Since starting my small business in 2007, I’ve used a business card for several reasons. My business credit card easily separates personal expenses and business expenses. This makes preparing annual tax returns much easier.
Using a business credit card also helps my business build credit in case I should ever need to apply for a loan. If there's a chance you'll ever need a small business loan, this is definitely a point to consider.
Related: How To Build Business Credit
With that said, some entrepreneurs don’t like business credit cards. Clark Howard, for instance, doesn’t like them because they don’t offer the same protections as personal credit cards. This is partially true. Business cards are generally exempt from the Credit Card Act of 2009. However, most major credit card issuers offer protections to business credit cards as well as personal cards. Just check the terms and conditions to find out.
|Credit Card||Best For|
|Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card||Small business owners needing additional cards for employees|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||Earning a big bonus on your small business purchases|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card||Earning excellent rewards on business expenses|
|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express||Businesses that charge a lot of expenses|
|Blue Business Cash™ from American Express||Stocking your office supplies and simple rewards|
|Bonus Option: Brex 30 Card||A credit card alternative that earns rewards|
Our Top Picks
1. Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card is a brand new small business credit card offered by Chase and it comes with terrific cash back details and intro bonus. Best Offer Ever: Earn $900 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.. Also included is a 0% intro APR for the first 12 Months. The everyday APR is 16.24% - 22.24% Variable.
All purchases earn a 1.5% flat cash back rate with no tier levels or spend requirements to worry about. Points do not expire as long as you keep your account open, however, you will lose all of your points if your account status changes, or your account is closed for program misuse, fraudulent activities and other no-no’s (listed in the Rewards Program Agreement). Employee cards can be acquired at no additional cost!
There is no annual fee to own the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card.
Best for: Small business owners needing additional cards for employees. Because you can get them at no additional cost!
2. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card earns one of our top picks for two reasons. First, you can earn 100,000 bonus points when you make $15,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. If used for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, these bonus points are worth $1,000. It’s the biggest credit card bonus available today.
Second, you earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year. Here are the categories:
- Travel, including airfare, hotels, rental cars, train tickets, and taxis
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable and phone services
- Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
There is a $95 annual fee on the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, but the rewards more than make up for it.
Best for: Earning a big bonus on your small business purchases. It’s the biggest bonus you’ll find right now. If you know you’ll be spending $15,000 within three months of opening your account and if you want to use those rewards on travel, this is the card for you.
We Know Our Stuff
The editorial team here at Dough Roller has more than 30 years of combined experience with credit cards. We’ve not only used them, but we’ve also studied them extensively. Yes, we’re the life of the party.
Seriously though, I examined 26 business credit cards in my research for this article. I’ve also used a business credit card for over a decade to run my business. We regularly talk to credit card issuers about their products and future products. And we keep abreast of the latest studies and research. (Did you know that a 1993 study out of Dartmouth found that small businesses with credit cards grow more rapidly than those without? We did.)
Yeah, we're kind of a big deal when it comes to plastic.
List of the Best Small Business Credit Cards
Now let's get to our picks for the top business cards.
3. Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is a no annual fee business credit card with excellent rewards. To start, you’ll earn a $900 cash bonus when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Beyond the bonus, you’ll also earn up to 5% cash back on purchases:
- Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at the following retailers--office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year
- Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
- Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
The card also offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases for 12 Months. The ongoing APR is 16.24% - 22.24% Variable.
Best for: Earning excellent rewards on business expenses. 5% cash back is hard to beat!
4. The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
American Express has upped the ante with its The Business Platinum® Card from American Express. Simply put, it offers incredible rewards, including a welcome offer and ongoing rewards. You pay a hefty fee for this card, but if your business spending enables you to maximize the rewards, the card is well worth the price.
Best for: Businesses that charge a lot of expenses. The annual fee is worth it if you plan to put a lot of money on this card. The added American Express business service benefits like airport lounge access, airline fee credit, no foreign transaction fees, and purchase protection make this a desirable card.
5. Blue Business Cash™ from American Express
The new Blue Business Cash™ Card is a simple and streamlined offering, providing cash back options with no annual fee, ever.
If you’re looking for straight-up cash back with no rotating categories, this is a card to consider. The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card offers 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1% cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
- Welcome offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchased on your card in your first 3 months.
- 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year
- 1% cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
- Fees: This card has no annual fee.
- Added Benefits: From workflow to inventory to floor plans, your business is constantly changing. That’s why you’ve got the power to spend beyond your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power.
This is another great business credit card that I own. Take advantage of 12 months of interest-free purchases as well as a great cash back rewards program.
Best for: Stocking your office supplies and simple rewards. When it’s time to furnish your office or stock the supply closet, this is the card you should use. These are big expenses and when you use this card at U.S. office supply stores you’ll get 2% cash back. Plus, there’s no annual fee, and no rotating categories. You get to earn rewards and decide how you want to spend them.
Bonus Option: Brex 30 Card
The Brex 30 Credit Card is a business card that comes with a lot of bells and whistles. Billing itself as “your new financial OS,” Brex combines a cash account to hold your funds, a card that earns rewards, and features that make it easy to track and manage your business’s finances.
If you’re looking for rewards, Brex offers generous bonus categories. Youll earn:
- 7x points on rideshares
- 4x points on flights and hotels through Brex Travel
- 3x on dining
- 1x on everything else
Signing up for daily payments from a linked Brex Cash account increases the rewards to:
- 8x points on rideshares
- 5x points on flights and hotels through Brex Travel
- 4x on dining
- 1.5x on advertisements
- 1x on everything else
One thing to note is that the Brex card isn’t a credit card. It’s a charge card, which means you cannot carry a balance. You’ll have to pay for each purchase you make within thirty days of making it. However, if you opt for daily payments from your linked Brex Cash account, you’ll earn additional rewards.
Best for: A credit card alternative that earns rewards.
Comparing Business Credit Cards by Type
Nobody knows your business better than you. What might be a great card for my business, might not be the best for yours. So here's a list of a few additional cards based on various spending patterns:
|Best for||Card Name||Details|
|Starting a new business||The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express||0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months.|
|Lots of driving||The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN||Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories (one of which is gas stations).|
|Heavy cell phone user||SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express||5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores.|
Haven’t found what you are looking for? Here’s a list of additional business credit cards to explore.
Related: How to Open a Business Bank Account
Choosing a Card
Choosing a business credit card can be even more challenging than choosing a card for personal use. There are plenty of options out there, all with their own benefits, rewards, and fees.
There are several things to consider when choosing a card:
- Spending Patterns: You’ll want to understand how you’ll be most likely to use it. Look at your past year’s expenses, or if you’re just starting your business, look at projected expenses. Will you spend the most on office supplies? Travel? Gas? The answer to this question will help you find the best options for your business.
- Payment Patterns: Will you pay off your balance in full each month, or will you carry a balance while you build your business? If it’s the latter, focus on cards that offer 0% on purchases for a period of time.
- Signup Bonuses: Most issuers offer excellent bonuses for new card members. To get the bonus, however, you must meet various spending requirements. Make sure you’ll meet those requirements before choosing your card.
- Fees: Annual fees are always a consideration business credit cards come with an annual fee, often waived the first year. Assess whether the rewards will make the fee worth the cost.
- Interest Rates: The rates only matter if you won’t be paying off your card in full each month. If that’s the case, you’ll obviously want to consider the regular APR for each card.
Tip: Protect the business you've worked hard to build with the right insurance.
Listen to the podcast on how to choose the best small business credit card: