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Best Credit Cards for Freelancers: Office Supplies, Travel, Dining, and More

Updated Oct 20, 2021 | Published Jun 05, 20197 min read

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At a glance

Some freelancers prefer business credit cards, while others use personal cards for business expenses. Consider your options carefully, and select a card — or cards — that complements your key business expenditures.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.

Freelancing can be tough. You’re self-employed, so you’re all on your own. And not only do you need to find each new gig yourself, you also need strong self-management skills to get the work done.

The last things you need are financial headaches, or missed opportunities that could cost time and money. But credit cards can help.

The right credit card can help you do all of the following and more:

  • Separate business from personal spending
  • Deal with unexpected costs
  • Make budgeting easier
  • Build business credit (if that’s what you want to do)

If you have repeated costs every month you could probably put them on a credit card, earning rewards and using benefits rather than just seeing the money disappear from your bank account.

You don’t need an official small business credit card for this, you can put your business expenses on personal cards too. Any card can work if it fits your business spending, and many freelancers and small business owners could probably benefit from a combination of business and personal credit cards.

What Are the Best Credit Cards for Freelancers?

Freelancers come in all shapes and forms, so there’s no one-size-fits-all credit card for freelancers.

Our favorite cards include:

Although we’ll focus mostly on business cards in this post, don’t limit yourself to them. Think about cards that would fit your lifestyle. What do you buy often, and where do you spend your time? You won’t always need excellent credit to qualify for excellent credit cards.

Road warriors, for example (like Uber/Lyft drivers or business travelers), may get a ton of value from a personal gas credit card or travel credit card. Although some travel rewards cards have both business and personal versions (like The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express), there are other great options you’ll only find by looking through personal cards (like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®).

If you love to work in cafes, downing overpriced coffee and sometimes resisting the pastries, a credit card with restaurant rewards could make you feel 4% better about these, ahem, necessary business expenses. You’ll find some cards offering 4% back or more on dining (plus equally high rates on other business essentials) below.

So explore the cards here, but take some time to check out the best credit cards in other categories as well.

Top 6 Credit Cards for Freelancers

Best for Flat-Rate Rewards

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual FeeNo annual fee
  • Purchase APR0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening, then 13.24% - 19.24% Variable

Rates & Fees

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

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Review) could be your go-to option for any purchases that don’t fit into the bonus categories of your other cards. Although there’s a spending limit, it’s pretty high and most freelancers probably won’t have to worry about hitting it.

2X points on any random purchase is pretty good. And since this card allows point transfers to partner airlines and hotels, you could get a return of 4% or more on your spending (with good transfer deals).

Insider tip

There are some other good flat-rate options, like the Capital One Spark Cash Plus: This credit card offers 2% cash back on everything, with a nice welcome bonus, but it has a $150 annual fee. If the card is no longer valuable to you after that, you may want to downgrade to the no annual fee Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus (Review), which offers less in rewards. If you expect to fly, check out the Capital One Spark Miles for Business (Review), which is similar to the Spark Cash but comes with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit and allows point transfers to airline partners.

Best for Varied Business Spending

Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card
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securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0.00
  • Purchase APR0% for 9 billing cycles, then 12.24% - 22.24% Variable APR

If you make different types of purchases from month to month, you’ll need a credit card that can handle that. The Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) is one of the best business credit cards for freelancers with diverse spending habits, with a flexible 3% cash back category featuring six options you can choose from each month.

Insider tip

Don’t forget about Amazon’s diverse marketplace, which is a great resource for freelancers looking for deals or particular equipment they can’t find locally. Amazon Prime members can get 5% back on all their Amazon purchases with the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card (Review) (up to $120,000 spent per year), while non-Prime users can get 3% back with the Amazon Business American Express Card (Review) (there are personal versions of these cards too).

Best for Working in Cafes

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% intro on purchases for 15 months, then 14.99% - 24.99% Variable

No need to pay full price for coffee (or anything else at a restaurant). You have a few good options for restaurant purchases, ranging from no annual fee to a fairly high fee.

