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A new startup credit card could be just what you need to help your business flourish. Pay for expenses, manage your spending, and take advantage of rewards and perks — all in one place. Find a card that fits your company, whether you want flat-rate rewards, valuable bonus categories, or just some extra time to pay.
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A business credit card for your new startup can help propel you through that first year.
Credit cards are convenient payment options — they’re accepted practically everywhere, they consolidate your spending into one monthly bill, and they provide a host of rewards and benefits.
The right card can save you some money on your most frequent expenses, or give you some extra time to pay while you wait for revenue to come in. Business cards tend to have special features for expense tracking and monitoring employee spending, along with other tools aimed at helping your company run smoothly. They make it easy to separate your business and personal spending.
You may have a new business, but in most cases the age of your business won’t affect your ability to get a business credit card. That’s because most business cards only look at your personal credit, and require a personal guarantee — just like regular credit cards. Your business credit usually isn’t involved. (Some notable exceptions are the Brex cards, which don’t require a personal guarantee and look at your business credit.)
|Flat-Rate Rewards||Capital One Spark Cash for Business (Review)|
|Flexible Spending||American Express® Business Gold Card (Review)|
|0% APR/Borrowing Money||U.S. Bank Business Platinum|
|Businesses That Advertise||Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (Review)|
|Easiest Business Credit Card to Get||Capital One Spark Classic for Business (Review)|
|Business Owners With No Credit||Wells Fargo® Business Secured Credit Card|
|No Personal Guarantee & Industry-Specific Bonus Categories||Brex Daily Card|
A flat-rate rewards card gives you freedom from bonus categories — no thinking about which purchases earn what, and how to best optimize your credit card spending. Just easy cash back or points for every purchase, no hassle.
The Capital One Spark Cash for Business (Review) provides an excellent rate for everything you buy, twice as much as the normal 1% or 1X point for non-category purchases. It usually comes with a great welcome bonus, too.
Flat-rate cards are perfect to pair with cards that have bonus categories for specific purchases, like internet services or office supplies. It’s a pretty simple strategy: Use that other card whenever you’re spending in its bonus categories, and use your flat-rate card for everything else. Solid rewards all around.
Some companies have regular expenses each month, making it easy to plan out a credit card rewards strategy. But what if you make a variety of purchases, sometimes spending more on shipping, other times on advertising, or software, etc.?
You might want a flat-rate card like you’ll find above, or you might want to go with flexible bonus categories that can adapt to meet your needs. That’s what you’ll get with the American Express® Business Gold Card (Review), which gives more points for the categories you spend the most in each month.
American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees)
Maybe you’ve got some big startup expenses, more than you can pay off in the normal month-by-month fashion. A credit card with a 0% APR for purchases can give you some breathing room — you won’t be charged interest on the card balance for the length of the intro period, giving you time to ramp up operations and get that revenue going.
The U.S. Bank Business Platinum is one of the best in the biz, in this respect, offering 15 billing cycles on purchases at 0% interest before the regular 9.99%-17.99%* Variable rate kicks in. That’ll give you quite a while to get your cash flow in order and pay off the debt.
Or, if you’ve already got debt accruing interest on another credit card, you could transfer the balance over to this card and pay it down at no interest.
Remember that you’ll still need to make minimum payments each month, even when you have a 0% rate.
Got a big ad budget? Most business cards put caps on their advertising bonus categories, unfortunately.
That’s true for our top pick, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (Review). Despite the $150,000 annual spending limit cardholders can still earn a wealth of points, not only on advertising but other common business purchases, too.
If you’ll spend a lot more than that on advertising every year, you may want to pair this card with a flat-rate business rewards card with no limit on how much you can earn.
Most business cards look at your personal credit when you apply, just like regular consumer cards. And like consumer cards, some business cards are made for people with good or excellent credit, while others are easier to get.
The Capital One Spark Classic for Business (Review) is relatively easy to get because it’s made for people with limited credit — that means you’ve established some credit history, but not too much (i.e., only a few credit accounts, or young accounts). The rewards and benefits aren’t very strong, but it’s not a bad offer if you’re new to credit with limited options.
If you haven’t yet established a credit history, you might wonder how to get started. How do you show you’re a responsible borrower, and can handle a credit card, if you’ve never borrowed?
Thankfully there are cards designed for you. The Wells Fargo® Business Secured Credit Card is one of only a few secured business cards, meaning it requires a security deposit to be approved.
In this case you’ll need to provide a deposit of $500 to $25,000, and your credit limit will be equal to your deposit. The landscape of secured business cards isn’t very impressive, but they tend to be better options for business spending than personal secured cards because they come with higher potential credit limits.
Maybe you’re looking for a business card that doesn’t use your personal credit to apply? Check out No Personal Guarantee Cards below, or read more about business cards without personal guarantees.
There’s a lot going on with the Brex business cards. They stand out in a number of ways:
The Brex Daily Card is the most accessible Brex card, and requires a Brex Cash account. Your card balance will automatically be paid daily from the funds in your Brex Cash account, so you never have to worry about interest rates or late fees.
Take note: Brex products aren’t available to consumers, sole proprietors, unregistered businesses, and other non-individual liability companies.
Pick a rewards program that aligns best with your business spending (you can change it later, if you’d like):
|Life Sciences Rewards|
|Remote Workforce Rewards|
For businesses that require more time to pay, the Brex 30 Card is a similar option, but (obviously) gives you 30 days to pay. It has stricter requirements and is available without a Brex Cash account, although if you do pair it with Brex Cash you’ll earn more points per dollar. The Brex 30 Card requires a minimum $50,000 balance in any bank account for venture-backed companies; otherwise, the minimum is $100,000.
Yes — the fact that you have a new business doesn’t have anything to do with your eligibility for most small business credit cards. Like personal credit cards, most business cards look at your own personal credit when you apply; your business credit, good or bad, isn’t involved.
The exception to that rule is a rare class of business cards that don’t require a personal guarantee and don’t involve your personal credit scores. These cards look at your business credit and business financials to determine your eligibility. Some of these cards are available to new and small business owners, like the Brex cards, while others are geared toward larger corporations like the American Express corporate cards.
The best card for a new business depends on the nature of the business; there is no correct answer. Great cards for new businesses include:
Like consumer cards, the easiest business cards to get are all secured cards:
The Brex cards may be easy to get for certain businesses as well, if you meet the financial requirements. The Brex Daily Card and Brex 30 Card don’t look at your personal credit when you apply, and instead use your business credit and business financials.
Yes — in general, any business credit card can be used for an LLC. Independent contractors, freelancers, and sole proprietors are typically eligible for business cards, too.
Having a dedicated card for your business spending makes it easier to separate your business and personal expenses, which is important when documenting for taxes and keeping things in order.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, please click here.
Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
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