If you’re a consultant, whether you work in marketing, management, finance, or design, you may be a one-person operation. That means you’ve got to do everything from answer the phone to buy printer paper…and everything in between.
What might help you is a business credit card, especially a rewards credit card. By having access to a credit card, you ensure you can always cover expenses related to your consulting business.
How a Business Credit Card Can Help Consultants
Most consultants send clients invoices, which means they might not get paid for weeks, or even months. In the meantime, they (and you) still have purchases to make, like that office supply run for printer paper. Business credit cards can be that stopgap between invoices.
But that’s not all a Mastercard, Visa, American Express or other card is good for. When you have a card that lets you earn rewards points for purchases, you can get some pretty fantastic perks (which we’ll discuss in the next section). Bottom line: you can earn points for things you’d buy anyway, like filling up at gas stations or on hotel stays. And over time, you can build enough points to get free nights at your favorite hotel, elite status on your preferred airline, discounts on rental cars, gift cards, and other things that save you money as a consultant!
And before you assume that you’d pay high interest rates for a card like this, know that many business credit cards offer a 0% intro APR for the first calendar year upon account opening, which means you pay nothing to use the card. After that, of course, you’ll want to pay off your balance to avoid those fees.
Credit Card Perks that Consultants can Benefit From
I mentioned a few of those perks that rewards cards can offer, but let’s go deeper. First, let’s start with how you accrue points. Typically, rewards cards give cardholders 1 point per dollar they spend, with some categories of spending (like travel purchases, gas, restaurants) earning 2x miles or points. Many offer welcome bonus miles or points when you sign up.
I’m using both “points” and “miles” here because many of these cards primarily have travel rewards, which is ideal for the traveling consultant. Some cards are associated with specific airlines, and may offer perks like free lounge access, free checked bags, and bonus points on airfare purchases. Some offer a statement credit when you sign up for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, so if you’re traveling abroad, you’ll appreciate this. Other perks to look out for include no foreign transaction fees, and low (or 0%) interest on balance transfers.
How to Qualify for a Credit Card as a Consultant
Each of the credit cards we’ll discuss in the next section will have their own criteria to apply, but generally, you can expect that card issuers will look at your personal income (from all sources – not just business revenues) and your personal credit scores. Some may check business credit scores but most card issuers rely heavily on the applicant’s personal credit scores to qualify. The good news is these cards are often available for startups as well as established businesses.
Best Credit Cards for Consultants
We’ve vetted the following credit cards for consultants, including those with the best rewards programs, to help you save time choosing the right card for your business.
As a consultant, expense reports are likely a key (and frustrating) part of your business. That’s why we like theas a good option for consultants. Divvy streamlines spend management by combining corporate cards with free expense management software. You can also earn rewards:
It’s a great option for businesses trying to manage expenses both easily and cheaply. If you have employees, Divvy gives admins complete control over employee spending with enforceable budgets. With Divvy, you’ll eliminate expense reports, build your business credit, and never go over budget again. Apply NowThe annual fee is .
Cash flow can be a challenge for consultants, so cash back is always a popular reward. That’s why the Apply nowcan be an appealing card. There’s also an introductory offer of (after that, the variable rate is based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.) The annual fee is .
If you entertain clients or make everyday business purchases such as office supplies, check out the Apply Now. The annual fee is and . After that, there is a purchase APR of based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening.
Theis a popular rewards card. Plus, you can take advantage of the . Those rewards, along with other benefits, can easily make the annual fee of worth it. The APR is .
When cash flow is tight, you may take advantage of the Pay Over Time Option, a flexible payment option with interest to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more. Apply Now
Best Travel Credit Cards for Consultants
Consultants who are road warriors will appreciate cards that offer travel benefits ranging from hotel credits to airline miles to Priority Pass and other airport lounge access. Here are four to consider:
If you’re loyal to American Airlines, themay be the ideal card for you. Here are the travel benefits you can earn:
- Welcome Offer:
- Ongoing rewards:
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.
- 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
- Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights and
- foreign transaction fee.
As for costs, you’ll pay an annual fee of Apply Now. The APR is .
Consultants who fly Delta frequently will want to check out the.
- Welcome offer:
- Ongoing rewards:
- Additionally, take $100 off your next Delta flight – after you spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you will earn a $100 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel.
- First Checked Bag Free + Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding
There is Apply Now. The APR is .
If Marriott properties are your first choice for business travel, check out the. This card features:
- Welcome offer:
- Ongoing rewards:
- Enjoy complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status with your Card. Plus, earn Gold Elite status after making $35,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. Certain hotels have resort fees.
The annual fee for this card is Apply Nowand the APR is .
If you’re looking for rewards for stays at Hilton properties, you’ll want to consider the.
- Ongoing rewards:
- Enjoy complimentary Gold Status with your Hilton Honors Business Card
- Earn a Weekend Night Award from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year
This card has an APR of Apply Nowand an annual fee of .
Best Shopping Credit Cards for Consultants
If you’re a frequent shopper at Costco or Amazon, consider one of these cards.
Regular Costco shoppers may want to consider. It’s the only business credit card designed exclusively for Costco members. Rewards include: You’ll also receive an annual credit card reward certificate, which is redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses, including Puerto Rico
The annual fee is Apply Nowand the APR is
Amazon shoppers will want to consider the. It offers a choice between generous rewards or extended time to pay. With rewards that don’t expire, you choose when to redeem. Redeem rewards on millions of items during checkout at Amazon.com and Amazon Business (U.S.) or apply towards a purchase on your statement.
The interest rate on this card is Apply Nowand the annual fee is .
Personal Credit Cards for Consultants
If you are looking for a personal credit card, be sure to consider. It’s a popular travel reward card due to its generous and flexible travel rewards. Rewards include:
- Welcome offer:
- Ongoing rewards:
There are a host of other benefits that make this card appealing:
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
The APR for this card is Apply Nowand the annual fee is
How to Apply for a Credit Card as a Consultant
You may receive credit card offers in the mail saying you’re prequalified, but really, until you provide some basic information in an application for a credit card, you can’t know whether you’d be approved or not.
In the application, you’ll be asked details about your business, including what its business structure is (Sole proprietorship? Corporation? LLC?), how long it’s been in business, tax ID number, and its annual revenues.
Because you’ll be personally guaranteeing purchases made with your card, you’ll also need to fill out details about yourself, including your name, address, Social Security number, and annual income.
Once you submit your application, you may get an instant response, or you may hear back in the mail after a week or two. You’ll be provided with your interest rate and fine print, so be sure you read it carefully.
Other Financing Options for Consultants
Even with great rewards programs, business credit cards can come with high annual fees and interest rates, so they may not be the best solution for you. You have other options when it comes to financing for consulting companies.
Long- and Short-Term Loans
There are many lenders eager to provide you with small business loans that will help you grow your consulting business. The better your credit, the more favorable the terms. Banks and credit unions offer long-term loans and SBA loans, and online lenders provide short-term loans to those who don’t have great credit.
Lines of Credit
If you’re looking for access to cash to borrow when you need it, a line of credit is perfect. You only pay back what you borrow, and once you replenish that line, you can borrow from it again.
If you are looking for capital to buy a computer or company vehicle, know that there are specific loans for equipment. Because the equipment you’re buying acts as collateral, the loans tend to have lower interest rates.
If you’re looking for access to cash or simply having the freedom to make purchases with a business credit card while earning rewards as a consultant, Nav can help. See what offers you qualify for today.