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) is our top pick thanks to its high reward rate and lack of annual fee. But if you want a little more, check out the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, a similar offer with higher rewards and an annual fee.

Insider tip

The American Express® Gold Card (Review) could also be good for some freelancers: 4X points at restaurants, point transfer opportunities to increase your return on spend, a $120 annual dining statement credit — but a $250 annual fee (Rates & Fees).

Best for Long Distance Driving

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securely on the issuer's website

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
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securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Purchase APR0% on purchases for 12 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Uber and Lyft drivers end up spending a lot of money taking care of their cars, and that includes buying quite a bit of gas every month. If you’re not getting some kind of discount on that fuel, you’re missing out.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review) can put a dent in all that spending, with an easy 3% back on gas. If you’re spending $150 to $500 per month on gas, that would save you $54 to $180 per year. It’s not a ton of money, but it should help you pay for some of those inevitable car repairs. Most cards without annual fees have lower rates on gas; by paying an annual fee, you’ll also get a top-notch rate for groceries and streaming.

Insider tip

For some other options with more diverse bonus categories, check out the Discover it® Cash Back (Review) (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, activation required) and Chase Freedom® (Review). They have rotating 5% categories which usually include gas for at least one quarter . Consider buying gas gift cards when that category is active to use throughout the year.

Best for Office Supplies/Internet Expenses

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securely on the issuer's website

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
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securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, then 13.24% - 19.24% Variable

If you’re like many freelancers, you’ve crafted some version of a home office to create a more productive work environment. The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (Review) provides a simple way to get rewards for office supplies and internet/phone services, and the intro bonus could pay for that new monitor or chair you’ve had your eye on. (Several other cards on this page would work well here too.)

Insider tip

If you also have a Chase Ultimate Rewards points card, you could transfer your Ink Cash rewards to that card to get a better return on your spending (as much as 10% or more). The eligible cards are:

Best for General Travel

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee95
  • Purchase APR15.99% - 20.99% Variable

Who doesn’t like points? The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (Review) will provide a ton of them, with the biggest intro bonus currently available on any Chase Ultimate Rewards card (bigger even than the $550 Chase Sapphire Reserve®). You’ll earn points on travel at a competitive rate, and there are a few other bonus categories that should prove useful to certain freelancers.

If you’re not sure if you can spend enough in the first three months, check out some creative ways to reach minimum spending requirements.

Insider tip

If you travel often and are looking for a serious upgrade, consider The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Review). It may seem intimidating and a bit extra for many freelancers, but frequent travelers can get more out of the Business Platinum card than they put in thanks to Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credits, a Dell credit, and the best airport lounge access on any card. With a $595 ($695 if application is received on or after 1/13/2022) annual fee you don’t want to apply on a whim — check out the rewards and benefits, and see if you’ll use them enough to offset the high fee and come out on top after that (enrollment required; terms apply). (Rates & Fees)

Why Should Freelancers Use Credit Cards?

Credit cards are useful tools for people in their daily lives, and for businesses as well — so freelancers, who live somewhere in that in-between realm of self-employment, can take advantage of cards designed for each group.

Some key benefits of using credit cards:

