Credit Woes Continue for Small Businesses

Nearly a million small-business owners have been forced to add a new and rather daunting  item to their to-do lists: find a new line of credit.

Credit-card issuer Advanta, which focuses on small businesses, will stop accepting new charges Saturday. Firms nationwide have been scrambling for credit since they learned of Advanta's plans weeks ago.

Advanta CFO Philip Browne says "negative economic trends" fueled the company's decision.

The company is wrangling with a rise in uncollectible debt and overdue credit-card payments. In addition, it is losing funding from an independent trust that provides resources for new transactions.

Advanta's financial woes mean even more pressure on already-strapped business owners, says Todd McCracken, president of the National Small Business Association.

When credit lines are reduced or outright severed in this case businesses could have problems such as buying needed supplies or equipment.

Nearly 60 percent of small-business owners said they've used a credit card as a financing tool in the last 12 months, according to an NSBA survey released this month.