“Guitar Hero III”: Legends of the Rock” became the highest grossing game in U.S. history in 2011. And to think Charles Huang, the former partner of Harmonix and designer of the little plastic guitars, maxed out his credit cards to finance the company in 2007.
Same with Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who used plastic to fund Google in the mid-1990’s. Mindful of their spending limits, they bought used computers and open-source software-the latter ironically contributing to their global dominance.
And yet another example of using credit cards as a means of creative business financing: The 1994 movie “Clerks”. Director Kevin Smith filmed the independent comedy for just $27,575, mainly funded by the 10 credit cards he had in his name. The movie grossed more than $3 million in theaters.
“A lot of famous businesses started in the basement using personal credit cards to get the business off the ground,” says Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com.
Credit Cards Provide Easy Funding for Start-Ups
Sam Thacker, Business Finance Underwriter in Austin, Texas says that when he started in the banking business in the mid-1990s, bankers looked askance at entrepreneurs who tried to find the best credit cards to start their businesses.
“Having high credit card balances used to be a pretty black mark on your ability to grow and build your business,” Thacker says. By the late 1990s, though, he says, “it seems like everyone was using the best credit cards they could find to finance their businesses. By 2007, it was the norm. It was part of the culture.”
It still is. Thacker says, especially since the financial crisis of 2008 made lenders tighten their credit standards so that it is now much harder to secure a small-business loan. “The biggest pro to using credit cards in this economy is availability,” he says. “If you report a high enough income and your credit score is high enough, they’ll approve you for $50,000, $75,000, even $100,000 credit card limits – which could be enough to get your business going.”