Small Business Credit Cards

John Ganotis

John Ganotis

Updated Jun 12, 2018

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Best Small Business Credit Cards of 2018

Best For Card
Flat Cash Back Rate Capital One Spark Cash for Business (Review)
Business Travel The Business Platinum Card from American Express (Review)
Business Bonus Categories Chase Ink Business Preferred (Review)
No Annual Fee Chase Ink Business Cash (Review)
Fair or Average Credit Capital One® Spark Classic® for Business (Review)
Bad Credit Wells Fargo Business Secured Visa Card
Airline Travel Various Cards
Hotel Stays Various Cards

Is a Business Card Right For You?

What’s important to you in a credit card? To most small business owners, discounts and rewards both rank high.

A credit card that helps you cut costs and earn money can improve your bottom line slightly, but it’s important to match the features of the card with the needs of your company. Many business cards will also send positive card activity to the business credit reporting bureaus, improving your business credit.

If you own a small business and have to manage cash flow, the right business card could make things a lot easier. Keep reading to see our top business credit card picks, and learn all about how business credit cards work.

Best Small Business Credit Cards of 2018

Best for Flat Cash Back Rate

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
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Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)
  • Interest Rate: 17.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 2% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Cash rewards don't expire, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Redeem cash rewards anytime, for any amount, even set up automatic redemption
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn unlimited cash rewards that don't expire

Some people just want to earn cash back without bothering with bonus reward categories and complicated redemption options. If that sounds like you, you could do a lot worse than the Capital One Spark Cash for Business Card (Review).

Rewards

The rewards are very simple:

  • 2% cash back on all purchases, with no limit
  • Signup bonus: $500 cash back for spending $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months

Unlike other cards, which reward you more for certain types of purchases, the Spark Cash offers a flat rate for everything you buy. This can be good for businesses that spend a lot on a variety of purchases, rather than particular categories. And there’s no limit to the cash back you can earn, unlike many other rewards cards.

This card isn’t as potentially valuable as other business cards, but its rewards program makes it very flexible. This means that it’s a great option to pair with other rewards cards that do have bonus categories, like any of the others on our list.

You can use that other card for its bonus categories, earning cash back or points at a high rate. Then use the Spark Cash for every other expense, where you would typically only earn 1% back (or 1X point per dollar). If you hit the reward spending limit on that other card, you can switch to the Spark Cash for those purchases too. This will ensure that you always get at least 2% cash back, no matter what you buy.

Benefits

Capital One provides some decent benefits with this card, some related to business and others not. Cardholders get some useful expense tracking and account management tools. There’s also the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, a set of perks and discounts when staying at participating hotels. But overall, the benefits are probably not the main reason you should consider this card.

Employee versions of the Spark Cash are free, which is typical for business credit cards.

Costs & Fees

This card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. You can offset that by spending $4,750 every year, which will provide $95 in cash back.

There are no foreign transaction fees with the Spark Cash, so it’s a good pick to bring along if you’re going to travel outside the U.S.

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

Capital One reports business card activity to three credit bureaus:

  • Dun and Bradstreet
  • Small Business Financial Exchange
  • Experian

Most credit card issuers will only report positive business card activity to one business credit bureau, so this feature stands out. If you want to improve your business credit at more bureaus, this card would be a good way to do that.

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Cash for Business Card

Best for Business Travel

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
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The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • Welcome Offer: Get up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $20,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • The Business Platinum Card's premium benefits include world-class platinum service, travel benefits, rewards that can help reduce expenses, and access to one-of-a-kind events.
  • Membership Rewards® Program: Get one point for each dollar of eligible purchases. There is no limit to the number of points you can get.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back.
  • Airport Lounge Access Program: Elevate your business travel experience with complimentary access to over 700 airport lounges worldwide.
  • Complimentary internet access: Enroll your Card with Gogo and Boingo and get 10 Gogo inflight internet passes annually and unlimited Wi-Fi at Boingo hotspots.
  • Terms & Restrictions Apply

The American Express Business Platinum (Review) is a premium travel rewards card. It’s intended for small business owners who will travel enough to make it worth the $450 annual fee.

