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Best business credit cards: Top 3 picks for 2016

By Mitch Strohm · Bankrate.com
Monday, September 26, 2016
Posted: 9 am ET


This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by any of the referenced financial institutions or companies. Opinions, analysis, reviews or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any financial institutions or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such entity. All products or services are presented without warranty.

The best business credit cards typically offer generous rewards, business-friendly perks and easy redemption options. Of course, the type of business credit card you should choose depends on how you spend and what will provide the most value for your business.

You'll find that business credit cards typically fall under 2 categories: low interest or rewards.

Low interest cards offer a way to finance your small business and maintain working capital. That's a plus if you plan on carrying a balance.

Rewards cards offer great perks and closely match your business spending, but the rates and fees tend to be higher.

CreditCards.com recently rounded up the best business credit cards for its 2016 business card competition, which were then rated by a panel of judges to narrow down the top 3.

Here are the 3 best business credit cards, according to CreditCards.com:

1. Capital One Spark® Cash for Business

The Capital One Spark® Cash for Business card takes 1st place for its generous and simple cash-back rewards program. It offers 2% unlimited cash back on every purchase. If you spend $4,500 within the first 3 months, you can pick up a $500 bonus.

Highlights:

  • The Spark® Cash for Business lets you to earn unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase, not only in bonus categories like some other business cards.
  • Spark® Cash cardholders can earn a $500 bonus for spending $4,500 within the first 3 months.
  • The Spark® Cash for Business offers flexibility when redeeming rewards, allowing you to use your cash back for anything.
  • Premium travel benefits like car rental insurance and emergency assistance are included with the card.
  • Free employee cards are part of the deal with the Spark® Cash card. That's in addition to quarterly and year-end summaries.

Fees and APR:

  • The $59 annual fee for the Spark Cash is on the low side for business cards. And it's waived during the 1st year.
  • This card comes with a 17.24% variable APR and there are no foreign transaction fees.

Notes:

  • The Spark® Cash for Business card is best for small business owners who pay their balance in full each month and want easy-to-use cash-back reward options.

The Capital One Spark® Cash for Business is worth consideration if you're looking for unlimited cash-back earnings, easy redemption options and a nice sign-up bonus.

Disadvantages: Carrying a balance can eat up rewards with the Spark® Cash card. At 17.24%, the APR is somewhat steeper than some other business cards. In addition, there's no 0% intro period on this card, making it difficult for business owners to finance large company purchases without paying heavy interest fees. Some business cards may also offer better bonus rewards on particular categories, something to consider if you frequently spend on particular items.

2. The Chase Ink Plus Credit Card

The Chase Ink Plus® credit card ranks 2nd on CreditCard.com's list of best business credit cards for its substantial sign-up bonus and rewards. It offers a 60,000-point sign-up bonus and 5 points per $1 spent on common business expenses.

Highlights:

  • The Chase Ink Plus® offers 5 points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent on common business expenses like office supplies, phone, Internet, cable and TV services.
  • You can earn 2 points per $1 spent on gas station and hotel purchases with the Chase Ink Plus®, and 1 point per $1 on regular purchases.
  • This card offers a generous 60,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, which is worth up to $750 in free travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Premium travel benefits, free employee cards and quarterly and year-end summaries are included with this card.

Fees:

  • The Chase Ink Plus® business credit card comes with a variable rate between 15.49% and 19.49% APR, lower than some other business cards.
  • This card has a $95 annual fee, which is on the high side, but there are no fees for additional employee cards or foreign transactions.

Notes:

  • The Chase Ink Plus® card is ideal for the business owner that spends heavily on the card's bonus categories, such as office supplies, telecom services, gas and hotels.

In addition to its sign-up bonus and rewards, this card offers some premium travel perks such as trip cancellation insurance.

Disadvantages: While the sign-up bonus and rewards are generous, the Chase Ink Plus® won't benefit your business much if you don't frequently spend in its bonus categories. This card also falls short if your business spends outside of the $25,000 to $50,000 range annually, since it places a $50,000 cap on bonus rewards.

3. Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card

Rounding out the top 3 best business credit cards is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business card backed by American Express. It's the stand out pick as a hotel card, offering 2 points per $1 on eligible Starwood purchases. In addition, you can earn 1 point per $1 on regular purchases and 25,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 within the first 3 months.

Highlights:

  • The Starwood Preferred Guest® card rewards 2 points per $1 on eligible Starwood purchases, making it a top card for those who frequently travel for business and stay at Starwood hotels.
  • For regular purchases, the Starwood Preferred Guest® card offers 1 point per $1.
  • If you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months, this card offers 25,000 bonus points.
  • Travel-friendly perks such as free hotel Internet access, free Boingo Wi-Fi, premium travel insurance and access to Sheraton Club lounges at select hotels are included with the card.
  • The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business card's flexible redemption program gives you the ability to transfer points to a range of frequent flier programs.

Fees:

  • This card charges a $95 annual fee. That's the same as the Chase Ink Plus®, but it's more expensive than the Spark® from Capital One. The $95 fee is waived for the first year.
  • This card carries a modest 15.49% to 17.49% variable APR, which is lower than some other business cards you'll find. It's similar to what the Spark® and Chase Ink Plus® charge.

Notes:

  • The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business card is ideal for the frequent business traveler. If you want upscale hotel options and flexible reward redemption choices, this might the card for you.

Business owners who enjoy Starwood hotels will find that the rewards points on this card are worth more than other average rewards cards. And the card comes with a long list of transfer partners to boot.

Disadvantages: While Starwood offers more than 1,200 hotels and resorts worldwide, you may find that you're limited in hotel options when traveling. If you and your employees don't do a lot of traveling, this may not be the best card for your business.

The bottom line

While the best business credit cards offer generous rewards, bonus points and flexible redemption options, it's important to match your spending habits to a card's program. Base your decision on the card that will benefit your business the most.


This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by any of the referenced financial institutions or companies. Opinions, analysis, reviews or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any financial institutions or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such entity. All products or services are presented without warranty.

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