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Associated Bank has three business credit cards. Whether you’re looking for an extended introductory rate or rewards for your spending, Associated Bank has a card to offer you. Even if your business checking account is with another bank, you might want to take a look at the Associated Bank business credit cards to see if any of the three cards would meet your needs. To help you understand and compare the cards, we’re bringing you this in-depth review.
See Your Business Credit Card Options
First up on our review is the Associated Bank Visa® Business Real Rewards Credit Card. With this card, you’ll earn 1.5x points for every $1 you spend on eligible net purchases. That’s a rewards rate that the bank says is equivalent to 1.5% cash back.
Love to rack up rewards? The good news is that there’s no cap or limit on the number of points you can earn with the card. The bad news is that the points expire. You’ll have five years to redeem your rewards before they disappear for good. You can redeem them for a deposit into a checking or savings account with the bank or use your points for a statement credit on your Associated Bank business credit card.
Interested in getting a welcome bonus when you sign up for a business credit card? The Associated Bank Visa® Business Real Rewards Credit Card comes with a bonus of 2,500 points after you make your first purchase. Okay—it’s not the most generous welcome bonus we’ve seen, but on the positive side you don’t have to hit a certain spending limits in your first months as a cardholder, as you do to get some of the welcome bonuses on other business credit cards.
We know credit card names can get confusing. What distinguishes the Associated Bank Visa® Business Real Rewards Credit Card from the Associated Bank Visa® Business Rewards Plus Credit Card? The “Plus” is a clue. The Associated Bank Visa® Business Rewards Plus Credit Card offers a more generous rewards rate for cardholders.
With the Associated Bank Visa® Business Rewards Plus Credit Card, you’ll earn up to 3x rewards on whichever category you spend the most on in one of the following categories: cellular phone services, airlines, or hotels. Confused? We don’t blame you. The base rewards rate on the Associated Bank Visa® Business Rewards Plus Credit Card is 1.5x points per dollar you spend. Each billing cycle, you’ll get an additional 1.5x points for every dollar you spend in whichever category has the highest value of purchases out of the three categories we mentioned (cellular phone services, airlines, or hotels). That’s how you get to the total of 3x points in one of those categories. Say you book flights to a conference one month and airlines are your highest spending category out of the three. You’ll get 3x points on those airline purchases and 1.5x points on everything else.
Some credit cards with tiered rewards require you to keep track of rotating categories. You might know people who use a certain credit card for gas, for example, because they know that the gas rewards are higher on that card in a given quarter or month. The advantage of the Associated Bank Visa® Business Rewards Plus Credit Card is that you don’t have to keep track of any of that. You’ll just get that 3x rewards rate on your highest purchase category (out of cellular phone service, airline, or hotel purchases) automatically.
Like the Associated Bank Visa® Business Real Rewards Credit Card, the Associated Bank Visa® Business Rewards Plus Credit Card comes with a welcome bonus. The difference is that the bonus on the Associated Bank Visa® Business Rewards Plus Credit Card is more generous. As a cardholder, you’ll get 20,000 bonus rewards points after you spend $2,000 in your first three months with the card. Keep in mind that it may take six to eight weeks for those points to show up once you hit the $2,000 spending minimum.
The third and final card on our review is the Associated Bank Visa® Business Platinum Credit Card. Don’t let the word “Platinum” fool you. This card isn’t the fanciest of the Associated Bank business credit cards. Instead, the card skips rewards in favor of an introductory APR offer. If you have balances to transfer from another card or you’re anticipating some cash flow hiccups and want a break on your interest charges, this card might interest you.
As always with introductory APR offers on credit cards, keep in mind that nothing lasts forever. Once the introductory period ends your interest rate will jump to a variable APR that will be based on a combination of your creditworthiness and the market Prime Rate. The best way to benefit from one of these offers is to pay everything down before that rate jump happens. That way, you’ll be starting with a clean slate and you can pay off your bill in full each billing cycle. It may sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people transfer balances and don’t manage to pay them off before the introductory period ends. Setting a budget can help you make the most of this kind of offer.
The three Associated Bank business credit cards aren’t the only business credit cards on the market. As a business owner, you have lots of choices. You may even be getting offers already from financial institutions that want your business. So how do you choose the right business credit card for you?
One question to get you started is whether you have balances you need to transfer to a card with a low introductory APR. If the answer is “yes,” that’ll narrow down your options. Although it’s possible to get both an introductory APR deal and another card benefit like rewards or a signup bonus, be prepared to make some compromises if what you’re after is an introductory APR offer. You may not be able to get the best rewards deal on the market—and that’s okay. Once your balances are paid off you can always reevaluate your needs and decide whether a rewards card is right for you.
If you’re ready to shop for a rewards business credit card now, there are other choices to be made. Do you want cash back or points? Are there certain spending categories like travel that are big parts of your budget? If so, a card like the Associated Bank Visa® Business Rewards Plus Credit Card, which offers higher rewards on airline and hotel purchases, could be a solid option for you.
It may sound boring, but combing through your business purchases and categorizing your spending (if you don’t already use a program or app that does this for you) can be a great starting point when you’re shopping for a business credit card. It’ll take the guesswork out of deciding which bonuses would actually provide a benefit to you. For example, a lot of business credit cards offer higher rewards rates for office supplies. If you never shop at office supply stores, this won’t do you much good.
Unless you have razor-thin margins, the success of your business probably won’t depend on the bonuses, cash back, or points you get from your business credit card. But that doesn’t mean choosing a business credit card is unimportant. If you have the drive to start your own business we’re guessing you’re the kind of person who wants to get the most out of your money. The right business credit card can help you do just that.