Best Business Credit Cards 2019

Brendan Harkness

Author

Brendan Harkness

Updated July 19, 2019

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Small business credit cards are designed for business owners who want to separate their business and personal finances, earn rewards, and use credit cards as powerful tools in growing their businesses.

To apply for a business credit card, you’ll need to have some type of business. This could be an S-corporation or LLC that has its own tax ID number, or you might be a sole proprietor doing freelance work with only your Social Security number. It’s probably easier to qualify for business cards than you think.

Small business credit cards almost always require a personal guarantee, which means the applicant is personally liable for the debt, even if the business fails.

When you apply for a business card you’ll need to provide information like the type of business, tax ID number or owner’s Social Security number, and annual revenue.

A small business credit card, along with other tools, could help build your business credit profile. When your business is big enough and has built up its credit, it may be able the qualify for corporate credit cards. Corporate cards are different: The business can apply using its tax ID number (TIN or EIN) without a personal guarantee, so only the company would be liable for the debt, rather than the business owner.

Best pick for

Flat-Rate Rewards

Why we picked this card

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 (Review).

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back for every purchase you make
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $500 bonus cash back for spending $4,500 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 11.11%

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.

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

Capital One reports business card activity to three business credit bureaus, along with the consumer bureaus:

  • Dun and Bradstreet
  • Experian Business
  • Small Business Financial Exchange
  • Consumer credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion

Some 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.

Key Features & Terms

  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Get perks for eligible hotel stays, including a $25 food and beverage credit, room upgrades when available, complimentary in-room WiFi, and more.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call any time for non-emergency assistance, like help making reservations or finding gifts.
  • Shopping and Travel Protections: Including Extended Warranties, Price Protection, Travel Accident Insurance, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, and more.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Cash Back Business Credit Cards.

 

Runners Up

Key Features & Terms

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase you make
  • $200 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for for 9 months, then 15.24% - 23.24%
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Cash Back Business Credit Cards.

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 2X miles per dollar for all purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Point Transfer: At a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline loyalty programs, including Cathay Pacific, Etihad Guest, and Qantas Frequent Flyer.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Application Fee Credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every four years.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Miles Select and Spark Miles for Business Credit Cards.

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 1.5X miles per dollar for all purchases
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Point Transfer: At a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline loyalty programs, including Cathay Pacific, Etihad Guest, and Qantas Frequent Flyer.
  • Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for for 9 months, then 15.24% - 23.24%
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Miles Select and Spark Miles for Business Credit Cards.

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $50,000 in purchases each year (then 1X)
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% on purchases for 12 months, then 15.49% - 21.49% Variable (for transfers requested within 60 days)
  • Annual fee: No annual fee

Read more in our Review of The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express.

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for this card.

Learn more about Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business »

Best pick for

Business Travel Rewards

Why we picked this card

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Review) is a premium travel rewards card, intended for small business owners who will travel and use the benefits enough to make it worth the $595 annual fee.

This card is a great way to earn Membership Rewards points, and can provide up to 75,000 points through signup bonuses.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through Amex Travel
  • 1.5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on purchases over $5,000, up to 1 million additional points per year (then 1X)
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 50,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $10,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$1,000 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 5–10%
  • 25,000 Membership Rewards points for spending an additional $10,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $250–$500 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 2.5–5%

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, although you’ll also earn points for flights booked directly with airlines.

You’ll have quite a few redemption options, including flights and gift cards. But the most rewarding method will be for point transfers, because you may find deals that provide 2 cents per point or more. That would give you a cash back equivalent of 10% when earning at the 5X rate, which isn’t bad at all.

This rewards program is a bit limited compared to some other premium cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review). But if you can book some eligible travel and make good use of the benefits each year, you’ll probably get your money’s worth with this card.

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

American Express business cards report positive card activity to Dun & Bradstreet and 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 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, which is true for most business cards.

