2022’s Best Business Credit Cards

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Small business credit cards are designed for business owners who want to separate their business and personal finances while they earn rewards. A small business credit card can be a powerful tool to help build your business. It can even help build your business credit profile.

Best Pick for: Flat-Rate Rewards

Capital One Spark Cash Plus

Some people just want to earn cash back without bothering with bonus reward categories and complicated redemption options. If that sounds familiar, you could do a lot worse than the Capital One Spark Cash Plus.

Unlike other cards, which reward you more for certain types of purchases, the Spark Cash offers a flat rate for everything you buy. And there’s no limit to the cash back you can earn. This can be good for businesses that spend a lot on a variety of purchases, rather than particular spending categories.

This means that it’s a great option to pair with other rewards cards that do have bonus categories, like any of the others on our list.

Runners-Up

  • Capital One Spark Cash Select
  • Capital One Spark 2X Miles for Business
  • Capital One Spark 1.5X Miles Select for Business
  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

Best Pick for: Business Travel Rewards

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel rewards card. It’s intended for small business owners who’ll travel and use the benefits enough to make it worth the annual fee.

You’ll have quite a few redemption options, including flights and gift cards. But the most rewarding method will be for point transfers – you may find deals that provide 2 cents per point or more. That would give you a cash back equivalent of 10% when earning at the 5X rate, which isn’t bad at all.

These travel rewards are a bit limited compared to some other premium cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. But if you can spend enough on eligible travel purchases and make good use of the benefits each year, you’ll probably get your money’s worth with this card.

Runners-Up

  • Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • Capital One Spark 2X Miles for Business
  • Capital One Spark 1.5X Miles Select for Business

Best Pick for: Varied Business Spending

American Express® Business Gold Card

Sometimes you may not know what your business expenses will be from month to month. If that’s your situation, you may like a card with many different bonus categories, or categories that are flexible in some way.

The American Express® Business Gold Card is a rewarding card with bonus categories that will match the top two types of spending your business has each month. You’ll automatically get 4X points in the two categories you spent the most in, without any extra effort on your part.

This flexibility is a handy feature because you don’t have to bother changing the categories manually each month, like with some cards. Plus, you don’t need to try to predict your upcoming business spending.

But of course, the bonus categories should fit your business spending. So if this card doesn’t work for you, check out the runners up and their different categories.

Runners-Up

  • Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best Pick for: Signup Bonus

Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Want to earn a lot of points fast? Signup bonuses are a great way to get there.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has an excellent offer, which could be enough for quite a few flights or hotel stays.

If you’re worried about not hitting the signup bonus threshold, check out some creative ways to meet minimum spend requirements.

The other Chase Ink Business cards have very good offers as well (they’re runners up below). Those offers get even better if you can move the points you earn to a different Chase card that allows point transfers.

If you got a bonus of 50,000 UR points with one of those other Ink cards, it would normally only be worth $500 at most – 1 cent per point. But if you move those points to another Chase card that allows point transfers, you could then transfer the points to a partner program to get a better value – at 2 cents per point, that same bonus would be worth $1,000.

The Chase cards that allow point transfers are:

  • Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Runners-Up

  • Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
  • Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
  • Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One Spark Cash Plus
  • Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Best Pick for: No Annual Fee

Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Several business cards have no annual fees, but the Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is likely to be the most rewarding for the most small businesses.

If your company spends a lot on office supplies and the other services listed, you’ll have few other options if you want to earn 5% cash back on them. That’s a pretty good deal but it’s limited to the first $25,000 you spend, and so is the 2% rate. So if you’ll spend much more than that every year, you may want to consider getting multiple versions of this card, or adding in other cards to the mix.

Combining the Chase Ink Business Cash® card with other cards wouldn’t be an overly-expensive strategy because it has no annual fee. That means any rewards you earn are all profit, as long as you don’t incur interest or fees. It’s simple to avoid interest on purchases – just pay your statement balance in full each month.

Runners-Up

  • Capital One Spark 1.5X Cash Select
  • Capital One Spark 1.5X Miles Select for Business
  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
  • Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best Pick for: Fair or Average Credit

Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business

If your credit is in the fair or average range, which is a FICO score of about 580 – 669, you may have a hard time being approved for the more rewarding business cards. But your credit isn’t bad enough to warrant a secured business card either, so you need a middle option.

The Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business fills that gap. It’s one of the few unsecured business cards designed for average credit.

It has a limited rewards program, but this card has distinct advantages over secured cards – you won’t need to pay a security deposit to fund the credit limit of the Spark 1% Classic. With a secured card, you might get a better rate, but you wouldn’t earn much more than 1% cash back. Plus you may need to pay an annual fee, so a secured card might not be worth it.

Best Pick for: Bad Credit

Wells Fargo® Business Secured Credit Card

Secured cards are designed for people with poor credit (a FICO score below 579) or no credit. They can be a big help in providing a way to build a positive credit history. They require you to pay a refundable security deposit when you’re approved. Your deposit funds the credit limit on your secured account.

Secured business credit cards are sometimes hard to find. Of those cards, the Wells Fargo® Business Secured Credit Card is probably the most useful.

The rewards programs are small, but this is typical for secured cards. Many don’t offer any rewards at all, so this is actually pretty good considering the competition. In this case,  the ability to choose the program that’s best for you is an interesting and valuable feature.

Use your expected business spending to figure out how much reward value you’d earn with each program, using a value of 1 cent per point you earn. The answer will depend on how much you’ll spend and your ability to redeem online, which should be easy to do.

Take note that this rewards program is the current offer from Wells Fargo, and it’s subject to change.

If approved for this card, you’ll need to deposit any amount from $500 to $25,000 to fund the credit line. Your credit limit will be equal to the amount you deposit.

After spending some time improving your credit, you’ll be able to qualify for cards with better terms and rewards programs. Wells Fargo will periodically review your card account and your recent credit history, and, if you’ve been improving, you may be offered an upgrade to an unsecured card.

Runner-Up

  • Divvy Credit Builder

Best Pick for: No Personal Guarantee

Brex Card paid daily

Most business cards will require a personal guarantee. But the Brex Card paid daily doesn’t, and it also doesn’t require a Social Security number (SSN) for the application.

Brex charge cards are designed for companies big and small, especially tech-forward corporations and other non-personal liability companies. They’re not available to sole proprietors. You are allowed to apply with your business EIN and there’s no hard inquiry on your personal credit.

The Brex Card paid daily must be paired with a Brex Cash money management account. Each day, your card balance will be paid in full from the funds in your Brex Cash account.

You can choose a reward program that best fits your business:

  • Tech Rewards
  • Life Sciences Rewards
  • Remote Workforce Rewards

Runners-Up

  • Brex Card paid monthly
  • Stripe Corporate Card

Best Pick for: Ecommerce Companies

Brex Card paid monthly

Available to venture-backed companies (not sole proprietors) with at least $50,000 in the bank, the Brex Card paid monthly is designed for big spenders. If you’re not venture-backed, the requirement is $100,000.

But the perks are pretty big, too. You’ll get to choose one of three valuable rewards programs (Tech Rewards, Life Sciences Rewards and Remote Workforce Rewards) and there’s a giant list of credits and discounts to take advantage of. They include $5,000 in AWS credits, 40% off your first year of QuickBooks, a 5% rebate on Microsoft ad purchases, 25% off eligible Slack plans, and many more.

This is a charge card, meaning you must pay the full statement balance by the due date.

How Can You Get a Business Credit Card?

You can apply for most business credit cards just like you’d apply for a personal credit card. This is because business credit cards usually rely on your personal credit, rather than your business credit, so there usually isn’t much difference in the application.

You’ll need “a business” of some kind, but you may find that it’s easier to meet that standard than you thought. You may qualify if you’ve ever engaged in anything like having a business – that includes being a freelancer or sole proprietor, or selling knick knacks at a local craft fair. Selling your old stuff on Craigslist might even be enough.

A few business credit cards, however, are designed for large corporations with large revenue streams. If that’s what you need, take a look at the Brex cards and the American Express Corporate cards.

Best Picks for Airline Travel

Many good airline business credit cards are co-branded with specific airlines. They’re meant to be used mostly with that one brand, and they offer perks and their best rates for earning award miles.

