Small business cards are being sought out by individuals. They are looking for practical options. They need to make the purchases necessary for keeping their businesses and companies operating at peak performance.
For some, one of these cards can be a great alternative to getting a business loan or crowdfunding. They provide another option for simply borrowing extra cash from friends and family. Credit cards can be a useful resource when utilized responsibly. Expenditures must be managed properly.
What makes it a Business Credit Card?
Credit cards for business are usually defined by the range of advantages and perks that they offer cardholders. Many differ from traditional cards that are typically owned by everyday consumers. When you apply for a business card, you’re going to have higher spending limits and lower annual percentage rates (APR). Other benefits can include lucrative programs that reward you for the money you spend.
That is in addition to more incentives like personalized concierge perks. You can expect to take advantage of the low fees on everything from transferring a balance to foreign transactions.
However, in order to get access to all of these wonderful advantages you may also have to contend with paying upfront annual fees. You will have to pay them to keep the card in your wallet. Also, qualifying for approval will likely depend upon a credit score in the good to excellent range.
Your creditworthiness is just one part of the equation when you are applying for a business credit card. A number of card issuers will also ask you to prove that the card will be used solely for business-related purchases. You could also be asked for a Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number. Additionally, they will want documentation proving that you have incorporated your business.
You also need to establish you are bringing in sufficient income to support owning a business card. Though, not every issuer requires these stringent mandates for card ownership. Thus, you can also find many cards where these requirements are a bit laxer. For those, you will not need to provide all of that paperwork just to apply for a credit card.
A Few Drawbacks
You will need exceptional credit just to get approved for some of these cards. Plus, it is important to keep the following in mind. Business cards are not covered by many of the consumer protections that were established in the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009.
Specifically, issuers of business cards need not alert their cardholders of adjustments or changes in the bank or company policies, terms, or conditions. Therefore, let us say your rate is about to go up. You may not be notified of that fact. However, you will find out when you realize you are paying more for keeping a balance on the card.
The Seven Best Cards
Now you know what makes business cards different than the typical consumer credit cards. It is time to choose the right credit card for you. We have options on our list that should fit any size business. They will meet your expectations in a credit card that can keep up with the growth of your enterprise.
Thus, without further ado, these are the top seven small business credit cards on the market at the moment.
1. Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
Business owners often need to travel to meet with clients and coordinate projects. The Starwood Preferred Guest Business card offers a handsome rewards package. It lets frequent travelers rack up points from staying in hotels. It is a variation of the airline miles concept that many business credit card rewards programs provide.
However, earning points when you book lodging in one of the Starwood networks list of properties worldwide is just one part of the equation. You can also earn points when you use your card to make purchases at any Starwood or Marriott property. You do not just get points for expenses on your hotel room.
The card has an attractive sign-up bonus of 35,000 Starpoints, 25,000 of these can be earned after spending $5,000 in the first three months of ownership. Plus, another 10,000 is earned after an additional $3,000 spent in the first six months.
Once you have accrued enough points, you can redeem them. They can be used toward free nights at more than 1,200 locations in 100 countries worldwide. You will not have to worry about any blackout dates either.
- APR: 49% to 19.49% Variable, based on credit. There is no introductory APR.
- Fees: $0 annual fee for the first year. $95 for each year after that.
- Perks: You can get free unlimited Wi-Fi through over a million different Boingo hotspots at locations worldwide. Spend money at SPG locations. Then, you get five times the points on your rewards. Get one point for every dollar on any other purchases. If you do a lot of traveling abroad, this card will not charge any foreign transaction fees.
- Drawbacks: You can only get the most out of this card if you stay at a lot of Starwood or Marriott locations.
2. CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard
There is a lot to like about the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard. It offers a sizable sign-up bonus to its customers. The card comes with one of the better rewards programs on the market. There are plenty of features and perks to make the annual fee worth paying annually.
For starters, spending just $1,000 in the first three months of ownership will earn you 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. That is a value of $300. It can be put toward booking travel on any American flight. You will have to contend with categories in order to get the most points on your purchases.
However, there are enough of them to make the card worth using in many places. These include all car rentals, telecommunications, gas station purchases, and of course, buying tickets on American Airlines flights. You will earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on those purchases. All others will earn you one mile per dollar. Accrue 12,500 miles. You will then be eligible for redeeming them toward travel reservations.
