American Express business cards are built with the needs of business owners in mind. They come with a range of tools and features to help owners run and grow their businesses, as we briefly explored in our first article in this series on the American Express business card range.

Today, we’ll examine three key benefits of using an American Express card in more detail: boosting cash flow, easily keeping track of expenses, and being rewarded for everyday purchases.

Improve business cash flow

No matter whether you choose a charge card or a credit card for your business (we explained the difference in our previous article), you can increase day-to-day cash flow by paying for expenses with your American Express card instead of other methods like cash, cheque or EFT.

With a credit card, you can either pay the entire balance in full at the end of the month to minimise interest, or pay part of the balance and access your revolving line of credit to increase cash flow even further (in which case interest charges apply).

Charge cards are designed to be paid off in full each month, however they do have a Flexible Payment Option (FPO) which allows you to free-up cash flow with an instant line of credit. Instead of paying your balance in full each statement period, you can choose to pay off a portion of it over time up to your FPO limit (interest charges apply).

Charge cards also have the benefit of a dynamic spending limit, which can help with managing cash flow. This does not mean you can make unlimited spending, rather your purchases are approved based on a variety of factors, including current spending patterns, your payment history, credit records, and financial resources. This gives you the power to increase your spending capacity over time. Credit cards, on the other hand, have a fixed credit limit.

American Express is widely accepted both in Australia and overseas. However, if a supplier doesn’t accept Amex or card payments generally, you can still pay them with your card via American Express AccessLine. We’ll discuss AccessLine in more detail in the next article in this series, but in summary the way it works is that American Express charges your card and then deposits funds into your supplier’s bank account. While fees do apply, you can get the extra cash flow boost and also earn reward points on the transaction.

With money in your bank account for longer, you’ll have more flexibility to invest in your business to help it grow.

Keep track of expenses

By using your card to pay for everything from inventory to bills, you can keep all expenses in one place and easily monitor outgoings.

It’s very simple to keep track of your live account balance online and via the Amex smartphone app, where you can also view recent transactions.

Another handy oversight tool is setting up instant alerts via email or SMS for such things as balance updates and payment notifications.

To help track employee purchases, you can provide team members with up to 99 additional cards linked to your account (at no extra cost for some cards – see our earlier article comparing the different cards for more information). This also helps you earn more reward points across the business.

Finally, all transactions can be easily downloaded into bookkeeping software like MYOB and Xero, which simplifies accounting.

Turn business expenses into rewards

By putting business spend on your card and additional employee cards, you can maximise the number of points earned by your business and be rewarded for those purchases.

Depending on which card you choose, you can earn Qantas Points or Amex’s own Membership Rewards points on purchases.

These points can be used for a variety of redemptions. If your card earns Qantas Points, they will be automatically transferred to the airline’s loyalty program each month. From there you can transfer points to other people, or redeem them for flights, hotels, gift vouchers and other rewards.

If you opt for a card that earns Membership Rewards points, you can manually transfer them to 8-10 airline frequent flyer programs, depending on the card, when the time is right. You can also use Membership Rewards points to pay for travel via American Express Travel, or redeem them for gift cards or to pay for purchases on the card. Right now, 20,000 Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for $100 of gift cards, travel or card purchases – a potentially attractive option for businesses looking to save money.

To help you choose which card is right for you, check out our earlier article where we compare the cards in the range.

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