Under the new credit card reforms, consumers are no longer subject to “over-limit” fees, but the same protection does not apply to small businesses. Credit card companies would typically ding customers with a $35 fee if they spent over their credit limit.
Business Week talked to Kevin Reeth, the CEO of a 10-employee online bookkeeping service for small businesses, who recently got an American Express SimplyCash business credit card with just a $3,000 credit limit, despite having $2 million in the bank. Reeth told Business Week he’s been charged over-limit fees two times since Oct. 1, 2009, when AmEx eliminated those penalties on consumer cards.
But the rules can be confusing. A statement on the AmEx web site says: “Although it’s not required by the new credit card laws, American Express eliminated all over-limit fees effective October 1, 2009.”
Reeth also said the company was inconsistent in charging the fee and sometimes his card was declined. The AmEx spokeswoman told Business Week in an email that decisions about transactions and fees are made on a “case-by-case basis.” She added that customers can sign up for an email alert to keep track of their balances.
Reeth maintains that the over-limit fee is a way for the company to charge a high-interest rate on short-term loans. American Express — one of the top providers of small business credit cards – said over-limit fees for small businesses aren’t going anywhere.
This article was submitted by Rohit Arora, co-founder of Biz2Credit. Biz2Credit is a small business marketplace that connects entrepreneurs with financing options and advice to grow their business. Send all questions to