Best Business Credit Cards
If you are looking for a business credit card to earn premium and cash rewards, look no further! These select few business cards, some of which are from our partners, are leading options for you.
Great for: Sign-up bonus and cash rewards Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
- Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
- Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
- Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
- Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend
Great for: Sign-up bonus and travel miles Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
- Earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day
- Plus, a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
- There's no limit to the amount of miles you can earn
- Redeem miles for travel, cash back, gift cards and more
- No foreign transaction fees and fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions
Great for: Limited credit Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business
- Enjoy no annual fee
- Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, every day
- Build business credit with responsible use
- Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
- No foreign transaction fees
- Enjoy business benefits including Year-End Summaries, employee cards at no extra cost and experienced small business customer service
Great for: sign-up bonus and travel points Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Credit Rating Requirement:
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
- Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
- Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
- No foreign transaction fees
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- $95 Annual Fee
Great for: $0 annual fee and cash rewards Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Credit Rating Requirement:
- Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Named "Best Rewards Card for Small Business Owners" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2017
- Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
- Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
- Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- No Annual Fee
Get our latest tips and uncover more of our top picks to help you conquer your money goals
As the number of community banks dwindle, it’s getting harder for small businesses to get access to the credit they need to finance their day-to-day expenses. Proactive business owners can take a big step for their business by opening a business credit card account to build credit history and banking relationships that can pay dividends year after year.
How we picked the best business credit cards
It’s a slow climb to hitting your business goals when burdened with high-rate debt and nuisance fees. Which is why the lens through which we review offers is heavily influenced by helping you earn premium rewards without incurring unjustifiable annual fees. At a high level, these two factors are most important and both heavily influence our leading picks.
Why you can trust me
In looking for the best credit cards to feature on The Ascent, I helped review more than 300 different card offers and compared them on more than 6,000 data points to find the very best that card issuers have to offer. Before and during that time, I've written thousands of finance articles for publications that include Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, and even USA Today. As an avid card user, I don’t just review cards, but I use them every single day, too.
What is a business credit card?
Credit cards for business use typically have a few features that personal credit cards don’t have, including higher credit limits, more travel perks, and higher limits on insurance that you get for free when you use the card to make a purchase.
Here’s how business cards differ from personal cards:
Business-focused rewards -- Business cards often pay out bonus rewards for spending in bonus categories. Some offer bonuses for spending on phone bills, office supplies, online advertising, and other common business expenses.
High credit limits -- Businesses simply have larger spending needs than individuals, so business credit cards typically have higher credit limits. Whereas the average person might not need to swipe their personal cards for a $25,000 purchase, many businesses incur similarly large bills to pay various suppliers and vendors.
Perks for business users -- Some cards offer features for frequent fliers like credits to pay for TSA Pre✓or Global Entry, airport lounge access, and increased travel insurance. They also typically offer no foreign transaction fees, so you won’t have to worry about paying a fee when you make purchases with companies who process payments through a foreign banking institution.
Credit bureau reporting -- Business cards report to business-specific credit scoring databases, helping you build credit under your business’s name.
Why use a business credit card?
There are many reasons why small business owners and managers turn to a business-specific credit card rather than using a personal credit card. Here are some reasons why you might want to have a business card:
Build business credit -- Just as there are credit bureaus for personal credit reports, there are credit bureaus that keep information on businesses, too. A business card can help you build credit with Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business, helping your business build up a record of being a good borrower and partner.
Get organized -- Having one card that you only use for business purposes can make bookkeeping easier, since the purchases can be readily imported into common accounting software like QuickBooks.
Earn higher rewards on business categories -- Some business cards offer category bonuses that you won’t find on a personal credit card. We’re not aware of personal cards that offer bonus points or miles around the year for office supplies or online advertising, but many business cards do.
Build a business banking relationship -- Business credit cards can help you open the door to getting other forms of financing for your business at a later time. Whether it’s a lease on a car or piece of equipment, or a credit facility to help you finance inventory, a bank is much more likely to make other types of financing available to businesses with which they already have a relationship.
Get free employee cards -- Whereas many high-end rewards cards charge an annual fee to add an authorized user, many business cards allow you to add authorized users without paying an annual fee for each additional card.
Auto rental insurance coverage -- Personal credit cards offer collision damage waivers (CDWs) that protect you if a rental car you pay for with the card is returned with damage. However, most specifically exclude cars rented for business purposes. Business credit cards provide coverage for cars rented for business use -- including some cards that don’t have an annual fee!
Extended warranties -- One key feature of business cards is that many offer extended warranties on items you purchase with the card. For business users who need to purchase expensive electronics and equipment, these warranties can add a lot of value, extending many warranties for a year beyond the manufacturer’s original warranty.
- Fraud protection -- Checks and debit cards are inherently less secure than credit cards. When you hand someone a check, you’re giving them a piece of paper with your bank account number printed along the bottom. And though debit cards offer some fraud protection, fraudulent purchases that you don’t catch in time can become your loss. By law, credit card users are only liable for up to $50 of fraud losses, but issuers rarely (if ever) pass on any of the loss to their customers.
