Visa boosts credit lines, perks for small-business cards

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Visa is retooling its small-business credit cards by expanding credit card lines, adding travel insurance and product-warranty extensions and making it easier for business owners to integrate card accounts with accounting software.

The move aims to give small and midsize banks another tool to compete with small-business credit card sector specialists like Brex, whose rewards card targets startups, and U.S. Bank’s Leverage rewards card for entrepreneurs. Brex and Leverage were introduced last year.

The Visa Infinite Business product suite targets about 30 million high-spending U.S. small-business owners, extending a new level of perks not available with Visa’s Signature Business and general business credit card products, Visa said in a Wednesday press release.

“We have developed an all-encompassing offering that empowers and rewards small business owners for pursuing their passion,” David Simon, Visa’s senior vice president and global head of small business and medium enterprises, said in the release.

Just over half of U.S. small-business owners tap credit cards for daily business operations, Visa said.

It’s clear there’s an opportunity to expand small-business owners’ spending on company credit cards, but it’s a tough niche where American Express thrives and other issuers have had mixed experiences, according to Brian Riley, director of Mercator Advisory Group’s Credit Advisory Service.

Many small-business owners lean on personal cards for business expenses because they carry superior purchase protection, and many dedicated small-business credit cards require dual guarantees from both the company and the owner, which can weigh down balance sheets, Riley said.

“Visa’s new offering might change some of these barriers,” Riley said, pointing to Visa’s promise to expand credit lines and streamline card use by integrating with major accounting software packages. Adding warranty extensions and travel protections are another plus many small businesses could use, he noted.

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