The Best Credit Cards for New Businesses
Business credit cards have higher limits and more targeted rewards than consumer cards. Check out the best offers from Chase, Capital One, and Amex to decide which might be a better fit for your business.
Launching a new business can be an expensive endeavor, particularly if you get pulled into a bad credit card deal.
Tempting rewards schemes can mask a high annual fee or exorbitant interest rate.
The wrong business credit card affects not only your quality of life but also your business—and if you default, your personal assets may be at risk.
You could find yourself taking another loan to pay off credit card debt.
The average debt of small business owners is $195,000.
Money is necessary to finance your company, but you don't need to bury yourself under a mountain of debt to find success.
The right card can provide you with the funds you need while yielding lucrative rewards.
Take a look at these eight business credit cards and decide which one best suits your needs.
5 Things To Keep In Mind Before You Apply For A Business Credit Card
Business credit cards can be a bit misleading, especially those marketed at "new" businesses.
The truth is the age of your business doesn't matter, but there are a lot of other factors that do.
Keep these five things in mind before you begin your search for the right credit card for your business.
Your personal credit and business credit are the largest determining factors
Credit cards are generally the same across the board, whether you apply for a travel rewards card or a business cash back card.
Your personal and business credit history will make or break your approval.
Make sure the major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) have your accurate credit history, as well as the major business bureaus like Dun & Bradstreet.
Business cards usually have higher credit limits
Business owners might charge a lot of expenses to a card until the revenue begins coming in.
Certain cash-flow schedules can make it easier to charge everything to a card and pay it off when the money arrives.
While this is beneficial, make sure all purchases you make are strictly necessary.
Failing to do so can put your business and personal assets at risk.
You may not be personally liable for credit card debt
If a business card offers "commercial liability," it means the business is liable for all debt.
If the card offers "joint and several" liability, it means both you personally and the business are liable.
The former option is a great option for lowering your personal risk when setting out in a new business.
You can negotiate payment terms
Business credit cards have more flexible payment terms than consumer cards do.
Many cards provide the ability to defer payments until the business is generating enough revenue to cover the costs.
The rewards from a business card add up quickly
Businesses usually make larger and more frequent purchases than the average consumer.
Taking advantage of favorable rewards terms means you can accumulate rewards quickly and offset the cost of starting a business.
How We Picked These Business Credit Cards
We researched the most popular and most valuable business credit cards on the market today and came up with our list of eight cards.
Each of these cards excels with its rewards scheme, ease of approval, or in another area that makes it a valuable choice for business owners.
We evaluated the key features, target demographic, fees and penalties, and best uses for each card.
Though you may find a specialized, niche card that serves your specific business better, these eight are great starting points for any business line of credit.
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Ink gives the best sign-up bonus and has no annual fee
The Chase Ink comes with no annual fee, a lucrative sign-up bonus, and no APR for the first 12 months, a fact that sets it apart from the competition.
Chase is well-known for its rewards cards, and this one is no exception.
The downside is that customer service is lacking.
Dozens of customers complain about the difficulty of reaching an actual person on the line or of using the offered services.
Earn $300 cash back if you spend $3,000 within the first three months
The sign-up bonus doesn't have any fine print.
Just meet the spending threshold within the timespan and you'll receive it.
No annual fee makes the card immediately valuable
Some credit cards require you to spend a certain amount each year just to break even, but there are no costs for card ownership with the Chase Ink Business card.
Earn cash back on every purchase. You'll receive 5% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend for purchases at office supply stores, on cell and landlines, internet, and cable TV each year.
You'll receive 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants each year.
All other purchases earn 1% cash back with no limit.
The Chase Ink Business is great for new businesses. Those initial expenses can be offset with the 12-month 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, and you can get extra employee cards at no cost.
You're protected from fraud. Chase's Zero Liability Protection means cardholders are not responsible for any unauthorized charges made with their card or account.
"Should I call and speak with a Chase representative for card verification?"
Chase sometimes requires cardholders to speak with a representative for application verification.
For new business owners, this can be a daunting prospect.
The common experience is to simply wait it out if the application page requests you call in.
In most instances, you will be automatically approved within a few days if you meet the requirements.
Aim for a credit score of 700 or above
The average approval score for a Chase Ink card is above 700, although some cardholders report approval with much lower scores.
If you have a lower credit score than you'd like, make sure to provide as much information on your application as possible.
Applying online is the easiest option. The online application takes only a few minutes to fill out and will require the usual information, as well as the legal name and type of your business.
