A good, well-matched business credit card can help business owners secure capital, manage their finances and earn rewards on day-to-day business expenses.
The Best Business Credit Cards of 2021
Whether you’re a freelancer, a gig worker, or a business owner with multiple employees, you may be a candidate for a small-business credit card. These can help you build both personal and business credit, finance your business charges and earn rewards.
But with so many business credit cards to choose from, you might feel overwhelmed by your options. We’ve narrowed down the list of the best business credit cards and arm potential cardholders with information on how to choose one for your business. We also offer helpful tips to get the most out of your card.
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MoneyGeek Quick Tip: Based on the latest Small Business Credit Survey, about 80% of small business owners reported that their personal finances were negatively impacted by the pandemic due to things like not taking a salary, having to pay for business expenses with personal funds or credit, etc.
Though the economy and businesses are slowly opening back up, owners still need help bridging the gap. This is where business cards with 0% APR on new purchases or balance transfers can be helpful since they give a grace period for when interest starts accruing.
MoneyGeek’s Take: Best Credit Cards for New & Established Businesses
To dig up the business credit cards with the most value, we analyzed more than 100 credit cards — 21 of which were business cards — and looked at rewards programs and the opportunity for bonus rewards, loyalty programs, employee card fees and introductory offers. We also compared APRs and fees along with the user experience, such as the business credit card application process and how easy it is to redeem points.
- Chase Ink Business Cash is a great credit card for business owners who have recurring expenses in common business categories — including office supplies, telecom services, gas stations and restaurants — and want to earn rewards for them.
- The American Express Blue Business Plus Credit Card is a good fit for business owners who might need to use the Expanded Buying Power feature, which allows the cardholder to automatically charge more than the card’s spending limit without incurring fees.
- Chase Ink Business Preferred offers higher spending caps on its rewards categories than the Ink Business Cash card, so it’s a good fit for business owners with regular high-dollar expenses.
- Capital One Spark Cash for Business is designed for business owners who don’t consistently spend in one particular category, so it’s a good fit if you want to earn steady cash back on every purchase without fussing with rewards categories or an annual fee.
- The American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card is designed for business owners who consistently book hotel stays for work and are loyal to the Marriott Bonvoy brand.
According to the 2020 Small Busines Credit Survey, business owners’ personal finances remain deeply intertwined with the finances of their businesses, with 88% of firms relying on an owner’s personal credit score to secure financing.
In many cases, you’ll need strong credit to qualify for a business credit card. On a scale of 300 to 850, a FICO score of at least 670 is generally considered a “good” credit score. A higher score may give you a better chance at qualifying for the card, earn you a larger credit limit or get you a lower annual percentage rate (APR). But some card issuers might offer business credit cards for fair credit, especially if the business is well-established or has a significant annual revenue.
Best Business Credit Cards for September 2021
We think the best business credit cards should help you maximize your everyday expenses — and not cost you in the long run. Many of the cards in our lineup charge few or no fees, come with a low APR, have zero-interest financing offers and offer rich rewards and perks.
Best Business Cards With Cash Back & Travel Rewards
There are two major types of credit card rewards: cash back and general rewards. Cash back business credit cards give you a certain percentage of every purchase as cash. More general rewards programs offer points or miles that you can earn on your spending, then redeem for goods and services.
FEATUREDChase Ink Business CashFantastic card for earning rewards on office supplies
- Excellent, GoodCredit Needed
- 1-5% on purchases*Rewards Rate
- $0Annual Fee
- American Express Blue Business Plus Credit CardGreat no-annual-fee card for earning rewards on business spending
- Excellent, GoodCredit Needed
- 2x on the first $50,000 spent*Rewards Rate
- $0Annual Fee
- Chase Ink Business PreferredGreat card to maximize earning unlimited rewards
- Excellent, GoodCredit Needed
- 3 points per $1 across several categoriesRewards Rate
- $95Annual Fee
- Spark Cash PlusExcellent card for earning unlimited rewards through employee spending
- Excellent, GoodCredit Needed
- 2%Rewards Rate
- $150Annual Fee
- American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business CardExcellent card for maximizing the rewards you earn while traveling
- Excellent, GoodCredit Needed
- 2-6x points on eligible purchases*Rewards Rate
- $125Annual Fee
- Capital One Spark Cash
More than half of small-business owners use credit cards on a regular basis, according to a 2020 report by the Federal Reserve. The benefit is twofold, too, as many owners earn cash back rewards and use them to pay for business expenses.
How We Rate Business Credit Cards
We compile and rank our lists of suggested credit cards based on publicly available data from card issuers and other reputable sources like the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. We analyze and compare over 55 data points — such as annual fees, interest rates, rewards, benefits, and more — for approximately 2,500 cards to assign a rating for each card feature.
