Businesses large and small have a lot of expenses. Why not get rewarded for that spending? From hotels to highlighters, business credit cards reward you on the things you're already buying for your enterprise. This is a great way to save money on a variety of business expenses.
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Updated: January 1, 2018
Business credit cards have different rewards and rates than personal cards. If your business – large or small – makes significant purchases, then a business card could be advantageous. Deciding on the best credit card for your business will help you save money and earn rewards on business expenses. Here are the top business credit cards compiled by CreditCards.com’s experts.
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. It is also necessary to separate the two if you want your business to grow – eventually, your personal credit may not be able to sustain your business’ financing needs.
Here’s what we look at below:
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.
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.
Experian notes that your business credit is every bit as important as your personal credit. In fact, one can impact the other. To establish your business and credit, says Dun & Bradstreet:
If you already have a business, D&B says:
A business credit card is an excellent way to help you build business credit. It is a good idea to open a business credit card and use it fairly often, says business credit expert Elaine Pofeldt. Pay the bill on time and ideally, in full, every month, and don't max out the card, she says. You want to keep your personal and business credit separate, but because most business card issuers require a personal guarantee, your business credit can impact your personal credit, so take care of that business card.
|Card||Rewards Rate||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business||Unlimited 2% cash back||$0 intro for first year; $95 after that||$0|
|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|
|The Blue for Business Credit Card from American Express||2x points on everyday business purchases up to $50,000 per year with no category restrictions||$0||2.7%|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business||Unlimited 1.5% cash back||$0||$0|
|The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN||3x points on 1 of 5 categories, 2x points on the remaining 4 categories, and 1x points everywhere else||$0 intro first year; $175 thereafter||1|
|Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business||Earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day||$0 intro for first year; $95 after that||$0|
|The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN||5x points on flights and prepaid hotels through amextravel.com, 50% more points on eligible purchases of $5,000 or greater||$450||$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
|Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business||Earn 1.5 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day||$0||$0|
|Bank of America Cash Rewards for Business MasterCard Credit Card||3% cash back on purchases at gas stations and office supply stores (up to $250,000 each calendar year, 1% after that)|
2% on purchases at restaurants
1% on all other purchases
|$0||3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction|
Our business credit card reviews can help you compare offers to find the one that best suits your needs.
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