dcsimg
Advertiser Disclosure
 
     
Please enter the text to be searched
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect your life and finances, CardRatings will remain committed to providing timely information related to credit cards and personal finance topics via our coronavirus financial services resource page. Email editor@cardratings.com with specific questions.

Best small business credit cards of September 2020

CardRatings' picks for best small business credit cards offer a variety of rewards, perks, features, intro APR rates and more, all designed to help small business owners maximize their time and money and take their business to the next level.
Jennifer Doss, CardRatings Editor Last Updated, September 25, 2020

Our credit card articles, reviews and ratings maintain strict editorial integrity; however we may be compensated when you click on or are approved for offers (terms apply) from our partners. How we make money.

small business credit cardsTrying to juggle your personal expenses and your business expenses on a single credit card is just one of those things no business owner has time for, which is why finding the best credit card for your small business from our partners could (and should!) become one of the best business moves you can make.

Beyond the organizational simplicity of separating your personal and business expenses, the best business credit cards offer rebates and bonus rewards for typical business expenses so your everyday purchases effectively put money back toward your bottom line. Even if you are self-employed or a freelancer, there are still plenty of reasons to open a small business credit card. (Don't believe us, check out what this freelancer has to say about why she needs a small business credit card.)

LIST OF WINNERS

If you're not already using a small business credit card to get bonus rewards for your company's routine purchases or save you money on things like rental car insurance or warranty protection, you're leaving money on the table. With the right credit card as your partner, you can enjoy travel perks, smoother cash flow, and access to specialized service professionals.

Whether you're just getting started or you're looking for new ways to boost your spending power, there are an abundance of small business cards to compare. Below are a few business credit cards we think entrepreneurs, freelancers and CEOs alike should consider.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE

Not sure you qualify for a small business card? Check out our "Who can apply for a small business card" section below.

BEST CASH-BACK REWARDS CARDS FOR BUSINESS

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: If your business tends to concentrate its biggest purchases in just one or two areas, Chase's broader Ink line of small business credit cards could hold a good offer for you. The no-annual-fee Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card offers 5% cash back on your first $25,000 in combined purchases at office supply stores (including computer, hardware, and software purchases) and on internet, cable and phone service purchases each account anniversary year; 2% cash back on your first $25,000 in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants; and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Plus, Chase has been aggressively courting new business customers to its Ink brand, so new cardholders currently have the opportunity to earn $500 bonus cash back after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account membership.

The Bonus: Earn $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

The Annual Fee: $0; add employee cards at no additional cost.

The Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account year at office supply stores (including big ticket items such as computers or hardware) and on internet, cable and phone services. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each year at gas stations and restaurants; and earn 1% cash back on all other purchases with no limits on the amount of cash back you can earn.

More Details: With the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, users will also enjoy fraud protection, travel and emergency assistance services, zero liability protection, purchase protection, extended warranty protection and auto rental collision damage insurance.

PROS:

  • This card awards $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening the account.
  • You can also earn 5% cash back on your first $25,000 in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone service purchases each account anniversary year and 2% cash back on your first $25,000 combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants. All other purchases earn 1%.
  • If you need to make a large purchase for your business, you can get a 0% APR for the first 12 months on purchases (then, 13.24% - 19.24% Variable).

CONS:

  • There is a foreign transaction fee, which will cost you if you need to use the card for business outside of the U.S.
  • There is a fairly low cap on the highest earning categories (5% and 2%) of $25,000. If your business spends more in any of those categories each year, those purchases will only earn 1% cash back.
  • There is no annual fee, but if your rewards earning is limited by either the categories or the cap on the categories, you might earn more with a card that charges an annual fee.

Read our full Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card review.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: All around, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is just a solid business credit card to have on hand. There's no annual fee for the first year, and then it's just $95 a year each year after that; employee cards are free, and the welcome offer is solid. While no one of its features truly stands out, taken together the perks and features make for one really decent small business credit card.

The Bonus: Earn a $500 cash bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first three months of opening an account.

The Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that; add employee cards at no additional cost.

The Rewards: Earn an unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase made with the card.

More Details: Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business cardholders will also enjoy purchase security and extended warranty protection, travel and emergency assistance services, auto rental collision damage waiver insurance, no foreign transaction fees, quarterly and year-end summaries, and more.