  1. Earn rewards: A little bit of cash back or a few points per dollar can add up to a lot over time. Pair the right rewards card with your business spending, and you could see returns of 5%, 10%, or even more with certain card setups.
  2. Split personal and business spending: To easily separate your finances, designate some cards for personal spending and other cards for business spending. Pay the former from your personal bank account, and the latter from your business bank account (if you have one).
  3. Budget and analyze spending: You need a budget as a freelancer. Credit cards will itemize your purchases, giving you a clear perspective on what you’re buying and how much you’re spending. This makes it simple to track your cash flow over time, and you can check in as often as you like to make sure you’re staying on budget.
  4. Help with taxes: Separating and itemizing your business expenses will make tax season a (relative) breeze. Keep all your expenses on certain cards to speed up the collecting and sorting of all that info (especially useful if you’re paying a tax accountant by the hour).
  5. Provide some startup funds: Maybe you want to buy a standing desk, or get your car detailed so it looks nice for your first rideshare job. A credit card can help you pay over time, but you should look for a card with a 0% intro rate on purchases or balance transfers to avoid paying interest
  6. Deal with unexpected costs: Surprise expenses will happen (if they haven’t yet, just wait). A credit card can give you some time to come up with the money, or let you pay off the debt for a year or more (again, find a card with a 0% intro rate on purchases or balance transfers).
  7. Build business credit: Building business credit isn’t as simple as getting a business credit card, or declaring a personal card to be used for business purposes. But having a business card can help if boosting your business creditworthiness is, in fact, a goal.
  8. Save when purchasing in foreign currency: If you travel abroad or make purchases in foreign currency for work, you may find yourself dealing with exchange and foreign transaction fees. You can avoid them with a card without foreign transaction fees (business card options here).

Business or Personal?

Smart freelancers seek out every advantage, whether they’re spending for their business, planning for tax day, or getting the work done.

The bottom line? A business credit card is not required but you may find it useful. As far as the IRS is concerned, any credit card can be designated as solely for business purchases.

You should know that business cards are not protected by the CARD Act, which prevents credit card companies from raising interest rates in certain situations and provides some other consumer protections.

So, many solopreneurs prefer to stick with personal cards, also known as consumer cards. Both types of cards are secured with the applicant’s personal credit, and business cards do not necessarily create or build business credit (but they can help accomplish that).

Overall, however, you shouldn’t be scared away by business cards. Plenty of people choose them over consumer cards for their different rewards programs and benefits, and most of the time it works out fine. As long as you use credit cards responsibly and maintain good financial habits in general, you’re unlikely to have any problems.

Should I Get a Personal Card or a Business Card?

Some reasons to consider business cards instead of (or in addition to) personal cards include:

  • You can probably get one: Maybe you didn’t realize it, but as a freelancer you should easily qualify for business cards.
  • Business-focused rewards: Compared to personal cards, business cards tend to have bonus categories that suit businesses, just as you’d expect. Reward categories often include office supplies, phone and internet services, shipping, advertising, and travel.
  • Business-focused benefits: You can find simple benefits like management tools to track and analyze spending, along with more valuable perks like credits with popular business services. Protection benefits, like purchase protection or trip delay insurance, may come with higher reimbursement limits than personal cards as well.
  • Higher credit limits: Business credit cards usually come with higher credit limits than personal cards, so they’re more convenient if you have a lot of spending to do each month.
  • Separate personal finances from business spending: If you have a bunch of credit cards, you may find it easiest to keep your personal expenses on consumer cards, and put all your business spending on business cards (but most freelancers will probably be best off with a mix of consumer and business cards).
  • Control employee spending: If you have any employees or provide payment methods for anyone else you work with, a business card can let you set limits on authorized user/employee cards to prevent overspending.
  • Won’t usually affect personal credit history (as long as you use them responsibly): Most credit card issuers won’t report business cards to the consumer credit bureaus as long as they’re paid on time, so they won’t show up on your personal credit reports (Capital One and Discover are exceptions). This could be a good thing if you’re carrying a balance, or reporting a high balance each month, because it won’t affect your credit utilization ratio.

So don’t limit yourself to just business or personal credit cards — find a card or two that complement your business spending and the life you want to live as a freelancer.

Keep your options open, and commit to using credit cards responsibly: Ideally, that means paying off your full statement balance each month to avoid interest. At the minimum that means paying your bills on time, every time. This will help you get the most out of your cards without accruing expensive debt.

What credit cards do you use to fund your freelance business? What other financial strategies do you use? Let us know in the comments below!

Freelancing encompasses a wide variety of jobs and tasks. If you didn’t find the right card for you here, take a look at the Best Credit Cards for different lifestyles and spending habits.

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For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, 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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The responses below are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers' responsibility to ensure all posts are accurate and/or questions are answered.

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