Best Business Credit Cards of 2020

With generous rewards programs and features that boost the bottom line, business credit cards are designed to help companies big and small benefit from everyday spending. Our experts have reviewed hundreds of options to identify the best credit cards available from our partners.

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: Barry Bridges | bbridges@bankrate.com


The information about the U.S. Bank Cards has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Find the right business credit card with Bankrate

Business credit cards can be game-changing for small-business owners. Accumulating rewards bonuses that maximize your necessary expenditures can help you and your employees conduct business more easily.

If you’re looking to streamline your business-related purchases and earn rewards that can help you save money, a business credit card is a great option. Read our guide to learn all about how these cards can improve your business and which one might be a perfect fit for you.

A quick rundown of the top business credit cards

 

Card Name Rewards Highlights/Top Features Bankrate Score
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard® (not currently available) 3% cash back on eligible business purchases (cell phone/service provider, office supply stores, and gas stations) 3.6/5
U.S. Bank Business Platinum (not currently available) 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 20 billing cycles (9.99%-17.99% variable APR after) 2.3/5
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card (not currently available) Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on business purchases 4.8/5
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card (not currently available) 5% cash back on internet, cable, phone services and office supply stores (up to $25,000 a year in combined purchases) 4.8/5
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (not currently available) 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening, then 13.24% – 19.24% variable 4.5 / 5
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card (not currently available) 2% cash back on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1% 3.7 / 5
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card (not currently available) 3% cash back in choice category and 2% cash back on dining (on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year) 4.7 / 5

A closer look at 2020’s best credit cards for business

U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard® (not currently available)

Why we rate it best for gas stations

If your motor pool will put a fair amount of gas station purchases onto your new business credit card, the U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards card has what you are looking for — earn 3% cash back on eligible gas station, office supply store and cell phone/service provider net purchases. That 3% rate on gas station purchases is higher than that of the Ink Business Cash, and it’s unlimited, another definite plus.

Read the full review and apply on the U.S. Bank’s secure website.

Another card you might consider

If restaurants are on the table for your team, then the Ink Business Cash may actually be your best bet. That’s because you’ll earn 2% back at restaurants on up to $25,000 spent in combined purchases (along with gas station purchases) each account anniversary year. The cash back offer on the Ink Business Cash is also considerably higher at office supply stores: 5% cash back (as well as on internet, cable and phone services) on combined purchases of up to $25,000 spent each account anniversary year.

U.S. Bank Business Platinum (not currently available)

Why we rate it best for balance transfer

Not many business credit cards offer a 0% intro APR rate on balance transfers, but the U.S. Bank Business Platinum makes it so. For the first 20 billing cycles, get 0% on both purchases and balance transfers, then it’s a rock-bottom regular interest rate of 9.99%-17.99% variable APR.

Read the full review and apply on the U.S. Bank secure website.

Another card you might consider

If rewards are more your thing, take a look at the U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards. And for the team that often turns to travel, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business (not currently available)* is a fine choice. However, while the U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards has no annual fee, the Spark Miles for Business’ $95 annual fee kicks in after the first year.

*The information about the Capital One Spark Miles for Business has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card (not currently available)

Why we rate it best for unlimited cash back

If you treasure the idea of earning rewards without thinking about which business card to pull out for which purchases, the Ink Business Unlimited has what you’re looking for. Because the flat-rate rewards are so easy to work with, this is a good card for the business cardholder just starting out with rewards. And another fine feature: Employee cards come at no additional cost.

Read the full review and apply on Chase’s secure website.

Another card you might consider

If you’d like to try your skills at earning on specific categories, the Ink Business Cash is a good choice, because it rewards at a higher rate on office supply stores, internet, cable and phone services (5% cash back in combined purchases of the first $25,000 spent each account anniversary year), as well as gas stations and restaurants (2% cash back in combined purchases of the first $25,000 spent each account anniversary year). And it has the same great sign-up bonus of the Ink Business Unlimited — $500 cash back after a $3,000 spend within the first three months.

*The information about the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card (not currently available)

Why we rate it best for office supplies

A few business credit cards feature the category of office supplies, but the Ink Business Cash stands out because of the sheer volume of the rewards: Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores (as well as on internet, cable and phone services) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year.

Read the full review and apply on Chase’s secure website.

