Best business credit cards of 2021

The best small-business credit cards are designed to help companies big and small benefit from everyday spending. Generous rewards programs, expense tracking and features that boost the bottom line can benefit nearly every type of small-business owner, from the occasional freelancer to those with brick and mortar storefronts. While some business cards offer a flat rewards rate on all purchases, others are designed to reward common types of business purchases, like internet services or travel, at a higher rate. The other major differentiator is redemption style — most business credit cards allow you to exchange rewards earnings for either airline miles or cash back. When choosing the best credit card for your small business, it depends on spending habits, rewards preference, and a number of other factors. Our experts have reviewed hundreds of options to identify the best business credit cards available from our partners.

Bankrate's Picks for the Best Business Credit Cards (January 2021):

Need more information? Skip down to read our card profiles and expert advice.

Best for unlimited cash back

Chase Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
Welcome Offer:
Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
13.24% - 19.24% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for office supplies

Chase Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
Welcome Offer:
Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
13.24% - 19.24% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for flexible travel options

Chase Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
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
Welcome Offer:
New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Annual Fee:
$95
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
15.99%-20.99% Variable

Card Details

  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 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
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for everyday business expenses

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
Welcome Offer:
N/A
Annual Fee:
No annual fee
Purchase Intro APR:
0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
13.24% - 19.24% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
  • You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
  • More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
  • *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.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24% - 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply

Best business card for startups

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. 1% cash back on all eligible purchases after spending $50,000 per calendar year.
Welcome Offer:
N/A
Annual Fee:
No annual fee
Purchase Intro APR:
0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
13.24% - 19.24% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
  • From workflow to inventory to floor plans, your business is constantly changing. That’s why you’ve got the power to spend beyond your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power.
  • Just remember, 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.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24% - 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply
Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account.
Welcome Offer:
Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
20.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Transfer your miles to 10+ leading travel loyalty programs like JetBlue™, Air Canada, and Emirates™
  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
  • Fly through security with one statement credit for either the $85 TSA Pre✓® application fee or the $100 Global Entry application fee
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Free employee cards which also earn unlimited 2X miles from their purchases
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions.
Welcome Offer:
Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
20.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions
  • Purchase above your credit limit with no hassle and no over-limit fees
  • $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
  • No foreign transaction fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions.
Welcome Offer:
Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% on purchases for 9 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 13.99% - 23.99% variable APR after that
  • No annual fee
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • No foreign transaction fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply

The information about the Brex Corporate Card for Startups and 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. Some of the offers on this page may have expired.


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 Review
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on business purchases 4.8/5
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card 5% cash back on internet, cable, phone services and office supply stores (up to $25,000 a year in combined purchases) 4.8/5
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card 3x points per $1 on the first $150,000 annually in combined travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services 4.6/5
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express 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 2% cash back on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1% 3.7/5
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard® 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 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 20 billing cycles (9.99%-17.99% variable APR after) 2.3/5
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card 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
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 2X miles on every purchase 4.3/5

What are business credit cards?

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 building business credit, making it easier to borrow in the future and qualify for a lower credit card APR.

How do business credit cards work?

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.

More than half (53 percent) of small employers use credit cards on a regular basis, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2020 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 of business credit cards

  • It can be easier to qualify for a business credit card than a line of credit or a bank loan.
  • Using a business credit card responsibly can increase your business credit score, which looks better to vendors and can get you the best interest rates on business loans.
  • 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 of business credit cards

  • 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.

Types of business credit cards

Invest some time in determining the ideal business credit card for your business so that you can reap the benefits with the 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

Though they work in largely the same ways as credit cards, charge cards differ from credit cards in that 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.

How to choose a business credit card

  1. Assess your spending. Be aware of the categories you spend in most frequently in order to choose a card with rewards that will maximize those expenses.
  2. Sum up your 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. An easy way to get a rough estimate is to multiply one credit card statement by 12.
  3. Plan ahead. If you know there may be times when 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.
  4. Check out additional card perks. 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, though there are a few business credit cards for bad credit.