- APR: All purchases and balance transfers come with an APR of 15.24%. Cash advances are 21.99%. If you incur a penalty APR, your rate can jump up to 29.99%.
- Fees: $95 annual fee, waived for your first year. Let us say you pay your bill late and keep a balance on the card. In such, you could be subject to late fees ranging from $15-$39.
- Perks: Group One boarding privileges, 25% discount on all purchases made in-flight. Your first checked bag is free for you and four other individuals travel companions.
- Drawbacks: There are not many. Though, if you do not fly American Airlines all that frequently there may be other cards that are more beneficial to you.
3. Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express
This card from American Express brings a lot of great perks and programs to the table. They keep with the current trend for dependable small business cards on the market. That is because consumers can get a generous sign-up bonus.
They also have a rewards program that offers versatility in purchases that earn you points. Additionally, there are plenty more perks that loyal Delta customers will appreciate.
As for that sign-up bonus, it gives you 30,000 Delta SkyMiles after spending $1,000 within the first three months of card ownership. Plus, this Amex outdoes the previous MasterCard from American Airlines. It offers a $50 statement credit for making just one purchase within those initial three months.
Earning rewards is easy too. They give you 2 Skymiles for every dollar you spend with Delta. Every other expenditure gets you one SkyMile for every dollar spent. There are no restrictions or limitations on what you can earn for your spend. Redeemed SkyMiles can be put toward travel and other travel-related merchandise. These include hotels, car rentals, even gift cards and obviously, airfare.
- APR: 15.74% to 19.74%, variable based on your credit. Penalty APR will bump it up to 29.74%.
- Fees: $95 annual fee, but it is waived for the first year. No foreign transaction fees. Late and returned payment fees can get as high as $38.
- Perks: The card gets you priority boarding on any flight, and your first checked bag is free. There are also 20% discounts on in-flight purchases.
- Drawbacks: Similar to most of these cards thus far, you can only take advantage of the rewards if you’re a loyal customer of the airline.
4. SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
This American Express card is designed to save you money on buying the things you need for your business. This includes office supplies and cell phone purchases. You can earn 5% back on all of those expenditures as well as 3% on one other category. The sign-up bonus and rewards programs are also big selling points. Plus they have low fees all around.
The sign-up bonus requires you spend a bit more to qualify than some of the other cards on our list. You will need to spend a minimum of $5,000 during the first six months of card ownership. That reward comes in the form of a $200 statement credit. Put another $10,000 on the card in the first year. Then, you will receive another $200 statement credit.
Your office supply and cell phone purchases all qualify for 5% cash back. It is capped at $50,000 for the year. You can then earn 3% back on all purchases in another category that you get to select. That is also capped at $50,000 for the year.
It could be anything you buy often. That includes airline tickets, restaurant purchases, gas stations, shipping or advertising costs, among many other options. What about after you reach those $50,000 thresholds? You still get cash back. You will get 1% unlimited on all purchases, no matter what.
- APR: This card comes with a 0% introductory APR for nine months, then bumps up to 12.74%Â toÂ 19.74%, variable based on your credit. Penalty APR will bump it up to 29.74%.
- Fees: No annual fee. Late and returned payment fees can get as high as $38.
- Perks: The card offers a solid Purchase Protection Plan. You can get reimbursed for items that are lost, damaged, or stolen within 90 days of making a purchase.
- Drawbacks: Some consumers may not love the cash back restrictions offered as only statement credits.
5. Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
When it comes to having a reliable credit card for keeping your business running smoothly, the Chase Ink Business Preferred is among the best of the bunch. You can earn serious rewards with this card. Plus, it features an excellent sign-up bonus to boot. The rewards program is based on a points system. It lets you redeem them or swap them for points in other companies’ rewards programs. They will match point for point.
All you need to do is spend $5,000 in the first three months of ownership. After that, you will receive a whopping 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points. That is equal to about $800 in cash or $1,000 in travel redemptions. Those are pretty great prizes for spending on the things you already buy
For those frequent travelers out there, $1,000 toward travel is impressive right off the bat. You will continue earning rewards after the initial three month period. You will get three points for every one dollar spent. This can be on a wide array of purchases from travel to telecommunications to advertising and shipping costs. It is great to get points on all these basics for any small business owner.