You may also be asked how the business is funded.
If the company is backed by an Angel Investor, just enter "investor."
Some customers were met with confusion when they spoke with representatives and verified an angel investor as their backer.
You do not need established revenue. While proving successful revenue can be beneficial, you can qualify for a Chase Ink card even if your business is just starting out.
Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business
Great for unlimited rewards
For those with excellent credit that want no limits on their rewards, the Capital One Spark Cash Select is a solid option.
The card provides unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, has no annual fee, and provides a reasonable bonus.
It comes with a $200 sign-up bonus
Spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening your account and you'll receive a nice little bonus in the form of account credit.
Get unlimited cash back on all purchases. There are no rotating or activated categories to keep track of.
You'll receive 1.5% cash back on all purchases regardless of whether you're wining and dining a client or buying printer paper.
You are protected from fraud. In today's age of identity theft and cyber-security worries, Capital One's fraud liability protection is a welcome benefit.
You are not held responsible for any fraudulent purchases made with your card.
Redeem your cash back in the form of account credit or gift cards
You aren't limited to just receiving account credit with your rewards. You can redeem your cash for items like gift cards and other choices.
These options change regularly, so log into your account to see what options are available when you're ready to redeem.
There is no annual fee. Combine this absence with an intro 0% APR for nine months and you have a card that is immediately beneficial, with no need to spend a certain amount before you break even.
"What is the maximum amount of cash back I can earn with this card?"
Although the Spark Select for Business only offers 1.5% cash back, this low rate comes with an upside: unlimited rewards.
No matter how much you spend in a calendar year, you'll receive 1.5% on every purchase.
Apply online and potentially receive a decision in 60 seconds or less
The easiest way to apply for the Capital One Spark Select for Business is via Capital One's online form.
You will sometimes be given the decision on eligibility in less than 60 seconds, but if not, you'll receive a letter within 7-10 business days.
Your credit line will be determined within a few days. Even if you receive instant approval, you may not know what your credit line is for several business days.
The card is for people with excellent credit. If you have sub-par credit, do what you can to improve your score before applying.
Repeated denials can lower your score even farther.
Capital One Miles Select for Business
Enjoy a 20,000-mile bonus and unlimited rewards
The Miles Select for Business is a strong travel rewards card for the business owner on the go.
Capital One's customer service is also worth noting.
Multiple customers have praised the company's prompt response times and friendly representatives.
Spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of card ownership and get 20,000-bonus miles
The Spark Miles Select for Business is the ideal card for the traveling business owner.
The sign-up bonus is equal to about $200.
That may not seem like a lot, but combined with tax-deductible business travel, it can go a long way toward your next ticket.
There are no limits to rewards. Every purchase earns you 1.5x miles, and you never have to worry about blackout dates or seat restrictions.
You also don't need to meet a point minimum to start redeeming
$0 Fraud Liability protects you if the card is stolen. No matter how careful the traveler, a misplaced or stolen card is a likely occurrence.
Capital One's Fraud Liability protects cardholders from the responsibility of unauthorized transactions.
Redeem points for account credit for past travels or for new reservations
Capital One makes it easy to redeem your rewards.
The Purchase Eraser allows you to be credited for travel purchases made within the last 90 days, but you can also use the Capital One Rewards Center to book a flight, car rental, or hotel with your miles.
There is no annual fee. You benefit right away from purchases with this card since you don't have to spend a set amount to break even.
"Is the sign-up bonus worth it?"
Receiving $200 for $3,000 in purchases doesn't seem like the best trade, but it translates to only $1,000 in expenses per month over three months.
Paying your business' bills and one flight per month is more than enough to cover it.
Is it worth getting the card only for the sign-up bonus?
Probably not—but if you apply for this card for the other rewards, the bonus is icing on the cake.
Have your business revenue information on hand when you apply
The easiest way to apply for this card is via Capital One's online portal.
The form will request information about how much revenue your business earns, the type of industry, and how old the business is.
While all of these questions are not mandatory, answering them with as much detail as possible will improve your approval chances.
The Spark Miles Select requires applicants to have excellent credit.
American Express Blue Business Plus
Spend beyond your credit limit
Some expenses require you to go above and beyond what is allotted to you, and the Blue Business Plus lets you do exactly that.
The amount you can spend outside your credit limit isn't unlimited but is based on payment and credit history, financial resources, and other factors.
One thing to keep in mind is the deficient customer service.
