As America moves towards becoming a cashless society, credit cards are at the center of attention when it comes to financials. Whether you own a multi-million dollar firm, or you’re a freelancer working alone, having a business credit card is an excellent way to manage your business expenses, and get rewards for your business purchases. In this guide, we’ll cover what you need to know about how business credit cards work, how they differ from personal cards, and how to apply for a business credit card. Then we’ll take you through the best credit cards of 2019.
Which cards made our Top 10? Here they are:
Chase Ink Business Preferred
Capital One Spark Cash for Business
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
American Express® Business Gold Card
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® Credit Card
A business credit card is a line of credit given to an established business, intended for use on company expenditures. They are used to help your company build its own credit history, manage your business cashflow, and separate business expenses from personal purchases. Additionally, business credit cards can be used like mini business loans when you need to make a purchase and pay it off slowly, making it easy to get capital for your company without having to go to the bank.
But how do business credit cards work? In many ways, business credit cards and personal cards act the same way. Businesses can accept all credit cards, and credit card processing works the same way when it comes to making a purchase. Like personal cards, business credit cards can affect your personal credit score, even though they are only used for business expenses.
However, business credit cards come with additional strings attached, including better perks, but also more stringent requirements. Here are a few key differences between a personal credit card, and a business credit card:
Business credit cards usually have a much higher credit limit than personal cards
Business owners can use the same account for many employee cards, in addition to their own business credit card. However, the owner is solely responsible for payments across all cards on the account.
Business credit cards aren’t shielded by consumer protection laws, which means that late fees and penalties from issuers are much higher than those associated with personal cards
Business credit cards offer special perks and discounts specifically for business owners.
Simply get paid with the SumUp Card Reader by taking debit, credit and contactless payments. Pay only 2.65%. No monthly fees. No minimums. Ever.Learn More
There are a plethora of business credit cards available on the market, and with so many choices, finding the perfect card for your business can be overwhelming. The questions below will help you understand what types of cards are best for you, and help you compare different cards.
Do you travel? If you travel a lot for business, choose a card with rewards that reward you for all those hours on the road. Even better, if you prefer a certain airline or hotel brand, see if they have a card that meets your needs!
What do you spend money on? Different cards offer rewards in different categories. Before choosing a card, take some time to evaluate what kinds of purchases you make the most, and look for rewards programs that offer increased points or cash back in those categories.
How “Big” is your business? Do you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on business expenses, or are your credit statements smaller? Can you handle a large annual fee? Depending on your business’s size, different cards perks will be the most beneficial for you.
What is your business’s credit score? Different cards will have different requirements for approval, and for cards that accept them, lower credit scores may result in significantly higher APR. Be careful not to apply to credit card issuers that won’t approve you; it’s a waste of your valuable time, and can hurt your credit score even more.
Once you’ve figured out which business credit card is the best option for your business, you’ll need to fill out an application, just like you would for a personal card. You can do this on any credit card provider website, after choosing the card you’d like! Here’s what you’ll need for your business credit card application:
Information about your business, including your address, business type, industry, number of employees, annual revenue, etc.. Be prepared to answer any questions a credit issuer might have about your business, and always answer truthfully.
Your Federal Employee Identification Number (Tax ID number). If you don’t have this on hand, you can retrieve your number from the IRS. If you are a sole-proprietor with no employees, you can use your social security number instead of your tax ID.
Personal information, including your social security number, date of birth, address and existing loans & credit cards.
A personal guarantee. This varies from issuer to issuer, but many credit card companies will require you to take full personal responsibility for your credit balance. That means that if your company is unable to pay its credit card bill, the bank has permission to come after your personal assets.