Redeemed points can then be converted into cash, travel, gift cards, and other options. You may wish to swap them out for another rewards program’s currency. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are compatible with the many loyalty programs. These include Southwest Airlines, United, British Airways, and Marriott among others.
- APR: The normal APR here is variable between 16.49% and 21.49% based on your credit. There is no introductory APR period.
- Fees: $95 annual fee. Unlike some of the other cards on our list it is NOT waived for the first year. If you want the card, you have to pay the fee from the start.
- Perks: No foreign transaction fees. They have a cell phone protection plan when you use the card to pay your bills in full. You will also get purchase protection for 120 days against loss, damage, or theft. Additionally, the card offers extended warranties on purchases that come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Should you book a trip with the card and it gets canceled or interrupted for any reason, you’re insured up to $5,000.
- Drawbacks: The annual fee is not bad. Yet, it would be nice if they waived it for the first year. Aside from that, there really aren’t many drawbacks to this Chase card. It is one of the more ideal credit cards for business travel.
6. Capital One Spark Classic for Business
Most of the Capital One business cards come with a variety of perks, programs. These features make them highly sought after by consumers. Nonetheless, with all of those great advantages come stringent credit requirements. It is mandated that every applicant has good to excellent credit.
The Spark Classic offers an alternative. It also maintains many of the attractive factors that make these cards so popular.
That is not to say you will sacrifice one or two things in exchange for the somewhat more relaxed approval criteria. All of our cards this far have come with a sign-up bonus. Conversely, the Spark Classic does not. Thus, do not worry about putting a large amount of money on your card in a short period of time.
It will not get you anything more than what you would already earn. As for the rewards, it is a relatively standard 1% on all purchases, unlimited. No need to worry about categories or making more purchases of one sort of thing over another. With the Spark Classic it can all earn you cash back. Redeem your rewards as a statement credit or in cash.
There is a real selling point here. It is a card tailor-made for small business owners. Maybe you have just average credit yet still want to be able to obtain a small business card. This one’s for you.
- APR: The card is geared for those with lesser credit. Therefore the APR is on the high side at 23.24% for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances. Any penalty APR can bump it up 29.65%.
- Fees: No annual fee, no balance transfer or foreign transaction fees. Late payments come with a $39 fee. Additionally, fees for cash advances are $10 or 3% of the advance, whichever is higher.
- Perks: The Spark Classic is a good card for those business owners who want to improve their credit. It allows them to be approved with less than perfect scores. Plus, the card offers credit-monitoring services to help them reach those goals. Capital One also reports to all three credit reporting bureaus.
- Drawbacks: The APR is particularly high. However, it might be a good trade-off until your credit score improves.
7. The Business Gold Rewards American Express OPEN Card
We wrap up the list with a card that has everything going for it in terms of sign up bonus, and rewards. It has all the perks you’ve come to expect from an American Express. Conversely, on the downside, you are going to have to pay an annual fee that is the highest on our list. This might make it less of an option for some small business owners who may not need all of the benefits of a business card.
The sign-up bonus is pretty standard, at least in terms of requirements to get the bonus. Spending just $5,000 in the first three months of card ownership is not all that different than the rest of the cards here. In return, you will receive 50,000 Membership Rewards points.
That is a pretty good way to get started on accruing enough points for redemption. Additionally, you will get three points for every one dollar you spend in your chosen category. These include the typical shipping costs, gas purchases, airfare, computer purchases, and so on. Whichever you choose will allow you to earn the most points.
Purchases made in the remaining categories available earn you two points for each dollar spent. In all cases, you have a spending limit of $100,000 for earning rewards. After that threshold has been reached, you get one point per dollar.
- APR: There is no defined APR with this card. It is a variable rate that fluctuates. However, you must pay your balance in-full within two billing cycles. Otherwise, it can seriously impact your credit rating. This card requires you to be extremely diligent about not carrying a balance.
- Fees: $175 annual fee which is waived in the first year. Late payments are $38 or 2.99% of the past due balance.
- Perks: You have the freedom to spend as much as you want on this card. However, if you do not pay down your balance in a timely manner, they will impose limits on your spending. The Open also comes with baggage protection for carry-on and checked bags in the event of damage or loss/theft.
- Drawbacks: This is a very stringent card that some small business owners may feel is too much of a hassle. That is mostly due to such a high annual fee to pay.