Key Features & Terms

  • Global Lounge Collection: Complimentary access to Priority Pass, Centurion, American Express International, Delta Sky Club, Escape, Airspace, Lufthansa, and Plaza Premium Lounges.
  • $200 Annual Airline Fee Credit: Good for incidental costs like checked bags and inflight food, not tickets, at your selected airline.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Application Fee Credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every four years.
  • Complimentary Elite Hotel Statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status.
  • $200 Dell Statement Credit: Enroll to get an annual $200 statement credit for U.S. purchases with Dell: $100 from January through June, and $100 from July through December.
  • Platinum Global Access from WeWork: Get a year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork and gain access to over 300 premium, select workspaces in over 75 cities.
  • The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay.
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: Daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, amenities valued at $100, and more at eligible properties.
  • Complimentary Boingo Internet Access: Worldwide Boingo WiFi access at over one million hotspots through the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan.
  • Point Transfer: To a selection of airline and hotel partners.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $595
  • Charge card: You must pay your balance in full each month.

Read more in our Review of the Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Is it worth the $595 annual fee?

 

Runners Up

Key Features & Terms

  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent per year (then 1X) 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
  • 80,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 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, and Hyatt.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $95

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

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 2X miles per dollar for all purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Point Transfer: At a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline loyalty programs, including Cathay Pacific, Etihad Guest, and Qantas Frequent Flyer.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Miles Select and Spark Miles for Business Credit Cards.

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 1.5X miles per dollar for all purchases
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Point Transfer: At a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline loyalty programs, including Cathay Pacific, Etihad Guest, and Qantas Frequent Flyer.
  • Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for for 9 months, then 15.24% - 23.24%
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Miles Select and Spark Miles for Business Credit Cards.

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for this card.

Learn more about The Business Platinum® Card from American Express »

Best Pick For

Ecommerce Companies

Why we picked this card

The Brex Ecommerce Card is designed for big spenders, and offers a credit limit up to $5 million. Your limit will be based on a number of factors, like equity in your company and projected sales.

This card allows you to choose from net 60-day terms (the more popular option) or net 30-day terms to pay off your expenses. While most cards require payment within about 30 days, the Ecommerce card can give you twice as long to come up with the funds and pay. This could prove most useful for companies with lots of marketing, logistics, and IT spend.

Like the other Brex cards, this is a charge card, meaning you must pay the full statement balance by the due date.

If you choose net 30 terms, you’ll earn 1X point per dollar for every purchase.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 1X point per dollar on every purchase (net 30 term cardholders only)

Key Features & Terms

  • 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).
  • Employee cards: First 5 cards for free; $5 fee per card after that
  • Choose your payment term: Choose net 60 terms to pay off your card over a 60-day period, or opt for the shorter net 30 terms to earn rewards
  • Credit limit: Up to $5 million, determined in part by your projected monthly sales using data provided through sales platform integration
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

Best pick for

Varied Business Spending

Why we picked this card

Sometimes you may not know what your business expenses will be from month to month. If that’s your situation, you may like a card with many different bonus categories, or categories that are flexible in some way.

The American Express® Business Gold Card (Review) is a rewarding card with bonus categories that will match the two types of spending your business has the most of each month (out of six possible categories).

This is a handy feature because you don’t have to bother changing the categories manually each month, like with some cards, and you don’t need to try to predict your upcoming business spending. You’ll just automatically get 4X points in the two categories you spent the most in, without any extra effort on your part.

But of course, the bonus categories should fit your business spending. So if this card doesn’t work for you, check out the runners up below and their different categories.

Flat-rate credit cards are also good for varied business spending, because they have no bonus categories and provide decent rewards no matter what you buy. They also pair well with cards that do have reward categories. Check out our picks for flat-rate rewards cards here.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar in the two categories you spend the most in each month, up to $150,000 per year (then 1X):
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
    • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
    • U.S. purchases at gas stations
    • U.S. purchases at restaurants
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on eligible purchases from Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 35,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $175–$700 (assuming 0.5–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 3.5–14%

Amex’s Membership Rewards points aren’t usually worth much with the normal redemption methods, but you can get a better value through point transfers to an airline or hotel loyalty program, like Delta SkyMiles, Hilton Honors, or Marriott Bonvoy.

If you get a transfer that provides 2 cents per point, you’ll be earning an 8% cash back equivalent in the 4X categories, which would add up to quite a lot if you max out the $150,000 annual limit — that would come to $12,000 in rewards value per year.

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

American Express business cards report positive card activity to Dun & Bradstreet and 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.

Key Features & Terms

  • $2,988 in statement credits during the first 12 months of card membership for ZipRecruiter purchases, enough for one year of a ZipRecruiter Standard membership.
  • $204 in statement credits during the first 12 months of card membership for G Suite purchases, enough for one year of a G Suite Basic membership for three users.
  • 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: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay.
  • Point Transfer: To a selection of airline and hotel partners.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $295
  • Charge card: You must pay your balance in full each month.

