Business Credit Cards

John Ganotis

John Ganotis

Updated Nov 03, 2016

Our Editor’s Picks for Best Business Credit and Charge Cards

The cards on this page have been chosen from the widest possible selection of cards that we could find when the page was last updated on July 13, 2016. Although Credit Card Insider does receive compensation from some card issuers as advertisers, this does not in any way influence our choice of cards or the order that cards appear on the page. We have attempted to determine the best cards in this category, regardless of our advertising relationship with the issuers.

Learn more about how we rate credit and charge cards.

What’s important to you in a credit card? To most small business owners, discounts and cash back both rank high. A credit card that helps you cut costs and earn money can improve your bottom line, but it’s important to match the features of the card with the needs of your company. Keep reading to see our top business credit card picks, and how business credit cards are different from regular consumer credit cards.

The cards in this section were taken from our recent blog post on the Best Credit and Charge Cards for Small Businesses and Startups – 2016.

1. 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 benefits, what services and tools are available to you, what your interest rates are, and when your bills are due.

Advantages of Business Cards

  • A higher credit limit than a personal card, so no need to worry about the approval and disbursement of funds associated with a loan.
  • Presenting a professional, credible image.
  • The ability to quickly take out a certain amount of cash against the credit line, although this is generally at a very high rate.
  • Earning rewards like points or cash back.
  • 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.
  • Extra benefits like 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.
  • Make it easier to separate personal and business expenses.

What Makes for a Great Business Card?

Here are the most important things to consider:

  • Low fees that are worth the expense –  If a card is going to come with fees, they need to be compensated by decent interest rates, rewards, and benefits.
  • Low interest rates – A business credit card with high interest rates can quickly become more trouble than it’s worth if you revolve a balance from month to month.
  • Cash back and discounts for business expenses – The best cards offer discounts for office supplies, communication, and other business expenses
  • Travel rewards and benefits – Some business cards will even offer additional benefits to make traveling easier and more enjoyable, like insurance, upgrades, and complimentary amenities.
  • Purchase protections – Including coverage against damage, extended warranties, and return protection.
  • Ability to issue employee cards – Additional cards can give employees more responsibility, as well as multiply your ability to earn cash back rewards or points.

Types of Cards

Just like with personal cards, there are different types of cards available for businesses, including 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, 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.

Read more about revolving debt and how it compares to installment debt »

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 on your account 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 earning 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 can help business owners build credit when they are bouncing back from debt. Business owners simply need to put down a security deposit that matches their credit limit. Over time they will slowly build their credit back up and upgrade to a non-secured credit card.

Read more »

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.  In general:

  • An increase of $1,000 in credit card spending was associated with an increase of $5,500 in revenue. 
  • Every increase of $5,613 in credit card use per month led to a net increase of 1 new job.

Start a conversation with your banker as you are putting your business together. If you have a business plan, consider sharing it with your banker, asking for feedback. Make sure the plan includes your financials (and make sure they’re solid!) To the extent you can plan, execute and deliver on the promises of the plan, your stock with the banker will grow faster than those who just drop off their checks. Often my students report that after doing this for a while, the banker asks about extending credit or other banking services. That’s when you know you’ve succeeded financially.– Jerome Katz, Coleman Professor of Entrepreneurship at Saint Louis University

2. Business vs. Personal Cards

  • The applicant will usually be held completely liable for the account. Business credit cards 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.  If your account goes into 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, fees, and requires a 21-day grace period before payments are due.

If I Apply for a Business Credit Card Using My EIN, Does the Inquiry Count Against My Personal Credit?

When applying for business credit cards you have the option of using your employer identification number instead of your social security number.

What you’ll learn here:

  • The choices you have when applying for business credit cards
  • How your EIN is related to your SSN
  • The effects of business credit cards on your credit

Read more »

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?

3. 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 guide 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 »

Can I Build Business Credit by Using a Business Credit Card?

Building business credit isn’t as simple as getting a business card, using it, and paying it off on time. There are several aspects to using business credit cards and building business credit that are a bit counterintuitive and will probably surprise you.