Best For: Travel Rewards, Overall Rewards
Welcome Bonus: 80,000 point points after you spend at least $5,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards: 3x points for travel and business expenses up to $150,000, unlimited 1x points for all other purchases
Annual Fee: $95.00
APR: 18.24% - 23.24%
The Chase Ink Business Preferred car has one of the most impressive signup bonuses on our list, valued at approximately $800 in statement credits or $1,000 towards travel purchases. This Chase business credit card also features primary rental car insurance and cell phone insurance that covers up to $600 when you use the card to pay for your business phone. With no foreign transaction fees, unlimited 1x points on all purchases and no penalty for trip cancellation or changes, if you travel significantly for work, this card is our top pick for your business.
Best For: Cashback
Welcome Bonus: Get $500 when you spend at least $4,500 in the first 3 months
Rewards: Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, plus free additional employee cards
Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, $95 for subsequent years
APR: 19.24% variable
If you like getting straight cash instead of reward points that you have to track and redeem, the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card is the best credit card for your business. The 2% cashback reward has no upper limit, and you can choose to receive your cash as either a statement credit or a check. For professionals who travel, another benefit of the Spark Cash card is zero foreign transaction fees! This card’s reasonable introductory bonus, paired with the simple rewards structure makes this the ideal choice for businesses who want something straightforward and effective.
Best For: Cashback, Chase Customers
Welcome Bonus: Get $500 cashback when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards: 5-2-1 tiered percent cashback
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 12-month 0% APR on transfers and new purchases, 15.49% - 21.49% variable after 12 months
The tiered cashback system on the Ink card lets you earn 5% back on office supplies, phone, internet, and cable services up to $25,000, and 2% back on restaurants and gas purchases, also up to $25,000. The remaining cashback is at 1% with no upper limit. One fantastic aspect of this card is the ability to transfer your rewards to your Ink Preferred or Sapphire Preferred account, where they are added to your Ultimate Rewards account. With Ultimate Rewards, each point is worth 25% more, and can be used for different reward options, or transferred to a Chase travel partner. If you’re looking for flexible rewards and a solid cashback system, or already own another Chase business credit card, the Ink Business Cash Credit Card is perfect for you.
Best For: Travel Rewards
Welcome Bonus: Get 50,000 points if you spend at least $10,000 in the first 3 months, and an additional 25,000 points if you spend another $10,000 also within the first 3 months. This reward is valued at $1,000.
Rewards: 5x points on air travel and prepaid hotels booked through AmEx, 1.5x points on individual purchases for more than $5,000, and 1x points on all other purchases
Annual Fee: $595
APR: 0% unless you sign up for Pay Over Time (variable 19.99%)
Despite the Business Platinum Card’s high annual fee, if you travel significantly for business and are planning to use this card to make large purchases this credit card is easily worth the cost. In addition to a hefty welcome bonus and high point value for hotel and airfare purchases, you can also redeem your points for airline seats, and enjoy a 35% rebate on your purchase. Similarly to other travel cards, the Business Platinum card has no foreign transaction fees and also gives you upgraded Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status. For business owners who like to pay their bills on time in full, the 0% APR is yet another perk of this top credit card.
Best For: Travel Miles Rewards
Welcome Bonus: 50,000 miles, valued at $500, when you spend at least $4,500 in the first 3 months
Rewards: Unlimited 2x miles per dollar on all purchases. Free employee cards.
Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, $95 for subsequent years
APR: 19.24% variable
Are you a small business owner who travels, but doesn’t make large purchases, and doesn’t want to pay the high annual fee for The Business Platinum® Card from American Express? The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business credit card offers a solid alternative with an attractive opening bonus and double miles on every dollar spent. Your miles never expire and can be used for any type of travel, including flights with Capital One’s 14 airline partners. There’s also no foreign transaction fee, and reimbursement for trips that are canceled due to uncontrollable circumstances, such as illness or weather.
