Business credit cards are popular tools for people who need to separate their business and personal expenses. Some business credit cards offer amazing benefits for business travelers but carry big annual fees. Still, there are plenty of cards that offer valuable rewards for business users without any annual fee. This month, we awarded Best Credit Card in America honors to these no-fee cards that appeal to a large segment of the market.
It might be tempting to think of business card users as Wall Street executives or CEOs of prominent businesses, but there is a wide variety of business cardholders. Some are small business owners who need a secure and convenient method of payment with no fee, while others may just have a part-time business that requires a separate account from their personal funds. These business cardholders, and others who simply don’t want to pay annual fees, can benefit from these affordable products that are designed for their needs.
Choosing the Best Cards
In choosing the best no-fee cards, we looked at both the rewards and benefits offered. The business credit cards that offer points and miles with airlines and hotels all require annual fees, which leaves the no-fee cards that earn cash back. Business cardholders want the most possible cash back for the types of purchases that they make often. In addition, business credit card users are also looking for benefits like car rental collision damage coverage, purchase protection and extended warranty policies.
That said, business cardholders must keep in mind that these cards are exempt from many of the protections of the CARD Act. Nevertheless, so long as applicants take note of the terms and conditions of these cards, they can be powerful business tools.
Credit card issuers expect prospective cardholders to meet certain credit and financial criteria in order to approve them. So before you even start shopping for a credit card, it can be helpful to know your credit scores so that you apply for a credit card for which you’re more likely to get approved. There are free tools that can prepare you to shop wisely for a credit card, including Credit.com, where you can get two credit scores, a breakdown of your credit profile and a plan to build your credit.
The Winner: American Express SimplyCash Business Credit Card
This card has been improved by American Express since we last judged cards in this category.
What this card offers: Customers earn 5% cash back at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers. New for this year, customers earn 3% cash back on the category of your choice from a list of select categories including: airfare, hotels, car rentals (purchased from select car rental companies), gas stations, restaurants, advertising and shipping. There’s 5% and 3% cash back available on up to $25,000 of eligible spending each year, and then 1% cash back is offered.
Other features: Cardholders receive access to many benefits including roadside assistance, baggage insurance, extended warranty coverage, purchase protection and travel accident insurance.
The costs: There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside of the U.S.
1st Runner-Up: Ink Cash From Chase
The Ink Classic card, which topped our rankings last year, is no longer offered, but the Ink Cash card is very similar to it.
What this card offers: Cardholders receive five points per dollar spent at office supply stores and on cellphone, landline, Internet and cable service, on their first $25,000 spent annually. Double points are earned for each dollar spent at restaurants and gas stations, on their first $25,000 spent annually, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards and merchandise. While this Ink card won’t let cardholders transfer points to travel partners, the points can be transferred to another Chase card that does.
Other features: Cardholders receive an auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. Customers can order free employee cards and even choose their own due date.
The costs: There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside of the U.S.
2nd Runner-Up: Costco TrueEarnings Business Card From American Express
Businesses love the low prices on bulk goods and gasoline available from Costco, and this credit card is great for business use all around town.
What this card offers: Cardholders receive 4% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on gasoline at Costco(on up to $7,000 in purchases per year), 2% cash back on eligible travel purchases and at U.S. restaurants, and 1% cash back on other purchases, including at Costco. Cash back is returned once a year in the form of a certificate that can be spent at Costco stores or redeemed for cash at their customer service desk.
Other features: As an American Express card, it offers valuable benefits including roadside assistance, baggage insurance, extended warranty coverage, purchase protection and travel accident insurance.
The costs: There is no annual fee for this card with your paid Costco Membership, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside of the U.S.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
At publishing time, the American Express SimplyCash Business Credit card and Ink Cash From Chase are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com may be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.