How to Pick the Right Card
It's easy for a business to become a victim of its own success.
Is your business growing so quickly it's becoming difficult to track all the expenses?
Keeping up with growth in the form of new employees, new clients, and new sales and supply channels is a challenge that a small business owner has to embrace.
When your business increases, if a small business owner doesn't put effort into streamlining it and maximizing its potential, then you risk falling behind competitors.
The business could get bogged down with a chaotic expense tracking or bookkeeping system.
It could miss out on valuable opportunities to save or earn money.
The statistics demonstrate the challenges small businesses face when it comes to growth and long-term sustainability.
According to a story by iPage, approximately 66% of businesses survive two years in business.
50% of businesses survive five years.
Only 33% of businesses will survive 10 years.
As a small business owner, it makes sense to set your business up for growth and long-term success.
Decisions you make in the early stages of your business could either help or hinder its success as it continues to grow.
One key tool for managing and tracking expenses across an organization, and for earning and saving money, is a good business credit card.
The best business credit cards function to help you track expenses among multiple employees, with room to add more.
A good business credit card also earns cashback on purchases for your business to earn and save some money.
Business travel can be free with travel reward points earned on the card.
And if you need to carry a balance, the right card can save you thousands of dollars in interest.
Even if you believe your business isn't big enough to require a business credit card, the convenience of a business card and the potential for earning cash and travel rewards should be enough to persuade any business owner to get one.
Pick one of the four best business credit cards we review here and get your business signed up for its own credit card account.
Some business cards don't charge an APR because full payment is required every month
"No APR" doesn't mean 0% interest, it means you can't borrow. Some of the business credit cards we will be reviewing here don't tell you what APR (Annual Percentage Rate, or Interest Rate) you'll be charged.
That's because you're not allowed to carry an unpaid balance on these business credit cards. If your business is going to regularly need to carry an unpaid balance, these won't be the cards for you.
For those cards that do charge an APR, your personal credit score will determine the rate that your business will receive.
But don't expect to get a low-interest Credit Card for your business, as business cards tend to charge a fairly high APR.
There are also no intro APR periods offered by any of the best business cards we identified.
How we picked the best business credit cards
Business-friendly features took the win. The criteria we used to pick the top four business credit cards were based on the features we felt businesses could benefit from the most.
We looked at annual fees, one-time bonus sign-up offers, cashback and travel mile rewards, and business-friendly benefits when we were evaluating the best business credit cards.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred card
This is our top pick with awesome cashback, a huge sign-up bonus, and business-friendly travel features
The card that has it all. The Chase Ink Business Preferred card is the most outstanding business credit card. It knocks it out of the park for the best one-time bonus sign-up reward with 80,000 points.
Every day, business expense purchases earn phenomenal cashback rewards of up to 3%.
All points earned are worth 25% more when used for booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That's perfect for frequent flyers who like earning free business travel.
Card features to help you manage your employees' spending. Cardholders love the ability to add employee cards at no extra charge. They also love being able to set spending limits on those employee cards.
The drawback some cardholders complain about is the $95 annual fee. Others aren't happy with the high APR of 16.99-21.99%.
The 80,000-point sign-up bonus is the best out there
80,000 points for spending just $5,000. We looked at all the business credit cards out there and could not find a better sign-up bonus than the 80,000 points you receive from the Chase Ink Business Preferred card.
The requirement to spend $5,000 in the first three months after the account opens in order to claim the bonus is actually quite reasonable.
Other business credit cards expect you to spend $10,000 or even $20,000 in the first quarter to qualify for your bonus.
Redeem points at 25% more value for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Bump up your points by a 25% when you buy travel. From a business perspective, one of the best features is the chance to redeem the points your business spending earns for 25% more value for travel.
When it's time to book a business trip, book through Chase Ultimate Rewards and your points will be worth one-quarter more than their face value.
$1,000 in free travel if you book through Chase. That means that 80,000-point sign-up bonus is worth $1,000 in travel rather than $800.
That's enough to cover most of a round-trip flight.
It's also pretty fantastic that you can earn three points per $1 spent on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping, communications, and advertising every year with your card membership.
Everything else you can earn one point per $1.
What other business benefits are offered with the Chase Business Preferred card?
Cell phones are covered as part of the plan. In addition to the ability to add employees at no extra cost and set their spending limits, there are other business benefits offered by the card.
If your team has company cell phones, you can get protection for up to $600 per claim against theft and damage.
As long as you pay your business cell phone bill with your Chase Business Preferred card, every employee phone listed on the bill is covered.
Be prepared with all your business information to successfully apply
Get ready to elevate your business. You can apply online for the Chase Ink Business Preferred card.
You're going to need all your business information including your tax number, the year your business was founded, and other details like the number of employees and your annual revenue.
