Business credit cards are an underutilized option when it comes to making purchases for your business. In addition to providing a great source for emergency cash, business credit cards offer a few additional perks.
1. Minimize the impact on your personal credit. Businesses tend to make larger purchases than individuals. If you end up with large outstanding balances on your personal card because of business expenses, your personal credit score could take a hit. Use a business credit card that doesn’t report to personal credit bureaus and, as long as you are on time with your payments, your personal credit will not be affected. (Some business credit card companies will report your business credit information to personal credit bureaus. Find out which ones do here.)
2. Build your business credit. Making on-time payments on your card will help you build strong business credit scores, allowing you to secure lower rates and longer repayment terms on business financing, as well as better terms with your vendors and suppliers.
3. Protect your business. Business credit cards offer more protection than business debit cards. They are covered by the Truth in Lending Act, which caps maximum liability for fraudulent purchases at $50.
The Best Business Credit Cards
Business credit cards offer a variety of different features from rewards points to miles to freebies. The following are some of this year’s top business credit cards for four popular categories: cash back, travel rewards, low APR/balance transfer cards and credit builder cards.
Best Cash-Back Business Credit Cards
Chase’s Ink Business Cash Credit Card makes sense for business owners who make significant purchases of office supplies and telecommunications services. The card has a 0% introductory APR for 12 months and no annual fee. The rewards system is structured as follows:
- 5% back per dollar spent on office phone, internet and cable (on up to $25,000 in purchases annually).
- 2% back per dollar spent on gas and dining, up to $25,000 annually.
- 1% back elsewhere without limit.
One of the neat perks of this card is that cash-back rewards are offered as points in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. This means your points can be redeemed for one cent each as cash back, but if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card, you also have the option to transfer your points to airline and hotel partners.
This card is ideal for those who like to choose which purchases they earn the most cash back from. It offers:
- 5% cash back at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (applies to the first $50,000 of annual spending).
- 3% cash back on a spending category of your choice, out of eight different categories, including airfare, gas, advertising and computer purchases (applies to the first $50,000 of annual spending).
- 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Read the full terms for APR and fee details. It’s available to those with good and excellent credit, and does have a foreign transaction fee.
This is a great card for business owners who want to earn additional rewards at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores, a combo which means it’s a great fit for road warriors. Perks include:
- 3% cash back on purchases at gas stations and office supply stores (up to $250,000 annually)
- 2% cash back on purchases at restaurants.
- 1% cash back on all purchases.
The card comes with no annual fee and is available to applicants with excellent credit. Cash back can only be redeemed in $25 increments.
Best Travel Rewards Business Credit Cards
This Chase card is ideal for earning the most rewards for your frequent business purchases. It features:
- Great rewards:
- No foreign transaction fees.
- A killer intro offer. Right now, you can earn 80,000 bonus points if you spend $5,000 on the card in the first three months of account opening. (Note: Intro offers change often, so be sure to check the current offer before you apply.)
Points are earned in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, and can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards travel booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards website. Or points can be transferred to miles with seven different frequent-flyer programs or points with four different hotel programs. It also features a wide range of travel insurance and purchase protection policies. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card.
Serious business travelers need to consider this card. The Business Platinum Card From American Express offers numerous premium travel benefits including access to three different airport lounge networks — Priority Pass Select, Delta SkyClubs and the American Express Centurion Lounges. You also receive Gold Status when you sign up for the Starwood Preferred Guest program. (Editor’s Note: This offer was updated June 1.) Other perks include:
- A $200 annual air travel fee credit.
- A $100 credit towards the Global Entry application fee, which includes access to the TSA PreCheck program.
- One point per dollar spent on most purchases.
- 1.5x points on charges of $5,000 or more on qualifying purchases, up to one million additional points per year.
- Five points per dollar spent purchasing flights and prepaid hotels from the American Express Travel website.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- A killer intro offer. Make $10,000 in qualifying purchases on the card within the first three months and you’ll earn 50,000 bonus points. Spend another $10,000 on top of that in the same time period and you’ll earn an additional 25,000 points. (Note: Intro offers change often, so be sure to check the current offer before you apply.)
Points are earned in the American Express Membership Rewards program, which offers transfers to miles with 17 different frequent flier programs (as of June 2017). There’s a $450 annual fee for this card.
Best Low APR/Balance Transfers Business Credit Cards
1. U.S. Bank Business Edge Platinum
U.S. Bank Business Edge Platinum features 12 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers. There is a 3% balance transfer fee. After that, the purchase APR will be a variable 10.49% to 18.49%, depending on your creditworthiness. There’s no annual fee for this card.
This card is only available to those with great or excellent credit, and there is no rewards program for purchases.
This new card offers a ton for small business owners, including introductory financing and rewards that can be used for the lease or purchase of a new GM vehicle. You’ll get 0% APR on new purchases for the first 12 months, followed by a standard 14.24% variable APR. (Note: Card details were updated in June to reflect new terms.) Other perks include:
- 5% back in rewards on all purchases of GM parts, accessories and service at authorized GM dealers.
- 3% on purchases at gas stations, restaurants and office supply stores.
- 1% on all other purchases.
There’s no annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.
3. The Blue Business Plus Credit Card From American Express
Editor’s Note: American Express is a Nav partner, but this doesn’t result in preferential editorial treatment.
This card has a 15-month introductory 0% APR offer, plus no annual fee. Right now businesses can earn double points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year. (See full terms for APR and fee details, offers do change.)
Best Credit Builder Business Credit Cards
The best bet to find a credit builder business credit card is to find a secured credit card. A secured credit card requires the holder to provide a cash collateral deposit that secures the credit limit of the card (or possibly more, depending on the card). These secured cards generally have low to no annual fee, but a pretty high penalty APR. If you have a bad credit score or no credit score, secured credit cards are a solid bet. Here are a few worthy credit builder business credit cards.
The Capital One Spark Classic for Business card allows cardholders to earn rewards without needing excellent personal credit scores to qualify. Business owners who make on time payments and keep their balances low can build strong business credit scores, however your payment history on this card may be reported to personal credit reporting agencies and affect your personal credit scores.
Other perks include:
- $0 annual fee
- Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
2. Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
The Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card allows cardholders to secure a credit limit between $500 and $25,000. The amount available is equal to the amount of cash you provide to secure the line. The purchase APR rate can be as low as a variable 13.15%, and the annual fee is a low $25, but the more cards you have the higher your annual fee will be.
This card allows business owners with poor personal credit to secure a card to make purchases and establish your business credit. This card will only report to personal credit bureaus if you default or are late on payments.
Which Card Is Right for You?
If you are a business owner and do not yet have a business credit card, you should strongly consider making the time to find a card that is right for you. Identify what your main motivation for making purchases on credit is (i.e. earn rewards, build credit for a future loan, use it as a short-term financing option, etc.), find out where your credit scores stand (you can check your personal and business credit scores for free on Nav) to help narrow the field and begin comparing some of the best business credit cards on the market.
Nav’s experts select the best credit cards based on editorial judgment, reviewing cards that appear in our marketplace as well as cards outside the marketplace. Nav is compensated if you ultimately sign up for a credit card through our marketplace, but our business relationship with issuers doesn’t impact editorial judgment.