Small business credit cards are increasingly popular business financing options, particularly for entrepreneurs who don’t qualify for traditional business loans and don’t have access to networks filled with deep-pocketed family members, friends, and colleagues. No matter what your business does, a credit card can probably help – as long as you use credit wisely and avoid making purchases your company can’t afford.
Small business credit cards typically have higher spending limits and more generous rewards programs than consumer cards. Some have additional benefits, such as low APRs, attractive balance transfer promotions, personalized concierge service, and fringe benefits. However, many also come with annual fees and require good or excellent credit to qualify.
Keep in mind that qualifying for business credit cards is a bit different from qualifying for consumer credit cards. Some issuers simply require you to submit a valid Social Security number and affirm in writing that you’ll use the card exclusively for business purposes. Such laid-back issuers welcome freelancers and solopreneurs – basically, anyone who files a Schedule C at tax time, including people who don’t really think of themselves as business owners.
Some issuers are more strict. They request a federal employer identification number (EIN), seek evidence of incorporation, or ask for financial statements. If you can’t prove that you actually own an incorporated business with legitimate cash flow, you won’t qualify.
Also, remember that business credit cards are exempt from some of the protections of the CARD Act, including the requirement that card issuers regularly notify cardholders of changes in terms and conditions. The following small business credit cards offer a favorable mix of advantages and drawbacks for business owners with strong credit.
Best Small Business Credit Cards
1. Chase Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card
$500 Sign-up Bonus; Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on All Eligible Purchases
Chase Ink Business Unlimited is an annual-fee-free business credit card the echoes Chase Freedom Unlimited, a consumer credit card that also earns unlimited 1.5% cash back. Ink Business Unlimited accrues cash back via Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for cash, gift cards, travel purchase, and general merchandise.
Additional perks include a generous sign-up bonus – worth $500 after you spend $3,000 in purchases within 3 months – and a 12-month, 0% APR promotion on purchases. The latter is a rarity among small business credit cards.
- Sign-up Bonus: Earn $500 bonus cash after you spend $3,000 in purchases within 3 months after account opening.
- Key Fees: This card has no annual fee and no employee card fees. The foreign transaction fee is 3%. Cash advances cost the greater of $15 or 5%. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%.
- Introductory APR: 0% APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening.
- Regular APR: Once the promotional period ends, the regular APR ranges between 15.49% to 21.49% variable, depending on your personal creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is 27.24% variable. There is no penalty APR.
- Other Perks: Value-added benefits include complimentary auto rental insurance when you pay for your rental in full with your card, purchase protection on covered items for 120 days up to $10,000 per claim, and a 1-year extended warranty on items with existing eligible warranties of 3 years or less.
2. Chase Ink Business CashSM Credit Card
$500 Sign-up Bonus; 5% Cash Back on Communications & at Office Supply Stores; 2% Cash Back at Gas Stations & Restaurants
Chase Ink Business Cash is a popular business credit card with a generous cash back rewards program, solid sign-up bonus, and reasonable APR. It holds down the Ink stable with the Chase Ink Business Preferred and Unlimited Cards (see below and above), both of which offer different (but no less rewarding) opportunities for frequent spenders.
When you spend at least $3,000 within 3 months of opening your account, you get $500 bonus cash back. From day one, you earn 5% cash back for office supply store and communications purchases (including Internet, TV, landline, and cell phone services), up to $25,000 per year. You earn 2% cash back on gas station and restaurant purchases, up to $25,000 per year. After reaching the $25,000 cap, you earn unlimited 1% cash back on these spending categories. All other purchases earn 1% unlimited cash back as well.
Redeem accumulated cash back for statement credits or direct deposits starting at $20, airfare booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal (which offers the opportunity to boost your cash back by 20%, turning $500 in cash back into $625 in travel purchases), gift cards, and Amazon purchases. Redemptions start at $20.
- Sign-up Bonus: Earn $500 bonus cash back when you spend at least $3,000 within 3 months of signing up.
- Key Fees: There’s no annual fee. Foreign transactions cost 3% of the total transaction amount. Cash advances cost the greater of $15 or 5%, while balance transfers cost $5 or 5%.
- Introductory APR: 0% on purchases for 12 months.
- Regular APR: From your account opening date, the regular balance transfer APR is 15.49% to 21.49% variable, depending on your personal creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The regular purchase APR falls within the same range following the conclusion of the introductory period. The cash advance APR is 27.24% variable. There is no penalty APR.
- Other Perks: Chase’s Purchase Protection plan covers new purchases against damage or theft for 120 days, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 total per account. The Extended Warranty plan offers complimentary extended warranty protection for an additional 12 months on warranties originally set to expire after three years or less.
3. Chase Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card
80,000-Point Sign-up Bonus; 3x Points on Travel, Shipping, Telecommunications & Advertising
The Chase Ink Business Preferred is Chase’s flagship business card. Though it has a $95 annual fee that’s not waived in the first year, you get what you pay for: a generous rewards program that favors travel and everyday business purchases, an attractive points transfer feature that lets you swap your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for other companies’ loyalty currency at a 1-to-1 ratio, and (perhaps best of all) a massive sign-up bonus worth up to $1,000 in free travel.
When you spend at least $5,000 within 3 months of opening your account, you get 80,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points. That’s worth $800 when redeemed for cash, and $1,000 when redeemed for travel (thanks to Chase’s 25% bonus on all travel redemptions). If you travel a lot for business, that’s hard to resist.
This card’s regular rewards program is equally impressive. The 3x tier is unusually generous: cardholders get 3 points per $1 spent on travel, shipping purchases, telecommunications purchases (such as Internet, cable, mobile phone bills), and advertising, up to $150,000 in combined spending across those categories in each account anniversary year. All other purchases earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent.
Redemption options include cash, travel, gift cards, Amazon.com purchases, general merchandise, and much more. And cardholders can increase the value and flexibility of their earned points by transferring them at a 1-to-1 ratio to popular travel loyalty programs such as British Airways Executive Club, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Marriott Rewards, and IHG Rewards Club.
- Sign-up Bonus: Earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points, worth up to $1,000 on travel and $800 in cash, when you spend at least $5,000 within three months of account opening.
- Key Fees: There’s a $95 annual fee, but no foreign transaction fee.
- Introductory APR: There’s no introductory APR promotion.
- Regular APR: From the day you open your account, the regular APR is 18.24% to 23.24% variable, depending on your personal creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is 27.24% variable. There is no penalty APR.
- Other Perks: This card comes with a slew of value-added benefits, including a cell phone protection plan (up to $600) when you pay your cell phone bill in full with your card; complimentary loss and damage coverage on rental cars paid in full with this card; purchase protection for up to 120 days; extended warranties on purchased items with existing manufacturers’ warranties; and trip cancellation and interruption insurance worth up to $5,000 per incident.
4. Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Early Spend Bonus Up to $500; 2% Cash Back on All Purchases
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is very similar to Spark Miles for Business, Capital One’s premium business travel card. The rates, fees, and early spend bonus value are identical. The primary difference is a cash-based, not miles-based, rewards system.
When you sign up for this card and spend at least $4,500 in eligible purchases within 3 months, you get $500 bonus cash back. From the outset, all purchases earn unlimited 2% cash back, with no caps or restrictions. You can redeem accumulated cash back in any amount for checks or general statement credits.
- Early Spend Bonus: Earn $500 bonus cash back when you spend at least $4,500 in eligible purchases within 3 months of account opening.
- Key Fees: There’s a $95 annual fee, waived for the first year, but no balance transfer or foreign transaction fees. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3%.
- Introductory APR: There’s no intro APR.
- Other Perks: Get a customized, itemized quarterly spending report with your statement four times per year……Read More>>