Read more in our Review of the American Express Business Gold Card.

 

Runners Up

Key Features & Terms

  • 3X points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent per year (then 1X) 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
  • 80,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 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, and Hyatt.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $95

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

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 3% cash back in your choice of one category each month:
    • Gas
    • Travel
    • Office supply stores
    • TV/telecom & wireless services
    • Computer services
    • Business consulting services
  • 2% cash back on Dining
  • Spending limit: 3% and 2% categories are limited to the first $50,000 in combined spending per year (then 1%).
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 9 billing cycles, then 14.49%–24.49% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
We're currently unable to link directly to an application for this card.

Learn more about American Express® Business Gold Card »

Best Pick For

Signup Bonus

Why we picked this card

Want to earn a lot of points fast? Signup bonuses are a great way to get there.

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (Review) has an excellent offer of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points for spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. That bonus could be worth $1,600 or more if you transfer the points to an airline or hotel loyalty program and redeem for a good rate, like 2 cents per point. That would be enough for quite a few flights or hotel stays.

If you’re worried about not hitting the signup bonus threshold, check out some creative ways to meet minimum spend requirements.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent per year (then 1X) on:
    • Travel
    • Shipping
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
    • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 80,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
    • Value: $800–$1,600, depending on redemption method (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 16–32%

As mentioned above, you can transfer your points to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs. This is the most valuable way to redeem UR points, so you should wait for good point transfer deals if possible.

At 2 cents per point, you’ll be earning a cash back equivalent of 6% in the 3X categories, which is pretty good for a card at this fee level. With the $150,000 annual limit and at 2 cents per point, you can get an overall rewards value of $9,000 per year in those categories. Not too shabby.

The other Chase Ink Business cards have very good offers as well (they’re runners up below), but those offers get even better if you can move the points you earn to a different Chase card that allows point transfers. If you got a bonus of 50,000 UR points with one of those other Ink cards, it would normally only be worth $500 at most — 1 cent per point. But if you move those points to another Chase card that allows point transfers, you could then transfer the points to a partner program to get a better value — at 2 cents per point, that same bonus would be worth $1,000.

The Chase cards that allow point transfers are:

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

Chase will report positive business card activity to:

  • Dun & Bradstreet
  • Equifax Business
  • Experian Business
  • Small Business Financial Exchange

If your account goes 60 days past due and enters a negative status, the card activity will be reported to the three consumer credit bureaus.

Key Features & Terms

  • 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, and Hyatt.
  • Cell Phone Protection: Pay your monthly cell phone bill with the card to get coverage against theft and damage, up to $600 per claim with a $100 deductible.
  • Shopping and Travel Protections: Including Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty Protection, Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waivers, and more.
  • Annual fee: $95

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

 

Runners Up

Key Features & Terms

  • 1.5% cash back for all purchases
  • $500 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening (in the form of 50,000 UR points)
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, then 15.49% - 21.49% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

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

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each year (then 1%) for:
    • Office supply stores
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each year (then 1%) at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • $500 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening (in the form of 50,000 UR points)
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, then 15.49% - 21.49% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

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

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 3% cash back at Gas stations and Office supply stores, up to $250,000 in combined purchases per year (then 1%)
  • 2% cash back at Restaurants
  • $200 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 60 days after account opening
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 9 billing cycles, then 14.49%–24.49% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 2% cash back for all purchases
  • $500 cash back for spending $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Cash Back Business Credit Cards.

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 2X miles per dollar for all purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Point Transfer: At a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline loyalty programs, including Cathay Pacific, Etihad Guest, and Qantas Frequent Flyer.
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Miles Select and Spark Miles for Business Credit Cards.

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for this card.

Learn more about Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card »

Best pick for

No Annual Fee

Why we picked this card

There are several business cards without annual fees, but the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card (Review) is likely to be the most rewarding for the most small businesses.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each year (then 1%) for:
    • Office supply stores
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each year (then 1%) at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

If your business spends a lot on office supplies and the other 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 getting multiple versions of this card, or adding in other cards to the mix.