Rewards

This card is a great way to earn Membership Rewards points, and comes with a special redemption bonus.

  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels on the American Express Travel website
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other purchases from the American Express Travel website
  • 1.5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Signup Bonus: 50,000 bonus points for spending $10,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Signup Bonus: 25,000 extra bonus points for spending an additional $10,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

The rewards program is centered around Amex Travel, where you can earn the most points. That includes most airlines and hotels you’d likely want to book with.

You’ll have quite a few redemption options. But the most rewarding method will usually be for flights because you can get a 35% point bonus on eligible bookings. With that option you can get a maximum cash back equivalent of 6.75%, if you earn at the 5X rate. You might be able to get a better deal than that with a point transfer, but you’ll more likely get a lesser value because this is a pretty good deal.

Eligible flights include any first or business class flight, on any airline. And they also include any flights from a single airline of your choice.

Benefits

This card presents a few different ways to save money and have a better time while traveling. You’ll get a $200 annual airline credit, which can be applied to incidental fees charged by the airline of your choice (the same one for the 35% point bonus). This doesn’t cover ticket costs, just incidental fees like in-flight meals. This is pretty good, but other high-end cards offer credits that will cover ticket fees as well, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve (Review) — but that’s not a business card.

Cardholders get access to the Amex Global Lounge Collection, which is one of the best airport lounge benefits you’ll find on a credit card. This covers a very wide variety of lounges, and includes access to over 1,000 around the world. The included brands are the premier Amex Centurion Lounge, Airspace Lounges, Delta Sky Club, Priority Pass Select, and Escape Lounges.

There’s a fee credit for Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre✓ ($85), for expedited screening at airports. This is pretty standard on high-end travel cards. But there’s also complimentary Gold Elite membership status for both Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton Honors. This covers a very wide swath of hotels, so you’ll probably have somewhere to stay no matter where you travel.

These are just a few of the most valuable benefits with this card, but there are quite a few more.

Costs & Fees

As mentioned above, the Amex Business Platinum is pretty expensive at $450 per year. You’ll have to decide if the rewards and benefits justify that, and if you’ll use it enough to warrant paying that much.

We’ve found that you can offset that annual fee by spending just $3,704 per year, if you earn and redeem rewards in a certain way. This assumes that you do all your spending at the 5X rate and redeem for flights that are eligible for the 35% point bonus. You’ll also need to completely use the $200 statement credit each year. Then, this type of spending and redeeming will earn you $250 to get the rest of the way there.

That’s a best-case scenario, and most businesses will have a mix of spending. But if you spend thousands of dollars on travel every year already, you can probably see how you could earn and redeem the points you need.

This is a charge card, which means you’ll need to pay the balance in full each billing period. You may also get an option to pay off certain purchases at an interest rate over time.

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

American Express business cards report positive card activity to Small Business Financial Exchange. If the card enters a negative status, the activity will be reported to the three main consumer credit bureaus, along with Dun & Bradstreet.

This means that you can use this card to build up your business credit by using it responsibly. But if you fail to pay your bill you can hurt both your business credit and your personal credit.

Read more in our Review of the American Express Business Platinum Card: Is it worth the $450 annual fee?

Best for Business Bonus Categories

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
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Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Interest Rate: 17.49%–22.49% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 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

The information for Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

You can earn a ton of bonus points with the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card (Review), and the other features are pretty good too.

Rewards

  • 3X points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent per year in combined purchases on:
    • travel
    • shipping
    • internet, cable, and phone services
    • advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: 80,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 25% point bonus when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel

This 3X reward rate covers four business-related categories, making this card useful for a variety of spending. If your business spends a lot in even three of them, it could provide quite a lot of points. The signup bonus of 80,000 points is particularly good, and redeemable for $1,000 for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Normally each point would be worth 1 cent, but the 25% bonus brings that to 1.25. This means you’re getting a cash back equivalent of 3.75% when spending at the 3X rate, and redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

You can also transfer your points to several travel partners at a 1:1 rate. With a point transfer you can potentially get the equivalent of 6% cash back or more, depending on the particular deal you get. This is a good deal compared to Amex Membership Rewards points, which don’t always transfer at such a favorable rate, although Amex includes more partners.