Cash back vs. travel rewards for businesses
Virtually all business credit cards have some form of rewards program, typically paying rewards in the form of cash or travel value. Both types of rewards programs have their own pros and cons, so the choice ultimately comes down to your business’s spending needs, and your travel expenses.
Here’s a table to compare and contrast the ups and downs of each card type.
|Cash back||Offers a fixed percentage of cash back, so you know exactly how much rewards are worth. Rewards can be redeemed for statement credits, reducing your balance.||Cash back cards can offer less financial value than travel cards on every swipe.|
|Travel||Travel cards typically have sign-up bonuses that are larger than cash back cards, and points or miles you earn may be worth substantially more for certain travel redemptions.||Rewards are worth significantly less when redeemed for cash rather than travel, and travel cards are more likely to carry annual fees than cash back cards.|
The best business credit cards for travel and cash back generally offer rewards yields of 2%, meaning you receive travel or cash back valued at 2% of all purchases you make on the card, so the decision usually comes down to how you want to redeem the rewards you earn.
|Travel card issuer||Redemption method|
|Chase||Points can be redeemed for travel at a rate of $0.0125 per point through its travel portal, or transferred to partners where they can have more value.|
|Capital One||Miles can be redeemed for statement credits at a rate of $0.01 each. Book travel how you want to, then redeem your miles to erase some or all of the purchase from your statement.|
People who prefer to shop around for travel needs will naturally prefer a statement credit travel card, like those offered by Capital One. On the other hand, people who are members of airline or hotel loyalty programs may prefer points-based rewards programs such as those offered by Chase, since points can be transferred and redeemed for travel and upgrades that value points at higher than the stated rate of $0.0125 per point.
How to get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card isn’t always as easy as getting a personal credit card. Given that business card users tend to spend more heavily than personal card users, the underwriting process can be a little more stringent.
Here are some things that will make it more likely you’re approved:
- Have good to excellent personal credit scores -- Most, but not all, business cards require very good or excellent credit. A credit score above 720, the point at which you are said to be a “prime” borrower, is ideal. While credit card companies will consider the business’s earnings and creditworthiness when they decide whether or not to approve an applicant for a card, personal credit scores are also very important to underwriting decisions.
- Have business history -- While it’s possible to get a business credit card for a start-up or young business based on the applicant’s personal credit history, applicants who have an established business are more likely to get instant approval for business credit cards. Card issuers can look through government databases to see when your LLC was initially formed, for example.
- Use an EIN on the application -- An EIN, or employment identification number, is to a business what a social security number (SSN) is to an individual. Data points suggest that applicants who put their businesses’ EIN and their personal SSN on an application are more likely to get approved than people who only use a SSN, though this varies by card issuer.
- Apply for the right card -- Our list of the best business cards includes cards that go up and down the credit spectrum. As a rule of thumb, cards with a lower minimum credit line are more likely to approve people with lower spending needs and credit scores than cards with higher minimum credit limits. Case in point: Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, which has a minimum credit limit of $2,000, requires higher credit scores than Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business, which has a minimum credit limit of $500.
Should you pay an annual fee for a business card?
One of the interesting things about business cards is that, besides elevated rewards rates, you don’t have to pay an annual fee to get additional perks from a business card.
For example, if you want a personal card that offers primary insurance against rental car damage, the least expensive option carries an annual fee of $95. However, business cards are different. Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business offers primary auto rental coverage for vehicles rented for business use, and it doesn’t carry an annual fee.
Therefore, we tend to think that it’s worth paying an annual fee only if you spend so much that a higher rewards rate pays for the annual fee. The table below compares two popular Capital One business cards on the basis of rewards and annual fees.
|Credit card||Rewards||Annual fee|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business||2% cash back on all purchases||$95|
|Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business||1% cash back on all purchases||$0|
Ultimately, the best business rewards credit card for you depends on your spending needs. It makes sense to pay the $95 annual fee on the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card if you’ll spend more than $9,500 per year, -- the point at which the higher rewards rate pays for the annual fee. The math is as follows: 95 ÷ 0.02 = 9,500. Those who spend less than $9,500 per year would be better suited for Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business.
Is a business card right for you?
Business credit cards offer a lot of spending power, but that comes with a lot of responsibility, too. Here’s a checklist to help you decide if a business card is right for you.
You own your own business. At the risk of stating the obvious, owning a business is a prerequisite to getting a business credit card. It doesn’t have to be a big business -- it could just be a side gig -- but you should have some reasonable need for a business card to apply for one.
You want to establish a business banking relationship and credit. This is by far one of the best reasons to apply for a business card. Having a relationship with a major bank can be useful if your business will need other forms of financing at a later time to purchase cars, equipment, or real estate.
You won’t carry a balance. There are very few businesses that can afford to pay double-digit interest rates to borrow money. Credit cards are one of the most expensive sources of financing, so credit cards are best used as a payment method, not a financing method.
To recap, here are the best business credit cards
|Card||Business Reward||Great For…|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business||
Flat 2% cash back reward
Sign-up bonus and cash rewards
|Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business||
Unlimited 2x miles per $1
Sign-up bonus and travel miles
|Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business||
Best for limited credit history
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||
80,000 point bonus
sign-up bonus and travel points
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card||
$0 fee and solid rewards
$0 annual fee and cash rewards