It's no secret that a sizable percentage of small businesses are financed with credit cards, but there's enough to think about when starting your own business without having to sift through the tons of business credit cards currently on the market. We talked to a few entrepreneurs and did some digging of our own into the best credit cards for everything from stocking the office to traveling for trade shows and keeping that work truck on the road.
Points for everyday and on-the-road expenses
Ink Plus® Business Card by Chase has a lot to offer the small-business owner. Those who travel for work will appreciate no foreign transaction fees on international purchases, 1-to-1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs, with no transfer fees, and discounted travel when purchased through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM. Ink Plus Business Card isn't only great for time away from the desk -- it also offers Chase's business-tailored package of five points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary. The card also offers two points per dollar, again, on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and for hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each account anniversary year. All this with a variable purchase APR currently sitting at 15.24 percent, a flexible repayment schedule to pay your balance in full or over time and an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then a $95 annual fee. What's not to love?
Getting the most out of business travel
Vladimir Gendelman, owner of Company Folders in Keego Harbor, Mich., doesn't leave home without his Platinum Card® from American Express. While it's not technically a business card, Gendelman says the card suits his travel-heavy work schedule.
"As I travel to trade shows all over the country, I use AmEx points for flights and hotel stays," says Gendelman, "which helps save my business money."
The annual fee of $450 might seem a bit steep to some, but The Platinum Card from American Express offers travel insurance, no foreign transaction fees, complimentary benefits at participating hotels and resorts and the potential to receive up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees like checked bag fees, flight-change fees and snacks after a qualifying airline is selected. Terms and restrictions apply.
Card for a well-stocked workplace
Costco is a go-to destination for many small-business owners when it's time to stock the breakroom or the supply closet, and the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express can make those deep warehouse club discounts even deeper. Its rewards points structure makes it one of the most flexible cash-back credit cards out there, and it almost seems targeted to the business owner on the go: 3 percent cash back on gas at U.S. and Costco gas stations for your first $4,000 per year in purchases; 2 percent cash back at U.S. restaurants; 2 percent cash back on eligible travel purchases, including at Costco; and 1 percent cash back on other purchases, including at Costco can really add up. Terms and limitations apply. Your cash rewards are provided annually in the form of a reward coupon which you can redeem for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco Warehouses, let's be honest -- your money was going to find its way there anyway. Terms and restrictions apply.
Unlimited cash back on business purchases
With an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $59 after that, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is a great choice for entrepreneurs with good credit. Jeff Kear, owner of organizational software company Planning Pod in Highlands Ranch, Colo., swears by his.
"Between the 2 percent back (which we take advantage of by putting lots of expenses on our card) and the reliability and support of Capital One, it is a no-brainer," he says.
On top of that, this card features some handy Visa Business benefits like emergency assistance, travel assistance and a waiver program for auto rental collision damage.
Maximize mileage on your work wheels
If you drive a Toyota while on the clock, consider the Toyota Rewards Visa. The prime-pegged variable purchase APR of 11.99-13.99 percent on all purchases is nothing to sneeze at, and the introductory 3.99 percent fixed-rate APR can help you save while you stock up on inventory during those vital first six billing cycles. With a rewards structure of five points per dollar spent at Toyota dealerships and one point per dollar spent everywhere else, using this card for your everyday business expenses can put you well on your way to your next Toyota truck when the time comes to trade up.
The business credit card market is always changing, with issuers adjusting or withdrawing offers with little or no warning. If one of these great deals disappears, though, never fear. When one good credit card comes off the market, a new one tends to pop up not long after.