Another card you might consider

If travel is a category you see your team often turning to with your business card, the Spark Miles for Business (not currently available) might be a better choice. Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, as well as 5X miles on hotel and car rental bookings through Capital One TravelSM using this card. Your miles won’t expire for the life of the account, and there are no limits or category restrictions.

*The information about the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Why we rate it best for everyday business expenses

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express offers a flat 2X rewards rate on up to $50,000 in business purchases every year, then 1X, which means you can earn rewards for office supplies, client dinners and more.

Also, for business owners looking to avoid interest charges on a big purchase, this card is a great choice, as long as your credit score is within the good to excellent range. It offers a 12-month introductory 0% APR period on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening (then a variable 13.24% – 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening).

Annual Fee: $0

Read the full review and apply on the American Express secure website.

Another card you might consider

The Bank of America® Platinum Plus® Mastercard® Business card (not currently available) offers a sign-up bonus worth a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 within 90 days of account opening. However, the Blue Business Plus annual rewards structure and extended introductory offer will bring higher long-term value and earning potential for many business owners.

The information about the Bank of America® Platinum Plus® Mastercard® Business card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

Why we rate it best for startups

The American Express Blue Business Cash Card offers extended purchasing power, a potential game-changer for a new business. This benefit gives you the option of exceeding your credit limit without having to pay an over-limit fee. If you need to make a large purchase that would put you over your credit limit, the flexibility of extended purchasing power could help you get over the hump. Just remember that the amount you can spend over your normal limit isn’t unlimited and that it changes according to payment history, credit record and other factors.

The card also earns 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases per year and 1% cash back thereafter. All in all, it’s one of the better credit cards for new businesses on the market.

Annual Fee: $0

Read the full review and apply on the American Express secure website.

Another card you might consider

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business (not currently available)* seems like a natural rival. It also earns 2% cash back, but the earnings are unlimited. (The Blue Business Cash Card slips from 2% to 1% after you spend $50,000 in a year.)

The biggest difference is the Blue Business Cash Card’s extended purchasing power, but the value of that benefit depends entirely on whether you would ever need to exceed your credit limit. If you’re confident that your business won’t need any unusually large, credit-stretching purchases, you might do just as well with the Spark Cash for Business.

*The information about the Capital One Spark Cash for Business has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card (not currently available)

Why we rate it best cash back card for BofA customers

This is a great card for any business owner who enjoys customizable rewards, especially those who already bank with Bank of America. The Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard rewards 3% cash back on your choice of 6 categories:

  • Gas stations (the card’s default)
  • Office supply stores
  • Travel
  • TV/telecom and wireless
  • Computer services
  • Business consulting services

You’ll also earn 2% back on dining (for the first $50,000 on combined choice category and dining annually, then 1%) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases. The card offers a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of account opening.

Read the full review and apply on Bank of America’s secure website.

Another card you might consider

In addition to the Cash Rewards Mastercard, Bank of America also offers the Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card (not currently available), both with no annual fee and boosted rewards for Preferred Rewards for Business members.

Instead of cash back, Travel Rewards cardholders can earn 3X points on travel purchases booked through the Bank of America Travel Center and unlimited 1.5X points on all other purchases. If you need more flexibility in your rewards earnings, the Cash Rewards is likely the more lucrative choice. But if your business requires frequent travel and you prefer flat rate rewards, the Travel Rewards card is likely a better option.

The information about the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card and Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

What are business credit cards? How do they work?

Business credit cards are similar to personal credit cards, only tailored to business needs. They can provide businesses with rewards on their everyday spending, help cover expenses during seasonal periods and assist in credit-building, making it easier to borrow in the future and qualify for a lower credit card APR.

Rewards are often customized to fit the categories in which businesses spend most, allowing you to save money on common expenditures. Your business credit card can earn rewards for any eligible expenses your business incurs, from copier ink to hotel stays. The rewards typically come in the form of cash back or travel miles.

Depending on which type of card you choose, they often come with additional perks and upgrades, including:

  • Airport lounge access
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application rebate
  • Cellphone and rental car insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Free additional employee cards
  • Merchant discounts

A business credit card can also provide an automatic method of keeping business expenses separate from personal expenses, which makes tax records simpler to unravel. You may also be able to deduct business credit card-related expenses on your businesses’ tax return, including your business card’s annual fee and any interest accrued.

