The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses
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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. Today, I hold a variety of business and personal cards to maximize the features of each. (See also: 250+ Tips for Small Business Owners)
The Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses
Like personal cards, the market for business cards has been characterized by ever-increasing rewards and perks. Therefore, the selection criteria for the top business cards have been weighted heavily towards the rewards offered.
Chase Ink Plus® Business Card
Chase offers a dedicated line of business products called Ink. Their top-of-the-line product is the Ink Plus® 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 Plus 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. Cardholders earn five points per dollar spent (up to $50,000 combined each year) at office supply stores, cellular phone, landline, internet and cable services. Two points per dollar are earned (up to $50,000 combined each year) at gas stations and hotel rooms purchased directly with the hotel, with unlimited one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Cardholders can also transfer points to the programs of many airline and hotel partners. Finally, always get 20% off travel redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal (50,000 points can be redeemed for $625 worth of travel). There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year.
Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card From American Express OPEN
American Express offers a line of business credit and charge cards, but their latest addition, the Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (which is a revamp of their Business Gold Rewards), offers business owners truly flexible rewards. Choose one of 5 categories to earn 3x points on. Earn 2x points on the other 4 categories. Earn 1x points on other purchases. Note that this is a charge card. You must pay in full every month.
Sign up offer: Get 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. The annual fee of $175 is waived for the first year.
- Get 3x points — Choose 1 out of 5 categories
- Plus, 2x points on the 4 remaining categories and 1x points on other purchases
- Redeem points for everyday business expenses, to help with travel costs or to reward employees and entertain clients.
- Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
- Terms and limitations apply
SimplyCash® Business Card From American Express
If you want the quality and service of an American Express card for your business but don't want to commit to a charge card, try the SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express. Get 5% cash back at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers, 3% on the category of your choice and 1% on other purchases. There's currently a limited time offer where you can get a $250 statement credit after you spend $5,000 on qualifying purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You also get a 0% APR on purchases for the first 9 months (then 12.24%-19.24 variable). The best thing about this card? The annual fee is $0!
- Limited Time Offer: You can get a $250 statement credit after you spend $5,000 on qualifying purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership
- To be eligible for this offer, your application must be received by June 23, 2015
- With no annual membership fee, it's a smart choice for your business
- Reinvest in your business with automatic cash back
- 5% at U.S. office supply stores & on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers
- 3% on the category of your choice and 1% on other purchases
- On purchases up to $25,000 at 5% and 3% per rebate year, then 1%
- Terms and limitations apply
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®
Designed for businesses with an established credit history, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® offers great travel rewards for business owners who frequently need to travel. While this card earns miles for American Airlines specifically, it's a great program and airline popular among business travelers. There is a limited-time bonus offer of 50,000 American Airline AAdvantage® bonus miles after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and on purchases at certain office supply, telecommunications and car rental merchants; earn 1 mile per $1 spent on other purchases. Get 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines and US Airways flights, as well as first checked bag free for you and up to 4 traveling companions and Group 1 Boarding. The annual fee of $95 is waived for the first 12 months.
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
The Spark® Miles for Business offers unlimited 2x miles on every purchase, every day. There is a bonus offer right now to get a one-time 25,000 miles after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months. You can also earn an additional 5,000 bonus miles when you sign up for one or more employee cards within the first 60 days. That's $300 worth of travel costs. This card is also versatile in rewards redemptions. If you don't want to spend your miles on travel, you can redeem them for merchandise, gift cards, and even cash. There is a $59 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year. Note: There is a no fee version of this card (Spark® Miles Select for Business) that offers unlimited 1.5x miles on every purchase and a 10,000 miles bonus offer.
Chase Ink Cash® Business Card
The Chase Ink Cash® Business Card is another part of Chase's dedicated business line of Ink credit cards. But instead of earning points like on the Ink Plus, the Ink Cash card lets its cardholders earn cash back on the purchases they make. New cardmembers will receive $200 cash back after spending $3,000 in their first 3 months after account opening. There's also a special 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 3 months as well (then it becomes 13.24% variable APR). Cardholders can earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office and supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services each anniversary year. They can also earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each anniversary year. Cardholders will earn 1% cash back on all other purchases they make on the card. There is no annual fee.
By carefully considering the best business cards on the market, you can choose the product that best meets your needs.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.