Do you own a small business? No matter the size of your operation, you may want to open a business credit card account. In fact, you don’t even have to be incorporated, as you can apply for personal business credit cards as a sole proprietor as well. Having a business credit card allows you to separate your business from your personal expenses, making it much easier to file your taxes. Small business credit cards also offer points, miles and cash-back rewards targeted at the expenses owners often encounter. The best business credit cards tend to include perks like purchase protection, travel insurance and access to airport business lounges. Let’s break down how small business credit cards work and then dive into our picks for best business credit cards out there.
How to Pick the Right Business Credit Card
There are many types of business credit cards to fit your unique business needs. If you are opening a business credit card account primarily to earn rewards, then you should look for the card offering the most valuable rewards for your type of spending.
While a dot-com startup might want to look at cards that offer bonus rewards for purchasing internet services, the owner of a limousine company might be better off with a card that offers additional rewards at gas stations. And if you do a lot of business travel, you might be more interested in a travel rewards card that can offer frequent flier miles.
You will want to examine a card’s rates and fees to ensure you are not overspending to receive these benefits.
Getting a Small Business Credit Card
Something very important to note: Business credit cards are exempt from the CARD Act. That means certain protections — like 45-days advance notice that your annual percentage rate (APR) is going up — don’t apply. As such, it’s even more important when considering business credit cards to look at the terms and conditions so you understand what you’re agreeing to. Once you find the right card for you, it’s a good idea to track your credit score so you don’t harm the work you’ve done over the years. You can view two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free, on Credit.com.
Here are our picks for the best business credit cards out there based on the overall rewards, perks and terms for entrepreneurs on the go.
Our Picks for the Best Business Credit Cards
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Why We Picked it: The Chase Ink Business Credit Card offers 3 points per $1 back on the first $150,000 business owners spend on combined travel, shipping, internet, cable services, phone services and social media and search engine advertising purchases each account-anniversary year. Cardholders get one point per $1 back on all other purchases.
The Benefits: As a signup bonus, cardholders can also receive 80,000 bonus points if they spend $5,000 during the first three months they have the account. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, making that signup bonus worth $1,000 if you redeem the points that way. There are no foreign transaction fees.
The Costs: There is a $95 annual fee for this card. The card carries a variable APR, and varies depending on creditworthiness. Please see the issuer’s terms for the standard interest rate.
Why We Picked it: The Business Platinum Card from American Express has long kept business travelers happy with airline-fee credits, business lounge access and elite status with hotels and car rental companies, but American Express recently amped up the rewards and benefits to make it more attractive to business owners.
The Benefits: Cardholders get 2x the points on travel when they book through the American Express travel website, 1.5x the points on qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more and 1x the points on everything else. As of writing this, they also earn 50,000 points after they spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points if they spend another $10,000 within their first three months of having an account. This card offers airport lounge memberships in the Delta SkyClub and Priority Pass networks, as well as American Express’ network of Centurion lounges. In addition, cardholders receive a $200 annual airline-fee credit, and a one-time fee credit of $100 toward an application to the Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check programs.
The costs: There is a $450 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees. It’s a charge card so it doesn’t carry an APR as you’re expected to pay your balance off in full each month. Its penalty APR is a variable 29.74%.
Why We Picked it: The Starwood Preferred Guest Business card offers the ability to redeem points for free nights at more than 1,300 hotels in over 100 countries and free flights on over 150 airlines — a business traveler’s dream.
The Benefits: Cardholders earn points in the Starwood Preferred Guest program, which is one of the best loyalty programs in the world. Points can be redeemed for free nights in any available room and the fifth consecutive award night is free. This card also gives you free access to the Sheraton Club lounges and complimentary access to more than 1 million Boingo hotspots around the world. You can also earn Starwood Gold status when you spend $30,000 within a calendar year. As a signup bonus, cardholders can receive 25,000 bonus points if they spend $5,000 in the first three months of having an account.
The costs: There is a $95 annual fee for this card (waived the first year) and no foreign transaction fees. The card carries a variable APR of 15.74%, 17.49% and 19.74%, depending on creditworthiness.
Why We Picked It: The Capital One Spark Classic is a solid option for business owners with fair credit.
The Benefits: Cardholders earn unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases. They also get free cards for employees and Visa Business Benefits, including purchase protection, an auto rental collision damage waiver and travel and emergency assistance services. There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
The Costs: The card carries a variable APR of 23.49% (Variable) (Remember, the card is geared towards owners with fair credit, which generally results in a higher APR.)
At publishing time, the American Express Business Platinum Card, the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business and the Capital One Spark Class for Business credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
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.
Jeanine Skowronski contributed additional reporting.