The main complaint we found was customers claiming American Express didn't honor their sign-up bonus.
The Blue Business Plus has 0% purchase and transfer APR for 15 months
While 0% APR isn't looked on as fondly as a sign-up bonus, the low transfer fee (3% or $5, whichever is higher) can be useful for taking control of out-of-control interest on previous business debts.
Get 2x points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year. All business expenses like office supplies or client dinners yield two points, and every purchase after yields one point.
Points can be redeemed for travel, entertainment, merchandise, and gift cards
The Blue Business Plus has one of the most flexible redemption plans, allowing you to redeem points for travel through AMEX's transfer partners.
You can also use points for entertainment, merchandise, and gift cards.
The card pays off right away. The Blue Business Plus has no annual fee, so you can enjoy profiting from your business purchases immediately.
The points add up quickly, especially because you still receive points even when spending beyond your credit limit.
"Is the sign-up bonus still available?"
American Express offered a sign-up bonus of 20,000 points if you spent more than $3,000 within three months.
However, this offer is no longer available as of summer 2017.
The bonus still arises on occasion but only for targeted customers.
Apply online or by phone
You can apply for the American Express Blue Business Plus card either online or by calling 1-800-519-6736.
Make sure to have your business name, address, and annual revenue on hand when you apply.
People report approval even with mid-range credit scores. Unlike the Capital One cards higher on this list, the American Express Blue Business Plus doesn't require an excellent credit score.
The SimplyCash Plus Business
Big credit line, no annual fee, and an enticing rewards scheme
Like the Blue Business Plus, the SimplyCash Plus lets you spend beyond your credit limit but still graces cardholders with a lucrative rewards scheme and no annual fee.
The SimplyCash has great customer service reviews, despite being an American Express-issued card.
There's no sign-up bonus, but you can go over your credit limit
Although the SimplyCash no longer offers the original sign-up bonus, you can spend more than your credit limit as long as you pay back the amount over your limit each month.
Paying the overdue amount on time increases the amount you can spend. While you should strive to never carry a balance, paying the amount over your credit limit on top of the minimum payment each month increases how far over your limit you can go.
Cash back is redeemed automatically as account credit
The SimplyCash name is appropriate as it simplifies the process by giving your statement credit on the second billing statement after the eligible purchases.
You can make the most of this by spending in the right categories.
Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores. You'll receive this same amount for wireless telephone services, 3% cash back in a category of your choice, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
There is no annual fee and no APR for nine months. Major business purchases made during this period can be paid off quickly without the added cost of interest.
"Is the SimplyCash a good card for purchasing inventory?"
The SimplyCash gives 1% cash back on all purchases outside of its primary categories.
3% cash back can be earned from one of eight categories including computer hardware and software.
Whether the card is a good choice for purchasing inventory depends on the type of product you sell.
If you do not sell one of the items that fall under a higher cash back category, it may be better to go with a straight cash back card like the Capital One Spark Cash Select.
You can qualify for the SimplyCash with only good credit
Unlike a large number of business rewards cards, you do not need excellent credit to qualify.
Apply online or via phone. Entering your information on the secure web portal is easier than navigating audio menus, but if you want to call rather than apply online, the number is 1-800-519-6736.
The decision is not instant. You will need to wait to find out whether you have been approved or denied for the card.
Business Green Reward Card
A charge card that comes with helpful flexibility
While most charge cards must be paid in full each month, the Business Green Reward Card allows certain purchases to be paid overtime with interest.
This feature, stacked with the membership rewards points earned on eligible purchases, makes the Business Green Reward Card a solid choice for any business.
The Business Green Reward flies in the face of the normal (read: negative) AMEX customer service reviews.
The majority of cardholders love the card and praise its flexibility and reward system.
You earn 5,000 Membership Rewards points after your first purchase
This is a sign-up bonus in the truest sense of the word.
After you make your first purchase with the card, you automatically receive 5,000 Membership Rewards points.
Earn more points for eligible purchases. When you purchase directly from amextravel.com, you'll earn two points per dollar spent.
All other purchases yield one point per dollar.
Redeem points through American Express for better value
American Express Membership Rewards points don't carry much value outside of the company, but you can redeem directly through the website for travel and gift cards.
You can also use your points to pay for Uber.
Points are worth $0.005 to $0.01 depending on where they are redeemed. In the best case scenario, the sign-up bonus would be worth $50.
If you transferred those points to a frequent flyer program, the value may drop as low as $0.0006 per point.
