There are many credit card users who simply refuse to pay an annual fee. Thankfully, there are many small business credit cards that don’t charge an annual fee. And among these cards, you can still find ones that offer generous cash back and travel rewards, as well as valuable benefits. Regardless of the reason why you don’t want to pay an annual fee, you’ll always have plenty of choices.
When to Consider a Business Credit Card with No Annual Fee
For some, avoiding paying an annual fee is a matter of value, as they don’t see the return in paying for a credit card when there are so many that don’t have this charge. This is especially true for businesses who don’t utilize the travel benefits offered by premium rewards cards that have annual fees. For others, it’s a matter of principle – They’ve never paid an annual fee and they don’t believe it’s fair or necessary to pay a credit card issuer to use their product.
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Should I Get a Business Credit Card with an Annual Fee?
Let’s say that you’re not sure if a business credit card with no annual fee still makes sense for your needs, and you’re willing to consider a premium card that charges an annual fee. Here’s what you can expect to receive in return for paying a fee for your business credit card.
Rewards and benefits
Many of the small business cards that charge an annual fee are premium travel rewards cards. These cards can offer far more valuable benefits than business cards that don’t have an annual fee, such as car rental insurance, damage and theft protection and extended warranty policies. Ultra-premium cards like The Business Platinum Card® from American Express also offer airport lounge access, although there is an additional fee for authorized users to have these privileges.
For example, the American Express® Business Gold Card has a $375 annual fee, but offers a competitive rewards rate. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle from 6 eligible categories. And although you can redeem these points for gift cards and merchandise, these rewards can be extremely valuable when transferred to airline miles or hotel points. It also offers numerous travel insurance and purchase protection policies not found on cards with no annual fee.
Airline cards such as the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card offer perks like priority boarding and a free checked bag, while hotel cards such as the The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card feature elite status that gives you free breakfasts, room upgrades and priority service (terms apply).
Additional cash back
You might pay an annual fee to earn even more cash back from your business expenses than you could with a card with no annual fee. For example, the is a credit card that has a annual fee, but it offers unlimited So, those who charge at least $30,000 a year will earn enough additional cash back to pay for the annual fee, compared to $0 annual fee Capital One Spark Cash Select for Good Credit that offers just 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase and 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
Business credit cards with annual fees also tend to offer business owners more generous sign-up bonuses, which can be very valuable offers.
The The Plum Card® from American Express has an annual fee of $250‡, but it allows cardholders to pay in full each month or carry your balance for up to 60 days with no interest. There are also charge cards that have an annual fee, but have no fixed credit limit.
The Best Business Credit Cards with No Annual Fee
Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi charges Costco owners no annual fee, and offers outstanding rates of cash back for gas and travel purchases.
- Welcome offer: N/A
- Rewards rate: 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter. 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases. 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Annual fee: $0
- Foreign transaction fee: 0%
With this $0 annual fee card, you earn 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter. 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases. 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com. 1% cash back on all other purchases.. Rather than receive a statement credit, rewards are earned as a certificate that arrives with your February statement, that can be redeemed for purchases or cash back at Costco stores. This card also has a relatively low interest rate, which is a variable APR.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
This is the rare business credit card that offers flexible travel rewards points and doesn’t charge an annual fee.
- Welcome offer: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Rewards rate: Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
- Annual fee: $0
- Foreign transaction fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
With the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, you Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter. These points earned in this rewards program can be incredibly valuable when transferred to airline miles and hotel points, and redeemed for expensive airfare and flights. New customers also receive an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening, and Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership..
The offers excellent cash back for Amazon.com purchases, and competitive rewards elsewhere.
- Welcome offer:
- Rewards rate:
- Annual fee:
- Foreign transaction fee:
This card has annual fee with your Amazon Prime membership, and you can And this card is accepted anywhere the American Express cards are.
Capital One Spark Cash Select for Good Credit
This card has $0 annual fee, but offers unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase and 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
- Welcome offer: N/A
- Rewards rate: 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase and 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
- Annual fee: $0
- Foreign transaction fee: None
Here’s a great way to earn rewards without paying an annual fee.
Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
- Welcome offer: None
- Rewards rate: One point per dollar spent, and 1,000 bonus points every billing cycle when you spend at least $1,000 on qualifying purchases.
- Annual fee: None
- Foreign transaction fee: None
If you have credit problems, and you need a new business credit card account, then this is an excellent no-fee option. Wells Fargo offers a secured business credit card and 1.5% cash back reward on every $1 spent. If you qualify, you can get a credit line of $500 to $25,000, depending on your deposit.
*All information about the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card credit card has been collected independently by Nav. This card is not currently available through Nav. To see what business credit cards are available, please visit the Nav Credit Card Marketplace.
Why Do Business Credit Cards Have Annual Fees?
Charging an annual fee is a great way for card issuers to earn enough revenue to offset additional rewards and benefits. The greater the rewards and benefits offered, the more the annual fee will be. Many premium travel rewards cards have annual fees of just under $100, and some ultra-premium cards can have annual fees of over $500. And so long as business owners see the value in paying these annual fees, this business model will continue.
What to Look for in a Business Credit Card with No Annual Fee
As with any credit card, a business credit card with no annual fee will have the right combination of features and benefits to meet your needs. First, you’ll want to ensure that you can qualify for the card. You should have a sufficient credit history and a high enough personal credit score to qualify for the business card you are looking for. For most cash back and other reward credit cards, you’ll need at least good or excellent credit. But if you need business credit cards for bad credit, then you might wish to consider a secured card for business.
If you have outstanding balances that you want to pay off, you might look for business credit cards with 0% APR introductory financing offers. You should also consider the card’s standard interest rates for purchases that will apply after the promotional financing offer expires.
Next, you should consider rewards cards. You can earn rewards for spending in the form of cash back, or travel rewards. To maximize your rewards, be sure to consider the numerous business credit card welcome offers available to new cardholders.
Do Cards with No Annual Fee Offer Rewards?
Certainly, there are plenty of business credit cards that offer rewards such as cash back, points or miles. And while these rewards might not be as great as those with cards that have an annual fee, many of these card offers are still quite valuable.
How to Find the Right Business Credit Card for Your Business
You can start by prioritizing your needs, including rewards, benefits and promotional financing. Check out the cards highlighted in this article, and look through the Nav business credit card options and see which cards best meet your needs. By carefully considering the terms of each card, you’ll find the product that offers you and your business the most possible value.
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This article was originally written on January 28, 2022 and updated on October 28, 2022.
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