PROS:

  • This card offers a $500 cash bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first three months of opening your account.
  • You also earn unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase you make with the card, which means you don't have to keep up with categories or caps in order to earn maximum rewards for your business.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees and a $0 intro for first year; $95 after that annual fee.

CONS:

  • After the first year, there is an annual fee, so you want to make sure you're using the card enough to fully offset that fee with rewards and perks.
  • Although you get 2% cash back on all of your purchases, you might earn more with another card if your purchases fall primarily in a few particular categores such as travel or office supply store purchases.
  • There aren’t a lot of extra card perks or benefits with this card, except the new cardholder bonus and rewards program.

Read our full Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business review.

 

NO ANNUAL FEE, STILL REWARDING

If you like the idea of this card but are looking for a card with no annual fee, Capital One also offers the no-annual-fee Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business card, which offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on the card within the first three months of card membership (This card is not currently available on CardRatings).

BEST TRAVEL REWARDS CARDS FOR BUSINESS

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: The No. 1 feature of this card is that it happens to have the largest signup bonus opportunity of ANY of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® cards on the market – it's a bonus worth as much as $1,250 in travel! When it comes to value for the annual fee, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card from Chase rises to the top of our list. 

The Bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Annual Fee: $95; add employee cards at no additional cost.

The Rewards: Earn three points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year in the following categories: travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines. Earn one point per $1 on all other purchases (and once you reach the cap in the bonus categories) with no limits to the amount you can earn. Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 towards travel. Read our full Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card review.

More Details: With the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, users will also enjoy fraud protection; trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance; zero liability protection; purchase protection; extended warranty protection; auto rental collision damage insurance; no foreign transaction fees; and cell phone protection, which includes coverage of up to $600 per claim for the primary user and all the employees listed on the monthly cell phone bill when you pay your cellular bill with your card.

PROS:

  • This card offers a hefty signup bonus worth as much as $1,250 in travel. Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening the account.
  • You can also earn three points per $1 on the first $150,000 you spend on combined purchases each anniversary year in travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising with social media sites and search engines. You earn one point per $1 on all other purchases and once you reach the cap in the bonus categories.
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

CONS:

  • The bonus categories are capped at a combined $150,000 each anniversary year. If you spend more in these categories, you need to use a card that awards more than one point per dollar after $150,000.
  • The bonus categories are somewhat limited. If your business spending is in other categories, you would likely earn more with a card that awards those categories.
  • Although the annual fee of $95 is reasonable and in line with other business rewards cards, you still need to be sure you use and earn enough with the card to more than offset it.

Read our full Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card review.

4
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Although this card doesn't let you carry a balance beyond a single statement cycle (it's a charge card), it offers business owners and entrepreneurs a comprehensive suite of benefits that far outweighs its higher-than-typical annual fee. To start, new cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points (details below). Those points are sure to get you started on the right foot, but if that's not enough, you  quickly have the opportunity to earn even more points. Furthermore, the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers a number of premium benefits and travel perks, which certainly help to cancel out the cost of the annual fee. (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser)

The Bonus: Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first three months of card membership.

The Annual Fee: $595; add employee cards at no additional cost.

The Rewards: Earn five points per $1 spent on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com; an extra half-point (or 1.5 points total) per $1 on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more; and one point for each $1 you spend on everything else. Plus, use your Membership Rewards® to Pay with Points for a first class or business class flight with any airline available through American Express Travel and you receive 35% of the points back. Or get 35% of the points back when you book a flight in any class with your pre-selected qualifying airline. With the 35% Airline Bonus benefit, you can get up to 500,000 points back per calendar year. Read our full review of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

More Details: Cardholders of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express receive access to 1,100-plus airport lounges in more than 500 airports around the world; a $200 airline fee credit with a pre-selected airline to use for things like checked bag fees and in-flight refreshments; a fee credit every four years to cover your Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fees; complimentary travel benefits like room upgrades, daily breakfast for two people, late check-out, complimentary WiFi, and a unique amenity such as a food and beverage credit or a one-way private sedan transfer when you book your travel through Fine Hotels & Resorts as well as a number of other elite shopping and travel benefits.

