How Credit Cards Can Help Boost MSMEs’ Growth

July 16, 2023

Credit cards are great tools not just to help manage personal finances but they can also help MSMEs grow their businesses.

I’ve always believed that credit cards when used prudently, can help us manage our finances. For families who find it challenging to budget their money, credit cards can help make ends meet as long as they spend within their means (and pay on time). But more than just plastic for purchases, credit cards can be a powerful tool for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to gain ready access to funds and manage their finances.

How Credit Cards Can Help Boost MSMEs’ Growth

How Credit Cards Can Help Boost MSMEs’ Growth


However, there is still a need to raise awareness of the use of credit cards for business, according to the Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP).

“We know that MSME owners often mix their personal and business finances. They use their personal credit cards to pay for bills or purchases related to their business, enabling them to manage tight cash flow situations. Credit cards can be more than that,” said CCAP executive director Alex Ilagan.

He said credit cards can serve as an available credit line for MSMEs looking for a convenient source of working capital without the need to formally apply for a business loan “which can be a tedious process and may even require putting up collateral that they do not have.” 

MSMEs can also use credit cards to pay for things they need to seamlessly run their business, such as purchasing equipment and supplies and paying utility bills, among others. Some CCAP member companies issue special types of credit cards for MSME needs such as Purchasing or Procurement Card, Distribution Card, Corporate Card for Travel and Entertainment, and Fleet Card for fuel credit.

Based on CCAP’s quarterly survey of its members comprising the 17 major credit card issuers in the country, there are a total of 11.8 million credit cards issued in the Philippines as of the first quarter of 2023. Of the total, 65% are considered as “transactors” who pay their total outstanding balance in full every month while only 35% are “revolvers” who pay only the minimum amount or any amount less than the full outstanding balance, CCAP said, citing available data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Mr. Ilagan said MSMEs must know the billing cycle for proper money management. “There is a 30-day monthly billing cycle and 21-day payment grace period provided by credit card issuers so MSMEs can enjoy interest-free credit for up to 51 days from the date of transaction. Best to use your card just right after the billing cut-off date indicated in the billing statement because it will allow you to enjoy the longest interest-free credit float,” he advised.

In addition, CCAP shares these five tips so MSMEs can take full advantage of their credit card:

  1. When it comes to credit card management, the saying, “Do not mix business with pleasure,” is always true. Use a separate business credit card so you can keep your business and personal finances completely separate.
  2. Aside from the convenience, you can use your credit card for reward points or even cash rebates, which can translate to savings for your small business.
  3. You do not have to dip into your bank account every time there are contingency funds needed, equipment purchases, accounts payable, and more. You can conveniently pay for various costs without using cash or issuing a check.
  4. Using credit cards for business enables you to make tax preparation and filing more convenient. Having a dedicated credit card for your MSME makes computing your income tax for your business expenses easier. The interest and other credit card fees from your tax can also be tax deductible as these can be part of your business expenses.
  5. Choose credit cards with business-friendly features such as waived annual fees, a zero-interest installment program, or even frequent flyer perks if your business demands frequent trips.

“A credit card can help MSMEs manage their funds and cover their business’ short-term financial needs, but it cannot be used for long-term goals such as business expansion which demands higher capital and is best funded through a bank loan,” Mr. Ilagan cautioned.

CCAP has been conducting credit awareness programs for companies as well as for colleges and universities since 2017. As part of its awareness campaign, CCAP also marks Credit Consciousness Week every April 24 to 30, as per Presidential Proclamation No. 568, series of 1995. For those interested in its credit awareness programs, CCAP can be reached at https://www.ccap.net.ph/contact-us/.

More stories from CCAP:

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