As a small business owner, managing your cash flow properly is essential. A small business credit card can help you succeed by giving you time to pay off your purchases. Several business credit cards also offer rewards and other perks that can add value to your business every time you use them.
There are several different types of business credit cards available, including ones that offer cash-back or travel rewards, introductory 0% APR promotions, premium travel perks and accessibility for business owners with less-than-perfect credit. Take some time to shop around and consider all of your options before you apply for one.
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Our Top Best Small Business Credit Cards
Small business credit cards don’t offer all of the same consumer protections you’ll get with a personal credit card. But they often provide business-specific rewards and benefits that can make your spending more rewarding and your life easier.
To help you find the right credit card for your business, we’ve put together a list of our top choices, focusing on different rewards programs, sign-up bonuses and accessibility. Here are our recommendations.
Best For Travel Rewards: Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers an excellent chance to rack up a lot of points you can use for travel. The card starts out by offering 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
You’ll also earn 3 points per dollar on various categories, including:
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable and phone services
- Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
You’ll earn just 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. When it comes to redeeming your rewards, you can get cash back or gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point, or you can book travel through Chase and get 25% more value. Alternatively, you can transfer your points to one of many airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio.
Keep in mind, though, that the card has a $95 annual fee, though it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee.
Best For Flat Travel Rewards: Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
If you don’t spend a lot in one of the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card’s bonus categories, consider the Capital One Spark Miles for Business. The card offers a flat 2 miles per dollar on every purchase you make, plus 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening.
You can redeem your miles by booking travel directly through Capital One, booking through a third party and redeeming miles for a statement credit, or transferring them to an airline partner at a 2:1.5 or 2:1 ratio. Plus, 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠ using a Spark Miles card.
The card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, and its annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95 after that.
Best For Flat Cash-Back Rewards: Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
If you want a high flat rewards rate but prefer cash back over travel, the Capital One Spark Cash for Business should be on your radar.
The card offers unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase you make, plus a $500 cash bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn $1,500 when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening. The card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, and the $95 annual fee is waived the first year.
Best For Cash Back And No Annual Fee: Blue Business™ Cash Card from American Express
If your business doesn’t spend a lot, it may not make sense to get a card with an annual fee. If that’s the case for you, consider The Blue Business™ Cash Card from American Express. It offers 2% cash back on the first $50,000 spent each year, after which you’ll earn just 1% back.
While there’s no sign-up bonus, this promotion can provide a lot of value in the form of interest savings. The card has no annual fee.
Best For Flexible Rewards With No Annual Fee: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Similar to the card’s cash-back rewards counterpart, you’ll earn a flat 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent each year, then 1 point per dollar after that. You can redeem your points for several things, including statement credits, travel, merchandise and gift cards. You can also transfer your points to a travel partner at varying rates.
There’s no annual fee.
Best For a Big Sign-Up Bonus And No Annual Fee: Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card
Having a high rewards rate is nice, but if you want more value upfront, consider the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card. It offers a $500 bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You’ll also earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make.
The card charges no annual fee.
Best For Flexible Cash-Back Rewards: Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card
The Bank of America Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card gives cardholders the chance to pick their bonus rewards category. You’ll earn 3% cash back on the category of your choice from a list that includes gas stations, office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom and wireless, computer services and business consulting services.
You’ll also earn 2% cash back on dining and 1% back on everything else. Note, however, that the bonus categories are limited to just the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases in those categories annually. After that, you’ll earn just 1% back on everything. That said, you could earn up to 75% more rewards if you’re a Preferred Rewards for Business client with the bank.
The card doesn’t charge an annual fee.
Best For Premium Perks: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
If your company spends a lot of money, and you want access to premium credit card benefits, the Business Platinum Card from American Express may be a good fit.
The card offers several value perks, including:
- Up to $200 in annual statement credits for Dell purchases
- Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits
- Complimentary access to multiple airport lounge networks
- One year of complimentary Platinum Global Access from WeWork if you enroll by December 31, 2019
- Application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
- Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
- Premium car-rental program memberships
- Special benefits with select luxury hotel brands
You’ll also get up to a 100,000 bonus points when you first get the card. That’s 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points when you spend an additional $15,000, all in the first three months.
You’ll also earn 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel, 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more and 1 point per dollar on everything else. The card has a $595 annual fee.
Best For Fair Credit: Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business
If you don’t have good or excellent credit — typically a score of 670 or higher, according to FICO — you may have a tough time finding a good business credit card. That said, there are cards available for people with fair or even bad credit.
If your credit is considered fair — a score between 580 and 669 — consider the Capital One Spark Classic for Business. It offers 1% cash back and no annual or foreign transaction fees. It doesn’t offer much beyond that, but it can be extremely helpful as you work to improve your credit.
Best For Bad Credit: Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
If you have bad credit, you’ll have a hard time getting approved for most business credit cards. If you can afford to put up a cash deposit, consider the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card.
The card gives you a credit limit based on how much you deposit upfront, ranging from $500 to $25,000. You’ll also have the chance to choose from two rewards options:
- Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make
- Earn 1 point per dollar on every purchase plus 1,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 or more in a month
The card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, but there’s a $25 annual fee per card, including cards you give your employees.
Frequently Asked Small Business Credit Card Questions
What Is the Easiest Business Credit Card to Get?
There aren’t any business credit cards we know of that offer instant approval without any credit check at all. As a result, the easiest business credit card to get is one that you qualify for. Before you apply for a card, check your personal credit score to see where you stand. Then apply for a card that’s targeted to your credit range.
We only covered credit ranges for a couple of cards here because the others all require good or excellent credit. If your credit score is in one of those ranges, your approval odds are good (though never guaranteed) for most cards.
Can I Use My EIN to Get a Credit Card?
Small business credit card issuers allow you to add your employer identification number (EIN) to your application. But don’t think that’s to circumvent the need for a personal credit check — you’ll still need to prove your Social Security number.
That said, adding your EIN allows the card issuer to report your activity to the business credit reporting agencies, so it’s a good idea if you’re working on building your business credit history.
Can I Get a Business Credit Card With Bad Credit?
It is possible, but keep in mind that your options are going to be limited if your credit is in poor shape. Also, you may need to put up a security deposit as collateral to get approved. That said, having a secured business credit card can be beneficial as you work to rebuild your credit.
Do Business Credit Cards Check Personal Credit?
Most business credit card issuers will run a credit check on your personal credit reports before making a decision on your application. This is primarily because most business credit cards require a personal guarantee — in other words, if your business can’t repay the debt you incur, you’ll need to do so with your personal assets.
There are some business credit cards that don’t require a personal guarantee — and thus, no personal credit check — but they’re typically reserved for bigger companies with high revenues and cash reserves.
How Does a Business Credit Card Affect My Personal Credit?
When you first apply for the card, you’ll get a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can knock a few points off your credit score temporarily. Going forward, though, most business credit card issuers don’t report anything to the personal credit bureaus unless your account is delinquent.
Only a couple of major business credit card issuers — Capital One and Discover — report all of your account activity to both the business and consumer credit reporting agencies.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.