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- If your income is solely from freelance work, getting a business credit card for your freelance expenses can help you in the long run. But if you occasionally freelance as a side hustle, it may not be worth getting a business credit card.
- A business credit card can help you keep personal and business purchases separate, making it easier to file taxes each year. Plus, you can benefit from earning rewards, business management tools and other card perks.
- When choosing a business card, you'll want to consider annual fees, rewards programs, business tools and any other card benefits, along with your business needs and spending habits.
Not everyone enjoys working for someone else. If you’re one of the many Americans who freelance and own your own business, you might find it useful to have a business credit card to separate your personal expenses from your professional ones. While some business credit cards cater to large- or mid-sized businesses, there are plenty of business cards for freelancers that can help you earn rewards and manage small-business finances.
Here are some of the best credit cards for the self-employed. These cards can help freelancers or independent consultants run their small businesses and earn some perks simultaneously.
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card: Best for unlimited flat rewards
Why we picked it: If your spending as a freelancer is spread over many business categories — or is too general to pinpoint — then the Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card can help you reap decent flat-rate rewards for your expenses. It has no annual fee and offers a straightforward, unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase, making it a solid first card for general freelancers.
- Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase
- $0 annual fee
- Lower earning potential
Who should apply: This is a solid first card for general freelancers. For example, a freelance designer can use this card for recurring software or cloud service subscriptions and other yearly business expenses. Since it has no annual fee, there’s no need to worry about recouping the cost of carrying the card. The card is even a good fit for high-spending freelancers who want to avoid an annual fee, given that there’s no spending cap on the 1.5 percent cash back rate.
Who should skip: If you have large expenses throughout the year, you might get better overall value from a card with an annual fee and a better rewards rate.
The American Express Blue Business Cash Card: Best for 2% cash back
Why we picked it: What’s great about The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card is its 2 percent cash back on all purchases (on up to $50,000 in spending per year, then 1 percent after). The Amex Blue Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited cards are similar in that they both have no annual fee, but both come with limited cardholder perks.
- 2 percent cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $50,000 per year, then 1 percent)
- $0 annual fee
- Capped rewards rate
Who should apply: This card is best for freelancers who have very general expenses but still want to earn elevated rates on their cash back rewards.
Who should skip: If you think you’ll spend significantly more than $50,000 a year on business expenses, then this card’s potential is limited. Freelancers planning to put more than $100,000 in expenses on a card are better off with the Ink Business Unlimited or another card with better overall perks. Otherwise, it’s a solid pick for your business’ financial toolbox.
Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card: Best for rotating cash back
Why we picked it: The Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card has a tiered cash back structure of 2 percent cash back on dining purchases and 3 percent cash back in an eligible category of your choice (on up to $50,000 of combined 2 percent and 3 percent category spending per calendar year, then 1 percent back).
Among the six customizable categories, there are three worth noting: computer services, telecom and wireless services, and business consulting services. Computer services include recurring software subscriptions like Adobe and merchants like Dell and Intel so that tech-heavy freelancers can earn 3 percent cash back for their expenses. The business consulting services category includes LegalZoom and One Legal, so freelancers can draft contracts and legal documents while earning 3 percent back on those costs.
You can change the 3 percent cash back category each calendar month. For example, if you’re planning a computer equipment upgrade, you can switch to the computer services category to earn 3 percent back on that purchase for the month. Next month, you can switch the category back to one where you’ll earn the most.
- 2 percent cash back on dining purchases and 3 percent cash back in an eligible choice category (on up to $50,000 of combined 2 percent and 3 percent category spending per calendar year, then 1 percent back)
- $0 annual fee
- Capped rewards rates
Who should apply: For freelancers who mainly work online, The Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard could be a worthy consideration.
Who should skip: Freelancers who don’t want to change their choice category or worry about spending caps may find more value in a flat-rate rewards card.
The information about the Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card was last updated on July 12, 2023.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express: Best for high earners
Why we picked it: With The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll earn 1X points on all general purchases and 1.5X points on eligible purchases in key business categories and on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (on up to $2 million per calendar year). Key business categories include eligible purchases at U.S. construction material and hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, software and cloud system providers, and shipping providers.
On top of these earning rates, this card comes with numerous statement credits for modern business expenses, such as up to a $150 statement credit per year on select Adobe purchases (including Adobe Creative Cloud and Acrobat Pro DC annual subscriptions), up to $120 in statement credits ($10 per month) for direct purchases with any U.S. wireless telephone provider and up to a $400 statement credit on Dell purchases (up to $200 semi-annually). Add those to the card’s numerous travel-related statement credits, and it can be easy for a self-employed freelancer to recoup the high annual fee.
- Over $1,000 in value from business-related statement credits
- Travel-related statement credits and perks
- Airport lounge access
- Travel insurance benefits
- $695 annual fee
Who should apply: High-earning freelancers and independent consultants can reap plenty of rewards with its slew of statement credits and elevated reward categories. This card is also great for traveling freelancers because it offers 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.
Who should skip: This card is the only card on this list with an annual fee — and a hefty one. Coming in at $695 a year, it’s one of the most expensive business cards from American Express.
Should you get a business credit card as a freelancer?
The short answer: It depends. If you occasionally freelance on the side and only rake in a couple hundred dollars a year, it may not be worth getting a business credit card.
On the other hand, if your income is solely from freelance work, getting a business credit card for your freelance expenses can help you in the long run. First, a credit card for freelance expenses can help keep personal and business purchases separate, making it easier to file taxes each year. Plus, if your business grows and you hire employees, many business card issuers offer employee cards for no additional fee.
You can also benefit from earning rewards on business-related purchases. Most business credit cards are tailored to earn rewards on software subscriptions, computer equipment purchases, consulting services and more. With these rewards, you can earn a little extra cash back, points for travel or get discounts on your business spending.
How to choose the best credit card for freelancers
When you’re ready to get a business credit card, it can be hard to choose from the many options available. Here are some questions to keep in mind as you decide:
Is there an annual fee?
Plenty of business cards with no annual fee make it easy to net rewards without yearly costs. However, business cards with annual fees usually come stacked with statement credits and higher earning rates. If you’re a freelancer considering a credit card with an annual fee, make sure you can recoup the cost (and then some) through your spending.
In what categories can you earn rewards?
You may find that standard business cards have spending categories you don’t need if you work from home, such as gas, flights and hotels. Compare the rewards categories for the business cards you’re considering to see where you spend (and earn) the most. For example, a freelance web developer may have recurring software and services subscriptions, so they should target cards that offer elevated points or cash back in that category.
How can a business card help you run a business?
You are running a business as a freelancer or independent consultant, and your credit card should help — not hinder — you. Look for business credit cards that have features like expense tracking and account management to make running your business smoother. Common credit card perks like purchase protection and cellphone insurance can come in clutch if your new equipment is faulty or your cellphone is stolen.
The bottom line
Business credit cards for freelancers are a solid option to earn rewards and take advantage of perks while managing your business expenses. If you’re a full-time, self-employed freelancer, consider using one of the best business credit cards to earn rewards on your business spending. Just be careful to keep personal and business expenses separate to save yourself a headache come tax season.