PROS:

  • New cardholders can earn a bonus of 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $15,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership.
  • You can earn five points per $1 spent on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com and 1.5 points on purchases of $5,000 or more. All other purchases earn one point for each dollar you spend.
  • This card includes tons of valuable benefits such as access to 1,100+ airport lounges, a $100 airline fee credit, and a credit every four years for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.

CONS:

  • This card is a charge card not a credit card, which means you won’t be able to carry a balance from month to month and will need to pay your balance in full each month (there are options for Pay Over Time, but there are terms and restrictions on that – it’s best to think of this as a charge card.)
  • The annual fee is $595, which is among the highest you find with any business card. This can be expensive if you aren’t able to use the extra benefits that come with the card.
  • The bonus categories are only flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, or 1.5 points if you spend $5,000 or more on a purchase. If your business purchases are any other category, you only earn one point per $1 spent, which might make it tough to offset that annual fee.

Read our full review of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Just like the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business credit card, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business credit card is a good card to have in your wallet – it just focuses on miles earned instead of cash back earned. This card touts a low annual fee. And you can add employee cards for free and earn all the rewards from their purchases. Plus, it maximizes rewards for cardholders by offering two miles for every $1 spent on everyday purchases and five miles per $1 on certain travel purchases (details below).

The Bonus: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $4,500 in the first three months.

The Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that; add employee cards at no additional cost.

The Rewards: Earn an unlimited two miles per $1 on every purchase, plus earn five miles per $1 on car rentals and hotel bookings through Capital One TravelSM. Read our full Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business review.

More Details: Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business cardholders also enjoy purchase security and extended warranty protection, travel and emergency assistance services, auto rental collision damage waiver insurance, no foreign transaction fees, quarterly and year-end summaries and more. Receive up to a $100 credit for your Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee.

PROS:

  • You can earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 within the first three months.
  • This card awards unlimited two miles per $1 on every purchase and five miles per $1 on car rentals and hotel bookings through Capital One Travel℠. You can also receive up to a $100 credit for your Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee.
  • There is an intro annual fee of $0 for the first year and no foreign transaction fees.

CONS:

  • The annual fee is $0 intro for first year; $95 after that, so you need to be sure to earn enough rewards to make the annual fee worthwhile.
  • You can earn two miles for each $1 spent and five if you book car rentals and hotels through Capital One TravelSM. However, if your spending is primarily in a category such as office supplies or advertising, you could earn more with a different card and rewards program.
  • This card is primarily for travelers and not for those who prefer to earn cash back or rewards that aren't travel-focused.

Read our full Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business review.

 

NO ANNUAL FEE, STILL REWARDING

If you are looking for a card with no annual fee, Capital One also offers the no-annual-fee Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business credit card, which offers 1.5 miles per $1 spent (plus 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel™) and a 20,000-mile bonus once you spend $3,000 on the card within the first three months of card membership (This card is not currently available on CardRatings).

BEST NO-ANNUAL-FEE SMALL BUSINESS CARDS

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This card offers a strong 2% cash back on all your purchases up to $50,000 spent each calendar year (then, 1%). Add in that there's no annual fee to worry about and you have a solid cash-back rewards small business credit card.

The Bonus: Earn up to $300 back to boost your business. You can earn up to $100 in the form of statement credits at each of the following merchants: Dell Technologies, DocuSign or FedEx after you make an eligible purchase on your new card within the first three months of card membership. Plus, you can take advantage an introductory no interest on purchases for 12 months (then, 13.24% - 19.24% Variable), which could save you a ton of money if you have some big expenses coming up.

The Annual Fee: No annual fee

The Rewards: Rake in 2% cash back on the first $50,000 spent each calendar year, then 1%. Your cash-back rewards are automatically credited to your statement.

More Details: Earn rewards on spending above your credit limit (amount over limit is due in full each billing cycle in addition to your minimum amount due and in not unlimited – it adjusts based on your card use, payment history and more).

PROS:

  • This card offers 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (then, 13.24% - 19.24% Variable).
  • This is one of only a handful of business credit cards that do not charge an annual fee and offer a rewards program.
  • You can earn 2% cash back on the first $50,000 spent each calendar year, then 1%. There are no categories to keep up with, so you can just do your regular business spending and know you're earning solid rewards.

CONS:

  • There is no annual fee but there is a foreign transaction fee, which will cost you more if you have to use your card for purchases outside of the U.S.
  • There is a cap of $50,000 in spending on which you earn 2% cash back. If your business spends more annually on any category, you can earn more rewards from those purchases with other cards.

Read our full American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card review.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: This no-annual-fee card is best viewed as a complement to other cards in the Chase Ink family, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card or the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. That's because it offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all your purchases, which means you can rake in a half-percent (or half-point if you prefer to think in those terms) more per $1 spent on all the purchases that don't fall under a points bonus category with the other Ink cards.

The Bonus: Earn $500 in bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 in the first three months from account opening. Plus, take advantage of an introductory 12 months no interest on purchases (then, 13.24% - 19.24% Variable)

The Annual Fee: $0;

The Rewards: Earn a flat and unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Those rewards accumulate as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, a common currency among numerous Chase rewards cards. If you have other Chase rewards cards in your wallet, you can combine Chase Ultimate Rewards® points earned on those other cards into a single bucket as needed in order to redeem your points more quickly or, in some cases, for more value.

More Details: Cardholders are also covered with fraud protection, travel and emergency assistance services, zero liability protection, purchase protection, extended warranty protection and auto rental collision damage insurance.

PROS:

  • There is no annual fee for this card so you won’t have to worry about earning enough rewards with the card to offset the fee.
  • This card offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months (then, 13.24% - 19.24% Variable) which can help you save money on interest if you need to make a large purchase.
  • You can earn a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. New cardholders can earn a $500 cash back bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening the account.

CONS:

  • Although there is no annual fee, there is a foreign transaction fee, which is not ideal if you need to use the card for purchases outside the U.S.
  • Although it’s convenient to not have to worry about purchase categories for rewards, you might earn more with a card that awards specific purchases.
  • There is a 0% introductory APR on purchases but not on balance transfers. If you need to transfer a balance to save money on interest, you need a card that offers the 0% intro APR on balance transfers.

Read our full review of the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card.

BEST BALANCE TRANSFER/INTRO 0% APR CARDS FOR BUSINESS

U.S. Bank Business Platinum

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: The U.S. Bank Business Platinum makes a great credit card for business owners because it has an intro offer of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles (then 9.99%-17.99%* Variable). This perk is great as it's no secret that running a business can be expensive. You have to spend money to make money, right? Having a grace period for interest-free purchasing is an excellent perk as it gives business owners a bit of extra time to pay off large purchases. Just be sure to pay off the balance before the introductory period expires.

The Bonus: There's no traditional bonus, per se, however, we'd argue that the 0% APR intro offer is a pretty great bonus in and of itself. Plus, there is no annual fee, which makes this perk all the better.

0% Interest Details: Enjoy an introductory offer of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 20 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR of 9.99%-17.99%* Variable will apply.

Balance Transfer Fees: 3%

The Annual Fee: $0*

PROS:

  • This card offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for 20 billing cycles (then, 9.99%-17.99%* Variable). If you need to make a large purchase right away, this gives you nearly two years to pay it off without interest.
  • You also get 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 20 billing cycles (then, 9.99%-17.99%* Variable) which can save you some money on interest if you are currently paying down a balance at a high interest rate.
  • There is no annual fee for this card, so it won’t cost you every year to carry it.

CONS:

  • There is no annual fee but there is a foreign transaction fee. If your business will use the card for purchases abroad, you need a card that does not charge this fee.
  • There is no rewards program. This is no-frills card that can help you save money on interest payments but you won’t earn anything extra when you use the card.
  • There is also no bonus offer for new cardholders, which can often be worth hundreds of dollars with other cards.

Read our full U.S. Bank Business Platinum review.

BEST SMALL BUSINESS CARDS FOR AIRLINE REWARDS

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: If you're looking for an airline card for your small business, you obviously have airline travel expenses; however, those likely aren't the only expenses your business has. That's why we like an airline card that offers solid rewards on purchases outside of those directly with the airline.(Citi is a CardRatings advertiser)

The Bonus: Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within your first four months of account membership.

