Compare the latest small business and corporate credit offers from our partners to find the one that can help you keep your company's expenses on track and give you the buying power you need. Picking the right business card can help you save interest, get free travel, or get rewards points. Review the latest offers and find the right card for your growing business.
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at Bank of America's
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at American Express's
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at Bank of America's
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Updated: September 1, 2017
|Card||Rewards Rate||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card|| 3% cash back on purchases at gas stations and office supply stores
2% on purchases at restaurants
1% on all other purchases
|$0||3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction|
|Ink Business CashSM Credit Card|| 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year
2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
1% cash back on all other card purchases
|$0||3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business||Unlimited 2% cash back||$0 intro for first year; $59 after that||$0|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business||Unlimited 1.5% cash back||$0||$0|
|Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business||Earn 1.5 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day||$0||$0|
|Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business||Earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day||$0 intro for first year; $59 after that||$0|
|Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card|| Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year
Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
|Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card||Earn an unlimited base of 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases, everywhere, every time||$0||$0|
EIN. DUNS. Paydex. The world of business credit can seem overwhelming. But with some front-end work, you can land a great business card and have excellent business credit to boot.
Business credit cards are not just for business owners of large companies – as a sole proprietor, you can qualify as well. Whether you sell items on Amazon.com or operate as a contractor, you can apply. It's actually to your advantage to have a separate card for your business operations so that you can stay organized and keep your personal spending separate from your business spending.
Business cards also often offer generous signup bonuses and category rewards, such as 50,000 points after a $5,000 spend in the first 3 months of card membership with the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express, as well as 3X points with 1 out of 5 categories and 2X points on the remaining 4 categories.
But just as you should take care of your personal credit by paying bills on time and in full, so it's true of your business credit. Here's what you need to know about business credit and charge cards.
A business credit card is intended for business-related expenses, but the line is often blurry. Some card issuers are stricter than others about who qualifies, but even if you freelance or sell items on eBay on the side, you may qualify. You typically don't have to have an EIN or a registered business name, for example.
In addition to business credit cards, there are business charge cards. While these products don't give you unlimited available credit, they allow you to apply quickly for large charges, in exchange for paying in full each month.
Your eligibility for both types of cards is based on both your personal and business credit, but you may not be personally liable, based on the agreement. Liability differs depending on if the card offers "commercial liability" or "joint and several" liability. The former means your business is liable for all debts, whereas the latter means both the individual and the business are responsible, according to American Express OPEN.
A business card often has more lucrative offers and categories, and it allows you to separate your personal from business expenses, something that most experts recommend. You can even hold a card's personal and business versions simultaneously, such as the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express.
There are a number of ways business credit cards are different from consumer credit cards, particularly regarding consumer rights. Under the CARD Act of 2009, a host of protections were put in place for consumer cards in an effort to make the process more transparent. Protections include limited credit to younger adults and limited interest rate hikes. Business and corporate cards are not covered by the protections under the CARD Act.
However, business cards can command higher credit limits and can offer more rewarding signup bonuses and category rewards benefits. They can be issued to employees and you can easily track and categorize spending.
Here's what to expect when trying to get a business card: When you apply for a business credit or charge card, you will be asked for such information as the business' legal name, annual revenue/sales and number of employees. Don't let this daunt you, though. Even if you are a freelancer or a sole proprietor, you may qualify. For example, you will be able to use your Social Security number if you don't have an EIN.
The advantages to getting a business card can be rewarding. For example, the Ink Business Cash card offers $300 cash back after a $3,000 spend within the first 3 months of opening your account. Also, new is the Ink Business Preferred's 80,000 bonus points after a $5,000 spend in the first 3 months, or $1,000 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
There are three major credit bureaus that collect your business' credit data: Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax. D&B is the dominant, in part because of its Paydex scoring system.
It can't be emphasized enough that it's imperative you make sure the D&B profile is accurate, because suppliers will frequently check this before they offer your business credit terms.
D&B provides a number of scoring models, including 3 that predict success or failure: Delinquency Predictor Score; Financial Stress Score; and Supplier Evaluation Risk Rating. There's also the D&B Rating, which allows you to quickly assess a firm's size and composite credit appraisal, based on information in a company's interim or fiscal balance sheet and an overall evaluation of the firm's creditworthiness, according to D&B.
