During periods of financial difficulty for your business, your credit card debt can stack up as you attempt to cover important expenses. Unfortunately, if you are an American Express cardholder, your corporate credit card balance is due within 30 days. American Express focuses on merchant relationships rather than customer "lending." If you don't pay your bill within the required time frame, be prepared to undergo a range of negative consequences.
Once you go more than 30 days without making a payment at all on your bill, American Express considers your account to be in default. This information may be reported to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax Business and will affect your business credit history. Dun & Bradstreet is a credit reporting agency exclusively for businesses. Instead of a FICO score, businesses are issued a DUNS number. Your DUNS number is important because it grants you access to business loans, lines of credit and merchant accounts that could help pull your business out of its financial slump.
Once your account is in default, American Express holds the right to cancel your account because you are in breach of your corporate card agreement. You can reduce the probability that your account will be closed by notifying customer service in advance of your due date. However, unless you can prove that lateness is a result of a temporary setback for your business, the customer service department still has the right to cancel your account under its card agreement rules.
Penalty fees will be added to your bill if you do not pay on your credit card. Fees may include a flat late fee plus a percentage of your balance charged each day the payment is late. Once the account goes into collection, "you agree to pay all reasonable costs, including attorneys’ fees, that [AMEX] incurs to collect amounts you owe," explains American Express. This policy is in place to mitigate the loss caused by your account going into default. American Express may also choose to increase your APR if you are allowed to keep your account open. In some cases, the APR could be double your previous interest rate, as you are now a credit risk for the card issuer.
Lanae Carr has been an entertainment and lifestyle writer since 2002. She began as a staff writer for the entertainment section of the "Emory Wheel" and she writes for various magazines and e-newsletters related to marketing and entertainment. Carr graduated from Emory University with a bachelor's degree in film studies and English.