Best For: No Annual Fee
Welcome Bonus: None
Rewards: 5% cashback up to $50,000 per year in select business categories, plus 3% cashback up to $50,000 per year in one category of your choice. 1% cashback on all other purchases.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.49% to 21.49% variable
The name of this card tells you exactly what you need to know; the SimplyCash card is a fantastic option for small business owners who enjoy cashback and don’t want to deal with an annual fee. The tiered cashback structure also offers flexibility by allowing you to choose your 3% category, making it easy to benefit from the purchases you make most. A lengthy introductory period with 0% APR benefits businesses with large upcoming expenses, who may need time to pay down the balance, and purchase protection provides reimbursements for lost, stolen or damaged items within 90 days of purchase. One downside of this credit card is the 2.7% foreign transaction fee, so this would not be the ideal card for you if your business makes large purchases overseas.
Best For: Flexible Rewards
Welcome Bonus: 35,000 points when you spend $5,000 on purchases within 3 months
Rewards: 4x points in the two categories where you spend the most each month, up to $150,000. 1x points on all other purchases. No credit limit.
Annual Fee: $295
APR: None, unless you sign up for the Pay Over Time option, which has a 16.49% to 24.49% variable
If you want more control over your rewards, the American Express® Business Gold Card is the best credit card for your business. In addition to a solid welcome bonus opportunity, the card rewards you for the types of purchases you make the most, instead of locking you into a single category or tiered system. Additionally, the high credit limit on 4x points lets you literally get more bang for your buck. Points can be redeemed for cashback, or used towards several different rewards. Please note that bills must be paid within two billing cycles to avoid risking an account closure or a ding to your credit score; however, the Pay Over Time option offers even more flexibility for large payments, if you choose to sign up for it.
Best For: Marriott Customers, Travel Rewards
Welcome Bonus: Earn 75,000 points after spending at least $3,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards: 6-4-2 tiered points system for purchases made with the card. 1 Free Night Award per year, plus an additional Free Night if you spend more than $60,000 in a year.
Annual Fee: $125
APR: 17.99% - 26.99% variable
The Bonvoy business credit card is relatively new on the scene, but the perks speak for themselves. Earn 6x points when you stay at a participating Marriott hotel, plus 4x points in select business categories and 2x points for all other purchases. Marriott rewards points can be used for credit statements or direct purchase either at hotels or with partner businesses, including select airlines. In addition to opportunities for two free nights per year, you’ll also be treated like a VIP when you stay at any Marriott hotel with automatic Silver Elite guest status. If you travel for business and prefer Marriott, this is the card you’ve been looking for.
Best For: Travel Rewards, Hilton Customers
Welcome Bonus: 125,000 points after spending at least $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Rewards: 12x points on purchases at Hilton resorts and hotels, 3x rewards on all other purchases
Annual Fee: $95
APR: 17.99% - 26.99% variable
Like the Bonvoy card from Marriott, this card is geared towards customers who already spend time at Hilton hotels. Compared to the Bonvoy card, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card offers a lower annual fee and more opportunities for a free stay each year. The sign-on bonus for this card is especially attractive, as it can be used for up to 20 free nights at a participating Hilton hotel. Cardholders also enjoy benefits such as free room upgrades, no foreign transaction fees, 1 free night for spending more than $15,000 and $60,000, respectively, and Hilton Honors Gold guest status.
Best For: Travel Rewards with No Annual Fee
Welcome Bonus: 25,000 points when you spend at least $1,000 in the first 60 days, valued at $250
Rewards: 3x points on all travel purchases booked through the Bank of America® Travel Center, 1.5x points on all other purchases
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% for the first 9 billing cycles, then 13.49% - 23.49% variable
This business credit card is ideal for small business owners who want a robust set of rewards with no annual fee and a lower variable APR. In addition to the appealing signup bonus, the card also offers triple points on travel purchases; rewards can be redeemed through statement credits, direct purchases or cashback, and other perks include travel coverages and overdraft protection. There are also no foreign transaction fees with the Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® Credit Card.
Choosing a credit card can take some time, but with this list, you’ve got a head start on some of 2019’s top choices. When looking at credit card options, remember to evaluate each one carefully, and only apply to cards you truly want, and are likely to get approved for. Just like any other business purchase, a business credit card is an investment, so the more you know, the better.