What you’ll learn here:

  • How to get a business credit card
  • How business cards affect your personal and business credit
  • Who is liable for accounts that go into default
  • Personal experiences about establishing business credit

Read more »

How to Not Waste Time and Get The Most out of Your Local SBDC

A Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can help you establish and build (or repair) your business credit, outlining the required steps and walking you through the process.

What you’ll learn here:

  • What SBDC’s are
  • How SBDC’s can help you develop a business plan
  • How SBDC’s can help you manage your bank and credit accounts, apply for loans, and prepare for and file taxes

Read more »

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.

What you’ll learn here:

  • How personal guarantees will 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 »

Start-ups can’t get credit on their own until they have established a financial track record for the firm, including any bank transactions (e.g. deposits), paying on time for utilities, inventory and services, and managing and efficiently handling any credit card services they take in their business.– Jerome Katz, Coleman Professor of Entrepreneurship at Saint Louis University

Points & Cash Back

Business Card 5 points/5% cash back 3 points/3% cash back 2 points/2% cash back Spending Bonus

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express

Travel booked through the American Express Travel website

30% point bonus each year

10,000 bonus points if the first purchase is made in the first 3 months

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express® OPEN

Travel booked through the American Express Travel website 5,000 bonus points after the first purchase is made

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

Travel booked through the American Express Travel website  40,000 points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, as well as a $200 annual Airline Fee Credit

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

You choose 1 of 5 categories

See More

Includes the categories not chosen for the 3x point category

(up to $100,000 for each category)

25,000 points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card

Purchases made directly from Delta

30,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months …

See More

Lowe's Business Rewards Card

Restaurants, office supply stores …

See More

Lowe’s Home Improvement

SimplyCash® Business Credit Card

 Office supply stores, wireless …

See More

You choose 1 category

See More

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Hotels and resorts that are members of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Program 10,000 Starpoints after the first purchase is made, and 15,000 points for spending $5,000 in the first 6 months

BBVA Compass Business Secured Visa Credit Card

You choose 1 category

See More

You choose 1 category

See More

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

All purchases

(no limit)

$250 cash back for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, and $50 for signing up an employee card in the first 60 days

Chase Ink Cash® Business Card

Office supply stores, cell phone, …

See More

Gas stations and restaurants

(up to $50,000)

$200 cash back for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

Chase Ink Plus® Business Card

Office supply stores, cell phone, …

See More

Gas stations and hotel accommodations

(up to $50,000)

50,000 points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® World MasterCard®

Eligible American Airlines and US Airways purchases

50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

5% mileage bonus upon annual renewal

Wells Fargo® Business Secured Credit Card

 Choose a rewards system

See More

Shopping Benefits & Protections

(Each card may feature more benefits that are not listed here)

Business Card Personal Concierge Service Purchase Protection Return Protection Price Protection Extended Warranty

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express® OPEN

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card

Lowe's Business Rewards Card

SimplyCash® Business Credit Card

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

BBVA Compass Business Secured Visa Credit Card

Chase Ink Cash® Business Card

Chase Ink Plus® Business Card

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® World MasterCard®

Wells Fargo® Business Secured Credit Card

Travel Protections

(Each card may feature more benefits that are not listed here)

Business Card Travel and Emergency Assistance Travel Accident Insurance Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance Roadside Assistance Auto Rental Collision Waiver

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express® OPEN

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card

Lowe's Business Rewards Card

SimplyCash® Business Credit Card

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

BBVA Compass Business Secured Visa Credit Card

Chase Ink Cash® Business Card

Chase Ink Plus® Business Card

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® World MasterCard®

Wells Fargo® Business Secured Credit Card

Business Card Details

American Express Cards

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express

  • 2 points per dollar spent on travel through the American Express Travel website
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 10,000 bonus points for making the first purchase within the first 3 months
  • 30% point bonus awarded at the end of the year

Business Green Rewards Card from American Express® OPEN

  • 2 points per dollar spent on travel through the American Express Travel website
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 5,000 bonus points for making the first purchase

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

  • 2 points per dollar spent on travel through the American Express Travel website
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 40,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • $200 annual Airline Fee Credit

Lowe's Business Rewards Card

  • 3 points per dollar spent at:
    • Restaurants
    • Office Supply Stores
    • Wireless telephone services
  • 2 points per dollar spent at Lowe’s Home Improvement
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

