What is the best small business credit card?
The best small business credit card is the one that meets your professional financial goals. For instance, are you a small business owner? Then you might consider the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. On the other hand, big businesses may consider The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. If you travel a lot, you may want a no-fee travel card, like the Discover it® Miles. Take a moment to think about your professional goals for the next few years and compare the best business credit cards on our list to find the right one for you.
Can I apply for a business credit card?
The requirements for each card may vary, but in general, if you’re a business owner — large or small — then you qualify to apply for a business credit card. If you’re a small business owner, they may look into your credit profile and you may be asked to share your personal income information as well. Be honest on your application, though, because if you’re caught in a lie, you may be subject to a financial review.
Who are small business credit cards good for?
Generally, business credit cards are dynamic enough to appeal to businesses of all sizes. However, small business credit cards are usually best suited for the following categories:
- Self-employed individuals who travel frequently for work and want to rack up rewards
- Freelancers who need help managing their cash flow
- Consultants who may travel or entertain clients
- Small business owners or freelancers who experience irregular cash flow throughout the month
- Doctors or dentists who are part of their own practice
- Financial advisors
- Salespeople who travel for work and want to maximize travel-related rewards
- Business owners who spend heavily on office supplies and equipment
People who fall in these categories all have certain expenses that can be separated and classified as “business” expenses. These type of expenses can include things like meals, required travel, advertising, business development, entertainment and office space.
There are also times when an employee might work away from the office and cover their own expenses (gas, meals, parking, etc.). In these situations, the company will usually reimburse these business-relevant purchases while helping to separate these from their personal expenses.
Here are some other ways almost anyone could benefit from having a business credit card:
- Individuals who spend a lot in specific categories, such as dining and gas, could choose a card like the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, which offers 3% cash back in 8 different categories of your choosing
- Like we mentioned above, individuals who are expected to pay for work-related expenses then get reimbursed can use a business card for those expenses instead of paying for everything with their own money
- Freelancers and digital nomads who do most of their work on the move will benefit most from what the Discover it® Miles card with $0 in annual fees and lots of ways to earn free travel
- Salespeople who drive a lot could benefit from a card with increased earnings on gas purchases, such as the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express or the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
Do business credit cards affect your personal credit score?
The short answer: Maybe. Signing up for one of the best business credit cards is a great way to separate personal and business finances; however, it depends on the card whether or not it will affect your personal credit score. Almost all business credit cards require personal guarantees, but, some will only report activity to commercial credit bureaus, not consumer credit bureaus that handle your personal credit score. You may need to call your card’s customer service representative to find out which bureaus they report to.
How can I check my business credit?
Similar to how you check your personal credit report, you can request a business credit report from the three major commercial credit bureaus — Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian. A fourth credit bureau, FICO® Small Business Scoring Service (SBSS), specializes in small businesses. With your business credit report, you’ll be able to easily check and monitor your business credit score, background information, risk factors, banking, trade and collection history, liens and bankruptcies, and more. Unlike your personal credit report, you may be charged a fee to access your business credit report.
As mentioned above, some credit card companies will report your business credit card information to the consumer credit bureaus as well, meaning it’s still important to check your personal credit report once a year (or more often) as a small business owner. With both reports, you’ll want to check for any discrepancies and, if found, take steps to dispute them.
How to use a business credit card to manage cash flow
Managing cash flow is crucial to the longevity of your business, big or small. Whether you sit at the head of a large corporation or freelance, it pays to keep track of your cash flow. A business credit card can help, and we’ve put together a handy list of real-life examples that illustrate the impact the right business credit card can have.
Real life example #1
Sometimes a self-employed freelancer will find themselves in that awkward interval waiting to receive payments from various clients. During this period, everyday expenses on office supplies, internet service, and more can pile up. Normally, this freelancer might be out of luck until those payments arrive. However, with a business credit card, those necessary business purchases could be charged temporarily and then paid off once client payments trickle in.
Real life example #2
An owner of a small business (10-12 employees) wraps up a huge project for a client, but payment is forthcoming. Payroll sends an email saying that there are not enough funds in the current budget to maintain business operations and pay the employees. With a business card, all the day-to-day business expenses could be temporarily charged, while freeing up funds to pay the employees on time. And after the client’s payment is received, the company owner could pay off the balance before it accrues interest.
Real life example #3
The CEO of a large business has determined that a purchase of $50,000 worth of equipment is necessary. However, he wants to be able to pay this off over several months without taking out a large loan. In lieu of a loan, the business could utilize a high-limit business credit card. Many cards offer 0% intro APR on purchases, which would function like an interest-free loan if paid in full before the end of the intro period. Plus, the business could earn cash back through the card’s rewards program!
As a business owner, you could be making a sound investment by choosing one of the best business credit cards on our list. The rewards you could earn on business-related charges can more than make up for any annual fee. Additionally, having a business credit card helps you to draw a line between personal and professional when it comes to expenses and tax returns. If one of these cards sounds right for your business, apply online today to start earning valuable rewards!
Research the 25 best business credit cards
We’ve put together an objective comparison of business credit cards to help you find the right one. This analysis includes annual fees, foreign transaction fees, rewards, signup bonuses, perks, and other characteristics you might find of interest.
Take a moment to sort, filter, or search for what matters most to you in a business credit card.
Perks Tier Level
Sign up Bonus Tier Level
Rewards Tier Level
Great Signup Bonus
Great Ongoing Rewards
No Annual Fee
No Foreign Transaction Fee