If you can redeem through a valuable point transfer like that, those 80,000 bonus points would be worth $1,600.

So this card has some travel and business-related reward categories. And you’ll also want to redeem the rewards you get for travel in some way, rather than statement credits or gift cards.

Benefits

You probably won’t get too much out of the perks and benefits of the Ink Business Preferred. In large part they just consist of basic shopping and travel protection, along with cell phone protection.

But cardholders will also get 20,000 bonus points for every business owner they refer to the card who successfully applies. There’s a limit of 100,000 bonus points per year earned in this way. That would mean $250 per referral, assuming you redeem those points through Ultimate Rewards, or potentially even more through a point transfer.

Costs & Fees

There’s a $95 annual fee with this card, but other than that there’s not much else to the terms.

You’ll be able to offset that fee by spending as little as $1,584 each year, if you earn at the 3X rate and get a great point transfer deal. Or you can earn the $95 you need a bit more reliably by spending at the 3X rate and redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards for the 25% bonus. That would require $2,534 in spending.

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

Chase will report positive business card activity to Dun & Bradstreet. But if your account goes 60 days past due and enters a negative status, the activity will be reported to the three main consumer credit bureaus.

Read more in our Review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Best for No Annual Fee

Chase Ink Business Cash Card
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Chase Ink Business Cash Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.74%–20.74% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Named "Best for Rewards for Small Business" MONEY® Magazine, October 2014
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV 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
  • Free employee cards
  • No Annual Fee

The information for Chase Ink Business Cash Card has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

There are several business cards without an annual fee, but the Chase Ink Business Cash (Review) is likely to be the most rewarding for the most small businesses.

Rewards

  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each year:
    • at office supply stores
    • on internet, cable, and phone services
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each year:
    • at gas stations
    • at restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases, with no limit
  • Signup bonus: $300 bonus cash back for spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening

If your business spends a lot on office supplies and the services listed, you’ll have few other options if you want to earn 5% cash back on them. That’s a pretty good deal but it’s limited to the first $25,000 you spend, and so is the 2% rate. So if you’ll spend much more than that every year you may want to consider using a different card, or another card in addition to this one.

Combining the Ink Business Cash with another card wouldn’t be an overly-expensive strategy because this card has no annual fee, so any rewards you earn from it are profit as long as you don’t incur interest. And you can avoid interest on purchases by paying your balance in full each month.

Benefits

The additional benefits are a bit sparse, but that’s OK on a no-annual-fee card. You’ll get some basic protections, but that’s about it. They include purchase protection, an extended warranty, an auto rental collision damage waiver, and a few more.

Costs & Fees

There’s no annual fee, and also a 12-month 0% introductory APR for both purchases and balance transfers. That makes the Ink Business Cash a good way to help manage cash flow for a startup, giving you something a bit like a year-long loan at no interest.

You’ll be charged a fee of 3% for foreign transactions, so it’s not a good pick for any purchases outside the U.S.

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

Chase will report positive business card activity to Dun & Bradstreet. But if your account goes 60 days past due and enters a negative status, the activity will be reported to the three main credit bureaus.

Read more in our Review of the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card

Best for Fair or Average Credit

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business
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Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 24.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Enjoy no annual fee
  • Build business credit with responsible use with eligibility for an automatic credit line increase
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Separate business expenses from personal expenses
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Get additional employee cards for no cost
  • Enjoy business benefits like Year-End Summaries and experienced small business customer service

If your credit is in the fair or average range, which is a FICO score of about 660–699, you may have a hard time being approved for the more rewarding business cards out there. But your credit isn’t bad enough to warrant a secured card either, so you need a middle option.

The Capital One Spark Classic for Business (Review) fills that gap, one of the few non-secured business cards designed for average credit.

Rewards

  • 1% cash back on all purchases

It’s not a very strong rewards program, but this is the trade-off for not having credit in the “good” range. You can actually get a better cash back rate than that on some secured cards, like the one up next. But you won’t need to pay a security deposit to fund the credit limit of the Spark Classic, and you’ll need to do that with secured cards.