The ratings are then stack ranked and weighted based on the most relevant features for each card category (cash back, business, etc.). These determine the top suggestions for each type of user or card category. Because card details and welcome offers change regularly, we revisit this list at least once a month to update our ratings and recommendations as needed. Learn more about our data collection and ranking process.
Top Rating Criteria for Business Cards
Required fee if you want to keep your card.
The percentage of interest you're charged if you carry a balance.
Reward rates for everyday spending or opening an account.
How to Compare Business Credit Cards & Intro Offers
Every business has its own needs, so some credit cards will be a better fit for you over others. When you’re comparing cards, consider how you’ll use the rewards program and features and whether the terms are affordable to you.
Assess your business spending
If you’ve already been in business for a while, go through statements from your business checking account or other credit cards to see which expenses regularly come up and how much you usually spend each month. This can help you choose a rewards program to maximize those expenses.
Consider whether you need employee cards
If your business has employees, you may want to give them access to the line of credit so they can make business-related purchases and earn rewards for the account. Check whether the credit card issuer offers employees cards, charges a fee for them or allows you to set spending limits on each card.
Check the credit card terms
Your credit card might cost you money if you have a high annual fee and carry a balance. But the fees could be worth it if the rewards are a good match for your expenses. And you can find ways to save money if you tend to revolve a balance; for example, the card might offer a 0% introductory APR.
Look for additional features
Look for other fees you might have to pay and any features that come with the card. Then consider how it will impact your business. For example, a card that charges foreign transaction fees may be a poor choice if you frequently travel overseas or make purchases with foreign suppliers.
Compare introductory offers
Many business credit cards come with sign-up bonuses, but you might need to spend a certain amount to earn them. Make sure you can receive the bonus without overspending.
Top Business Cards & Offers at a Glance
Quickly compare the top business card offers in our handy table, below.
Scroll for more
- Card NameAnnual FeeIntro Offer
- Chase Ink Business Cash$0$750 bonus cash back*
- American Express Blue Business Plus Credit Card$015,000 Membership points*
- Chase Ink Business Preferred$95100,000 bonus points*
- American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card$12575,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points*
- Spark Cash Plus$150$500 cash back bonus*
MoneyGeek’s Guide to Finding the Best Credit Card for Your Business
Your goal might be to find a credit card that helps your business grow, but it’s just as important to understand the risks and rewards that come with them, how to apply, how to manage your account and when not to use a credit card for financing business purchases.
Pros & Cons of Having Business Credit Card
Business Credit Card Pros & Cons
Benefits to Having a Business Credit Card
Business credit cards come loaded with perks that can help your business get ahead. These help you:
- Finance purchases: Whether your business needs to buy supplies or access cash advances, credit cards provide a ready source of capital.
- Control employee spending: Providing employee cards helps you better track employee expenses without dealing with reimbursements.
- Earn rewards: You might earn cash back or points that you can redeem for travel and other rewards. Plus, most business credit cards come with extra perks like travel insurance and extended warranties.
- Simplify your finances: Many business credit cards provide quarterly and year-end summaries and connect with bookkeeping software programs.
Risks Associated With Business Credit Cards
Business credit cards, in particular, have a few unique risks you should consider before applying:
- You sign a personal guarantee: Most credit card issuers require business owners to provide a “personal guarantee,” which is a promise to repay any account balance if the business is unable to.
- Your personal credit may be affected: If the card issuer reports the business credit card account activity to credit reporting agencies, it could bruise your personal credit score.
- You receive fewer protections: The 2009 Credit CARD Act introduced a number of important consumer protections, but it doesn’t apply to business credit cards. That’s why it’s important to check your monthly statements and any communications from your issuer. Look for changes to your APR, fees and other terms of the account.
Key Differences Between Personal & Business Credit Scores
Business credit cards might look and act like consumer credit cards, but there are some key differences that set them apart, such as:
- Fewer consumer protections: Business credit cards aren’t subject to the same consumer protections provided by the 2009 Credit CARD Act, though some card issuers extend these protections as a courtesy to small businesses. Keep an eye on things like high late fees or impromptu changes to your APR.
- Business-oriented rewards and benefits: You might have access to built-in perks such as bookkeeping features, expense-tracking tools and rewards geared toward businesses.
- Different credit reporting policies: Business credit card issuers may report the primary cardholder’s account activity, such as payment history and balance information, to the business and personal credit bureaus.
- More spending power: Business credit cards tend to come with higher credit limits, which could benefit you if your business has high operating costs.
- Different credit system: You might have a good handle on how personal credit works, but business credit is more complicated.
