The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses

By Jason Steele. Last updated 15 April 2014. 4 comments

It seems like most credit card users only consider half the products on the market. Consumer credit and charge cards are heavily advertised, with the link to the business version of these cards sometimes appearing the bottom corner of the webpage. Yet failing to consider business as well as consumer products is a fundamental mistake that many credit card users make. (See also: 250+ Tips for Small Business Owners)

Who Are Business Cards For?

Business cards are intended for small businesses, sole proprietors, or any consumer who wishes to divide his or her company’s spending with a separate card. For example, when I was a business traveler, I used a business card to charge my reimbursable expenses. I still had to apply for the card using my own credit, and I alone was responsible for payment. Using a business card allowed me to segregate my personal expenses from those my company was reimbursing me for. Eventually, I realized that there was no reason why I couldn’t use whichever card offered the best combination of features and benefits for my personal or business expenses. Today, I hold a variety of business and personal cards to maximize the features of each.

Business Card Rewards

Like personal cards, the market for business cards has been characterized by ever-increasing rewards and perks. Whether you are using a business card for actual business expenses or merely to compliment the personal cards in your wallet, those who do not carry a balance will want to generate the highest possible return on their spending. On the other hand, any person or business that uses a credit card to finance purchases should be almost exclusively concerned with the finance terms. Therefore, the selection criteria for these top five business cards have been weighted heavily towards the rewards offered.

Credit Versus Charge Cards

It is also important to note that this list contains both credit cards and charge cards, as many of the best business products fall into the latter category. With a charge card, all balances must be paid in full or the account holder will be considered delinquent.

The Five Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses

Here are my top picks.

1. U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Business Travel Rewards Visa®

credit cardThe FlexPerks Business Travel Rewards Visa Card will help you see award travel in a whole new light. Enjoy award travel on more than 150 airlines with faster earning, more award seat availability and expanded reward choices.

Here are the latest offer details:

  • Get 20,000 bonus FlexPoints after the first $3,500 in net purchases in the first 4 months
  • Award travel starts at just 20,000 FlexPoints (up to a $400 ticket value) on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates or online redemption fees
  • Earn one FlexPoint for every $1 of eligible net purchases charged to your card
  • Earn two FlexPoints for every $1 spent on gas, office supplies or airline purchases - whichever you spend most on each monthly billing cycle - and on most cell phone expenses
  • Earn Triple FlexPoints for your charitable donations
  • Receive an airline allowance of up to $25 with every award travel ticket to use toward baggage fees, in-flight food or drinks and more
  • Earn 5,000 FlexPoints when you refer a friend who acquires and uses the card
  • $0 Annual Fee* the first year, after that $55 (+$10 for employees)
  • $0 annual fee the first year and every year after when your company has combined net spend of over $24,000 each year

Click here to apply for the U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Business Travel Rewards Visa®

2. Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

credit cardThis is the credit card for those who would like to receive the maximum cash back instead of loyalty points. The Spark card offers 2% cash back on all purchases with no limits, the highest rate on the market. There is a $59 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.

Click here to apply for the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

3. Ink Bold® Business Charge Card

Chase offers a dedicated line of business products called Ink. Their top-of-the-line product is the Ink Bold® Business Card. While it is not a simple knock off of a consumer card, it bears a close resemblance to Chase’s excellent Sapphire Preferred product.

Like its consumer cousin, Ink Bold card members earn points in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. New applicants will receive 50,000 bonus points as a sign up bonus, after spending $5,000 in the first three months from opening the account. That can be redeemed for $500 in rewards or $625 in travel (airfare, hotels, cruises and car rental). Thereafter, cardholders will earn five points per dollar spent at office supply stores, on cable, wireless, internet services, and landline communications. Two points per dollar are earned at gas stations and hotel rooms, with one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Once earned, points can be redeemed for one cent each towards cash back or a variety of merchandise options. Cardholders can also transfer points to the programs of several airline and hotel partners, as well as Amtrak Guest Rewards. Finally, this card includes complimentary airport lounge access to over 350 worldwide, with amenities like internet, phone and fax, snacks and drinks, conference rooms, and more.

This is a charge card, not a credit card, so there's no interest but balances must be paid in full. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year, but there are no foreign transaction fees.

4. CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®

credit cardThis is a card exclusively for business owners.

Here are the latest offer details:

  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembership
  • Get the first checked bag free for you and up to 4 travel companions.
  • Enjoy Group 1 Boarding and use the extra time to prepare for your flight.
  • Earn 2 American Airlines AsignAdvantage® miles for every $1 you spend on American Airlines purchases3 and on purchases at certain office supply, telecommunications and car rental merchants.4 Plus, earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases.
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card.

Click here to apply for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®

5. Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

credit card Here are the updated offer details:

  • Get a one-time bonus of 10,000 miles once you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months
  • Earn 1.5 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • 0% intro APR on all purchases until October 2014
  • Fly on any airline with no blackout dates or seat restrictions
  • There's no limit to the amount of miles you can earn
  • Miles don't expire

Click here to apply for the Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

By carefully considering the best business cards on the market, you can choose the product that best meets your needs.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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Guest's picture
Long

US Bank has an excellent business credit card as well. The fine print states there is a $25 annual fee, but it is waived if you make at least one purchase every year. I was surprised to find that the business card did not require a personal SSN, which keeps it seperate from personal transactions and credit reporting. The business card is also a good means to build credit for your business, which may come in handy when seeking credit without a personal guarantee in the future.

Guest's picture
Jason R.

Note that the consumer protection reforms passed for credit cards a couple years ago don't apply to business credit cards. They are only appropriate for business users with responsible credit usage habits.

Guest's picture
Steve

Many people overlook the small business owners need for great credit cards that help them track and manager expenses. Instead of the social security number the small business will normally have an EIN number for tax tracking purposes.

Guest's picture

I have the #1 (American Express) card and use it weekly for my business. I'd def. recommend that one.