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: February 20, 2018
Business credit cards can help you earn points and save money on business expenses. If you make purchases in business categories, then using a business card can be a smart decision. With a business credit card, you can track expenses for your small business and save on interest annually.
Business cards, whether credit or charge, are a great way to organize business expenditures and to build rewards. You can earn points, miles or cash back with a variety of categories specific to businesses, such as advertising and office supplies.
On the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card:
“I like to have choices,” says financial planner Harriet Bracket. With the Ink Business Preferred card, “you can redeem points for a wide range of rewards, not just travel.”
“The best business rewards credit card for you really depends on what you’re looking to come away with,” says personal finance journalist Taylor Tepper. “That being said, the relatively new Chase Ink Preferred can be so valuable, especially considering the plush sign-up bonus, that any small business should check it out first before moving on to other options.”
On the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business:
“For the busy business owner on Main Street, plowing every ounce of energy into making his or her business succeed, I have to go with the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card as the overall best business card,” says CreditCards.com Editor-in-Chief Daniel P. Ray. “Being able to count on a 2 percent discount on everything you buy is a savings that drops directly to the bottom line.”
“Businesspeople are incredibly busy. They don't want to think much about their credit cards,” says CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst Matt Schulz. “That's why the Spark card works so well: It simply offers 2 percent cash back on everything and a low annual fee.”
The rewards offered by business credit cards are becoming increasingly generous as more lenders advertise extra large sign-up bonuses and plump rewards on everyday expenses. Business credit cards, though, often come with hefty fees in exchange for those plum bonuses and rewards.
Here, we look at:
Whether you are trying to decide if a business card is right for you or you are trying to decide between a consumer card or a business card, we can help:
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.
|Pros of Business Cards||Cons of Business Cards|
|Can get charge card with no pre-set limit||Pay charge card in full each month|
|Business-related categories||Sometimes with limits|
|Generous sign-up bonuses||Annual fee can be high|
|Great for organizing expenses||Not protected under CARD Act of 2009|
Even if you are a freelancer, you may qualify for a business card. Business credit cards are good for building rewards, separating your personal expenses from your business expenses, and enjoying convenience. If you have difficulty paying down credit cards or your credit is poor, a business card may not be the best choice for now.
Instead, consider building your business credit by incorporating your company or establishing an LLC; opening bank accounts in your company’s legal name; establishing a listed, dedicated, business phone number; and getting a federal EIN. Also, build your personal credit by taking out a credit card for bad or fair credit and paying on time and in full each month.
If you already have cards, pay them in full and on time each month, only using them for what you already have the money for. Within a few months, you’ll see a difference in your scores and you’ll have the practice to handle a business card.
|Consumer Card||Business Card|
|Can build credit||Can build credit|
|Good for convenience||Good for convenience|
|Often no annual fee||Sometimes no annual fee|
|Wide variety of rewards cards||Great for organizational tools|
|Can get boosted categories||Business-related categories|
|Protected by CARD Act of 2009||Not protected by CARD Act of 2009|
|Cards available for bad credit||Can earn superior rewards|
|Card||Rewards Rate||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|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||$0|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business||Unlimited 2% cash back||$0 intro for first year; $95 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
|The 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|
|Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business||Earn 1.5 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day||$0||$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|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business||Unlimited 1.5% cash back||$0||$0|
|The Blue BusinessSM Plus 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® Miles for Business||Earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day||$0 intro for first year; $95 after that||$0|
|Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards 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|
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