The Annual Fee: $99, waived for first 12 months; add employee cards at no additional cost.

The Rewards: Earn two miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and on every $1 spent with telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations. Earn one mile per $1 on everything else.

More Details: CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® members also receive 25% savings when you pay for American Airlines in-flight WiFi with your card and can check your first bag for free.

PROS:

  • There are no foreign transaction fees, which will save you money if you need to use your card for foreign purchases or your business trips end up abroad.
  • That 65,000-miles welcome bonus opportunity is substantial and could translate into several round-trip flights depending on your itinerary.
  • Spend $30,000 in a card membership year and renew your card and you earn an American Airlines companion certificate (redeeming the certificate costs $99 plus some additional fees, but could still save you a lot of money if you use it for an expensive flight).

CONS:

  • This card does charge an annual fee, so you'll want to ensure it's the best option for your business' specific needs. Specifically, are airline miles really the best rewards currency for you or would a more general travel rewards card be better?
  • While it's nice to earn bonus miles on an airline card beyond just with that airline, you still need to consider whether the earning categories are right for your business.

Read our full review of the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: While not technically a small business credit card, if you are a regular business traveler (or personal traveler, of course) and American Airlines is the preferred airline for your travel plans, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® may be a great traveling companion. It makes sense to collect points and miles for what you're already doing and with this card you can earn a nice welcome offer plus enjoy ongoing perks and features that an avid business traveler truly values, such as Admirals Club® access, priority check-in and boarding privileges and free checked bags.

The Bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within your first three months of account membership. You can also earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles each year you make at least $40,000 in purchases.

The Annual Fee: $450; add up to 10 authorized users for free

The Rewards: Earn two miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and one mile per $1 on everything else.

More Details: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® members also receive a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit; Admirals Club® airport lounge access (or a prorated refund of your Admirals Club® membership fee if you're already a member); priority check-in, priority airport screening, and boarding privileges for you and up to eight traveling companions on the same reservation; and first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation.

PROS:

  • Save money when you travel abroad – this card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.
  • New cardholders can earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within your first three months of account membership. You can also earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles every year you make at least $40,000 in purchases. You can earn two miles for each $1 spent on American Airlines purchases and one mile on other purchases.
  • This card also comes with several travel benefits such as Admiral's Club® airport lounge access, priority check-in, first checked bag free, and a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit.

CONS:

  • This card has an annual fee of $450 with up to 10 authorized users free. This annual fee is at the top end of annual fees so you need to be sure you can take advantage of the benefits and rewards the card offers.
  • This card awards double miles on American Airlines purchases and just one mile on all other purchases. If your business spending varies or even if you fly different airlines, you earn more for those purchases with other cards.
  • This is primarily a card for travelers and not specifically for businesses so there aren’t any business-related benefits. In order to get the most out of it, you or your employees should be frequent flyers with American Airlines.

Read our full review of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.

BEST SMALL BUSINESS CARDS FOR HOTEL REWARDS

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: If you travel often, the only disadvantage that stands out with The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is the $95 annual fee, but considering the perks that are offered with the card, like hotel stay rewards and some complimentary airport lounge passes, a healthy welcome offer and extreme point-earning ease, that annual fee doesn't seem too bad. Truly the most striking thing about this card is the huge number of points that can be earned on purchases. With that kind of point-earning potential, traveling for work might suddenly feel kind of fun.

The Welcome Offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within your first three months of card membership.

The Annual Fee: $95; add employee cards at no additional cost.

The Rewards: Earn 12 points per $1 at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio; six points at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, on U.S. shipping purchases, at U.S. restaurants, on flights booked directly with airlines or with AmexTravel.com, and on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; and three points on all other purchases.

More Details: Cardholders of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card also receive complimentary room upgrades; the chance to earn weekend reward nights; 10 airport lounge passes each year; no foreign transaction fees; year-end summaries; the American Express® Business App, a feature which helps you to manage your card expenses by allowing you to add receipts and notes to your transactions; extended warranty coverage; purchase protection; and a number of other travel and shopping perks and business management tools.

PROS:

  • There are no foreign transaction fees, which can save your business money if you need to travel abroad or make foreign purchases.
  • You can earn 130,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first three months.
  • Other benefits include complimentary airport lounge passes and complimentary room upgrades.

