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Best Business Credit Cards for Startups

Published Feb 18, 20217 min read

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At a glance

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.)

Best For Card
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

Best for Flat-Rate Rewards

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR20.99% (Variable)

The information related to Capital One Spark Cash for Business has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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.

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back for every purchase
Introductory Bonus
  • $500 cash bonus for spending $4,500 in the first 3 months

Key Features

  • Shopping protections: Purchase Security, Extended Warranty Protection, Price Protection, Cell Phone Protection
  • Travel protections: MasterRental Insurance Coverage, Roadside Dispatch, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Travel Accident Insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

More Flat-Rate Cards

Best for Flexible Spending

American Express® Business Gold Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$295
Regular APR14.24% - 22.24% Variable

The information related to American Express® Business Gold Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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.

Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar in the two categories with the highest spend per month, up to $150,000 in combined purchases per year (then 1X):
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • U.S. advertising purchases: online, TV, radio
    • U.S. providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
    • U.S. gas stations
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. shipping
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar for eligible purchases from American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 35,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months; up to $300 in statement credits on eligible U.S. advertising and U.S. shipping purchases. Terms and cap apply.

Key Features

  • 25% airline bonus: Get 25% of your points back when booking eligible airfare through American Express Travel using Membership Rewards Pay with Points.
  • The Hotel Collection: Enjoy a $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay.
  • Amex Offers: A changing selection of merchants where you can earn extra points or find discounts (offers are limited; enrollment required)
  • Point transfer: To a selection of airline and hotel partners
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $295

American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees)

More Business Credit Cards for Flexible Spending

Best for 0% APR/Borrowing Money

U.S. Bank Business Platinum

Our rating
Min. credit levelFair
Details
Annual Fee$0*
Regular APR9.99%-17.99%* Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • 0% Intro APR* on purchases and balance transfers for the first 20 billing cycles. After that variable APR currently 9.99% – 17.99%*
  • No annual fee*
  • Free employee cards
  • Zero fraud liability* protects you against unauthorized transactions

The information related to U.S. Bank Business Platinum has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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.

Key Features

  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 billing cycles on purchases, then 9.99%-17.99%* Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers*, then 9.99%-17.99%* Variable
  • Balance Transfer fee: 3%
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Security, Extended Warranty, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
  • Annual fee: $0*

More 0% APR Cards

Best for Businesses That Advertise

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$95
Regular APR15.99%-20.99% Variable

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.

Spending Rewards
  • 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent per year on:
    • Travel
    • Shipping
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
    • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 100,000 bonus points for spending $15,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

Key Features

  • 25% point bonus: When redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Point transfer: At a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, including British Airways, United, Marriott Bonvoy, and Hyatt
  • Shop through Chase/Chase OffersEarn more points by shopping at participating retailers with the Shop through Chase and Chase Offers marketplaces.
  • Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection: Daily breakfast for two, free WiFi, room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout, and more at eligible hotels
  • Visa Signature Business benefits: Purchase Protection, Cell Phone Protection, Primary Auto Rental Coverage, Roadside Dispatch, and more
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95

More Cards for Businesses That Advertise

Easiest Business Credit Card to Get

Capital One Spark Classic for Business

Our rating
Min. credit levelFair
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR24.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The information related to Capital One Spark Classic for Business has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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.

Spending Rewards
  • 1% cash back on all purchases

Key Features

  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Security, Extended Warranty, Travel and Emergency Assistance Services, and more
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

More Easy-to-Get Business Credit Cards

Best for Business Owners With No Credit

Wells Fargo® Business Secured Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelLimited Credit History
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APRPrime + 11.90% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Up to 10 cards for you & employees
  • Your choice of a cash back rewards program or a point rewards program
  • More Bonus Points: When you shop online or in person at the Earn More Mall.
  • Card Design Studio: Design your own card.
  • No annual fee

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.

