Posted by Chuck on January 4, 2018
Credit Cards

Published on January 4th, 2018 | by Chuck


Do Business Credit Cards have the same Benefits and Protections as Personal Cards?

Business cards have often have the same benefits as personal cards. They do have less legal protections on fees, rates, and unauthorized charges.

There are various protections offered on credit cards. Always check your credit card to ensure they carry a given benefit as these certainly vary by issuer and card:

  • Price protection A few card issuers will refund the difference if an item you buy goes down in price soon after the purchase
  • Return protection Some card issuers will refund you for buyers remorse if the store won’t take it back
  • Purchase protection Some card issuers will refund you in the event of damage or theft within 90 days of purchase
  • Extended warranty Some card issuers will lengthen the warranty offering by the manufacturer for damage and defects
  • Car rental insurance Some card issuers will cover collision insurance on your rental car
  • Travel protections There are various protections offered on some cards for things like Trip Delay, Baggage Delay, and Lost Baggage
  • Cell phone protection A few cards offer protection on your phone when the bill is paid with their card

For some time, I’ve had this idea in my head that business cards have less protections than personal cards, and found myself deferring to personal cards for clothing and electronics purchases where the protections matter to me.

In fact, business cards clearly offer many of the same benefits that personal cards do. As mentioned, these do vary by card issuer and specific card, but broadly the same benefits are found on both. As an example, my favorite benefit is Return Protection which makes the decision to buy easier. Many business credit card have the exact same return protection as personal cards do.

Amex is my favorite issuer for protections. Almost all Amex card have similar protections, and most of their business cards show the same protections as personal cards. Blue Business Plus is an exception in that it only has warranty and purchase protection, not return protection. Also note that some of the premium personal and business cards have higher limits on purchase protection.

One thing to be aware of is that some issuers put a caveat in the car rental insurance protection of business cards that it’s only for business rentals, not personal. Since there are big dollars at stake in case of an accident, it would be prudent to use a personal card for personal rentals.

There are some legal protections offered on personal credit cards which are not offered on business card. Things like getting notice before the APR changes, 6-month introductory interest rate, 21-day payment window, and similar things which are included in the CARD Act of 2009. Business cards also, theoretically, don’t offer the same protections against unauthorized charges; though as far as I know, in practice, the major card issuers do reimburse for unauthorized charges.

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For Amex, this varies depending on the business card. I noticed this when I needed to return something I bought with my Blue for Business Plus. That card doesn’t have Return Protection (as can be seen in the link in the post).

When I looked at using my Chase Ink business card for a car rental, I was scared off by language that said the rental had to be for business related purposes. I used a personal card instead since the rental was for a personal vacation. Not sure if my fear was warranted and I wonder to what extent other protections could be diluted by the “business related” small print language.

I’ll add that business accounts have significantly fewer protections in regards to unauthorized transaction disputes. With merchant data breaches becoming a weekly/monthly occurrence this major difference can greatly increase the cardholder’s loss exposure:

I agree with Tim above. Car rental protection is tricky – we will typically know only when we file a claim. The T&C clearly say rental protection is provided only when the rental was for business purposes. I haven’t filed a claim seeking rental car protection from a business card, but I assume proving the rental was for business purposes will be difficult for people who do business as individuals (using SSN).

I typically use a personal card to rent (which has primary rental car protection) and while returning, I choose to charge whichever card I need to put the spend on.

To be fair, business cards are supposed to be for business use only. Just don’t make the bank suspicious or angry and they probably won’t care. It is the reason I never got an Ink card.

Chuck — what you listed are credit card benefits, not legal protections.

Do consumer protection laws like the Credit CARD Act, Dodd-Frank, and CFPB protect business accounts?

I think your analysis and title are a bit misleading.
Clearly, Business Cards do NOT offer the same Consumer Protections as Personal Cards.
For example, Personal Cards are required by law to offer “if you are not satisfied with your purchase etc you can call and have the charge removed while it is investigated”.

i thought most amex cards do not offer price protection like citi/chase/discover and others?

Hello, I was wondering if anyone can give me any advice. I am planning on traveling to Cancun with my wife at the end of the month. We were going to rent a car. From what I understand, the rental cost is like $9/week, but there is a mandatory ~$17/day insurance that you must buy, as well as the regular CDW insurance which is around $20/day. I considered using my Ink Preferred but this being more of personal travel, I would rather not risk it. I also have the Southwest Plus, Southwest Biz, Freedom, Amex Biz Platinum, Green, PRG, EDP, BCP, BCE, Biz Plus, Arrival +, Merril Edge from BoA. I used to have the Sapphire Preferred, but Chase gave me the ax back in November. Only was able to get my wife’s cards reinstated… I am thinking about going with the Arrival + as I have enough points to cover the rental. State Farm is my insurance. Thanks in advance!

Probably the most gratuitous example of huge differences between Personal and Business cards is with my JetBlue Plus (personal) and JetBlue Business (business, obviously). A lot of the differences can be chalked up to the differences between the World Elite Mastercard (personal) and World Business Mastercard (business, obviously) levels of the cards, with WE MCs doing a quite a bit more than WB MCs in terms of MC benefits. But then BarclayCard adds even more the personal JetBlue Plus card. So I was going to put some JetBlue TRAVEL spend on the business card, but decided to use my personal card since the travel, purchase, return, and price protections are soooo superior to the business card, even though my CL on the personal card is tiny whereas my business card CL is huge!

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