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

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

Chase will report positive business card activity to:

  • Dun & Bradstreet
  • Equifax Business
  • Experian Business
  • Small Business Financial Exchange

If your account goes 60 days past due and enters a negative status, the card activity will be reported to the three consumer credit bureaus.

Key Features & Terms

  • Shopping and Travel Protections: Including Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty Protection, Travel and Emergency Assistance Services, and more.
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months, then 15.49% - 21.49% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

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

 

Runners Up

Key Features & Terms

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase you make
  • $200 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for for 9 months, then 15.24% - 23.24%
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Miles Select and Spark Miles for Business Credit Cards.

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 1.5X miles per dollar for all purchases
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Point Transfer: At a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline loyalty programs, including Cathay Pacific, Etihad Guest, and Qantas Frequent Flyer.
  • Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for for 9 months, then 15.24% - 23.24%
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

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

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $50,000 in purchases each year (then 1X)
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% on purchases for 12 months, then 15.49% - 21.49% Variable (for transfers requested within 60 days)
  • Annual fee: No annual fee

Read more in our Review of The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express.

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase you make
  • $500 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, then 15.49% - 21.49% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

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

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 3% cash back at Gas stations and Office supply stores, up to $250,000 in combined purchases per year (then 1%)
  • 2% cash back at Restaurants
  • $200 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 60 days after account opening
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 9 billing cycles, then 14.49%–24.49% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
We're currently unable to link directly to an application for this card.

Learn more about Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card »

Best Pick For

No Personal Guarantee

Why we picked this card

Unlike most business cards, the Brex Corporate Card doesn’t require a personal guarantee, and you won’t need an SSN to apply. You can apply using only your business EIN, and there’s no personal hard inquiry on your credit. It’s designed for big corporations and other non-personal liability companies, with plenty of money in the bank and hefty projected sales.

To earn rewards beyond the 1X rate with this card, you’ll need to make Brex the exclusive corporate card for your company. But every new cardholder starts with that status, and it shouldn’t be too hard to maintain.

Brex credit cards stand apart for their high credit limits (up to $5 million for some cards), along with handy features like merchant data cleanup to ensure that every transaction is paired with the correct merchant.

All Brex cards are charge cards, meaning you need to pay the full statement balance by the due date each billing cycle.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 7X points per dollar on Rideshare services (including Uber, Lyft, taxi, etc.)
  • 4X points per dollar on Brex Travel (flights, hotels, Airbnb)
  • 3X points per dollar on Restaurants
  • 2X points per dollar on Recurring software purchases
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases

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).
  • Employee cards:First 5 cards for free; $5 fee per card after that
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

 

Runners Up

Key Features & Terms

  • Choose net 30 or net 60 day terms to pay
  • 1X point per dollar if you choose net 30 days
  • Same benefits as other Brex cards, like discounts and statement credits
  • Annual fee: $0

 

Key Features & Terms

  • 7X points per dollar on Conference tickets
  • 4X points per dollar on Brex Travel
  • 3X points per dollar on Lab supplies
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Same benefits as other Brex cards, like discounts and statement credits
  • Annual fee: $0

Best pick for

Fair or Average Credit

Why we picked this card

If your credit is in the fair or average range, which is a FICO score of about 580–669, 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 business card either, so you need a middle option.

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

Rewards

Spending 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 slightly better cash back rate than that on some secured cards. 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 wouldn’t earn much more than 1% cash back, and you may need to pay an annual fee, so it might not be worth it.

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

Capital One reports business card activity to three business credit bureaus, along with the consumer bureaus:

  • Dun and Bradstreet
  • Experian Business
  • Small Business Financial Exchange
  • Consumer credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion

Some 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.

Key Features & Terms

  • Shopping and Travel Protections: Including Purchase Security, Extended Warranties, Travel and Emergency Assistance Services, and more.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Classic for Business.

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Learn more about Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business »

Best pick for

Bad Credit

Why we picked this card

Secured cards are designed for people with poor credit (a FICO score below 579) or no credit, providing a way to build a positive credit history. They require a refundable 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 Credit Card is probably the most useful.

Rewards

Spending Rewards: Choose One Program
  • Cash Back:
    • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Rewards Points:
    • 1X point per dollar on all purchases
    • 1,000 bonus points when your company spends $1,000 or more in a given month
    • 10% point bonus when redeeming online

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 the ability to choose the program that’s best for you is an interesting feature.