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 provide:

  • 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
  • A personal guarantee stating that you’re personally willing to assume liability for any debt your business incurs. This is required by most business credit cards, with a few exceptions.

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.

Expert Q&A: Monica Eaton-Cardone

Monica Eaton-Cardone is the COO and founder of Chargebacks911, an industry-leading chargeback remediation firm. In addition to COO, she holds the titles of speaker, entrepreneur and author. She is a tireless advocate for the role of women in IT and business leadership. We spoke with Monica about what a successful business looks like in terms of credit.

What tips do you have for building and maintaining good business credit?

As with personal credit, the underlying principle here is to convince lenders that you’re a reliable, stable entity who’s worth their investment. Many of the things that boost your business credit will be in line with that goal.

Ensure that your business can be found easily on Google, as well as on social media, and that you have a professional presentation. You’ll also want to try to establish a good rapport with vendors, as they may be more willing to extend credit to you at first. Incorporating your business as an LLC can also be very helpful, as it makes the business legally distinct from you as an individual.

Finally, once you are able to secure credit cards and other lines of credit for your business, you need to maintain what you’ve established. This means paying all bills on time and in full. Plus, just like with your personal credit, you need to monitor your reports on a regular basis, and ensure that they are free of errors.

What are some things to avoid when it comes to choosing a business credit card?

Some small businesses tend to shy away from cards that require an annual fee. This would be a mistake; if you want a business card, you can’t simply write off any card that requires an annual fee, as these charges are common practice for business cards. In line with what I mentioned earlier, you need to weigh the benefits against the cost of the card, and see if it plays to your advantage.

You also need to figure how many cards you should have at once. Having multiple cards can be a good move, as it increases your available credit and lowers your credit utilization ratio. That said, you don’t want to apply for every card out there, as each application triggers a hard inquiry on your credit, which means your score will take a slight hit.

Do you have a favorite business credit card? If so, why?

Again, it will vary based on what I’m using it for. I have several business cards that we use for different things, like booking travel, buying supplies, or organizing events. That said, I think the Capital One Spark Cash for Business offers a good “bang-for-buck” for small businesses.

The card offers a flat, unlimited 2% back on purchase, plus a $500 bonus if you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months. There’s a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year, and between the cash back welcome bonus and the standard 2% back, it shouldn’t be long before it pays for itself.

Business credit scores: What you need to know

In many ways, a business credit score serves the same function as a personal credit score. Its main purpose is to let lenders know whether a business has been a trustworthy borrower in the past.

Why your business credit score matters

Since you technically can lean on your personal credit for some business pursuits, you may wonder why your business credit score even matters. For an insider’s take on the matter, we reached out to Brian Bond, senior vice president of Product, Marketing and Strategy for Experian Business Information Services.

“Business credit is established on day one, so businesses should be thinking about how they want to improve and maintain their scores as soon as possible,” says Bond. “Lenders use businesses credit scores to gauge financial risk. It can determine whether they receive a loan, the interest rates they’re given, and if vendors will want to work with them. A good credit score can offer greater financial opportunities and affect a business’s ability to obtain capital, so it’s important for them to regularly monitor and keep up with their scores.”

Beyond business matters, there are personal reasons to set credit boundaries too.

“It’s important for small business owners to separate business credit and personal credit for a few reasons,” says Bond.

“If your business ever becomes at risk, your personal credit score becomes at risk as well. Maintaining separation can protect your personal credit profile should a financial mishap occur in the company, and vice versa. ”

How does a business credit score differ from a personal credit score?

While serving the same function, business and personal credit scores have a few key differences.

  • The business credit score range is smaller. While personal credit scores are between 300-850, business credit scores are typically between 0-100.
  • The credit reporting agencies and scoring systems are different. The three primary reporting agencies for business credit are Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and Equifax. They all use different scoring models, so your score may vary greatly between agencies.
  • Business credit is public, while personal credit is not. Anyone can look up your score through the business credit reporting agencies.
  • Business credit scores are tied to an EIN (unless you are a sole proprietor and do not have one), unlike personal credit scores, which are tied to your Social Security number.

