|Business Rating:||4.4 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate||0.1|
In a Nutshell:
With an application process that makes qualifying faster and easier than usual and a unique rewards program that offers up to 7X points on ride-sharing, the Brex Corporate Card is well-attuned to the needs of startup companies.
Software discounts and credits, including a $5,000 credit for Amazon Web Services and $150 credit for Google Ads
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($4,000 monthly spend)
Other Notable Features: No personal guarantee required to apply, instant approval, dynamic credit limit, fully automated expense tracking, build your business credit history, instant virtual cards for your employees with individual spending limits, integrates with Quickbooks and other accounting software, interest-free 60 day terms, enterprise travel rates through the Brex travel portal
If you are the owner of a startup company, scrambling for funding and pulling your hair over the lack of good credit options to manage cash flow for your new business, you should take a look at the new Brex Corporate Card for Startups.
The Brex card is tailored for startup companies. According to the card’s website, “Before launching rewards, Brex did rigorous analysis on its customer spend to understand what startups buy and which companies they buy from with one goal in mind: build a rewards program that is tailored to startups and provides the best value.”
As a result, Brex has created a rewarding card targeted to the buying habits of startup owners. It’s also easier to apply for than usual and offers completely automated expense management to free up more of your time for your growing business.
Applying for the Brex card
Brex goes outside the usual process for applying for a corporate or business credit card. Instead of requiring a personal guarantee, Brex requires you to link your corporate bank account to the card as a security deposit (and they guarantee that the process is very secure). This provides a couple of advantages:
- Your personal credit isn’t linked to the card. There’s no impact to your personal credit score when you apply, and your personal finances aren’t at risk in case you can’t pay your card balance.
- The approval process is much faster than usual. Rather than having to mail in paperwork and wait weeks for a response, Brex can approve your application instantly.
Note – to apply, you will need to supply an EIN, which means general consumer, sole proprietors and other unregistered businesses are ineligible for the card. You’ll also need at least $100,000 in your corporate bank account to qualify for the card.
The Brex card can be highly rewarding for businesses that spend heavily on transportation, travel and dining. The card offers up to 7 points per dollar on ride-share purchases, 4 points per dollar on travel purchased on Brex travel, 3 points per dollar on restaurants, 2 points per dollar on recurring software purchases, such as Salesforce or Github, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Note, you have to be an Exclusive Brex member to qualify for the category bonuses. In other words, you have to agree to use the Brex card exclusively for your business. If you have multiple corporate cards, you’ll only earn a rate of 1 point per dollar on all your purchases.
Furthermore, the bonus on travel purchases is fairly restrictive – it only applies to purchases through the Brex travel portal. If you opt to purchase travel from other sites, you’ll only earn 1 point per dollar.
Another plus of the card – your points are simple to redeem and fairly flexible. Points don’t expire and you can redeem any amount at any time. Your redemption options include cash back (i.e., statement credits against your purchases) and travel through the Brex website at a value of 1 cent per point. You can also gift your points to your employees.
As a great value add, Brex recently added on the option to transfer points to outside airline partners. Brex’s list of partners is on the small side – there are only six airlines total. However, they are all partners of major airline alliances, which means you can use your points to travel on a worldwide network of airlines.
If you are a Brex Exclusive member and qualify to transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio (regular card members only qualify for a ratio of 1.5:1), you can significantly boost the value of your points by looking for deals with Brex’s airline partners.
|Airline alliance||Estimated mile value|
|Air France/KLM||SkyTeam||1 cent|
|Asia Miles||oneworld||1.2 cents|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||oneworld||1 cent|
Discounts on Amazon Web Services and more
In lieu of the points- or cash-based bonuses offered by most business cards, the Brex card offers an extensive list of credits and discounts in your first year for popular services, including a $5,000 credit for Amazon Web Services. While discounts on services may not seem as flashy as a 50,000-point discount or a $500 cash sign-up bonus, they have the potential to add up to a much greater value than your usual sign-up bonus.
Brex on their own website estimates more than $50,000 in value for this collection of discounts. We doubt that most businesses would subscribe to enough of the services to gain that much value. However, in looking at some of the most commonly used services, such as Amazon Web Services and Google Ads, we estimate that most business owners could glean thousands of dollars of value in discounts in the first year.
Unfortunately, most of the offers expire after your first year of membership, so you shouldn’t expect them as an ongoing benefit.
No annual fee
The Brex card is officially a no-annual-fee card, but there is a $5 charge per month for additional employee cards. This amounts to $60 per year for each employee that you add to your account. Many business cards – such as the American Express® Blue Business Cash Card – allow you to add employee cards for no fee. You should weigh your options if you’re looking for the least expensive way to dole out additional cards.
Easy expense tracking
One standout feature of the Brex card is automated expense tracking. It’s common for business credit cards to integrate with Quickbooks and to allow you upload and tag receipts on the go, but Brex one-ups all its competitors by automating the entire process. Whether you snap a photo, email or text your receipts, Brex will scan them and automatically match them to expenses on your statement, sparing you a lot of effort.
From there, you can easily download your expenses to your accounting software – including Quickbooks, Xero, Netsuite and Expensify – giving you more time to focus on other areas of your business.
The Brex card offers a few other unique and useful features for managing a startup:
- Dynamic credit limit – Your credit limit is determined dynamically by the amount of capital you’ve raised/equity in your company and your company’s spending patterns. According to Brex, this enables them to offer credit limits that are 10 to 20 times higher than most business cards.
- Build business credit – Brex reports your payment history to both Dun and Bradstreet and Experian, helping you create a track record for your business.
- 60-day payment terms – Though the Brex card is a charge card (meaning, you have to pay off your balance in full at the end of each billing cycle), Brex also gives you the flexibility to extend your usual 30-day payment period to 60 days without interest, in case you need extra cash flow in a month.
- Instant virtual cards – You can issue virtual cards to your employees instantly and set individual credit limits on the cards.
- No foreign transaction fees – You can use your Brex card on purchases outside the U.S. without racking up the usual 3 percent foreign transaction fees that most cards charge.
- Fraud protection – Brex has you covered for fraudulent transactions – they will immediately suspend your account when an unauthorized transaction occurs and will credit you for all unauthorized transactions, within five to 10 business days.
- Travel discounts – Cardholders receive enterprise travel rates for travel booked through the Brex travel portal.
- World Elite Mastercard benefits – The card is a World Elite Mastercard, with all the standard benefits, including travel and purchase protections.
Who should get the Brex Corporate Card for Startups
- Owners of startups and other new businesses looking for a quick application card that helps build a business credit history.
- Business owners looking for a business credit card that doesn’t require a personal guarantee.
- Businesses that spend heavily on dining, travel and transportation.
- Business owners looking for great savings on business software and services.
How to use the Brex Corporate Card for Startups
- Keep your payments timely to help create a positive track record for your business.
- Plan to use the Brex card exclusively for your business to qualify for the card’s bonus earnings.
- Assign virtual cards to your employees to earn points on their expenditures (plan to pay a $5 monthly fee for each employee card).
- Use the card’s automated expense tracking to save time for yourself and your employees.
- Transfer your points to Brex’s airline partners to get an even better return on your rewards.
Is the Brex card worth it?
The Brex is a great option for its target audience of startups owners and entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for a more accessible option for building cash flow and a credit history for your new business, and you spend heavily on typical startup expenses such as ride-sharing and travel, the Brex card may be the way to go. Plus, since the Brex card offers a large list of very valuable discounts and credits in the first year of membership, it’s worth giving the card a test run to see if it matches your business needs.
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