owner and the king of award travel. 🙂
I started my first business from scratch – no seed money, no financial support from a rich uncle, no lottery winnings – I started with literally nothing. Although my second business was inherited, the meager funds that were in the business were tied up in probate for over a year, so I made business loans from the first company to keep the second company afloat.
Why did you decide on the card(s) you chose?
When my first company formed in 2008, I opened my business account with Chase. Since I already had a relationship with them for my personal accounts, as well as a relationship with the local branch, I thought that would be the best (and easiest!) place to start. When I inherited my second business in 2015, I again went straight to Chase.
Describe the application. ex. Did you apply as a sole proprietor with your social security number or some other way?
Since both companies are S-Corporations, I have federal Employer Identification Numbers (EIN) which are tied to my business banking transactions. I spent a little extra money up front to form the corporations, but enjoy the tax advantages of those formations versus sole proprietorships. It’s also nice to be able to apply for credit using an EIN instead of a Social Security Number so my personal credit is not affected by my businesses.
Approximately how much annual small business income did you list on your application? (Or if you’re not comfortable sharing that, which factors do you think lead to your applications being approved?)
The initial credit line from Chase was adequate, although not generous. After all, I was a new startup which carried a certain amount of risk for them. But, they did have access to my personal banking history, so they could see I wasn’t a huge risk. They were monitoring my spending habits as closely as I was, and over time my credit limit was increased to a level that was considerably more than where it started.
Seven years later, I went back to my local Chase branch to set up the second business. Even though I had a lengthy personal history with them, as well as business history from the first business, they were once again conservative with credit limits. And, once again, those limits were increased over time.
With a new business, the last thing I wanted to “invest” in were annual fees, so I opted for the no-annual-fee Chase Ink Classic cards. And I charged literally everything on them – supplies, home office expenses, sales tax payments – everything. Then I made sure to pay them off in full, every month, on time.
After I had a handle on spending habits, I started applying for other cards through different banks – Citi, Capital One, and AMEX. Same scenario, different day – initial credit limits were low, but were increased over time as I developed a history of paying in full and on time every month.
What would you tell someone who’s never applied for a small business card?
Every time I applied for a new card, the decision on which card to get was based solely on the best available offer. I didn’t have airline or hotel elite status, so I was chasing points based strictly on points value. For each new card I applied for, I made sure to take advantage of the best current offer and, most importantly, made sure I would be able to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to get the bonus.
Now the fun part! How do you plan to use your miles or points to get Big Travel with Small Money? 🙂
We have been around the world, literally, on points and miles. We have chosen air routes based on places we could get free stopovers for exploring. And have chosen hotels based on free breakfasts and being able to make dinner out of lounge hors d’oeuvres. There’s really no better feeling than building a healthy, financially responsible company, and rewarding yourself with free travel along the way.
As of this month, I have 1,979,558 points spread across seven different programs. My goal, once I hit an even 2 million, is to take an extravagant and well-earned trip to Mauritius. First Class, of course. 😉
Thanks for sharing your small business card experience, Kim!
Want to Share Your Story?
If you’d like to share your small business card success, please send me a note! Emily and I would love to hear about how it went for you!