Pros and cons of business credit cards

More than half (52 percent) of small employers use credit cards on a regular basis, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Small Business Credit Survey. Still, a business credit card could have some drawbacks. Make sure you weigh the advantages and disadvantages carefully before you apply

Pros:

  • It can be easier to qualify for a business credit card than a line of credit or a bank loan.
  • They usually provide higher credit limits than consumer credit cards.
  • A business credit card can help address cash flow concerns.
  • Some card issuers have deferred payment policies tailored to the demands of operating a business.

Cons:

  • You may be personally liable for any unpaid debt on the cards, which can affect your personal credit score.
  • Business cards generally have higher fees and interest rates than personal credit cards.
  • Business credit cards are not required to offer the same consumer protections as personal cards under the Credit CARD Act of 2009, which can lead to unexpected fees and interest rate increases.

How to choose the right business credit card

Invest some time in determining the ideal business credit card for your business so that you can reap the benefits with most value to you. Here’s a breakdown of different types of cards and how they might appeal to you based on your business objectives:

Cash back cards

Good for: Helping small businesses maintain cash flow

Just like personal cards, cash back business cards are a popular choice for business owners looking for simple ways to put money back in their pockets. Some cash back business cards offer a straightforward flat rate on all your business expenditures while others have tiered rewards in different categories that may be more useful if they align with your spending.

Travel rewards cards

Good for: Owners who want to offset costs of business trips

If your business requires frequent travel, a travel credit card is a great way to not only save but also take advantage of perks like lounge access and travel insurance. You can often increase the value of the points you earn on these cards even more by redeeming them through issuer membership programs, like redeeming American Express Business Gold Card points through American Express Membership Rewards.

Balance transfer cards

Good for: Businesses that need to manage and consolidate debt

If your business has taken on high-interest debts in the past, transferring the balance to a business credit card with a lower APR can help you clear debts more quickly and save money on incurred interest. Business cards are less likely to offer 0% introductory balance transfer rates than personal cards, but you can find some with low variable rates that allow a low or no-fee transfer. Make sure you understand the terms and figure out whether the interest savings are worth any fees you’ll incur. You can run a simulated balance transfer with Bankrate’s Credit Card Balance Transfer Calculator.

Charge cards

Good for: Owners who want to maintain financial discipline

Charge cards work in largely the same ways as credit cards, but unlike credit cards, they have no pre-set spending limit. Instead, purchases are approved based on a number of factors in your financial history and you must pay the balance in full each month. Charge cards may be a good option if you have large purchases planned, but make sure your business has the cash flow to cover any charges you make month-to-month. Charge cards are primarily issued by American Express.

Other factors to consider when choosing a business card

  • Be aware of the categories you spend in most frequently in order to choose a card with rewards that will maximize those expenses.
  • Look at your spending history and what you expect to spend annually to determine whether a card’s annual fee is worth its rewards.
  • If you know there may be times where you risk carrying a balance, whether you’re anticipating periods of slow growth or you’re planning a large purchase to grow your business, you should prioritize a low standard APR card to help mitigate interest payments.
  • Look further than cash back percentages and points rewards to see what else a card has to offer, from airport lounge access to free additional employee cards and other tools that can help your business grow.

How to apply for a business credit card

The business credit card application process is similar to applying for a personal credit card, but not entirely. Here are a few things you might want to prepare for:

Submitting your information

When you apply for a business credit card, the information an issuer asks for may differ depending on the type of business. Regardless of how your business is structured, though, issuers will be looking for signs of good financial health and at least good credit, while some may require an excellent credit score.

According to the Fed’s Small Business Credit Survey Report on Employer Firms released in 2018, 87 percent of employer firms rely on the owners’ personal credit scores to obtain financing.

Also, the information you’re required to provide depends on the type of business you run.

As a sole proprietor or freelancer, you’ll likely only need to provide the same personal information required for personal credit card applications, including your name, Social Security Number (in some cases you may use an employer identification number instead), address and income.

As an LLC or corporation, be ready to share:

  • Your personal information
  • Information about your business, including name, tax identification number, address and business income
  • Additional information and documents related to your business for verification after receiving an initial approval

Always be sure to also provide all documentation the issuer requests, or you’ll risk your application being discarded.