Although you could get a better rate by going for a secured card you probably wouldn’t earn much more than 1% cash back, so it might not be worth it.

Benefits

The Spark Classic has some very basic shopping and travel protections, like most cards. The benefits don’t go very much beyond that, but Capital One does provide some handy expense tracking tools, like quarterly and year-end summaries. This is normal for most business cards.

Costs & Fees

There’s no annual fee for this card, which makes it better than most secured cards. There are also no foreign transaction fees, always a nice feature if your business tends to make a lot purchases from outside the country.

So this card shouldn’t be very expensive to use. In fact, it can be totally free if you simply pay your entire balance in full every month.

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

Capital One reports business card activity to three credit bureaus:

  • Dun and Bradstreet
  • Small Business Financial Exchange
  • Experian

Most credit card issuers will only report positive business card activity to one business credit bureau, so this feature stands out. If you want to improve your business credit at more bureaus, this card would be a good way to do that.

Best for Bad Credit

Wells Fargo® Business Secured Credit Card
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Wells Fargo® Business Secured Credit Card

For People with
No Credit

  • Annual Fee: $25 per card
  • Interest Rate: 18.99% (Variable)
Quick Card Facts
  • 10 Cards For You & Employees
  • Wells Fargo Business Card Rewards®: Earn rewards if you want by paying $50 per year to participate, expect the first year which is $0.
  • $10 Cash Rewards Bonus: Every time you spend $1,000.
  • 10% Points Bonus: When you redeem online.
  • More Bonus Points:  When you shop online or in person at the Earn More Mall.
  • Card Design Studio®: Design your own card.

Secured cards are designed for people with poor credit (a FICO score below 660), providing a way to build a positive credit history. They require a security deposit when you’re approved, which will be used to fund the credit limit.

There are only a few secured business credit cards, and the Wells Fargo® Business Secured Card is probably the most useful.

Security Deposit and Credit Limit

If approved for this card, you’ll need to deposit $500 to $25,000 to fund the credit line.

Rewards

  • Current offer: 1.5% cash back on all purchases

It’s not very rewarding, but this is typical for secured cards. Many don’t offer any rewards at all, so this is actually pretty good considering the competition. And you’ll get a 10% bonus when you redeem your rewards online, too.

After spending some time improving your credit, you’ll able to qualify for cards with better rewards programs.

Take note that this is just the current offer from Wells Fargo, and it’s subject to change.

Benefits

This card has some very basic shopping and travel protections.

But it also comes with Zero Liability Protection and fraud monitoring, which are good features to have on a business card. Unlike consumer cards, business cards aren’t legally required to have features like these, but they’re nice to have to cover your business expenses.

Wells Fargo will periodically review your account, and, if you’re deemed eligible, they’ll upgrade you to an unsecured card.

Costs & Fees

This card has a $25 annual fee. You can get up to 10 employee cards, and they will all have annual fees of $25 as well.

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

Wells Fargo will report positive card activity to Small Business Financial Exchange, a business credit bureau.

If your account enters a negative status, card activity will be reported to the three main consumer bureaus.

See how this card compares to another secured business card, in The BBVA Compass Business Secured Visa Card vs The Wells Fargo Business Secured Card

Best for Airline Travel

There are many good airline business credit cards, which are co-branded with a particular airline. They’re meant to be used mostly with that one brand, where they’ll provide their best award miles and perks.

The best airline card for you will depend on the airlines you like. If you hate flying with Delta, for example, you should rightly avoid their credit cards.

Many of the major airlines have co-branded cards, giving you a way to earn a whole lot of airline miles with them. Usually they only have one business card offer, but in some cases there are more. If you don’t like the business card option, there may be a consumer travel credit card available for that airline that’s more appealing.

Here are our top picks.

Airline Our Best Pick
Alaska Airlines Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card
Asiana Asiana Visa® Business Card
American Airlines AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®
Delta Platnum Delta SkyMiles® Business Card 
Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard®
JetBlue JetBlue Business Mastercard®
Southwest Airlines Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card
United United MileagePlus® Club Business Card

Best for Hotel Stays

Just like when it comes to airline cards, the best hotel business card for you will depend on where you like to stay. Most of the major hotel brands offer a credit card, and they’re often very rewarding.