Use your expected business spending to figure out how much reward value you’d earn with each program, using a value of 1 cent per point. The answer will depend on how much you’ll spend, and your ability to redeem online (which should be easy to do).

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

Security Deposit and Credit Limit

If approved for this card, you’ll need to deposit $500 to $25,000 to fund the credit line. Your credit limit will be equal to the amount you deposit.

After spending some time improving your credit, you’ll able to qualify for cards with better terms and rewards programs. Wells Fargo will periodically review your card account and your recent credit history, and, if you’ve been improving, you may be offered an upgrade to an unsecured card.

Business Credit Bureau Reporting

Wells Fargo will report positive card activity to Small Business Financial Exchange.

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

Key Features & Terms

  • Shopping Protections: Including Purchase Assurance and Zero Liability Protection.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $25 per card

Best picks for

Airline Travel

There are many good airline business credit cards which are co-branded with specific airlines. They’re meant to be used mostly with that one brand, where they offer perks and their best rates for earning award miles.

The best airline card or cards for you will depend on the airlines you like. If you love flying with Delta, take a look at its co-branded cards; but if you hate that airline, you should rightly avoid its credit cards.

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

Here are our top picks for airline business cards.

Airline Our Best Pick
Alaska Airlines Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card
Asiana Asiana Visa® Business Card
American Airlines AAdvantage® Aviator™ Business Mastercard®
Delta Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card
Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard®
JetBlue JetBlue Business Mastercard®
Southwest Airlines Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
United United℠ Explorer Business Card

Best picks 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 co-branded cards, and they’re often very rewarding.

You’ll typically get some complimentary services and benefits at the participating hotel and resort locations, like free night stays. And you’ll often get some kind of Elite membership status, which usually provides extra perks and even more points on top of what you earn from the card.

There aren’t many hotel business cards, unfortunately. 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.

Hotel Brand Our Best Pick
Radisson Radisson Rewards™ Business Visa® Card
Hilton The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Review)
Marriott Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (Review)

What Are Business Credit Cards?

Business credit cards are very similar to personal credit cards, but they’re 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

  • Make it easier to separate personal and business expenses.
  • 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.
  • Some cards report activity to business credit bureaus, helping to improve your business credit.

Selection Criteria: What Makes for a Great Business Card?

Here are the most important things to look for when considering the best business credit card for you:

  • 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 introductory bonus: Businesses spend more than typical consumers, so the welcome offer 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 travel credits, room upgrades, complimentary amenities, and elite membership status with airlines and hotels.
  • Introductory APR: A long 0% intro APR period can help you float some expenses until you can pay for them, giving your business some room to breathe.
  • Good customer support: Dealing with bad customer service can be a headache, but it would be even worse if it affects your business too.
  • Foreign transaction fees: If your business travels outside of the country or buys anything in a foreign currency, look for a business card with no foreign transaction fees to eliminate those costs.

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 reports.
  • 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 on cards that have grace periods. However, some card issuers will still include these features on business cards — check the card terms to find out.

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 a credit inquiry 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.

Depending on the issuer, regular account activity may be reported on your credit reports alongside personal credit card accounts, affecting your personal revolving utilization. Other issuers only report negative items, like late payments, to personal credit bureaus. Learn more about how different issuers report in our guide to building business credit.

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 about it.

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!)

Types of Business 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 interest rate (usually a variable APR).

Unless absolutely necessary, we always recommend that you pay off your balance in full to avoid being charged interest on purchases.

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’re 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 usually come with many of the same features as credit cards, like cash back for purchases along with shopping and traveling benefits.

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

American Express charge cards now come with a Pay Over Time feature, which allows you to revolve a balance at an interest rate. But, like with revolving credit cards, we don’t recommend revolving a balance and paying interest.

Read more: Charge Cards vs. Credit Cards

Secured Business Credit 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 refundable security deposit to fund the credit limit. Over time, with responsible use, you can build up your credit and upgrade to an unsecured credit card.

Read more: Secured Business Credit Cards

Building Business Credit

Business credit is a different type of credit than personal credit, and needs to be built up in different (but similar) ways. You have business credit scores very much like personal credit scores, but there are different requirements to meet and some 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: The Definitive Guide to Building Business Credit

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 usually 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: Getting a Business Credit Card Without a Personal Guarantee

Ready to explore more cards? Check out our picks for the Best Credit Cards in a variety of categories.
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