who can apply for a business credit cardWhether managing a mom-and-pop shop or freelancing, running a business can be tough work. It doesn't matter if you have 30 employees or none at all— having a business credit card can be a convenience that helps business owners get the supplies they need, when they need them, without worrying about how much cash they have on hand.

The perks that these credit cards offer can help businesses save money on the essentials, as well as make keeping track of expenditures easier, but who can apply for one? Continue on to learn more about who should get a business credit card and about the numerous benefits these cards can provide.  

Can I get a business credit card?

In order to get a business credit card you are required to be an "authorized officer" of a business, which means that you are in the legal position to enter into contracts with financial institutions on behalf of the business. Although you may think of a business as just a company that is registered as an S Corp. or LLC, these business structures are not necessary in order to obtain a business credit card. Sole proprietors who do freelance work, such as writing or graphic design, as well as those with other nontraditional businesses like dog walking or selling homemade crafts online, can also qualify for a business credit card.

Benefits of a business credit card

No matter what kind of work you do and what size your business is, a business credit card comes with several benefits, including:

  • Keeping business and personal expenses separate. As a business owner, you need to keep your personal expenses separate from your business spending. In order to make this process smoother, and make it easier for you when it's time to file your taxes, you may want to get a credit card that is solely dedicated to paying for anything related to your business.
  • Building credit. Just as it's important to establish a good personal credit history, business owners should strive to create their business credit rating. A credit card can go a long way toward building a credit history for a business, which can help with finances in the future.
  • Increasing cash flow. If you're a contractor, you probably find yourself waiting for payments from clients on a regular basis and sometimes, these payments may not be issued quickly. When you have a business credit card, you can increase your cash flow in between payments so you don't have to worry about getting the supplies you need. In addition, business cards generally have much bigger credit limits than personal ones– sometimes upwards of $50,000– which can help ensure that cash flow is always where you need it to be.
  • Earning rewards. Business credit cards often allow you to earn rewards and cash that you can put back into your business– whether you travel with the points or redeem for cash back to offset some of your expenses.  Additionally, some cards offer rewards that are not available through personal credit cards, such as larger signup bonuses and higher credit limits.
  • Managing employee spending. Those who have employees can issue credit cards to them and easily manage their spending by setting credit limits on each company card. This makes tracking business expenses much easier because all employee spending is listed on one credit card account, rather than on their own individual cards.

How to apply for a business credit card

You've decided to get a business credit card—great! Now it's time to get together the documentation banks will need just as you did when you got your personal credit cards, except a bit more information may be required for your business credit card application.

If your business is registered, you will need to submit your Federal Tax ID number, or Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you're a sole proprietor that is not a formal business entity, you will submit your social security number. You will also be required to provide information about the business, including your contact information, the length of time your business has been operating, your business's annual income, how many employees you have, the type of business you operate and your monthly expenses.

If you don't have an established credit history for your business, you may still qualify for a business credit card. If this is the case, the bank will consider your personal credit history when making their decision.

What are the best business credit cards?

Now that you have learned general information about business credit cards, you can explore individual cards to determine which one is right for you. Below you will find some of the best business cards available and the features that make them a good choice for any business owner.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

  • $500 cash-back bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of membership
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months, then 13.24% - 19.24% Variable APR
  • No annual fee
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent annually in combined purchases at office supply stores, as well as for cable, internet and phone services
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent annually in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants
  • 1% cash back for all other purchases
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty protection
  • Employee cards at no cost
  • See our Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card review to learn more

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

  • 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening® that's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn three points per $1 for the first $150,000 spent annually on travel expenses; shipping costs; internet, cable, and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • Earn one point per $1 for all other purchases
  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • Up to $600 per claim in cell phone protection for covered theft or damage for all phones listed on the monthly bill paid with the card
  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance
  • Employee cards at no cost
  • See our Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card review to learn more

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months, then 13.24% - 19.24% Variable APR
  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Employee cards at no cost
  • See our Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card review to learn more

American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.

  • 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
  • 0%  intro APR on new purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then 13.24% - 19.24% Variable APR
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%
  • Expanded buying power to spend above credit limit
  • Insurance for theft or damage to a rental car
  • Additional cards for employees at no cost
  • An annual card summary to easily review spending for the year
  • Terms apply
  • See our American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card review to learn more

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

  • One-time $500 cash bonus once spending $4,500 in the first three months of opening an account
  • Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Pick monthly due date
  • Set up automatic payments
  • Add employee cards for free
  • No transaction fees for purchases made in foreign countries
  • See our Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business review to learn more

American Express® Business Gold Card

  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the card within the first three months of opening an account
  • Earn 4X points on the two select categories where your business spends the most each month (rate applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from bonus categories each calendar year)
  • Earn 1X point on all other eligible purchases
  • Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $295 annual fee
  • Terms apply
  • See our American Express® Business Gold Card review to learn more

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

  • For a limited time (offer ends Jan. 13, 2021), earn 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months; earn up to $150 in statement credits for purchases of U.S. advertising with select media during the first six months; enjoy Platinum Elite status from Feb. 1, 2021-Jan. 31, 2022.
  • Earn 6X points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Earn 4X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping
  • Earn 2X points on all other eligible purchases
  • Receive on Free Night Award every year after your card account anniversary, plus an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60,000 in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $125 annual fee
  • Terms apply
  • See our Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card review to learn more

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.

  • Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within your first four months of account membership
  • Earn two miles for every dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and on every dollar spent with telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations; earn one point on all other purchases
  • Cardholders receive 25% in-flight savings, and first bag checked free
  • Spend $30,000 in a card membership year and earn an American Airlines companion certificate when renewing your card  
  • $99, waived for first 12 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • See our CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® review to learn more

For more options, please see our full list of the best small business credit cards.

To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards mentioned on this page, please visit the following links: American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card (See Rates and Fees); American Express® Business Gold Card (See Rates and Fees); Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (See Rates and Fees)

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