You’ll typically get some complimentary services at the participating hotel and resort locations. And you also may get some kind of Elite membership status, which could provide even more points on top of what you earn from the card.

If the hotel brand you like doesn’t offer a business card, check to see if there’s a consumer hotel credit card that would work for you. You’ll get the same types of rewards and perks, but without the business features.

Here are our picks for the best hotel business cards, along with some other options.

Hotel Brand Our Best Pick
Club Carlson Club Carlson Business Rewards® Visa
Hilton Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Marriott Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Card
Starwood Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card (Review)

What Are Business Credit Cards?

Business credit cards are very similar to personal credit cards, but they are designed to help fund and provide services for small to mid-size businesses. Just like personal credit cards, business cards require self-discipline and the ability to budget funds appropriately.

All of the same fundamentals of using credit responsibly apply. Make sure that you understand the terms inside and out: where you earn the most rewards, what benefits and services are available to you, what your interest rates are, and when your bills are due.

Advantages of Business Cards

  • The ability to manage your cash flow, giving you 20–30 days to pay off your business expenses without interest (in most cases).
  • A higher credit limit than a personal consumer card, so no need to worry about the approval and disbursement of funds associated with a loan.
  • Presenting a professional, credible image.
  • Earning rewards like points or cash back on business expenses — the more expenses you have, the more rewards you can earn.
  • Distributing employee cards, making it easier to track purchases as well as set credit limits and control spending. This can simplify spending reviews and budgeting while providing more ways to earn rewards.
  • Great perks like travel credits, elite member status with airlines and hotels, free night stays, and other complimentary services.
  • Handy benefits like merchandise discounts, purchase protection, extended warranties, and travel insurance. These can insure your purchases against theft and damage, and your travel for cancellations and accidents, reducing the impact on your wallet.
  • Being able to quickly take out a certain amount of cash against the credit line. But this is generally at a very high rate and we recommend avoiding cash advances like the plague. Only do this in an emergency, and pay it back ASAP.
  • Make it easier to separate personal and business expenses.
  • Some cards report activity to business credit bureaus, helping to improve your business credit.

What Makes for a Great Business Card?

Here are the most important things to consider:

  • Good value for an annual fee: If a card is going to come with an annual fee, make sure the rewards and benefits will provide enough value to make it worth the cost.
  • Rewards for your business expenses: The best cards for you will offer points or cash back for the types of purchases you make the most.
  • A big signup bonus: Businesses spend more than typical consumers, so the signup bonus for a good business card can also be pretty high.
  • Extra benefits: Pretty much every card comes with some basic shopping and travel protections, but exceptional cards have more interesting and valuable benefits.
  • Travel perks: Higher-end cards offer additional services to make traveling easier and more enjoyable, like statement credits, room upgrades, complimentary amenities, and elite membership status with airlines and hotels.
  • Good customer support: Dealing with bad customer service can be a headache, but it would be even worse if that affects your business too.

Types of Cards

Just like with personal cards, there are different types of cards available for businesses. The main types are revolving (commonly called “credit cards”), charge, and secured.

Revolving Business Cards

When you think of the typical credit card, you’re probably thinking of a revolving card. Revolving credit cards are issued with a credit limit based on your credit history and scores along with your current finances, and you can spend up to that limit.

If you carry (or revolve) a balance from month to month, you’ll be required to pay a minimum amount at the end of each billing period. If you decide not to pay the full balance owed, the remainder will accrue interest, which is set by your APR. Unless absolutely necessary, we always recommend that you pay off your balance in full to avoid being charged interest.

Business Charge Cards

Charge cards are very similar to revolving credit cards, but they do not allow you to revolve a balance from month to month. Instead, you are required to pay off the balance in full each month.

There are many benefits to this approach, because, while late fees may still apply for paying late, you’ll be saving money by not accruing interest each month. You don’t get the advantage of being able to pay for purchases over many months, but charge cards often come with many of the same features as credit cards, like cash back for purchases and shopping and traveling benefits.

In a sense, charge cards are like credit cards with a bit of built-in financial responsibility.