The three major credit-reporting bureaus — Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax — each collect financial information about your company, compile it into a credit report and assign your business a credit score. The Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX Score and the Experian Intelliscore Plus score range from 1 to 100, with 100 being the highest score possible. Equifax measures a company’s payment history, credit risk and potential failure to arrive at three separate scores.
What Is Needed to Apply for a Business Credit Card
The main requirement of opening a business credit card should come as no surprise — you’ll need to operate a business. Other than that, credit card issuers generally look for:
A personal or business credit history
You’ll typically need good to excellent credit — a personal credit score of at least 670 or an excellent business credit score — to qualify for a business credit card. Some issuers grant cards to people with scores in the “fair” range, and if your score is lower, then you may need to apply for a secured business credit card.
The card issuer will need your business name, address and phone number, along with contact details for the primary cardholder.
Details about the business structure
You’ll likely need to report the number of employees in your company — which might be one if it’s just you — and the number of years you’ve been in business. The card issuer will also need to know the type of industry you’re in and the company’s structure.
The card issuer will want to know how much your business earns each year, how much you plan to spend each month and your tax identification number.
Once you submit an application, you might find out right away whether you’ve been approved or declined. If approved, you’ll receive a copy of the credit card in the mail within a week or two.
The process might slow down if the card issuer requests extra documentation or asks questions about the information you provided. This might add a few days or weeks to the application process.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Business Credit Card
If you want to earn rewards, simplify employee expenses and build credit, there are three main questions to ask yourself before opening a small business credit card account.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself
- Which credit bureaus will my card issuer report to? Every card issuer has its own policies on where it reports account information, so call the card issuer and ask about its process. The major personal credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, while the main business credit bureaus are Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, FICO SBSS and Experian.
- How many employees need a company card? Your company needs to have at least one employee to open a business credit card account. If you’re a sole proprietor, then you can list yourself as that employee. But if you employ multiple workers, consider whether you need to hand out employee cards and check whether the card offers them.
- How much does my business spend? It’s a good idea to review your business spending from the last 12 to 24 months to figure out how much you typically spend each month and determine where your money usually goes.
Business Credit Card Best Practices & Tips for Maximizing Rewards
Business credit cards with rewards come with all sorts of perks, but it’s important to actively manage your account to prevent issues. So when using small business credit cards, you should:
Set up rules for card use
Using your credit limit and recurring business expenses as a guide, determine how much you can afford to put on the credit card each month, which expenses you’ll charge, whether you’ll carry a balance and how you’ll use the rewards.
Communicate the plan to your employees
They should have a clear understanding of what and how much they can charge to their employee cards. Some credit cards come with account tools that let you set these limits.
Make on-time payments
Payment history is an important factor for personal and business credit, so set up automatic payments or electronic reminders to meet this goal.
Keep your account balances low
Generally, using less of your credit limit signals to lenders that you’re not overextended. If you carry a balance from month to month, aim to keep it below 30% of your credit limit.
Alternatives to Financing Business Expenses Without a Credit Card
While business credit cards can be excellent tools, they’re not the right fit for every situation. If you need more cash flow or you’re looking to save on business expenses, make sure you understand your alternative options and when to use them.
Alternatives to Business Cards
1. Business loans: If you need to borrow a large amount and want to pay it off over several years, a business loan can be a cheaper option.
2. Invoice financing: Some lenders are willing to buy your unpaid invoices in exchange for a certain percentage of the value. This could be a good option if you typically invoice your clients and need cash immediately.
3. Financing agreements: You can also work out a contract financing agreement with your suppliers or partners. This acts like a cash advance on work you have yet to perform.
4. Savings programs: Some credit cards offer savings programs — including Spring from Capital One, Visa SavingsEdge and Mastercard Easy Savings — that help you find discounts and deals on your business expenses.
Common Questions About Business Credit Cards
We’ve got answers to some of the most critical questions about business credit and using business credit cards:
Tips From The Pros: Finding & Using the Right Business Credit Card
- With fewer protections and higher interest rates than consumer cards, is it truly worth it for a small business to have and use a business card versus a personal one for business expenses?
- Should all small business owners or self-employed individuals have a business credit card for expenses? If not, which businesses benefit most from having a business card?
- What are some ways business owners can appropriately use their credit cards to build credit and stay out of debt?
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About the Author
- Federal Reserve. "Small Business Credit Survey." Accessed April 21, 2021.
- Experian. "What is a good credit score?." Accessed April 21, 2021.
- Money Geek. "Business credit reports." Accessed April 21, 2021.
- Experian. "Business credit report." Accessed April 21, 2021.
- Equifax. "Business credit report for small business." Accessed April 21, 2021.
- Dun & Bradstreet. "Business credit report." Accessed April 21, 2021.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "CARD Act Report." Accessed April 21, 2021.
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