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Our Picks: Best Business Credit Cards
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Why this is one of the best business credit cards: This card rewards you with cash back for everyday spending, including 5% back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases annually at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services. With no annual fee, the card is a solid option for businesses that want to earn cash rewards for essential business expenditures. See our full review.
Capital One Spark Miles for Business
Why this is one of the best business credit cards: The Capital One Spark Miles for Business card earns 5 miles per dollar on hotel and rental car bookings through the Capital One travel portal and 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases. This business travel credit card offers new cardholders earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Card benefits include auto rental collision damage waiver coverage and travel and emergency assistance. The annual fee is a $0 intro for first year; $95 after that. See our full review.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Why this is one of the best business cards: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a top-shelf travel rewards option for businesses. Along with the rewards program, the card provides some generous travel perks, such as up to a $200 airline fee credit, Global Lounge Collection access and 35% of your points back (up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year) when you redeem them for qualifying flights through amextravel (See Rates & Fees). See our full review.
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Why this is one of the best business credit cards: This card, which charges no annual fee, could appeal to business owners who want a simple way to earn and redeem cash rewards. Cardholders earn 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases each year and then 1% cash back. Cash back is automatically redeemed as a statement credit (See Rates & Fees). See our full review.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Why this is one of the best business credit cards: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express earns two points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent annually and one per dollar after that. There is no annual fee, and the card has an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening, then 16.99% to 24.99% variable, based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening. Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.. See our full review.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
Why this is one of the best business credit cards: This card offers miles on both Delta purchases and everyday business spending. When you charge Delta purchases, you earn 2 miles per dollar and get the same number of miles for eligible U.S. advertising, U.S. shipping and restaurant purchases. Spend $10,000 a year with your card and get a $100 Delta credit, plus free checked bags and priority boarding on every Delta flight. The card charges a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 (See Rates & Fees). See our full review.
American Express® Business Gold Card
Why this is one of the best business credit cards: The American Express® Business Gold Card offers four points per dollar spent in categories that matter to your business, such as airfare, shipping and advertising. earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.*. Use the Pay Over Time feature to pay eligible purchases in full each month-or pay over time with interest. See our full review.
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Why this is one of the best business credit cards: This card features not only an impressive introductory bonus for eligible new users but also competitive travel rewards. You can earn 3 points per dollar on up to $150,000 in purchases in travel and select business categories annually and redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for 25% more value. The card charges a $95 annual fee but no foreign transaction fees. See our full review.
United℠ Business Card
Why this is one of the best business credit cards: Frequent flyers can earn 2 miles per dollar on United Airlines and for restaurant, gas station, office supply store, local transit and commuting purchases; all other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar. earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. See our full review.
Amazon Business Prime American Express Card
Why this is one of the best business credit cards: Businesses that frequently shop with Amazon can earn 5% on Amazon and Whole Foods Market purchases with the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card (bonus cash back applies to the first $120,000 in eligible purchases, then 1%). The card offers 2% back at U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants and on wireless services bought from U.S. providers, plus 1% back on everything else. There’s no annual fee, but an Amazon Prime membership is required. See our full review.
Why Get a Business Credit Card?
Business credit cards can be a source of fast and convenient capital that can be used for any business need. Credit cards can bridge a gap between the need for a cash outlay and the receipt of payment by the customer. Business owners can use credit cards to pay for initial organization setup and expenses, such as signage, inventory and advertising. Businesses can use business credit cards to put capital assets, such as machinery, furniture or electrical equipment, in place. This gives your business time to generate income while paying off the balance over time.
Separation of business and personal assets
When used diligently, business credit cards can help you maintain a strict separation between your personal and business finances. If you are sued or go through bankruptcy, and your business records show that you have routinely mingled your personal and business accounts or used business assets for your personal benefit, you could endanger your limited liability protection. Without the limited liability protection you gain by operating your business as a corporation or a limited liability company, your personal assets are at risk.
Bookkeeping and accounting features
- Viewing up-to-the-minute usage reports for each cardholder on the account.
- Setting spending limits on individual cards.
- Canceling or suspending credit cards.
- Instantly retrieving historical activity for each card.
