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Best business credit cards for no-annual-fee

Compare your options to find the right fit for your company’s needs

Summary

Like consumer credit cards, small business cards come with varying perks, benefits and (potentially) costs. Here are some of the business credit cards we’ve found with no annual fee.

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Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for a while, the plethora of no-annual-fee business cards available today can make choosing the right one a daunting task.

That said, getting a business credit card offers several advantages like building business credit, softening the pain of tax season and providing valuable fringe benefits that let you focus on running (and hopefully growing) your venture.

Here’s a quick look at a few of our favorite no-annual-fee business credit cards, plus tips on how to pick the best card for your business needs.

Brex 30 Card: Best for startups

Why we picked it: The Brex 30 Card is a rare business credit card that doesn’t require a personal guarantee, so business owners do not need to put their assets – like a home or retirement account – on the line to qualify.

Brex doesn’t rely on credit scores during the underwriting process. Instead, it makes approval decisions and determines credit limits based on other factors, such as your company’s cash flow and spending patterns, making it a good option for startup founders without an established business credit score.

Substantial ongoing rewards tailored to common startup expenses and generous discounts in the first 12 months (40% off one year of QuickBooks, for instance) are icing on the cake. Plus, you’ll get a 50,000 signup bonus points after spending $9,000+ in the first 30 days.

Be aware, however, that the Brex 30 card is a charge card, so you must pay the balance in full every month; cardholders cannot carry balances from one month to the next.

Pros

  • No personal guarantee, no credit check
  • Fast approval
  • Credit limit based on company cash flow

Cons

  • Cannot carry a balance
  • Must have at least $100,000 in your corporate account to qualify for the card ($50,000 if professionally managed)
  • Must be a Brex Exclusive member to transfer points at 1:1 ratio to airline partner

Who should apply: The Brex 30 could be a great fit if your company has a positive cash flow and you’re looking for a card with lucrative earnings that comes without an annual fee or personal guarantee.

Who should skip: If your business’s balance sheet isn’t up to snuff you probably won’t qualify for the card. In addition, this might not be a great choice if you’re looking for cash welcome offers or an intro 0% APR.

American Express Blue Business Cash Card: Best for small- to medium-size businesses

Why we picked it: Business owners who want a set-it-and-forget-it approach to amassing rewards will likely appreciate American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card’s 2% cash back on every eligible purchase (up to $50,000 per year then 1%).You’ll also earn $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in your first three months.

Since earnings cap out at $50,000 in spending per calendar year, this card is an excellent choice for small- to medium-size businesses with smaller budgets than larger firms.

And for a bit more capital to help establish or expand your company, the Blue Business Cash comes with flexible credit limits and a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening (15.49% – 23.49% variable APR thereafter). Furthermore, Amex grants cardholders access to Working Capital Terms. This program allows eligible business owners with short-term cash-flow needs to apply for up to $150,000 in financing to pay their vendors on time.

Pros

  • 0% APR for 12 months
  • Straightforward rewards redemption
  • Flexible credit limit

Cons

  • 2% cash back rate capped at $50,000

Who should apply: Business owners who want a robust cash back rewards program from a no-annual-fee card and a 0% into APR on purchases should definitely consider this card.

Who should skip: If you don’t want a spending cap on rewards and you would like a better welcome offer, you might want to look for another option.

Ink Business Cash Credit Card: Best for companies with physical office space

Why we picked it: If you have plans to use office space for your company, the Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card – which has a high 5% cash-back rate on office supplies and telecom services (on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each year) – is a lucrative choice. In addition, when you spend $750 in the first three months you’ll get a $750 bonus. And the 0% introductory APR on new purchases for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 20.74% variable) will come in handy if you’re planning on making some large purchases.

The card’s 2% cash-back rate at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $25,000 in combined purchases each year) means frequent travelers and people who regularly entertain clients are also likely to benefit. And with no annual fee, there’s little reason not to apply if your business expenses align with the 5% cash-back rate, even if you end up using a separate card to pay for business travel and client dinners.

Pros

  • Spend $7,500 in first three months, get $750 bonus
  • No expiration for rewards
  • Variety of redemption options for rewards

Cons

  • Must have a minimum of 2,000 points to redeem rewards
  • $25,000 purchase cap on bonus categories

Who should apply: Businesses with expenses that align with the 5% cash-back rate are good candidates for the Ink Business Cash. If you’re planning on financing large expenses, the 0% introductory APR on new purchases for the first 12 months will certainly help you out.

Who should skip: You might want to consider another card if your business doesn’t spend heavily in the Ink Business Cash’s bonus categories, and if your credit isn’t up to snuff you’ll have better approval odds with a card that doesn’t require good to excellent personal credit to qualify.

Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card: Best for rewards maximizers

Why we picked it: With unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything you buy for your business, the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card provides a hassle-free way to earn rewards. And the card’s $750 welcome bonus (equivalent to 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) when you spend $7,500 in your first three months of membership ain’t half bad, either. And you’ll get a 0% introductory APR on new purchases for 12 months (then 14.74% to 20.74% variable)

But this no-annual-fee business card is even better for business owners who also hold a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

When you transfer your Ink Business Unlimited rewards to one of those cards, you can redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, one of the most popular rewards programs around. Depending on which premium card you have, this can snag you a redemption bonus of up to 50%.

You’ll also have the option to move your points to one of Chase’s airline and hotel partners, which includes Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards and World of Hyatt, among others.