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 Equifax.

  • 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 Equifax business credit report allows you to check your own business’s credit or that of another company it tracks for $99.95. You can also purchase a multi-pack (5 reports) for $399.95. The Equifax business credit report includes features like “payment trend” and “payment index” reports, with which you can compare to your business to others in your industry.

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 — 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. 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. 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.

How we choose our top business card selections

While we consider all aspects of a credit card when calculating the 5-star Bankrate score, the criteria for business cards emphasize features most valued by business owners. Scoring on this page places a weighted emphasis on factors including:

APR (Annual Percentage Rate)

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.

More research on credit cards for businesses

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

You can also refer to these Bankrate resources:

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.

Mariah Ackary is a writer for Bankrate.com, specializing in rewards and small businesses. Through her research and advice, she strives to make financial education easier and more approachable. Send your questions to mackary@redventures.com.

Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

Frequently asked questions about business credit cards

Whether your business is large or small, having a separate account for business expenses almost always makes sense. Simplified tax reporting, more targeted rewards and expense tracking tools are bound to make doing business easier.

If you're concerned about value, there's a good selection of business credit cards with no annual fee. As long as you're able to pay your bill in full each month, there's nothing to lose.
In practice, business credit cards work nearly the same as consumer cards. But there are a few differences, most of which work to your benefit.
  • Higher credit limits. Since you're able to include both personal income and business revenue on a business credit card application, you're more likely to be approved for a higher credit limit than a consumer card.
  • Rewards categories. It's common to see enhanced reward rates on unique, business-oriented categories like office supplies, travel and wholesalers.
  • Extra perks. Business credit cards come with a variety of benefits designed to help the business owner save time and money. One common benefit is quarterly or annual expense summaries — not only a good budgeting tool but also a way to simplify your business tax return.
  • Credit reporting. Have you ever wondered whether your business spending habits affect your personal credit? Your credit card issuer may report to both business and personal credit bureaus or business credit bureaus alone. It varies based on the issuer, the credit card, your spending habits and the state that you live in. If this matters to you, do some research to understand the full connection between business and personal credit.
  • Legal protections. Many of the laws that protect consumers from unfair and predatory lending tactics do not apply to business credit cards. Unlike consumer credit cards, it technically is not illegal for issuers of business credit cards to increase interest rates with no advance notice or charge extremely high late fees.
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.
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, and each has its own scoring system.

You’ll need to keep up with all of the credit scoring models to see the full picture of your company’s creditworthiness, so get familiar with how business credit scoring works.
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.
Though uncommon, business credit cards that do not require a personal guarantee do exist. However, there is usually a tradeoff. Instead of providing a personal guarantee, you'll usually need to link a corporate bank account with a large balance, provide proof of significant business profits, or offer business assets as collateral.

One popular option is the Brex 30 Card. To be approved for the card, you need $50,000 in your bank account if professionally invested, if not $100,000.
Yes, you can apply for specific business credit cards with your EIN. However, application requirements for business credit cards differ depending on business type.

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.
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.
The needs of a brand new startup are often different than the needs of a well-established company. In general, the best credit cards for startups will offer money-saving benefits and payment flexibility. That's why we think the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card is an excellent choice for startups. In addition to 2 percent cash back on all purchases (on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1 percent), cardholders have access to Expanded Buying Power, which allows you to spend a certain amount above your credit limit without having to pay an over-limit fee — just remember this amount is limited and may change.

The Brex Corporate Card for Startups is a great option for larger startups, as you'll need to link your bank account containing at least 100,000 in order to qualify. If you meet that steep requirement, the rest of the application may be easy. You won't be required to provide a personal guarantee or even a credit check, which is why the application process is so quick. Once approved, you'll earn rewards on business-friendly categories like travel, restaurants and software subscriptions. Lastly, you'll have access to offers worth over $25,000 in total, according to Brex. Some of the offers include discounts on top startup services like Amazon Web Services, Zoom, Dropbox and Google Ads.

* 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.