The best airline card or cards for you will depend on the airlines you like. If you love flying with Delta, for example, take a look at its co-branded cards. If you don’t, you have plenty of other options.

Many of the major airlines have co-branded cards, giving you opportunities to earn a whole lot of airline miles. Usually they only have one business card offer each, but in some cases they have more. If you don’t like the business card options, there may be a consumer airline credit card that’s more appealing.

Here are our top picks for airline business cards:

AirlineOur Best Pick
Alaska AirlinesAlaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card
American AirlinesAAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®
DeltaDelta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
Hawaiian AirlinesHawaiian Airlines® World Elite Business Mastercard®
JetBlueJetBlue Business Card
Southwest AirlinesSouthwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
UnitedUnited℠ Business Card

Best Picks for Hotel Stays

As with airline cards, the best hotel business card for you will depend on where you like to stay. Most of the major hotel brands offer co-branded cards, and they’re often very rewarding.

You’ll typically get complimentary services and benefits at the participating hotel and resort locations, like free night stays. And you’ll often get some kind of Elite membership status, which usually provides extra perks and even more points on top of what you earn from the card.

There aren’t many hotel business cards, unfortunately. If the hotel brand you like doesn’t offer a business card, check to see if there’s a consumer hotel credit card that would work for you. You’ll get the same types of rewards and perks, but without the business features.

Here are our picks for the best hotel business cards.

Hotel BrandOur Best Pick
HiltonThe Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
MarriottMarriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

What’s the Difference Between Business and Personal Cards?

There are a few important differences between business and personal cards. Before getting a business card, educate yourself on what to expect.

  • The applicant will usually be held completely liable for the account. Business credit cards usually require a personal guarantee, which will hold the applicant personally responsible to repay the debt incurred with the card.
  • Business credit cards are not usually reported on personal credit reports, if they are paid on time. But if your account goes into negative status or default, it may show up as a surprise blemish on your credit reports. Also know that some card issuers report all business card activity on personal credit reports.
  • Business credit cards are not covered by the protections of the CARD Act of 2009. This limits retroactive rate increases and fees and requires a 21-day grace period before payments are due on cards that have grace periods. However, some card issuers will still include these features on business cards – check the card terms to find out.

If I apply using my EIN, does the card issuer check my personal credit reports?

The short answer is yes. The credit inquiry will almost always look at your personal credit, unless you’re applying for a corporate card, like from Brex or Amex.

You’ll have some choices about the information you submit when applying for a business card. You may need to enter both your Employer Identification Number (EIN) and your SSN. And in some cases you may be able to submit your EIN instead of your SSN.

However, you should expect a credit inquiry to show up on your personal credit reports, because your EIN is connected to your SSN. Since you typically need to sign on as the personal guarantor of the account, the card issuer will check your personal credit reports. The issuer can do this with just your EIN, although if that’s all you input, they may ask for your SSN as well.

Some issuers may report regular account activity on your credit reports alongside personal credit card accounts, which can affect your personal revolving utilization. Other issuers only report negative items, like late payments, to personal credit bureaus.

In some cases, if you have a large, established business with a good credit history of its own, you may be able to apply for a business card without a personal guarantee. But, you may need to negotiate this with the card issuer. If you want to apply for a business card using only an EIN and without a personal guarantee, we recommend contacting the card issuer to ask about it.

Types of Business Cards

Just like with personal cards, different types of cards are available for businesses. The main card types are revolving (commonly called “credit cards”), charge and secured.

Revolving business cards

When you think of the typical credit card, you’re probably thinking of a revolving card. Revolving credit cards are issued with a credit limit based on your credit history and scores, and an indication of your current finances. You can spend on credit up to that limit.

If you carry (or revolve) a balance from month to month, you’ll be required to pay a minimum amount at the end of each billing period. If you decide not to pay the full balance owed, the remainder will accrue interest, which is set by your interest rate (usually a variable APR).

Unless absolutely necessary, we always recommend that you pay off your balance in full to avoid being charged interest on purchases.