CONS:

  • The annual fee for this card is $95. If you won’t earn enough points or use the benefits offered with the card, you should instead use a card with no annual fee.
  • This card covers a lot of different purchase categories, but the best redemption will be for Hilton hotel stays. If you prefer other hotel brands or earning cash back, this card is not your best option.
  • This card is primarily for travel. If this is not for your business, there are other cards that offer rewards in the non-hotel categories offered by this card but aren't specifically travel-related.

Read our full The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card review.

5
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: Free hotel stays are always a nice perk, and with this card, you're eligible for a Free Night Award each year after your account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year. Also, new card holders can earn a 75,000 point bonus, which could go far with over 6,700 Marriott brand hotels in 129 countries and territories.

The Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.

The Annual Fee: $125.

The Rewards: Earn six points on purchases made at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, four points at U.S. restaurants and gas stations, and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping, and two points on all other eligible purchases.

More Details: Receive one Free Night Award every year after your card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.

PROS:

  • This card has no foreign transaction fee, which will save you money on foreign purchases.
  • You can earn a 75,000-point bonus when you use your card to make $3,000 in purchases within your first three months.
  • This card awards six points on Marriott Bonvoy hotel purchases, four points at U.S. restaurants and gas stations, and on wireless telephone services purchased from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. shipping. You also earn two points on all other purchases.

CONS:

  • This card has a $125 annual fee, which can add up if you don’t earn enough awards.
  • It is also primarily a travel card with benefits for people who frequent hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. If this is not you, a card with other business benefits and a different rewards focus would be a better option.
  • Although you can earn a Free Night Award, you need to spend at least $60,000 in purchases in a calendar year to get it. If you spend less than this per year, there are better cards and benefits available.

See our full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.

BEST SMALL BUSINESS CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
4
About Our Ratings

Why We Like It: The Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business helps to build business credit with responsible use. There's no annual fee, 1% cash back earned on every purchase, no foreign transaction fees, and employee cards at no extra cost.

The Welcome Offer: NA

The Annual Fee: $0; add employee cards at no additional cost

The Rewards: Earn 1% cash back on every purchase.

More Details: Enjoy business benefits including year-end summaries, employee cards at no additional cost, and experienced small business customer service.

PROS:

  • A small business card for those with fair/average crdit is rare. This card can help business owners build business credit with responsible use.
  • There is no annual fee for this card, so you don’t have to worry about paying for it every year just to carry it. There is also no foreign transaction fee.
  • You can earn a flat rate of 1% cash back on every purchase. If you don’t like dealing with purchase categories or categories that rotate, this might be a great option for you.

CONS:

  • There is no welcome offer with this card. Other cards offer new cardholders bonuses worth hundreds of dollars just for using the card, but it is for Fair/Average credit, so this isn’t entirely unexpected.
  • The flat rate of 1% cash back is convenient, but it is also the lowest rate awarded by most cards. It’s typically what you would earn from purchases in the “other” categories, with bonus categories earning as much as 5% or more. You could likely earn more rewards with another cash back card, though, again not necessarily with fair credit.

Read our full Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business review

WHO CAN APPLY FOR A SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT CARD?

The good news is that just about anyone can apply for a small business credit card. You don't need to be incorporated or be an LLC or even have a certain number of employees. Sole proprietors, freelancers and "side hustlers" can often qualify.

If your business is new, you might worry about your lack of business credit. But you might find that is not a roadblock, especially if you have good personal credit. Often, a credit card company will require that you, as an individual, take on ultimate liability for the debt incurred on your company's business credit card. This not only protects the credit card company, it gives you a chance to "invest in yourself" and build your business credit on the foundation or your good personal credit history.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO APPLY FOR A SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT CARD?

You need much of the same information to apply for a business credit card that you need to apply for a personal credit card. Here's a look at the list of information to have on hand:

Your business information – All the basics, such as address, how long you have been in business, what type of business, number of employees, annual revenue, etc. will likely be required. This should go without saying, but just in case it doesn't: Don't lie! That's fraud and it can land you in serious hot water.

Credit card companies know that new business owners, entrepreneurs and others without lengthy business histories are going to apply for credit cards, so your business' youth shouldn't be a big deal.

