Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.


Author: Bankrate Staff | Last Updated: September 13, 2018


In this article:

How we chose our favorite business credit cards

Are you shopping for a card that can give your company a helping hand? Small business credit cards can provide your operation with extra buying power and the ability to track your expenses. We want to help you make an informed decision on what business card is best for you. Our team of credit card experts used Bankrate’s proprietary methodology to analyze over 350 business credit cards and from this objective review, each card was awarded a final score out of 100. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a good business credit card but the Bankrate score should act as a guide to help you find the card that best suits your businesses needs. 

Scoring matrix

Our criteria has been designed by the folks here at Bankrate to give you an unbiased view of the best business credit card. A myriad of factors were considered in the analysis including APR rate, annual fee, foreign transaction fees, rewards value (focused on categories that would typically be high-spend for businesses), sign-up bonus, and any extras or discounts. Each category is weighted to produce the final score and we reviewed our favorites with an emphasis on what business cardholders need to know about their credit cards. 

  • Rewards value – Small business owners should expect a suite of rewards with their business credit cards. At Bankrate, we know that rewards can be confusing. We break down the rewards structure to make it easy to understand and assess the value of the rewards. 
  • Annual fee – Most business cards charge a fee every year to give you access to the cards perks and rewards systems. Many business card providers offer promotional discounts on their annual fee for the first year. We help to identify where an annual fee is worth the expense and tell you how much you would need to spend on your card to cover the annual charge.
  • Foreign transaction fees – These fees — which are usually around 3% of each transaction while you’re abroad — can add up. We know that often business involves travel and you and your employees need to be flexible. That’s why we make sure to assess the foreign transaction fees for our recommended business cards to help you avoid the surprise extra charges.
  • Sign-up bonus – A lot of business credit cards will have very generous sign-up bonuses. These may take the form of cash back, points, or miles, as long as you hit the required spending limit within a given time-frame. We analyze the value of the bonus.
  • Extras and discounts – Many business credit cards offer additional perks to cardholders. Advantages such as free employee cards and rental car coverage are useful benefits for small businesses. 

In Review: Bankrate’s favorite business credit cards of 2018

Card Name Best for Bankrate Review Score
Capital One Spark Cash for Business Flat-Rate Cash Back 94/100
Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business Simple Travel Rewards 90/100
The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN Luxury Travel 93/100
SimplyCash Plus Business Card from American Express Office Supplies 92/100
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN Flexible Reward Points 88/100
Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard No Reward Limits 93/100

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

The Capital One Spark Cash for Business card’s simple and generous cash-back rewards program makes it ideal for business owners interested in unlimited cash-back earnings, substantial sign-up bonus opportunities, and straightforward redemption options.

This card is a great one for users who spend heavily. Monthly spending of $10,000 could earn you yearly cash-back rewards of $2,400. However, we would caution any business owner with this account not to carry a balance as a way ensure that you don’t incur interest expenses, which would ultimately negate any cash back returns.

Highlights:

    • Earn an unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase.
    • The card carries a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
    • There are no foreign transaction fees, so if you or your employees need to do business outside the U.S., you won’t have to pay extra for using this credit card.

Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business

The Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business is simple—and that’s a good thing. The card earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent on any purchase made with the card. Those miles can be redeemed to either purchase travel through the Capital One travel portal or get a statement credit back against travel expenses you booked on your own using the card.

Highlights:

    • Rewards are unlimited and never expire, as long as the account is open and in good standing.
    • The card comes with comes with Visa Business Benefits, which includes auto damage protection, emergency and travel assistance and purchase protection.
    • Additional employee cards are free and the main account holder accrues rewards earned on those cards.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN

For frequent business travelers who want to fly in style and don’t mind paying the price, The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN delivers the goods. With this card, there’s access to nearly all of the airport lounges you can think of, worldwide.

Highlights:

    • Holders of the card have access to American Express’ exclusive Centurion Lounge, a perk reserved just for Platinum and Centurion cardholders.
    • Get up to $200 back as a statement credit in airline incidental fees.
    • All flights and prepaid hotels booked on the Amex Travel Website will earn 5 points per dollar spent.

SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

You’d be hard-pressed to find a business that wouldn’t benefit from the rewards structure of this card. Earn 5 percent back on spending at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, up to an annual maximum of $50,000, then the rewards rate drops to an unlimited 1% on those purchases. And it gets better. The SimplyCash Plus Business Card from American Express also pays 3 percent back (for the first $50,000 spent) on your choice from one of eight categories, making this card customizable to your particular business spending patterns.

Highlights:

    • There’s no annual fee with this card—or for additional employee cards.
    • Cash-back earnings are automatically credited to your statement.
    • As part of American Express’ OPEN savings plan, eligible purchases can receive an additional 5 percent discount.

Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card

Any business owner who spends a lot of dough on gas and office supplies can likely benefit from this card’s rewards structure. The Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard pays 3% back, up to an annual cap of $250,000 on spending at the pump and eligible office supply stores (then 1% after that).

Highlights:

    • If you max out the combined spending bonus categories, you could earn up to $7,500 back on your spending before your rewards rate drops to an unlimited 1%.
    • If you’re a Business Advantage Rewards Client with Bank of America, you can stack an additional 25% to 75% rewards bonus on every base purchase you make for even greater cash-back earnings.
    • There’s no annual fee with this card.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

For smaller businesses who don’t spend as much as the big guys, the choose-your-own bonus category structure of The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN can be a great way to save money. There are five categories that offer enhanced cash-back rewards; choose one of them to earn 3X the points and the other four will earn 2X the points. All other spending will earn 1 point per dollar spent.

Highlights:

    • There’s no interest charges on this card as it’s a charge card and not a credit card.
    • The $175 annual fee is waived the first year.
    • There are no foreign exchange fees with this card.

What are business credit cards?

Business credit cards are for businesses large and small. As a sole proprietor, business owner, or freelancer you can qualify for a business credit card. They are simply credit cards that are designed to be used by businesses instead of for personal use. Even though they are designed for business use they are practical for similar reasons as personal credit cards; they can provide businesses with returns on their everyday spending, help to cover expenses during seasonal periods, and help businesses build credit which will make it easier to borrow in the future.

Many credit card issuers offer business credit cards and the application process is very similar to the process for a personal credit card. For small businesses, cards are often secured by a personal guarantee. For freelancers and sole proprietors, you may only be asked to provide the basic information — name, social security number, income etc. — that you would be on an application for a personal credit card. If your business is structured as an LLC (single-member or partnership) or as a corporation, you will be asked to provide information on your business — the company name, TIN, address, business income. For more detailed information on how to apply for a business card, check out our handy guide.

Business credit cards help to keep personal and business spending separate. Although, the main advantage of a business credit card is the rewards. These cards typically offer high-value rewards for everyday purchases, allowing you to save money on required expenditures.

What are some pros and cons?

Pros:

  • Rewards on purchases is a major incentive for getting a business card. Many offer higher rates on business-related spending like office supply stores.
  • Using a business credit card helps your business build a credit profile.
  • Many business cards offer quarterly and year-end summaries to track expenditures.
  • Putting all expenses on one card can make accounting more straightforward.
  • It can be easier to qualify for a business credit card than a line of credit or a bank loan.
  • A business credit card can be useful when you’re experiencing cash flow concerns.

Cons:

  • You may be personally liable for any unpaid debt on the card in some cases, which can affect your personal credit score.
  • Due to the high rate of interest business credit cards shouldn’t be used as a form of financing. If you do carry a balance you could incur some very high costs.

Why you should get a business credit card

Business cards are ideal for the small business owner or entrepreneur that would benefit from additional purchasing power and expense tracking. With a business credit card, you earn rewards for daily operational purchases, which can really add up for even the smallest of businesses. Some cards offer low APRs or even 0% introductory APR periods making them useful for the business owner who needs to make a big purchase and spread out the payments.

As a business owner, it’s also just a good idea to keep your business and personal expenses separate. You can save time and money by having a business credit card dedicated to your company’s related purchases. For example, most work-related expenses can be deducted on your businesses’ tax return, including your business card’s annual fee and any interest accrued. If you make your business purchases on a personal card, not only do you have to keep track of which charge was for which purpose (Did you buy paper for the printer for personal use or for work use? How about when you paid that toll? Was that a work trip? Or just a drive to run an errand?) but you also can’t deduct the annual cost of owning the card.

Often businesses will have areas of spending that are recurring, or there will be categories where you spend significantly, maybe your business involves heavy spending on office supplies or software. There are many business credit cards offering different rewards for all types of spending, it should be easy to find a card that rewards you for the areas that you spend the most.