The Capital One Spark Cash Rewards card
Tops for earning big cashback!
Best cashback on everything. Our #2 pick for the Best Business Credit card is the Capital One Spark Cash Rewards card. It rose to the top based on its straightforward and lucrative cashback program.
All purchases earn 2% cashback on the card. There are no limits and there are no special categories that earn more reward points than others.
Big spenders get big points. If you have a business that spends many thousands of dollars on business expenses, you could be earning serious cashback every year with the Capital One Spark Cash Rewards card.
Like the Chase Business Preferred card, cardholders love that you can add an employee card to the account for free and earn cashback rewards on their purchases.
Annual fees and high APR are still worthwhile. Also, like the Chase Ink Business Preferred card, the things people like the least about this card is the $95 annual fee (waived in year one) and the high 17.99% APR.
With the chance to earn 2% on all expenses, those are reasonable costs for card membership.
The $500 bonus for signing up is a great head start on cashback
Earn $500 in cash just for signing up and spending $4,500. If you can spend $4,500 on the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card in the first three months after the account opens, you get a $500 cash bonus.
That's not as much as the bonus for the Chase Business Preferred card, but it is still pretty nice.
Earn 2% cashback and redeem for travel or cash
It's your pick: money or travel. The Capital One Spark Cash For Business card earns you 2% on everything you buy.
Cashback rewards points don't expire. When you're ready to redeem you can get your points back in cash (in the form of a statement credit or check) or travel purchases through your account.
Are there any advantages for business travelers?
Use it for business travel and feel the support. The Capital One Spark Business Cash card offers travel and emergency assistance services for when you (or an employee with a company card) are traveling for business.
Auto rental coverage is offered if your business travel is by rental car. No foreign transaction fees are helpful when traveling for business abroad.
Make a balance transfer 10 days after you apply if you're paying a high APR
Save money by making a balance transfer when your account opens. You can apply online for the Capital One Spark Business Cash card.
There are no balance transfer fees charged, which means it might be a good idea for you to make a balance transfer from another business card if you're paying a high-interest rate.
You need to wait 10 days after your account opens to transfer a balance. You'll start getting charged the full 17.99% purchase APR as soon as the transfer happens.
The Business Platinum card from American Express
For frequent business travelers, this card rewards you
Triumphs for travel. For businesses that involve a lot of travel, the Business Platinum card from American Express OPEN is at the top of the list.
It's got amazing travel benefits including $200 per year in airline credit for checked bags, a 35% Airline Bonus where you earn points back if you spend them on air travel, and access to airport lounges around the world.
Add to that 5% rewards points for travel purchases through AMEX and no foreign transaction fees, and you have a small business credit card that doubles as an air miles reward card.
For example, if your business involves a lot of flights, hotel stays and other travel expenses, you can purchase through AMEX and save money on your annual business travel budget.
No APR rate means no borrowing. A lot of business owners love the fact that there is no APR interest rate charged on the Business Platinum card from American Express OPEN.
That's because balances must be paid in full each month. It's a charge card with no actual credit. There is a Pay Over Time option that lets you pay off big purchases over time with interest.
Check out the HUGE annual fee. People don't like the whopping annual fee. $450 a year is what you pay to access the premium benefits this card offers.
There's a big reward for big spending in the card's first quarter
If you spend a lot you can get a lot. It's possible to get a 75,000-rewards-point bonus when you sign up for the Business Platinum card from American Express OPEN.
But you've got to do some serious spending on it to claim the full bonus.
After you've spent $10,000 in the first three months, you qualify for 50,000 bonus membership rewards points.
If you spend an additional $10,000 during that time, you get another 25,000 membership rewards points. That's 75,000 points (worth $750) you earn for spending $20,000.
Book through the American Express Travel website and earn 5X the points
Book a business trip and quintuple your point earnings. When you book your business travel through the American Express Travel website you earn 5x the points for every dollar spent.
Redeem through AMEX and get over a third of your redeemed points back. If you redeem your points through the AmEx travel site for air travel you can earn up to 35% of your points back.
You can use your points to pay for business expenses charged to the card, or you can redeem them for specific rewards from AMEX partners at membershiprewards.com.
What are the credit limits on the Business Platinum card from American Express?
Nearly unlimited. Just like there is no APR with the Business Platinum card from American Express, there are no pre-set spending limits.
That doesn't mean that you can spend without limitations.
But it does mean that you can set flexible credit limits based on the needs of your business at the card issuer's discretion.
For example, you can increase the spending limit when you have a significant purchase coming up.
The ideal time for a business to apply is when it is starting up
Take advantage of start-up friendly terms if you're just getting started. Since it takes $20,000 in spending on the card to earn the full 75,000-point sign-up bonus, it is ideal to get the Business Platinum card from American Express OPEN right when you're starting up.