Your Federal Employee Identification Number (Tax ID number) – It should be noted that if you are a sole proprietor or an LLC without an EIN number, you can just use your Social Security number.

Your personal information – This will include Social Security number, date of birth, rent/mortgage payment, address, etc.

Remember that credit card companies are likely going to be using your personal credit history to determine whether you're a good risk for a small business credit card. That means you want to be quite sure you care for your business credit card the same way you would a personal card – both have the ability to help or hurt your credit.

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE BEST SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT CARD?

As with personal credit cards, the best small business credit cards on the market might not be the best fit for YOUR business. Applying for or using the wrong cards can prove to not only be a waste of time and money but a squandered opportunity to rack up the kinds of rewards – or take advantage of the kinds of perks – that your business truly needs.

So here are some things to consider as you shop the small business credit card market and before you fill out an application.

1. Don't swing for the fences (unless you're Babe Ruth, of course). Know your business and personal credit scores and shop for a card you have a chance of being approved for. If you are a new business, the companies will evaluate you on your personal credit score. If you only have fair credit and you apply for cards requiring excellent credit, you'll likely be rejected; not only is this waste of your time, the rejection can damage your credit score even more.

Be patient. Even if you need to start with a lower end card, it will provide you the opportunity to build a clean business credit score, which will lead to better credit card and small business loan opportunities.

If, on the other hand, you have an MVP-award-worthy personal credit score and an impeccable credit history, you should certainly take a look at the small business cards for higher end credit scores – often those are the ones with the best features and rewards.

2. Audit your spending habits. Rewards programs for small business credit cards vary. Some offer bonus points for travel expenses, while others encourage spending on office supplies and equipment and still others reward expenses like dining out.

As you begin to research small business credit cards and their rewards programs, it will serve you well to know where your company does most of its spending. That will help you maximize your rewards.

Rewards also vary greatly from card to card. Take a good look at the rewards a particular card offers. Is it straight cash back? Travel points? Loyalty points for a particular hotel or airline? Notice which rewards type best fit the needs of your company. Don't try to change your spending habits to fit a credit card's rewards program; instead, find the rewards program that already matches where you spend your money.

3. About those fees. Successful business people are ones who know where every dollar is being spent,so take some time to examine the fees charged by a credit card company. Will the rewards your earn offset the fees you pay? Or will the reward structure even add to your savings?

Some companies offer a $0 annual fee. That's always a good thing but make sure you know if that is an introductory fee for the first 12 months or if it's the ongoing fee. Don't immediately write off a card that charges an annual fee as those are often the ones that offer top rewards. It's quite possible the perks and rewards of the card will more than offset that fee for you.

Also, the APR on small business credit cards can range dramatically from 0% introductory periods to much, much higher percentages depending on the card and your creditworthiness. Interest payments can add up quickly, so make sure you know what you're signing up for if you intend to carry a balance on your card.

On the other hand, some cards offer an introductory 0% APR on purchases and/or balance transfers for a certain period of time. If you are planning some significant purchases in the near future, this might save you a considerable amount of money in interest payments. If not, this feature might not be a big selling point for you.

4. Look for added perks. Some credit card companies offer tools that are "value added" for small businesses. Look into free company account cards for employees and if you can place spending limits on those cards. You should also ask about tracking and budgeting tools, as well. This can help a small business, especially a new business, keep a tight leash on spending.

Furthermore, you want to look at the fine print protections and features offered by your card so that your business doesn't end up paying for something that your credit card offers for free, such as car rental insurance or free checked bags or even statement credits to cover incidental travel expenses.

The bottom line when shopping for a small business credit card is to know what you're looking for and then spend some time figuring out what's available to you. Be honest about your credit, you business' needs and your expectations with your credit card. Chosen wisely, a small business credit card could lighten the administrative load for your business (no more employee travel reimbursement checks!) and even add a little extra back to your bottom line.

For rates and fees of American Express cards mentioned in this post, please see the following links: American Express® Business Gold Card(See Rates and Fees); The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (See Rates and Fees); American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card (See Rates and Fees); The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (See Rates and Fees); Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (See Rates and Fees)

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

Comments
0 Comments

Be the first to comment!