Read more about the differences between charge cards and revolving credit cards

Secured Business Cards

Though not an immediate go-to option, secured business cards are available for business owners with below-average or bad credit.

You simply need to put down a security deposit to fund the credit limit. Over time, with responsible use, you can build your credit back up and upgrade to a non-secured credit card.

Read more about secured business cards

A Positive Impact on Businesses

A report from the American Bankers Association clearly showed the overall economic advantage of the increased use of credit cards by small businesses.

From 2003 to 2008, it was estimated that the expansion of credit card lending to small businesses added $142 billion to the U.S. economy, and led to the creation of 1.6 million jobs.

On the individual scale, small business credit card use is connected to higher returns when it comes to growth in revenue and employment.

Some other interesting takeaways from the report:

  • An increase of $1,000 in credit card spending was associated with an increase of $5,500 in business revenue.
  • Small businesses with business cards had, on average, more assets, loans, revenue, and employees.
  • Every increase of 1% in business card use was associated with approximately 17,000 new small business jobs.
  • 80% of small firms using business cards paid off their balance in full each month (you should be like them!)

Business vs. Personal Cards

There are a few important differences between business and personal cards. Before getting a business card, educate yourself on what to expect.

  • The applicant will usually be held completely liable for the account. Business credit cards usually require a personal guarantee (PG), which will hold the applicant personally responsible to repay the debt incurred with the card.
  • Business credit cards, as long as they are paid on time, are not usually reported on personal credit reports. But if your account goes into negative status or default, it may show up as a surprise blemish on your credit report.
  • Business credit cards are not covered by the protections of the CARD Act of 2009, which limits retroactive rate increases and fees, and requires a 21-day grace period before payments are due. However, some card issuers will still include these features on business cards — check the card terms to find out.

Q&A Video: What’s the Difference Between Business Credit Cards and Consumer Credit Cards?

Learn more about personal liability in our other Q&A Video – Who Is Liable for Business Card Usage?

If I Apply Using My EIN, Does the Card Issuer Check My Personal Credit Report?

The short answer is yes, the inquiry will almost always count against your personal credit.

You’ll have some choices about the information you submit when applying for a business card. You may need to enter both your Employer Identification Number (EIN) and your Social Security Number. And in some cases you may be able to submit your EIN instead of your SSN.

However, you should usually expect this to show up on your personal credit reports, because your EIN is connected to your SSN. Since you typically need to sign on as the personal guarantor of the account, the card issuer will check your personal credit reports. The issuer can do this with just your EIN, although if that’s all you input they may ask you to submit your SSN afterward.

In some cases, if you have a large, established business with a good credit history of its own, you may be able to apply for a business card without a personal guarantee. You may need to negotiate this with the card issuer. If you want to apply for a business card using only an EIN and without a personal guarantee, we recommend contacting the card issuer to ask them about it.

Building Business Credit

Business credit is a different type of credit than personal credit, and needs to be built up in different ways. There are different requirements to meet, and different credit reporting agencies to deal with.

The Definitive Guide to Building Business Credit

Starting a business can be complicated and expensive, and keeping business credit separated from personal credit may seem like a challenge.

What you’ll learn here:

  • A step-by-step process to building business credit
  • The agencies involved in reporting business credit
  • How business credit is calculated
  • How business credit differs from personal credit
  • More tips and advice about business credit

Read more about building your business credit in our definitive guide

Getting a Business Credit Card Without a Personal Guarantee

In some cases it can be possible to successfully apply for a business credit card without needing to sign a personal guarantee of liability for the card. But you’ll need to be a corporation with an established line of credit.

What you’ll learn here:

  • How personal guarantees will usually hold you liable for your business card usage, even if the card is associated with a business
  • The two things you’ll need to do if you want to get a business credit card without signing a personal guarantee
  • How consumer protections differ between personal and business cards

Read more about applying for business cards without personal guarantees

Card Issuer Business Resources

Card Issuer Resources
American Express
Bank of America
BBVA Compass Bank
Capital One
Chase
Citibank
GM Business
Lowe’s Home Improvement
Sam’s Club
Shell
Southwest Airlines
The Home Depot
United Mileage
Wells Fargo

 

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