Discover Financial Services LLC, a business unit of Morgan Stanley, is the latest company to try to secure a piece of the business credit card action.
Visa USA Inc., MasterCard International Inc. and American Express Co. already offer popular credit card options geared to businesses, but industry analysts say that most of the market penetration is with larger businesses. Barriers to smaller businesses getting company cards is that many vendors who deal with the companies still don't accept plastic payment and small-business owners can be hesitant to provide employees with credit cards.
Discover is targeting businesses with up to $1 million in annual revenues, estimating that only 35 percent of small-business owners have a business credit card. The company also said that only about 10 percent of all small business purchases are made on a credit card.
"The Discover Business Card provides the opportunity for the company to take a leadership position in the small business payments space by addressing the underserved needs of the small business owner," said chairman and chief executive David W. Nelms, in a statement.
The new card has a feature allowing business owners to write special checks to pay merchants and suppliers who don't accept credit cards. The card doesn't carry an annual fee and includes a cash-back rewards program -- 5 percent cash back on purchases of office supplies, 2 percent on gasoline, and as much as 1 percent on other purchases. More information is available at www.discoverbiz.com.
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