Be aware of effects on your credit score

Regardless of your business type, the issuer will also pull a hard credit check on your personal report, even though the business line of credit will be separate from your personal accounts and won’t affect your personal credit utilization rate.

Similar to applying for personal credit cards, you should evaluate your financial health before submitting any applications. Evaluate the length of your credit history, whether you have any negative activity on your report and your credit score itself. Don’t apply for any cards that you know you’re unlikely to qualify for, as too many applications in a short time period can affect your score negatively.

Tips on how to use business credit cards

  • Establish spending guidelines to ensure you don’t take on high-interest debt using your business credit card.
  • Outline what constitutes a business expense, set your own spending limits outside of the designated credit limit and have a system in place for tracking purchases to ensure adherence to the rules.
  • If your business is made up of multiple employees, have a clear policy in place to decide who will receive an employee card. Most importantly, communicate all policies and guidelines across the business.
  • Use your card responsibly, but don’t forget to actually use it. Especially if your card charges an annual fee, you’ll want to ensure you’re maximizing your rewards and getting the most value out of your spending.
  • Stay diligent in keeping your personal expenses separate from your business expenses to simplify bookkeeping.
  • Don’t let your cash back or rewards points expire. Redeeming your rewards regularly can ensure that cash back or points value is invested back into your business rather than going to waste.

What is the highest-paying business cash back card?

That question doesn’t have a truly definitive answer, mainly because of the way cash back credit cards work. Some offer unlimited earnings on general purchases at a relatively low flat rate, while others feature higher rewards rates in special categories limited by spending caps.

However, we can offer a detailed analysis of several business cash back cards available from our partners to help you make your own decision.

Flat-rate with spending caps

The American Express Blue Business Cash Card has a rewards structure similar to that of the Capital One Spark Cash for Business (not currently available) — similar, yet not identical. The Blue Business Cash earns 2 percent cash back on all eligible purchases, but only on up to $50,000 per calendar year, after which the rate slides to 1 percent.

If you made $50,000 in purchases with this card in a calendar year, you’d earn $1,000 in cash back at that 2 percent rate. You would continue to earn after reaching the $50,000 limit, but at the reduced rate of 1 percent.

All things considered, the potential to earn at least $1,000 in cash back per calendar year should hold some appeal for just about any small business owner.

Tiered categories with spending caps

Things get a little more complex with the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card (not currently available). It has two bonus cash back categories, but your combined earnings in those categories have a $50,000-per-calendar-year limit. The card also earns 1 percent cash back on all other non-category purchases.

Category Earnings Limit
3% choice, which you can select from a list of six options including office supply stores and travel Combined $50,000/per calendar year with dining category
2% on dining purchases Combined $50,000/per calendar year with choice category
1% on all other purchases Unlimited

The most cash back you could earn in the combined choice/dining categories in a calendar year would be $1,500 ($50,000 at 3 percent). You would also earn an unlimited 1 percent cash back on eligible purchases outside the bonus categories.

If your business spends a lot of money on purchases in the choice and dining categories, you could earn cash back at a significantly faster rate with this card than with most others — at least until you hit the $50,000 threshold. Overall, this Bank of America card (which has no annual fee) could generate a tidy sum of cash back for a particular kind of business owner.

Business credit cards vs. business loans

Consider whether a credit card or a loan is the better option for you to get your business up and running. Generally speaking, a business credit card is easier to obtain than a business loan. Even if your credit is just average, you may still qualify for some business credit cards, like the Capital One Spark Classic for Business (not currently available)*. There are also secured business credit card options, in which you put down an initial deposit that acts as your credit limit, which can help if your credit score is less-than-stellar.

A business loan, however, would be much more difficult to qualify for with anything less than a strong credit profile, as you’d be deemed too big of a risk. It can take months to get approved for a business loan, which may also require collateral, potentially putting you at risk if your business runs into financial trouble.

However, business loans typically have much lower interest rates than business credit cards. If you need large amounts of cash upfront, a lump sum may also be a better choice than a revolving line of credit, especially if you’re likely to carry a balance on a credit card. But if you’re able to pay the card balance in full every month and you can obtain a large enough credit limit or have the cash flow for a charge card, you’ll likely benefit more from the rewards and perks of a business credit card.