Spending Rewards
  • Cash Back Option: 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • Reward Points Option:
    • 1X point per dollar for every purchase
    • 1,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in a monthly billing period

Key Features

  • Earn More Mall: Earn extra points and find discounts at select merchants (point rewards only).
  • Zero Fraud Liability: You’re covered against fraud and unauthorized activity
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Security deposit: $500–$25,000
Insider tip

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.

More Business Credit Cards for No Credit

Best for No Personal Guarantee & Industry-Specific Rewards

Brex Daily Card

Min. credit levelEligibility determined by business financials
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APRNot Applicable - Paid in Full Daily
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Choose either Tech Rewards, Life Science Rewards, or Remote Workforce Rewards
  • $5,000 in Amazon Web Services credit over a year
  • $150 in Google Ads credit
  • 5% rebate on Microsoft ad products
  • 40% off your first 12 months of QuickBooks
  • 25% off an annual Monday.com subscription
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
  • Not available to consumers, sole proprietors, unregistered businesses, and other non-individual liability companies

There’s a lot going on with the Brex business cards. They stand out in a number of ways:

  • They don’t require a personal guarantee, meaning they don’t look at your personal credit when you apply (no hard inquiry on your personal credit reports)
  • They’re easily accessible for small, medium, and large businesses
  • They’re typically paired with a Brex Cash account
  • You can pick from one of three comprehensive and above-average rewards programs
  • You get thousands of dollars in business credits and perks

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):

Tech Rewards
  • 8X points per dollar on:
    • Rideshares
    • Taxis
  • 5X points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked through Brex Travel
    • Hotels booked through Brex Travel
  • 4X points per dollar on Dining
  • 3X points per dollar on:
    • Recurring Software purchases
    • Eligible Apple products via the Brex portal
  • 1.5X points per dollar on Ad purchases
  • 1X point per dollar on every other purchase
Life Sciences Rewards
  • 8X points per dollar on Conference tickets
  • 5X points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked through Brex Travel
    • Hotels booked through Brex Travel
  • 3X points per dollar on eligible Apple products via the Brex portal
  • 2X points per dollar on Lab supplies
  • 1.5X points per dollar on Ad purchases
  • 1X point per dollar on every other purchase
Remote Workforce Rewards
  • 8X points per dollar on Collaboration tools
  • 4X points per dollar on Food delivery services
  • 3X points per dollar on Recurring Software purchases
  • 1.5X points per dollar on Ad purchases
  • 1X point per dollar on every other purchase
Introductory Bonus
  • 10,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months; 20,000 bonus points for linking payroll to Brex Cash (Brex Cash customers only)

Key Features

  • Perks: Thousands of dollars in statement credits, plus discounts and more, for services like Amazon Web Services, WeWork, Google Ads, SendGrid, and Twilio (explained here)
  • Expense management and receipt reconciliation tools
  • Point transfer: At a 1:1 rate to select airline loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
Insider tip

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have a new business, am I eligible for a credit card?

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.

What’s the best credit card for a new business?

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:

  • Capital One Spark Cash for Business (Review): 2% cash back for every purchase; $500 cash bonus for spending $4,500 in the first 3 months; no foreign transaction fee
  • American Express® Business Gold Card (Review): 4X points in the two categories you spend the most in each month (up to $150,000 spent per year, then 1X); 35,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months; up to $300 in statement credits on eligible U.S. advertising and U.S. shipping purchases. Terms and cap apply.
  • U.S. Bank Business Platinum: Purchase APR: 0% for 15 billing cycles on purchases, then 9.99%-17.99%* Variable
  • Brex Daily Card: No personal guarantee required; valuable industry-specific rewards programs; thousands of dollars in business perks and credits

What’s the easiest business credit card to get?

Like consumer cards, the easiest business cards to get are all secured cards:

If you have some established credit history, but not much, you can also consider the Capital One Spark Classic for Business (Review).

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.

Can I get a business credit card for an LLC?

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.

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For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, please click here.

Written by

Brendan Harkness

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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