Business charge cards

Charge cards are very similar to revolving credit cards, but they do not allow you to revolve a balance from month to month. Instead, you’re required to pay off the balance in full each month.

You’ll benefit with this approach, because, while late fees may still apply for paying late, you’ll be saving money by not accruing interest each month.

You don’t get the advantage of being able to pay for purchases over many months, but charge cards usually come with many of the same features as credit cards, like cash back for purchases along with shopping and traveling benefits.

In a sense, charge cards are like credit cards with a bit of built-in financial responsibility.

Secured business credit cards

Though not an immediate go-to option, secured business cards are available for business owners with below-average or bad credit.

You simply need to put down a refundable security deposit to fund the credit limit. Over time and with responsible use, you can build up your credit and upgrade to an unsecured credit card.

Expert Q&A

Q1) Are there any differences in the application process between personal and business credit cards?

Rama Malladi, Associate Professor of Finance, California State University, Dominguez Hills, CA

Credit cards fall into three major groups:

  • Personal cards for individuals
  • Small-business cards
  • Corporate cards for large businesses (typically more than $4 million in annual revenue)

They differ mainly in eligibility, credit limit, liability, point collection, and regulations. Since most people have a personal credit card, they are familiar with the application process. The business credit card application process is similar. Quite often, banks that transact with the business will offer business credit cards and will help in the application process.

However, most major banks offer business credit card programs. The most commonly used details are business name, tax identification (Social Security number or Employer Identification Number), date of birth, contact information, business details (start date, employees, state of business, title, annual revenue, estimated expenses, etc.). Small business credit card applications also require a personal guarantee and personal credit score.

John J. Petosa, CPA, J.D. Professor of Practice, Syracuse University, Whitman School of Management

The application process is usually very similar with either an online or paper application. There are obvious differences in the information being requested. For example, the individual application would ask for the income of the person applying while the business card would want the sales and/or net income of the business and possibly a financial statement.

Thomas Ulbrich, Executive in Residence for Entrepreneurship, University at Buffalo School of Management

If we’re focusing on small to mid-size businesses (which are the vast majority of businesses in the U.S.), truth be told there is little difference between the two. A small business credit card functions much the same as a personal credit card and the application process is similar. You are almost certainly going to have to give your personal information and personally guarantee the card if you aren’t a publicly traded company.

Q2) Are there any requirements to get business credit cards?

Rama Malladi

Business credit cards require the owner or an authorized officer who can borrow on behalf of the business to sign the application. Corporate cards for large businesses typically require more significant annual revenue (example: more than $4 million), a minimum number of card users (example: 15), sufficient credit card usage (example: $300,000 or more), be registered as a corporation (instead of a sole proprietorship), tax ID and state registration, and recent audited financial statements.

John J. Petosa

Each bank is different, but they’re making a credit decision, so the Dun & Bradstreet number and the credit history of the business are taken into consideration. Some card companies follow new incorporations and offer introductory cards with a low threshold of say $2,000 as a way to gain the business of a new entity.

Q3) What is a personal guarantee for business credit cards, and why is it usually required?

Rama Malladi

Unlike the small-business credit cards that make cardholders personally responsible for the card balance if the business fails, business (corporate) cards make only the business liable for the card debt. Typically, most small-business credit cards require a personal guarantee along with the application. If the business defaults (fails to pay credit card bills), the personal guarantor may be financially responsible. It may be possible to waive the personal guarantee requirement based on company payment history, solid financials, and low leverage ratios.

John J. Petosa

Since many businesses choose to incorporate, the assets of the corporation are the sole way that the card payments would get paid. If the business goes bankrupt, credit cards are an unsecured creditor and therefore unlikely to get paid or are paid last after secured creditors. As such, and as a way to keep the interest rates somewhat reasonable, a personal guarantee will give the credit card issuer some additional collateral to collect any unpaid balances in the event the business files for bankruptcy.

Thomas Ulbrich

I love this question as it makes me smile when I think about the number of times I’ve heard a small business owner say, “I’m going to get a business credit card so I don’t have to do a personal guarantee”. That’s simply not going to happen. Although you won’t be signing a huge loan document, read the fine print on the application and in your acceptance letter. You’re responsible for the card. It’s under your social security card number. Remember when you had to fill that in on the application?