Tips on business credit cards

The single biggest tip is to put in the homework to find a card that will work for you. The right business card should have a rewards structure that compliments your existing spending. It pays to review your business spending and break out the categories where you spend the most. If you’re planning on making a large purchase — perhaps, investing in some equipment to grow your business — it’s worth finding a card with a long 0% introductory APR offer to help you spread out your payments. If you know there may be times — perhaps, due to the seasonal nature of your business — where you risk carrying a balance you should prioritize a low standard APR card. The fact of the matter is that you know your business best. It’s our job to give you all the information you need so you can identify the best card for you.

Be careful. Some credit card companies will check your personal credit history when you apply for a business card. It’s important to ask the credit card company if they’ll be reviewing your personal history. Your personal credit could be impacted by any debt on the business card and this is worth considering.

Make sure to use your business card! This may sound like an obvious one but there are a lot of business cards out there gathering dust in wallets. The more you use your card, the more rewards you will receive. And, on the topic of rewards, make sure to redeem these too. They can deliver additional value to your business in the form of cash back but they also offer business owners and employees nice perks such as airport lounge access and upgrades.

Which type of business card should you get?

Anyone with a business can benefit from owning a business credit card if they choose the right card to align with their company’s spending habits. Here are some considerations when choosing a card for your specific type of business:

  • Sole proprietorships or side-hustle businesses: Even if you’re a party of one, you can benefit from keeping your business expenses separate from your personal spending. Having a dedicated card can not only make things easier for accounting purposes, it can also help you save money. Consider the areas where you spend the most to find the right card. For example, if you’re selling goods or services online, a card that pays rewards for Internet access or online advertising may be the right fit.
  • General partnerships of two or more people: If you’re a small business with a small staff, you may want to consider a business credit card that includes free employee cards. The main cardholder will accrue any rewards and monthly statements will show a breakdown of which employee spent what on which card. If you own the type of business that provides delivery services. For example, a card with enhanced rewards on gas spending could be a good choice.
  • Tech-heavy businesses: If most of your spending is on computers and technology related spending, consider a card that offers benefits in these areas. Or, if your expenses are varied, a flat-rate rewards card that offers the same rewards no matter what you’re buying may be the right one.
  • Travel-based businesses: Anyone with a business where employees are frequently on the go by plane, car or overnight in a hotel should consider a business credit card that offers travel rewards. Many of the travel-related business credit cards offer perks beyond the rewards structure like free Wi-Fi, priority boarding and other benefits. Keep in mind, if the travel is international, choosing a business card without foreign transaction fees should be at the top of your list.

How to apply for a business credit card

If your business is just starting out when you apply for a business credit card the issuer will look at your personal credit score to determine creditworthiness. Just like with personal credit cards, business credit cards will require the applicant to have at least good credit and some require an excellent credit score.

When you apply, you’ll have to state your total income. This means your income from the business you want the card for and any other income. For example, if you’re just a few months into the business and you’ve earned $1,000 from your new venture but your day job earns you an annual salary of $50,000, your total income should be listed as $51,000.

More established businesses will apply using their company’s Employee Identification Number (EIN) but even then, the applicant is still held responsible for paying the credit card bills. If you miss a payment or pay late on your business credit card, it will show up on your personal credit report.

Business credit cards vs business loans

Most businesses require some capital to get started and keep going until they make a profit. There are pros and cons to using a credit card or a loan to get your business up and running. Generally speaking, a business credit card is easier to get then a business loan. With a business credit card, you may still qualify for some types of cards even if your credit is just average. There are also a handful of secured business credit cards that you can get even if your overall credit score is less than stellar.

A business loan, however, would be nearly impossible to get from a lender with anything other than a strong credit profile as you’d be deemed too big of a risk. Applying for a business credit card is usually much faster than applying for a business loan, which can take months to get approval for. A business loan may also require collateral, which can be risky if your business tanks or runs into financial trouble.

You should know that a business loan will also typically have much lower interest rates than a business credit card. If you think you’ll typically carry a balance on a credit card, a lump-sum business loan could be a better choice. But if you’re able to pay the bills in full every month, you could benefit from having a business credit card that offers rewards as cash-back or can be redeemed for travel. Use a business loan calculator to see if the terms are more favorable than what a business credit card may offer.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.