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Does the CARD Act Help Your Small Business?

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, usually just referred to as the CARD Act, offers numerous provisions that protect individuals from unfair practices used in the credit card industry. Just because the CARD Act helps you as an individual, however, doesn’t mean that it helps your business.

CARD Act Provisions

Some of the most important provisions in the CARD Act include those that protect card holders from

  • companies that arbitrarily raise interest rates without any explanation or notification
  • companies that retroactively raise interest rates
  • companies that issue excessive fees

Clearly, these rules can help consumers use credit cards more easily without getting duped by companies that don’t have any problem taking advantage bad situation. Here’s a factsheet that explains the act’s protections in more detail.

Do the CARD Act’s Protections Apply to Your Business

If you have a credit card in your businesses name, then you don’t have protections outlined in the CARD Act. The CARD Act was specifically designed to protect consumers. Of course, you could argue that your business is a consumer when it is buying something from another company. Unfortunately, your rather astute argument will fall on deaf ears.

There is an exception, though. If you use your personal credit card to pay for business expenses, then you get the protection promised by the CARD Act. That might seem like an easy fix, but there are plenty of reasons to avoid mixing personal and business expenses. For instance, it can make the IRS ask a lot of questions about why some things on your personal credit card are considered business expenses when they seem like personal expenses.

Also, you don’t want to hand out copies of your personal credit card to employees. With company cards, you can let employees use them whenever they need to buy something for the business or when they have to take a business trip. It’s convenient and you are not ultimately responsible for paying the bill if one of your employees decides to go on a shopping spree with the company card. Give them your personal card, though, and you might have to pay up.

Protecting Your Business From Unfair Practices

Since the government isn’t protecting your business, you’ll have to do a little extra work to make sure your credit card company isn’t trying to take advantage of you. Check your monthly statements closely. If you notice a rate hike or an undeserved charge, contact the credit card company and ask them to remove the higher prices. If they refuse, then it’s time to start shopping for a new card from a more ethical business. There are plenty of credit card companies out there. One of them wants to give you an account that doesn’t come with surprise charges.



Matt Thompson has written for numerous online and print publications. He has spent time as an editor for a media research company that supplies marketing materials to some of the country's most influential corporations.