There may be some advantages to choosing certain business card issuers over another if you look into their credit reporting policies. If you have a personal credit card, you’ll typically have your credit history reported to the consumer credit bureaus on a monthly basis. That’s true for some business credit cards too, but there are some business credit card issuers that only report to the commercial credit bureaus and not the consumer credit bureaus.

To further complicate things, you want to be doubly careful which card issuing bank you choose if you do have trouble making timely payments, as many of the small business credit card companies actually report your activity to both the consumer credit bureaus and the commercial credit bureaus, which affects both your personal and business credit scores.

Q4) Why would a small business use a business credit card over a personal one?

Rama Malladi

Using a small business credit card may be advantageous in the following areas:

A) Minimize reimbursement process: employees spend lots of time submitting documents and wait to be reimbursed.

B) Expense analytics: Since credit card companies provide expense analytics (monthly or quarterly, or annually), the small business does not need an expense analyst. So, the company can reduce time in number crunching and instead focus on improving the business.

C) Manage employee spending: Each employee spending can be managed automatically by setting limits and using the credit card systems (instead of a small business employee keeping track of spending).

D) Points to the company, not individual: Some companies may not allow employees to use personal credit cards for business purposes since the benefits of personal credit card usage go to the individual.

E) Build business credit: Business credit history is often used to make business loans and other lending decisions. Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax Commercial are a few firms that keep track of business credit history. One primary reason for not using a personal credit card for business is inadvertently crossing the firewall between personal and business expenses.

Commingling business and personal expenses can happen quickly in such a scenario and may violate company ethics guidelines and breach the firewall between a person and business. The CARD Act of 2009 provides many legal protections (such as constraints on APR increases, the fee for infractions) to users of personal credit cards, but these protections do not apply to business card users.

John J. Petosa

If the business card is used effectively and is paid within terms, this helps build the business’ credit just as it would for an individual. Additionally, if for some reason the business card isn’t guaranteed, the business owner would not be held responsible for the balance in the event the business fails. If the business fails and the owner uses their personal card, they not only have a failed business, but will impact their personal credit if they don’t pay the personal card.

Thomas Ulbrich

There are a few reasons that a small business may want to use a business credit card instead of their personal card:

A) Although it is perfectly legal and acceptable to use your personal card for business, you do have to track your purchases carefully and make sure you’re not mixing personal and business charges. Although the credit card companies likely won’t care, the IRS will if you get audited. Having a dedicated business credit card is a great way to keep things cut and dry. Business charges are business. Period.

B) Many business credit cards provide you year-end statements that can separate purchases by categories, making it easier for you and your accountant to complete your tax returns.

C) Annual fees can be tax deductible in many instances.

D) Many times a business credit card has much higher limits than you might get with a personal card.

E) Many cards offer unique and valuable bonus points or cash back, which can be attractive if you are charging large sums of money. Sometimes business cards have 0% introductory periods that may be attractive to business owners.

Q5) How can businesses make the most out of business credit cards?

Rama Malladi

Business credit cards can be helpful in the following areas:

  • Manage and monitor employee expenses effectively
  • Establish and build business credit
  • Motivate and recognize key employees
  • Create a company-wide pool of points
  • Provide access to emergency financing
  • Create a higher credit ceiling since credit limits are higher for businesses than for people

John J. Petosa

Most businesses look for low interest cards and/or build points or cash back rewards as an additional way to finance their growing business.

The key is discipline! Pay the balance each month to avoid higher interest costs, additional fees and provide room for unexpected expenses.

Thomas Ulbrich

A word of warning. Like a personal credit card, don’t use it for the wrong purposes. It should never be used for long-term purchases or to try to save a dying business as in the end. It’s likely you’ll be on the hook for that debt.

There is a saying that says, “I went bankrupt gradually, then suddenly”. The same goes with credit card debt – it sneaks up on you and builds gradually. Then you find out that suddenly you’re beyond the point of being able to pay back the debt you’ve accrued. Business credit cards are a great tool for a good business, but they are not a panacea for a failing business.

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