Generally, business loans are a good choice for refinancing or one-time large investments, while business credit cards are ideal for ongoing expenses.

Bankrate’s Business Loan Calculator can help you decide which is best for you.

*The information about the Capital One Spark Classic for Business has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

How we rate our top business card selections

While we consider all aspects of a credit card when calculating the Bankrate score, the criteria for business cards emphasize features most valued by business owners. Scoring on this page places a weighted emphasis on:

  • APR. Some cards offer lower variable APRs, while others allow business owners to manage debt from large purchases or other credit accounts with 0% intro APR offers.
  • Rewards rates. When evaluating each card, we consider both the earning structure rate and corresponding redemption values that a small/medium business owner can expect with every eligible purchase.
  • Bonuses discounts and perks. For each sign-up bonus or welcome offer, we compare the spending requirements with the redemption value that each card brings to the table. On top of the bonus, we layer in additional perks like free employee cards and rental car insurance to calculate the total expected value.

Frequently asked question for business credit cards

When you apply for a business credit card, is approval based on your personal credit score?

Your personal credit score and financial health are taken into account when you apply for a business credit card. Most issuers will require at least good credit (670 and above), while some may even require excellent credit (740 and above). It’s important to keep in mind that when applying, the issuer will pull a hard inquiry on your credit file even though your business line of credit is separate from your personal accounts. Similar to applying for a personal credit card, it’s important to evaluate your credit health and history to determine if a business card is a good fit for you.

What is a business credit score?

A business credit score measures your company’s creditworthiness. The higher your business credit score, the more trustworthy you’ll appear to lenders, much like your personal score credit score. However, there are some distinctions that set the two apart. While personal credit uses a scale between 300-850 to determine your score, business credit scores typically use a scale between 0-100. Business credit is also public, meaning that anyone can look up your score through the business credit reporting agencies. There are three primary business credit reporting agencies, Dunn & Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax, each have their own scoring system. To fully determine your company’s creditworthiness, you’ll need to keep up with all of them, so it’s crucial that you’re aware of the different scoring systems.

Can I apply for a business credit card without a business?

In order to get approved for a business credit card you need to be earning money independently, but don’t necessarily need to have a traditional “business” to get approved. The requirements for applying for a business credit card are more simple than they appear. Any income-producing hobby or activity may be considered a business when applying for the card, as long as it’s profitable.

Can I apply for a business credit card with an EIN (employer identification number)?

Yes, you can apply for specific business credit cards with your EIN. However, depending on your business type the information that you are required to provide may differ. For example, as a sole proprietor or freelancer, you may be asked to provide similar personal information that is required when you apply for a personal credit card, like your Social Security number (in certain cases you can provide your EIN), address and income. As an LLC or corporation, be ready to provide your personal and business information, and any other details related to your business for verification after an initial approval. Regardless of your business type, it’s important to provide everything the issuer requires to avoid the risk of having your application declined.

How do I check my business credit score?

Since your business credit scores vary by agency, it’s a good idea to check in with each to have a well-rounded idea of your company’s financial health. There are three main business credit reporting agencies: Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Fico.

    • The Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX score ranges from 1-100, and to track your credit you’ll need a D-U-N-S number®, which you can apply for on their website.
    • To see your Experian business credit score you’ll need to head to their website as well. On the site you’ll be given different options to track your credit, like a one-time report or an annual subscription plan.
    • The FICO® Liquidcredit® Small Business Scoring Service (SBSS) can also be used to track your credit score, especially if you are a small business owner. Your FICO® score is generated on your likelihood of paying back credit on time based on your previous financial health, and uses a larger scale of 0-300. On the website you’re also given different options to track your credit: the basic, advanced and premier packages.

More research on credit cards for businesses

If you want a deeper look into how each card may serve your business’ needs, check out our expert reviews on all of the major business credit cards on the market today.

These reviews are up-to-date with the latest offers and our opinions on them.

You can also refer to these Bankrate resources and articles:

More info on rates and fees for the American Express® Business Gold Card.


Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, loans, mortgages and other personal finance products for Bankrate since 2018. His work has also appeared on websites including Nasdaq.com, Zillow.com and The Simple Dollar. He was previously an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to bbridges@bankrate.com.

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* 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.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.