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There are plenty of reasons to pick up a dedicated business credit card, and the benefits extend far beyond the rewards you can earn. Having a business credit card makes it considerably easier to keep business expenses separate for tax purposes, and the best business cards even come with cardholder perks like extended warranties and auto rental coverage.
Business cards can also be a valuable financial tool if your business income fluctuates or cash flow is occasionally tight. If you’re waiting on a client or vendor to pay a big invoice, for example, a business credit card can cover bills and expenses while you wait to get paid. Plus, some business cards also offer free employee cards, making it easier for employees to make business purchases and for you to earn rewards on all your business spending.
Fortunately, there are plenty of no-annual-fee credit cards for businesses that can help you enjoy the rewards of having a business card without having to pay for the privilege. Not only do the best business credit cards with no annual fee offer rewards, but many come with introductory APR offers as well.
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card: Best for business startups
Known as one of the best business credit cards for startups, the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card makes it easy to earn a generous flat rate of rewards for each dollar you spend. As a cardholder, you’ll earn 2 percent cash back on the first $50,000 you spend on eligible purchases each year, then 1 percent back. There’s no annual fee, and you’ll also get a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR rate of 16.99 percent to 24.99 percent.
Cardholder benefits you should be aware of include extended warranties, purchase protection against damage or theft, dispute resolution, access to Amex Offers and more.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best for business perks with no annual fee
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express works similarly to its cash back counterpart, except that you earn 2X Amex Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 you spend, then 1X points. Unlike cash back, points earned in the American Express Membership Rewards program can be redeemed for a range of options including merchandise, gift cards, travel through AmexTravel.com and transfers to Amex airline and hotel partners. This card is free of an annual fee, yet you’ll qualify for the same 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 months that you would with the Blue Business Cash card, followed by a variable APR rate of 16.99 percent to 24.99 percent.
This card also comes with extended warranties, purchase protection against damage or theft, dispute resolution, access to Amex Offers and additional cardholder benefits.
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card: Best for its welcome bonus
The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card’s rewards rate isn’t the highest rate available on a flat-rate business rewards card, but it’s still generous at 1.5 percent back for each dollar you spend. Meanwhile, this card is currently offering one of the most generous sign-up bonuses among business cards with no annual fee—$900 in bonus cash back when you spend $6,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. This translates to $2,000 per month in spending for three months in a row.
This card also comes with a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 16.24 percent to 22.24 percent. You can also qualify for primary auto rental collision damage waiver when you rent a car for business purposes, fraud protection, purchase protection against damage or theft, extended warranties, travel and emergency assistance services.
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card: Best for business purchases
The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is another top business credit card with no annual fee and offers tiered rewards rates that can help you cash in if you spend a lot in specific business-related categories. As a cardholder, you’ll earn 5 percent back on up to $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on Internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year (then 1 percent back), 2 percent back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year (then 1 percent back) and 1 percent back on other purchases. You can also qualify for the same generous bonus offer of $900 in cash back when you spend $6,000 on your card within three months of account opening.
These rates are incredibly generous on a card with no annual fee and give cardholders who spend in the card’s boosted categories an opportunity to earn more cash back than they would with a flat-rate card.
This credit card also comes with generous benefits including auto rental collision damage waiver for business rentals, extended warranties, purchase protection, travel and emergency assistance services and fraud protection. New cardholders can also save money with a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 16.24 percent to 22.24 percent.
Capital on Tap Business Credit Card: Best for big spenders
The Capital on Tap Business Credit Card is a flat-rate cash back card that earns unlimited 1.5 percent back on purchases and comes with a potentially higher-than-average credit limit. Business owners with great creditworthiness stand to benefit from up to $50,000 in available credit and a chance at a regular APR of 9.99 percent, a remarkably low rate compared to other card offers.
This card’s welcome offer is also one of the highest available on a business card with no annual fee: $200 cash back if you spend $15,000 in the first three months of card membership. This is an incredibly high spending requirement, however, so the card may be best for small-business owners who are planning large purchases or have a lot of ongoing business expenses.
Unfortunately, this card’s APR can climb to a staggering 34.99 percent, making it a potentially poor choice for cardholders with less than excellent credit, who are unlikely to qualify for the low-end APR. It also lacks an introductory APR for balance transfers and purchases, a feature present on other cards that can help you avoid interest charges for 12 months or more.
Despite its drawbacks, the Capital on Tap Business card is a great choice for business owners who value simplicity and have high expenses. You can apply without any impact to your credit score, and there are no foreign transaction fees, cash advance fees or returned payment fees. You’ll also benefit from free employee cards. As a Visa Corporate Card, the Capital on Tap includes an auto rental collision damage waiver as well as travel and emergency assistance.
How to choose the best no annual fee business card for you
If you’re only comparing business credit cards with no annual fee, then you should expect to receive a toned-down set of benefits. While no annual fee business credit cards do offer generous rewards rates and bonus offers, you can access a new range of perks, including deluxe travel benefits, if you’re willing to consider all the top business credit card offers on the market today.
With that being said, there are plenty of factors you should try to compare before you settle on a business card, including the following:
You should compare cards based on their rewards rates for everyday business spending. If your business spends more at gas stations and office supply stores than restaurants or home improvement stores, you should consider cards that offer boosted rewards rates in those categories. If your business spending is spread out uniformly, then a business credit card with a flat rate of rewards could leave you better off.
Also compare bonus offers among business credit cards, keeping in mind that the best credit card offers change over time. Ideally, you’ll wind up with a business credit card that offers a generous bonus with a minimum spending requirement you can easily meet. If the business credit card you’re considering requires you to spend $7,500 in three months to earn a sign-up bonus you should make sure you can spend at least $2,500 per month on regular business expenses for three months in a row.
Introductory APR offers
The best business credit cards with no annual fee also tend to waive interest on purchases for a limited time. Since avoiding interest for a year or longer can help you save money while you pay down business balances over time, you should compare these offers based on how long they last, whether or not you’ll carry a balance for the first year and the variable APR you’ll have to pay on remaining balances once they’re over.
Also consider any cardholder perks you’ll receive, whether that includes auto rental insurance, extended warranties, roadside dispatch or purchase protection on items you buy with your card. While you may think you won’t use your credit card’s benefits, perks you can get with a card can come in handy when you least expect it.
The bottom line
Business credit cards with no annual fee let you enjoy the perks of plastic without paying $100 or more each year. However, you shouldn’t settle for a new card before you know what’s out there. The best credit card for your business may be one you have never heard about before, so make sure to research and compare all your options before you apply.