Business purchases like computers, desks, cell phones, and office equipment often need to take place all at once when a company starts up.
Bonus points for a big expenditure. Another fantastic feature is that if you're making an eligible business purchase that's over $5,000 with the card, you earn 1.5% rewards.
You can apply for the Business Platinum from American Express OPEN by calling 1-800-519-6736 or online here.
The Business Gold Rewards card from American Express
Perfect for small or mid-sized businesses with its Expense Management Tools
Let the card do some of your work for you. If you're running a small or mid-sized business, your business model might not include an expensive in-house bookkeeping or accounting service.
The Expense Management Tools available for businesses using the Business Gold Rewards Card From American Express are really helpful for managing and tracking expenses across different employees.
You can add employees to the card to consolidate company spending under one small business credit card account. By adding an Account Manager, a trusted employee can assist with the management of the account.
A feature called Spend Manager lets you attach notes and receipts to digital transaction records.
And there are business-friendly digital features like compatibility with Quickbooks software, mobile and tablet apps, online statements, and account alerts.
Pick your own bonus categories to earn major cashback rewards. Cardholders love the opportunity to pick their business' own bonus point earnings category.
Since every business will have different expenses, you get to pick what area you spend the most on and would like to earn the most rewards points from.
Potential 3X reward points bonus categories are airfare, advertising, computer expenses, shipping, and gas stations.
You pick one category to earn triple points, and then earn double points on all the other categories. One point for every dollar spent applies to all other purchases.
Shouldn't a credit card offer credit? People don't love that you can't keep a balance on this card. Like the Business Platinum card from American Express OPEN, there is no APR with the Business Gold AmEx.
That's because you are expected to pay your balance in full every month, which makes it more of an expense card than a credit card. If your small business needs to take some credit to cover costs ahead of a big order going out next month, you are out of luck.
If the main use for your business credit card is to provide a charge card for you and your employees to drop business expenses on, this is your card.
The sign-up bonus isn't as big as the AmEx Business Platinum, but you still earn 50,000 with much less required spending
A more modest sign-up bonus but far less spending required. The 75,000-point sign-up bonus with the Business Platinum card from American Express OPEN is hard to beat. But the $20,000 requirement to claim it is fairly outrageous.
You get 50,000 sign-up bonus rewards points when you get the Business Gold Rewards from American Express OPEN card. But you only have to spend $5,000 in the first three months to claim it.
Choose what's best for your business when you use your rewards points
Use the points in whatever way best suits your business. Just like how you get to choose the category that best fits your business for earning triple reward points, you also get to choose how you want to redeem those points.
You can use points at checkout for online retailers like Staples, Expedia, GrubHub, and Boxed. You can also redeem for gift cards with partner vendors.
You can redeem your points for cashback as a statement credit to pay your card charges. Or you can book travel through the American Express Travel site.
Is there a high annual fee?
The annual fee is high, but not as high as the Platinum card. The annual fee for the Business Gold Rewards card from American Express OPEN is not $475 like it's sister Business Platinum AmEx.
But it's still pretty high. The annual fee for the first year is waived. But after that, get ready to fork over $175 a year.
Apply before making a big business purchase
Time to go shopping. To apply for the Business Gold Rewards card from American Express OPEN you can call 1-800-519-OPEN (6736). Or you can apply online here.
It would be a good idea to time your application with a big business purchase. That will help you achieve the $5,000 in spending you need to do to qualify for the 50,000- point sign-up bonus.
The best business credit cards are good for management and for earning travel and cash rewards
Lucrative sign-up bonuses all around. The four best business credit cards we've reviewed here are all great when it comes to the sign-up bonus.
None of them offer less than the equivalent of 50,000 rewards points, with the highest being the Chase Ink Preferred at a whopping 80,000 (and a 25% bonus if it's redeemed through Chase Ultimate Travel rewards).
Business travel is an expensive cost, so points earned towards flights represent an immediate savings for your company's bottom line.
Built-in business tools are invaluable. All the best business credit cards are also good tools for managing a business.
If your business involves a lot of travel, then the Business Platinum card from American Express OPEN is a great pick. If you value expense management tools, the Business Gold Rewards from AmEx has many valuable features.
Cashback options are solid. And while some of the best business credit cards offer 3X and 5X rewards for specific expenses, the Capital One Spark Cash For Business offers the most straightforward and consistent cashback rewards at 2% for everything.
You've got choices, so do what's best for your growing business. What that means is that you have various options.
No two businesses are alike, but almost all of them can benefit from a business credit card.
Fortunately, there are solid choices out there with different business credit card features that are suitable for whatever priorities you have as a small business owner with a growing business.
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Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.