Which business credit card should our church sign up for?

Choose your card depending on what matters more - rewards or no interest

Your Business Credit with Elaine Pofeldt

Elaine Pofeldt is a journalist whose articles on entrepreneurship and careers have appeared in Fortune, Working Mother, Money and many other publications. She is a former senior editor at Fortune Small Business magazine and an entrepreneur herself, as co-founder of 200kfreelancer.com. Her book, “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business,” was released in 2018. She writes "Your Business Credit," a weekly column about small business and credit, for CreditCards.com.

Ask Elaine a question, or see if your question has already been answered in the Your Business Credit answer archive.

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We are a church. What business card should we get for our expenses? 

A 0-percent interest card is a good first card for a small business. Or, if you travel frequently, a card that rewards for flights and hotels may be a better choice.
Expert Q&A

Check out all the answers from our credit card experts.

Dear Your Business Credit, 
Our church would like to get a credit card. What card is best for us? We would use it for small purchases and for the pastor’s travel. – Claudia

Dear Claudia,
Getting a credit card can be a great way to keep organized records of the church’s purchases. And you’re smart to shop around for the best deal. Keeping the cost of borrowing down will help you stretch the church’s budget.

It’s possible to opt for either a personal credit card or a business credit card in this instance. I’d suggest a business card, given that there may be occasions when you need to make larger purchases, perhaps for a church event, and business cards often will offer a higher credit limit.

Business cards frequently require someone to provide a personal guarantee, so given that the pastor sounds like the major user, it will likely make sense for the pastor to provide that.

Determine what rewards matter

I’d suggest looking for a card that offers 0-percent interest on a limited basis.

Usually these teaser deals only last for a certain number of months, but you can likely transfer the balance to another 0-percent interest card at the end of the deal to avoid that challenge (though there will be a fee for the transfer).

The Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card could be a good choice with no interest the first 12 months and a pretty generous cash back offer in many categories.

If you aren't worried about interest because you plan on paying your balance off in full every month, the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card offers 2 percent cash back on all purchases, which can quickly add up for more money for the church.

Alternatively, if travel is your main expense, a good rewards card like that Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card ($95 annual fee) can help you accumulate points for future trips the pastor may need to take.  

Take a look at our current selection of business credit cards for the latest offers. Keep an eye on when your 0-percent deal expires, so you can do a balance transfer.


Tip: Decide which perks are most important for your business before signing up for a card. If you will pay off your balance in full every month, a rewards card could be a better choice than a 0-percent interest card.

When looking for a credit card, check out the rewards and perks. Many cards offer rewards that could be useful to a church.

For instance, if the pastor flies frequently, a card that offers attractive mileage rewards could be helpful.

If you don’t mind a high annual fee, the Business Platinum Card from American Express ($450 annual fee) rewards handsomely when travel is booked through their portal (5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels).

If the pastor drives frequently for church-related meetings, then a card that offers generous rewards for gas purchases or cash back on them could be valuable.

Any cash you get back could be directed to the church’s coffers. Some cards also offer rewards that may be redeemed for purchases at particular stores. You may find it helpful to check them out to see if you might be able to buy some things the church needs using those points.

Alternative credit options

Although a credit card can be a convenient way to make purchases, I’d suggest availing yourself of other forms of credit, as well.

For instance, if you establish ongoing accounts with your office supply provider and other places you frequently make purchases, you can minimize the size of the balance on the credit cards.

And if anyone else is using the credit card besides the pastor, make sure to require that, like the pastor, they turn in receipts.

Sometimes when multiple people use a credit card, record keeping tends to get disorganized, and receipts never make it back to the organization.

Put procedures in place for submitting receipts, so you don’t lose control of what purchases are being made. The better your financial records, the easier it will be to run the church.  

See related: How business owners chose their credit cards, How to qualify for credit as a small-business owner 

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Updated: 02-19-2019