  • 3 points per dollar in your choice of one of the following categories, on the first $100,000 spent annually:
    •  airfare
    • advertising in select media
    • gas
    • shipping
    • computer hardware, software, or cloud computing purchases
  • 2 points per dollar in each category not chosen, on the first $100,000 spent annually in each category
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card

  • 2 miles per dollar for purchases made directly from Delta
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 30,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • $50 statement credit for making a purchase in the first 3 months

SimplyCash® Business Credit Card

  • 5% cash back,on the first $25,000 spent annually, at:
    • Office supply stores
    • Wireless telephone services
  • 3% cash back in your choice of one of the following categories, on the first $25,000 spent annually:
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
    • Select car rentals
    • U.S. gas stations
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. purchases of advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

  • 2 Starpoints per dollar spent on eligible purchases from hotels and resorts that participate in the Starwood Preferred Guest® program
  • 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 10,000 bonus points after making the first purchase
  • 15,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 6 months

BBVA Compass

BBVA Compass Business Secured Visa Credit Card

  • 3 points per dollar in 1 of the following categories:
    • Gas purchases
    • Home improvement
    • Utilities
  • 2 points per dollar in 1 of the following categories:
    • Office supplies
    • Restaurants
    • Travel
  • 1 point per dollar for all other purchases

Capital One Cards

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

  • 2% cash back on every purchase, with no limit
  • $250 bonus for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • $50 bonus for signing up an employee card in the first 60 days

Chase Cards

Chase Ink Cash® Business Card

  • 5% cash back, on the first $25,000 spent annually, at:
    • Office supply stores
    • Landline and cellular phone services
    • Internet and Cable TV services
  • 2% cash back, on the first $25,000 spent annually, at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases (no limit)
  • $200 bonus cash back for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

Chase Ink Plus® Business Card

  • 5 points per dollar, on the first $50,000 spent annually, at:
    • Office supply stores
    • Landline and cellular phone services
    • Internet and Cable TV services
  • 2 points per dollar, on the first $50,000 spent annually, at:
    • Gas stations
    • Hotel accommodations
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases (no limit)
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

Citi Cards

CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® World MasterCard®

  • 2 AAdvantage Miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases from
    • American Airlines
    • US Airways
    • Select business categories
  • 1 AAdvantage Mile for every other dollar spent
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo® Business Secured Credit Card

  • The Rewards program is optional, and costs $50 annually (waived the first year)
  • Choose a “Rewards Points” or “Cash Back Only” reward plan:
    • Rewards Points:
      • 1 point for every dollar spent on all purchases with no limit
      • 1,000 bonus points each month for spending at least $1,000
      • 10% point bonus for redeeming points online
      • Bonus point opportunities available in the Earn More Mall shopping portal
    • Cash Back Only
      • 1% cash back on all purchases, awarded every quarter

Business Credit Card Reviews and Comparisons

Reviews

Comparisons

Related Business Resources

12 Alternative Financing Sources for Small Businesses

There are many other sources of financing for small businesses besides credit cards. From traditional business loans to microfinancing to peer-to-peer lending, funds are available in a wide variety. Some of these present fair and inviting terms, while others may clearly represent a losing proposition.

Read More »

Card Issuer Business Resources

Card Issuer Resources
American Express OPEN Business Forum OPEN Business Tumblr
Bank of America  Small Business Community Small Business Online Banking Small Business Tools
BBVA Compass Bank  Commercial Banking Services Small Business Banking Services
Capital One Small Business Banking Services Business Banking Contact Information
Chase Business Banking Services Banking Contact Information Chase Paymentech Merchant Payment Processing Services
Citibank Small Business Banking Services Small Business Guide Small Business Solutions By Industry
GM Business Business Account Login GM Vehicle Redemption Map
Lowe’s Home Improvement  Lowe’s Pro Business Services Business Contact Information
Sam’s Club Business Account Login Business Information And Resources
Shell Business Account Login Business Services
Southwest Airlines Business Travel And Groups Business Select Services
The Home Depot Professional And Contractor Services
United Mileage Business Benefits Business Products Information
Wells Fargo Small Business Tools And Services Small Business Resources Merchant Services – Payment Processing

 

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