Do not redeem for merchandise or for Amazon credit. Neither option gives the full value of a single point.
Amazon credit is worth only $0.007 per point.
Not as low as other options, but not as valuable as it could be.
Be wary of the annual fee. The first year of card ownership is free, after which the cost rises to $95 per year.
At a rate of $0.01 per point, you would need to earn 9,500 points before you broke even.
"How does the spending limit work?"
Although there is no preset spending limit, the purchasing power of the card adjusts based on your payment and credit history, the financial resources you revealed to American Express, and how you use the card.
If you fail to pay the card back in full each month, your spending power will decrease.
Apply online and receive a decision within 30 seconds
While you may not always get immediate approval (or denial), applying online is the fastest option.
The phone number for application is 1-800-519-6736.
You will personally need good or excellent credit to qualify. Although many business cards only take business credit into account, the Business Green Reward Card requires the applicant to have, at a minimum, good credit.
Chase Ink Business Preferred Card
Everything that the Ink card does plus an upgraded rewards program
What the Ink Business cash back card does well, the Chase Ink Business Preferred carddoes even better.
This is one of the best business travel rewards cards available.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred receives rave reviews for how well customer service handles problems that arise.
Earn 80,000 bonus points if you spend $5,000 in 3 months
The sign-up bonus is generous no matter how you define it.
For a business that requires frequent travel, it would be easy to spend $5,000 on hotel stays, airfare, and other expenses in that span of time.
You'll earn three points per dollar spent. The first $150,000 you spend on travel, shipping, internet, advertising, and cable and phone each year earn three points, while you'll earn one point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Chase Ultimate Rewards offers the most redemption value
The easiest way to make the most of your points is through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
This program increases the value of your points by 25%.
For example, this turns the 80,000 bonus points into $1,000 towards travel expenses.
You need to earn 9,500 points each year to cover the annual fee. At $95 per year, the fee is hefty, but the rewards more than make up for it.
"Are Chase Ink credit cards issued on Visa or Mastercard?"
Chase Ink credit cards are Visa cards.
Aim for a credit score of 700 or higher before applying
Travel rewards cards are notorious for requiring high credit scores for approval.
You can improve your odds of approval by lowering your credit utilization.
Apply online and save time. The online application requests the legal name of your business, its annual revenue, length of time in operation, and other pertinent information.
Limit the number of Chase cards you have open. Credit card companies are often hesitant to approve applicants that already have multiple cards from a single company.
If you are approved for multiple Chase cards, your credit limit may be lower than normal.
Capital One Spark Classic Card
A low-risk option for those with less than stellar credit
Subpar credit scores can hurt your chances of approval, but the Spark Classic is aimed at those with fair credit or better.
The tradeoff is that the rewards aren't as impressive as the rest of the options on this list.
There is no sign-up bonus, but also no annual fee
You won't receive a huge amount of cash back for spending a certain amount with this card, but you also don't need to worry about paying an annual fee each year.
Redeem your cash back for account credit or gift cards
Capital One gives the option for automatic redemptions at a set time of year or when a certain number has been reached, but you can also redeem your cash back for account credit for previous purchases or gift cards for future purchases.
You'll receive 1% cash back on all purchases. There's no limit to what you can earn and no categories to keep track of.
"Is the Spark Classic for business worth it?"
The Spark Classic isn't a high-yield rewards card, but it can be a strong starting point for business credit.
Newer businesses often lack the necessary credit to apply for better cards, but the low credit score requirement for the Spark Classic isn't an impediment.
The card can be worthwhile for building credit but is not the most powerful cash back rewards card by a long shot.
Get an instant decision by applying online
Save the hassle of navigating audio menus by applying online through Capital One's web portal.
This form requests a lot of information, but the more you fill out the better chance you have of approval.
You will be denied if you already have two Capital One cards. Capital One imposes a strict two-card limit on cardholders.
The right business credit card can simplify the operation of your business
Cash back rewards can offset the cost of everyday purchases.
Travel rewards make jet-setting all over the world easier.
Built-in expense tracking can lighten the load during tax season.
The right credit card can help build your business' credit history and give you the option for better lines of credit in the future.
The eight options on this list have favorable rewards, fees, and are targeted at small business owners.
Pick one that works for your business needs knowing that you made a smart call.
Do you have a credit card that you think is best for business?
What makes you love (or hate) it?
We'd love to know.
Please leave a note with a comment below.