Juggling multiple rewards cards requires a bit more legwork, though, so business owners who don’t have the time or desire may want to stick with a card that has a rewards rate higher than the Ink Business Unlimited’s.

Pros

  • No limit on earning rewards; rewards don’t expire
  • No fee for employee cards
  • Transfer points to qualifying Ultimate Rewards cards
  • 0% introductory APR on new purchases for 12 months

Cons

  • Must have at least 2,000 points to redeem rewards
  • Points worth only 1 cent unless you transfer to premium Ultimate Rewards card

Who should apply: Business owners who want a simple card with no annual fee that earns a high cash back rate and comes with an opportunity to earn 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points will likely be happy with this card.

Who should skip: If you’re a business owner who really wants a lucrative rewards program, you might do better with another option – perhaps even one of Chase’s other small-business cards.

Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business: Best for frequent travelers

Why we picked it: With a 20,000-mile sign-up bonus (worth up to $200 in free travel when you spend $3,000 in the first three months), the Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business offers business owners a jump-start on earnings, and 1.5 miles per dollar spent on every purchase makes it easy to stockpile rewards for future business travel.

You can collect miles even faster by swiping the Spark Miles Select for all of your business expenses and distributing free employee cards to earn rewards for their purchases, too.

Unlike other travel credit cards, many of which also charge annual fees, this card doesn’t limit you to booking award flights and hotel stays in the Capital One Travel portal – you can shop around to get the absolute best value for your points, then use Capital One’s Purchase Eraser tool to cover the cost within 90 days of when the transaction posts to your account. (Other types of purchases also qualify, including car rentals and Uber rides, although what counts as travel is based on the merchant category code assigned to the business.)

Pros

  • Miles don’t expire; no limit on number you can earn
  • No blackout dates
  • Pay for travel with partial miles
  • Redeem any number of miles any time

Cons

  • Limited list of airline partners
  • Miles transfer at less than 1:1 ratio

Who should apply: The Spark Miles Select for Business could be a great choice for business owners who want a low-maintenance way to save money on travel costs.

Who should skip: This choice might not be the best for those seeking a better return rate on rewards.

Comparing the best business cards for no-annual-fee

Credit cardRewards rateBest for
Brex 30 Card
  • 7X points on rideshares
  • 4X points on Brex Travel bookings
  • 3X points at restaurants
  • 2X points on recurring software subscriptions
  • 3X points on Apple products purchased via the Brex portal
  • 1X point on all other purchases
  • No personal guarantee
  • Fast approval
  • Dynamic credit limits based on your company’s cash flow
American Express Blue Business Cash Card2% cash back on every eligible purchase (on up to $50,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1%)
  • Simple rewards scheme
  • Cash-flow management tools
  • Free employee cards with built-in spending controls
Ink Business Cash Credit Card
  • 5% cash back on internet, cable and phone services and at office supply stores (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1%)
  • 2% cash back on gas and dining (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1%)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Cash back on common business services and office supplies
  • Mobile app specifically for business owners
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card1.5% cash back on every business purchase
  • Big sign-up bonus
  • Transfer points to qualifying Ultimate Rewards cards
  • Travel and purchase benefits (e.g., zero liability and extended warranty)
Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business1.5X miles on every purchase
  • Option to redeem for past travel purchases with Purchase Eraser
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions on awards flights

How to choose the best no-annual-fee business card

If the idea of earning rewards as you build your business sounds appealing, here’s what to consider before you apply for a no-annual-fee business card:

  • The type of rewards you want: Deciding whether you want cash back, points or miles is the first place to start. Overall, the most flexible rewards currency available is cash back, but points and miles can sometimes be more lucrative, particularly if you plan to redeem them for travel and don’t mind being a little more hands-on with the card to maximize your earnings. The type of rewards that are best for you will depend on your current needs, future goals and your business’s financial health, among other factors.
  • Your spending habits: Think about your business’s day-to-day expenses. If you rarely find yourself in an Uber or Lyft, for example, the Brex 30 Card’s high rewards rate on rideshares won’t benefit your points balance very much. Similarly, startup founders who don’t spend a lot on pens and paper are unlikely to be wowed by the Ink Business Cash Credit Card’s 5% cash-back rate at office supply stores. Make sure the card you choose fits your spending habits.
  • Your financing needs: If you’re about to make a large purchase or like having access to additional capital, a card with favorable financing terms might be what you’re looking for. Whatever your financing needs are, there’s likely a no-annual-fee business credit card with a perk that meets them.
  • Extra perks: In addition to spending rewards, many business credit cards come with helpful added features that hold broad appeal for many business owners, including automatic receipt-matching, quarterly and year-end summaries, accounting integrations and spend-management software. When evaluating your options, identify the perks that add long-term value to the card by checking out the terms and conditions to find out what you’ll need to do actually to take advantage of them.

Bottom line

So, which is the best no-annual-fee business credit card? Well, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to that question.

Regardless of the card you pick, the same credit rules of thumb apply: Keep an eye on your expenditures (and those of your employees), always pay your bill on time and avoid unnecessary spending for the sake of earning more rewards. And if you have to carry a balance temporarily, have a plan for debt repayment to limit any interest costs that could cut into your rewards balance.

*All information about the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

Credit Card Rate Report
Reward
17.80%
Student
18.28%
Airline
17.56%
Business
16.01%
Cash Back
17.78%

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