- Setting up account alerts for individual cards.
- Adjusting cash advance limits.
- Reconciling transactions against statements.
- Sending automatic data feeds to your bookkeeping/accounting software systems.
- Automatically segregating expenses into categories to assist with expense management.
- Providing access to account controls via mobile devices.
- Maximizing tax deductions: Using business credit cards to purchase capital equipment may help you take advantage of tax-planning opportunities. For example, if you use a credit card to pay for equipment repair before the end of the year, you may be able to take a tax deduction in the current year while paying it off later.
- Tax simplification: Many of today’s business credit cards come with souped-up reporting and accounting features that make it easy to download detailed reports of all expenses charged using the card. This information can be automatically migrated to some small-business accounting software programs.
What’s the Difference Between Business Cards and Personal Cards?
Business credit cards differ from consumer credit cards in these important ways:
- Business credit cards may have higher limits.
- Business owners can distribute cards to employees, but the business owner retains responsibility for paying charges on each employee’s card.
- Card-issuing banks may report credit usage and payment information to both personal and business credit bureaus.
- Rewards and discounts cater to business owners, such as discounts on FedEx shipping or office supplies.
And as mentioned, mixing business and personal purchases on the same credit card could endanger your limited liability protection, putting your personal assets at risk in case of a lawsuit against your corporation or LLC.
What Are Small-Business Credit Cards?
Whether you operate under a corporation or just have a side hustle as a freelancer, you will likely qualify for most business credit cards as long as your personal credit history is good and you have enough income. Although personal credit cards are usually much easier for owners of small and newly established businesses to qualify for, those issuers don’t report to the business credit bureaus. Also, business credit cards can help keep the line between your personal and business assets separate, plus offer a plethora of tools and rewards that are specifically tailored to small-business owners.
The difference between a small-business credit card and a corporate credit card is its eligibility requirements, the most notable being the higher annual revenue generation. A corporate credit card is usually reserved for businesses that generate more than $4 million annually.
Who Qualifies for a Business Credit Card?
There are lots of different business types these days, and they don’t always resemble a traditional view of a business. You don’t need to have a storefront, a warehouse or any major facilities or hard assets to be issued a business credit card.
If you have good personal and business credit and otherwise meet the issuer’s criteria, you can get a business credit card issued in any industry. So don’t be discouraged if you’re self-employed or you fall into one of these nontraditional business categories:
- Etsy, Amazon or eBay sellers.
- Independent contractors and consultants.
- Self-published authors.
You also do not have to be profitable or have operated your business for a certain number of years. The approval process is usually based on your personal credit history and your income.
If you’re a new business owner and your personal credit is so bad that you can’t qualify for a consumer credit card, you probably won’t qualify for a business credit card, either. You may qualify for a secured business credit card, which could offer limited access to credit. But it is still a way to rebuild your personal credit history. In time, you’ll move up the credit ladder and qualify for better personal and business credit cards.
Although it’s a good idea to form a separate business entity before applying for a business credit card, it’s not necessary. It’s possible to obtain a business credit card even as a sole proprietor. Just be careful to maintain a way to track your business expenses and keep proper records.
How to Apply for a Business Credit Card
Decide on the right card for you.
Take a close look at card rates and fees, possible rewards and whether the card company reports to business credit reporting agencies. You don’t want to apply for too many cards at once or your credit score will take a hit.
Fill out an application.
Most applications can be completed online, and will ask both personal and business information to determine your creditworthiness. Information such as tax identification number, Social Security number, business contact information, personal income, and business income and expenses will all be required. Note that most business credit cards require a personal credit score of at least 670.
Wait for approval.
Some companies may offer instant approval, while others may take several days. If you aren’t approved for an unsecured line of credit, perhaps consider a secured business credit card to start building your business credit.
How Does a Business Credit Score Work?
Just as most of us have a personal FICO credit score, established businesses generally have one or more business credit scores that lenders use. Business credit scores generally range from 0 to 100, with higher scores going to more creditworthy companies. Scores vary from credit bureau to credit bureau.
Business credit bureaus collect your outstanding balance and payment history from the following types of sources:
- Business credit card issuers.
