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: Robin Saks Frankel | Last Updated: August 15, 2018

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How we chose our favorite business credit cards

Our team of credit card experts used Bankrate’s proprietary methodology to analyze over 350 credit cards in the Business credit card category. From this analysis, each card was awarded a final score out of 100 which should act as a guide to help you find the card that best suits your businesses needs. 

Scoring matrix

Our criteria was designed by the folks here at Bankrate to identify the best business credit card. Each card was reviewed for its APR rate, annual fee, foreign transaction fees, rewards value, sign-up bonus, and any extras or discounts. Each category is weighted to produce the final score with an emphasis on what business cardholders need to know about their credit card — rewards, annual fees, foreign transaction fee, sign-up bonuses, and extras and discounts. 

  • 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. 

Editors Analysis: Bankrate’s favorite business credit cards

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.

It’s especially useful to big spenders who consistently pay off their balance in full. Monthly spending of $10,000 could earn you yearly cash-back rewards of $2,400.

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.

Editor’s take:

This card’s straightforward rewards, easy redemption, and substantial one-time $200 cash sign-up bonus (after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening) make this a solid choice for businesses. Better yet, with the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business, there is no annual fee. This is a great choice for a small business that requires a good all-rounder with added benefits like free employee cards.

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.

Editor’s take:

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business offers a generous sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months. Miles are accrued on this card at a rate of 2 miles for every $1 spent which is competitive in the Business Rewards card space. What sets this card apart is the flexibility of redemption: Miles don’t expire and you can redeem miles for travel or cash back with no limiting categories. This is a great no-hassle card with a sign-up bonus that immediately juices the returns

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.

Editor’s take:

The list of benefits and additional perks offered with this card is extremely long. For businesses where cardholders cover a lot of distance and like to travel in style, this is the card for you. American Express’ generous welcome offer, 5x membership rewards on flight and hotels booked through Amex, and 35% airline spending bonus will deliver excellent returns for cardholders who spend heavily enough in these categories. The card really shines with the additional value it adds for long-distance or very frequent travelers. Perks such as access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection and extra points on first and business class flights will be highly prized by certain cardholders.

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 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.

Editor’s take:

Rating a card as “best for office supplies” may not sound like the sexiest credit card review but office managers and business owners know how quickly those office supply costs stack up. This card is a good way for you to earn a great rate of cash back on dollars you were already spending. A 5% cash-back rate on wireless telephone services and U.S. office supplies stores (for the first $50,000 spent) is very generous, and the 3% return on a category of your choice (for the first $50,000 spent) allows you the flexibility to make this card work for your business. Better still, this card simply pays your cash back in the form of monthly statement credit so you don’t have to worry about points, miles, or gift cards.

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.

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.

Editor’s take:

The skies the limit with the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard Credit Card. The card’s ample cash back rewards have no cap and are focused on categories most used by businesses with the highest cash back tier at 3% for gas station and office supply purchases, 2% for restaurants and 1% on all other purchases. This seems almost too good to be true when you consider this card charges no annual fee and cash back rewards don’t expire.

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.

Editor’s take:

This card offers businesses a ton of bang for their buck. The card’s flexible rewards structure can be used to best suit your businesses. The card offers 3x points on one category from a choice of five (gas station, airline, shipping, computer hardware, software, cloud expenses and even advertising spend), 2x points on the remaining categories, and 1x points on all other purchases. At least a few of these categories tend to be heavy-spend for a lot of businesses which means cash back rewards can stack up fast.

What are 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. These cards typically offer rewards for everyday purchases, allowing you to save money on required expenditures. Compare the best business credit cards to find the one that will fit your company’s financial needs.

What are some pros and cons?

Business credit cards generally offer rewards on purchases made at business-related merchants, like office supply stores and restaurants. Many also offer quarterly and year-end summaries to track expenditures. By putting all of your business expenses on one card, you’ll optimize accounting and save money. But you may be personally liable for any unpaid debt on the card in some cases, which can affect your personal credit score.

Why you should get a business credit card

If you own a business, it’s 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.

If you have certain areas of spending for your business that are recurring, or you typically spend a lot in some categories, you may also save money by owning a business credit card that offers rewards in the areas where you spend the most.

Keep in mind, these cards are typically designed for and offered to those with excellent credit. If your credit is spotty, you may not qualify.

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, keeping more cash in the expense account. Some cards offer low APRs, making them useful for the business owner who needs to carry a balance.

Tips on business credit cards

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.

It’s also crucial to find a card that offers perks tailored to your frequent business expenses such as travel rewards, gas rewards or cash-back.

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.

Recap: The best business credit cards of 2018

Card Name Best for Bankrate Review Score
Capital One Spark Cash for Business Sign-Up Bonus 94/100
Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business Airline Miles 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
Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard No Reward Limits 93/100
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN Reward Points 88/100

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