The Plum Card® from American Express®

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This card is good for a business that doesn't have consistent cash flow.

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If you have the type of small business where your cash flow each month can vary wildly, The Plum Card from American Express offers some incentives to help keep your bills under control.


Let’s say you own a snow-removal business. In a good year, you’ll be piling up the earnings all winter. But if it rarely snows? Well…

That’s the type of on-off earner The Plum Card from American Express might be good for. Instead of traditional rewards, you can earn a 1.5% discount on the portion of your eligible balance that you pay within 10 days of your statement closing date. You’ll have to pay at least the minimum payment due but think of it as a bonus for good payment behavior.

On the other hand, if you’re waiting for that next snowfall and don’t have the funds to pay in full, this card offers a unique feature that allows you to pay 10% of the balance from new activity. You can then take up to 60 days to pay the remainder of the new balance with no interest.

Is it worth it to pay the annual fee of $250 (waived the first year) for this billing safety cushion? It depends on if you’ll save that much on interest charges over the course of the year. And, if you’ll get the maximum value of the other perks, including free additional employee cards and purchases made through the OPEN savings plan.

There’s a late payment penalty of $38 or 1.5% of the past due amount, whichever is greater. Plus if you miss paying for two billing periods in a row, the fee is the greater of $38 or 2.99% of the past due amount. So unless you’re confident you can pay the bills on time and ideally earn the early-pay bonus, you may be better off with another card.

If your cash flow is erratic, or you’re a Type A who pays bills they moment they arrive, this card might work for you. For everyone else, we’d suggest a card that pays higher rewards back in the categories you spend the most.

Who should own this card

This card could be a good choice for someone who can pay their bill within 10 days of receiving it to get a discount, or anyone who needs a little flexibility in their payments without penalty.

  • The Plum card is a charge card, so there's no pre-set limit. (That doesn't mean unlimited spending, however.)
  • Enjoy an early-pay discount of 1.5% on the portion of eligible charges that you pay within 10 days of the statement closing date, as long as you pay at least the minimum due.
  • You have up to 60 days to pay your bill before it accrues interest as long as you pay the minimum due on time.
  • Additional employee cards are free and they’re also eligible for the early pay discount.
  • As an OPEN card, it comes with purchasing discounts at select merchants.
  • Terms apply.
  • Although its waived the first year, the $250 annual fee is steep.
  • There's a late payment charge of 1.5% then 2.99% of the past due amount (minimum: $38).
  • Other cards will pay rewards without you having to pay the bill so soon after the statement closing date.

Fees and APR

  • Annual fee is $250, waived the first year.
  • As this is a charge card, the bill has to paid in full every month.
  • Late payments will be assessed a charge of 1.5% then 2.99% of the past due amount (minimum: $38).
  • There are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • See Rates & Fees.

Extras and perks and using rewards

The Plum Card also comes with some helpful features that may simplify your bookkeeping. The ReceiptMatch tool lets you add receipts, tags and notes to your transaction history from your desktop or phone. You can also download your statements directly to QuickBooks, which can make it easier to figure out quarterly taxes and overall expenditures.

This card also comes with premium roadside assistance, a global assistance hotline and some return protections on qualifying items purchased with the card.

If you earn the 1.5% discount, it will appear as a credit on the following bill statement.

How this card compares

American Express® Business Gold Card
  • More Rewards: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month †
  • †4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
  • Airline Bonus: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
  • Exclusive Offers: Get up to 1 year free on subscriptions to both G Suite Basic for up to 3 users and ZipRecruiter Standard, a combined value up to $3,188.*
  • Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
  • Expense Management Tools: Connect to Quickbooks, access SpendManager℠, receive a Year-End Summary, and more.*
  • Add Employee Cards with a no annual fee option. Earn rewards on employee purchases and track employee expenses with spending limits, alerts, and summary reports.*
  • *Terms Apply
Credit Needed


Regular APR

16.24% - 24.24% Variable

Annual Fee


Purchase Intro APR


Balance Transfers Intro APR


The unique choose-your-own-bonus structure of the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is extremely appealing. In short, it allows you to earn the most rewards in the category where you spend the most.

It’s likely to give you better rewards than the Plum card, but if you need to carry a balance, the APR is high, and there’s a penalty APR if you have a late or missed payment, making the Plum Card a better choice.

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Special offer: save on interest with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; after that your APR will be a variable rate, currently 14.24% - 21.24%
  • No annual fee
  • Reinvest in your business with automatic cash back in the form of a monthly statement credit. Plus take control by choosing the 3% category that best fits your business
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $50,000 spent at wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores.
  • Earn 3% cash back on the first $50,000 spent in the category of your choice from a list of eight and 1% cash back on other purchases
  • With Expanded Buying Power you can spend beyond your credit limit* to make bigger purchases for your business plus earn cash back on those purchases too
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors
  • Terms apply
Credit Needed

Excellent Credit

Regular APR

14.24% - 21.24% Variable

Annual Fee


Purchase Intro APR

0% on purchases for 15 months

Balance Transfers Intro APR


In just about every respect — from rewards to the annual fee — the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express stands tall among the elite business cards on the market.

The only reasons to shy away from this card would be if your work requires significant overseas travel or if your biggest expenses don’t match up with the bigger cash-back savings categories.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
  • Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Earn up to $2,000. Earn a $500 cash bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account
  • Plus, earn $1,500 when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months. Limited Time Offer
  • Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend
Credit Needed

Excellent, Good

Regular APR

18.74% (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Purchase Intro APR


Balance Transfers Intro APR


Capital One Spark Cash for Business ranks among the best business rewards credit cards on the market, edging out other business cards – including those offered by Capital One — because of its rewards flexibility.

We love that this card pays the same flat rewards rate on cards issued to employees as those issued to the business owner.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our business category page.

Credit Needed


Regular APR

17.99% to 22.99%, based on your creditworthiness. These APRs will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

Annual Fee


Balance Transfers Intro APR

For companies that spend a lot on staying connected, it’s hard to beat the rewards rate of the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card from Chase. This card also offers an outstanding sign-up bonus worth far more than the cost of card ownership.


Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.