The Paydex score is a way for lenders and suppliers to assess whether you pay on time, or even better, ahead of time.
Some experts warn that it's important that you provide D&B with something as simple as an accurate financial statement if there is not much data in your file yet.
A Paydex score is the business equivalent to your FICO score and is issued by business credit bureau Dun & Bradstreet. In the same way that you need to take care of your personal credit so that you have a good FICO score, you need take care of your company's credit so that you have a strong Paydex score.
While FICO looks at multiple factors, Paydex assesses one thing – whether your business pays suppliers and creditors "as agreed" or "better than agreed," meaning that you pay more than the minimum amount. The Paydex score ranges from 0-100, with 100 being the best. Typically, an 80 or above is considered a score that reflects that a company is healthy.
Scores are divided into three risk categories, with 0-49 indicating a high risk of late payment, 50-79 indicating a moderate risk, and 80-100 indicating a low risk, according to Dun & Bradstreet.
There are a number of steps to take to build your business credit.
Experian, one of the major credit bureaus that collects your credit history, notes that your business credit is every bit as important as your personal credit. In fact, the two are intertwined in a way. How you do with one affects the other.
Experian also advises that you set up a business bank account in your legal business name and establish a dedicated business phone line in your business name – and make sure it's listed.
An EIN is a federal employer identification number. It's a nine-digit number used for tax filing and IRS reporting purposes. Corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies are required to have an EIN; most sole proprietors do not. In that case, you can use your Social Security number instead.
There are times when a sole proprietor has to have an EIN, however, such as when you are hiring employees; have a Keogh or Solo 401(k) retirement plan; buy or inherit a business that you operate as a sole proprietorship; incorporate or form a limited liability company or partnership; or if you file for bankruptcy.
Some banks require an EIN to set up a business bank account.
The easiest way to get an EIN, or federal employer identification number, is through the EIN Assistant, the IRS' portal for obtaining an EIN. A few things to know about the EIN Assistant:
If you don't want to apply online, you can apply with the SS-4 form.
Dun & Bradstreet, the dominant business credit bureau, issues what it calls a DUNS number to businesses operating in the U.S. DUNS stands for Data Universal Numbering System. A DUNS number is a unique, non-indicative 9-digit identifier issued and maintained by D&B that verifies the existence of a business entity globally. D&B assigns DUNS numbers for each physical location of a business.
The DUNS number is a necessity if you are trying to build business credit, and you have to have it to bid on government proposals. The DUNS number assignment is free for all businesses required to register with the federal government for contracts or grants.
You can get a DUNS number through Dun & Bradstreet's DUNS Request Service. You'll be walked through a series of questions in the portal. You'll need the following to sign up for the number:
Getting a DUNS number is free for all entities doing business with the federal government. This includes current and perspective contractors, grantees, and loan recipients, says D&B. Under normal circumstances the DUNS is issued within 1-2 business days when using the D&B online process.
A corporate credit card is a card that is given to you by your employer. It can be set up so that you pay each month and your employer reimburses you, or your employer may pay the bill each month. One nice feature: It can organize your spending so that you can keep up with how you spent by category.
One thing to note: The person whose name is on the card is ultimately responsible. So, even though the company gives you the card, if your name is on it, your credit is affected, good or bad. So, make sure the card is paid in full and on time each month, because that information is sent to the three major credit bureaus, and ultimately is reflected in your personal FICO score, the dominant scoring model.
Corporate credit cards do indeed affect your credit, just as consumer credit cards do. The person whose name is on the card is ultimately responsible for paying the bill.
Here's how it works: The card issuer sends the cardholder's payment history each month to the credit bureaus, who collect your credit information. Then, credit scoring models like FICO analyze that data and assign you a rating. In the case of FICO, the dominant scoring model, you are rated from 300 to 850, with 850 being the best. That rating is used by lenders to assess whether you are a safe credit risk. It can affect your loan's interest rate, your insurance premium, even whether you can land that sweet apartment.
So, even if your employer pays the bill each month for you, it is in your best interest to make sure it is done on time and in full each month. Another option is for you to pay the bill each month and get reimbursed by your employer.
Our business credit card reviews can help you compare offers to find the one that best suits your needs.
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