- Trade associations and organizations.
- Manufacturers that provide merchandise or inventory before payment.
Know your issuer’s credit-reporting policies
To establish a separate credit history for your business, select a credit card issuer that reports your credit activity specifically to the business credit bureaus: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, FICO SBSS and Experian each maintain a business-specific database and sell credit background screening to lenders of all types. All major business credit card issuers report information to at least one business credit bureau.
Improving your business credit score
Just as you should work to maintain and protect your personal credit score and ensure that the information in your credit report is accurate, you should do the same with your business credit score.
- Pay all bills and invoices on time and preferably early. This is the single most important factor in most commercially marketed credit-scoring systems that lenders use.
- Limit how much debt your business takes on.
- Form a corporation or an LLC.
- Check your business credit history for errors before applying for further credit.
Do I Need an Employer Identification Number to Get a Small-Business Credit Card?
Yes, all card applications ask for your employer identification number, or EIN. This is also known as your federal tax identification number. However, you may be approved using only your Social Security number, especially if you qualify as a sole proprietorship.
How to Compare Business Credit Cards
1. Evaluate the types of business credit card rewards.
Depending on the kind of business card you select, you can earn cash, trips and other rewards for regularly using your card for business purchases. Card issuers structure their rewards and incentive programs differently to attract different customer segments.
- Cash back business credit cards: Cash back business card rewards are generally straightforward and easy to use. They allow your business to earn back a percentage of its spending, usually 1% to 5%, and often in popular spending categories such as office supplies, shipping and advertising.
- Rewards business credit cards: Many business credit cards reward users with points or miles on purchases such as electronic devices and software and cloud systems. You can exchange these points or miles for goods and services, including airfare and travel accommodations and sometimes cash and gift cards through the card’s rewards program.
- Co-branded or loyalty cards: Co-branded or loyalty credit cards offer bonuses for spending and redemption with a specific brand. These types of cards tend to offer deeper discounts and better perks as a reward for staying loyal to that business. Popular types of co-branded cards include airline and hotel cards.
2. Figure out what you can earn with each card.
To predict your potential rewards and discounts from having a business credit card, estimate your most likely future expenses, especially in the following areas:
- Air travel.
- Hotel stays.
- General travel and entertainment.
- Telecommunications, including mobile devices, cable and satellite, internet, landline phones and VoIP.
- Shipping and mailing.
- Computer hardware and software.
- Office supplies.
If one of these categories is especially significant for your business, that will help you decide which business credit card might be the best fit for you.
To recruit new customers, credit card issuers offer lucrative sign-up bonuses designed to jump-start card usage.
4. Check out the annual fees.
Annual fees for business credit cards can be as high as $550, but many cards don’t charge an annual fee. Of those that do charge fees, some waive the fee for the first year. Some cards will issue a statement credit offsetting the annual fee or waive the fee if you use the card enough over the course of the year.
A high annual fee shouldn’t keep you from the card if you know the rewards are a good match for your expenses. Do a cost-benefit analysis, and you’ll get an idea of whether the cost of the card outweighs the rewards and benefits.
5. Ask about extra cards.
If your business has employees, you may want them to have access to the business line of credit so they can make business-related purchases. Some issuers don’t charge for additional cards for employees. But others do charge a fee for each card added to an account, so be aware of that and check the fine print.
6. Compare additional features.
- Foreign transaction fees: Some credit card companies charge up to a 3% fee for transactions completed in a foreign currency.
- Cardholder benefits: Most business travel cards come with a basic package of perks and benefits that may include emergency roadside assistance, extended warranties on purchases and travel insurance. Most business cards also offer snazzy management reports that help you organize your business, track costs and simplify tax reporting.
U.S. News has been helping consumers make money decisions for decades. The Best Business Credit Cards are selected based on annual fee, APR, balance transfer fee, foreign transaction fee, rewards earning rate, rewards redemption process and sign-up bonus value, as well as cardholder benefits. Cards are also scored based on issuer satisfaction ratings from U.S. News.
Best cards must be business credit cards. You can compare Best Business Credit Cards by evaluating the types of rewards they offer, determining what you can earn with each card, and looking at fees, bonuses and benefits.