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16 best small-business credit cards of December 2022

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Small-business owners — From the occasional freelancer to those with brick and mortar storefronts, all types of small-business owners can benefit from having a business credit card. The best small-business credit cards come with generous rewards programs, expense tracking and money-saving perks that can benefit nearly every type of business. You don’t need a formal business structure to apply for one. Our experts have reviewed hundreds of options and compared their features and perks to identify the best small-business credit cards of 2022 available from our partners. Our experts have reviewed hundreds of options and compare their features and perks to identify the best small-business credit cards of 2022 available from our partners.

Best for bonus categories

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Apply Now Lock
On Chase's secure site
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

$900
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

16.99% - 22.99% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best for unlimited cash back

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Apply Now Lock
On Chase's secure site
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

$900
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

16.99% - 22.99% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best for business travel rewards

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Apply Now Lock
On Capital One's secure site
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
4.3 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

50,000 miles
Info

Annual fee

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Regular APR

23.99% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best for no-hassle cash back

Capital One Spark Cash Plus

Apply Now Lock
On Capital One's secure site
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

Up to $1,000 cash bonus
Info

Annual fee

$150

Regular APR

N/A

Recommended credit

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info

Best for flexible rewards

American Express® Business Gold Card

Apply Now Lock
On American Express's secure site
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4 Bankrate review
Info
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

Intro offer

70,000 points
Info

Annual fee

$295

Regular APR

17.99% - 25.99% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Apply Now Lock
On American Express's secure site
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4.5 Bankrate review
Info
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

Intro offer

$250
Info

Annual fee

No annual fee

Regular APR

16.99% - 24.99% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Apply Now Lock
On American Express's secure site
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
4.3 Bankrate review
Info
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

Intro offer

15,000 points
Info

Annual fee

No annual fee

Regular APR

16.99% - 24.99% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Apply Now Lock
On Chase's secure site
Rating: 3.7 stars out of 5
3.7 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

$1,000 Cash Back
Info

Annual fee

$195

Regular APR

Flex for Business Variable APR: 17.99% - 25.99%

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Apply Now Lock
On American Express's secure site
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
4.8 Bankrate review
Info
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

Intro offer

120,000 points
Info

Annual fee

$695

Regular APR

17.99% - 25.99% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Apply Now Lock
On Bank of America's secure site
Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5
4.1 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

$300
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

15.99% - 25.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended credit

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Apply Now Lock
On Bank of America's secure site
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

$300
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

15.99% - 25.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended credit

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Credit Card Best Exclusive Intro Offer!

BEST FOR NO ANNUAL FEE

Capital on Tap Business Credit Card

Apply Now Lock
On Capital On Tap's secure site
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

$200 Cashback
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

9.99% - 34.99% APR

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

BEST FOR FIRST-YEAR VALUE

United℠ Business Card

Apply Now Lock
On Chase's secure site
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4.5 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

75,000 Bonus Miles
Info

Annual fee

$0 Intro for the First Year. $99 After

Regular APR

20.24% - 27.24% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

BEST FOR EVERYDAY BUSINESS TRAVEL

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Apply Now Lock
On American Express's secure site
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7 Bankrate review
Info
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

Intro offer

Earn 130,000 Points
Info

Annual fee

$95

Regular APR

19.49% - 28.49% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best for flexible travel options

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Apply Now Lock
On Chase's secure site
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4.5 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

100,000 points
Info

Annual fee

$95

Regular APR

19.74% - 24.74% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best for expense management tools

Divvy Business Card

Apply Now Lock
On Divvy's secure site
Rating: 3.9 stars out of 5
3.9 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

N/A

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

N/A

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit AmericanExpress.com/BenefitsGuide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company. The information about the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card, 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.


Comparing the top business credit cards

Business credit card Rewards & highlights Bankrate review score
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) 4.6 / 5
(Read full card review)
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card Unlimited 1.5% cash back on business purchases 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 2X miles on every purchase 4.3 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One Spark Cash Plus Unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase 4.7 / 5
(Read full card review)
American Express Business Gold Card 4X points on up to $150,000 per year in two select categories your business spends the most in each billing cycle and 2X points on rental cars booked through AmexTravel.com 4.4 / 5
(Read full card review)
American Express Blue Business Cash Card 2% cash back on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%, cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement 4.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening, then 16.99% to 24.99% variable 4.3 / 5
(Read full card review)
Ink Business Premier℠ Credit Card 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase travel portal, 2.5% cash back on purchases over $5,000, 2% cash back on all other eligible purchases 3.7 / 5
(Read full card review)
The Business Platinum Card from American Express 5X Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com; 1.5X points on eligible purchases in key business categories and on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else (cap applies) and 1X points on all other purchases 4.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no annual spending caps. 4.1 / 5
(Read full card review)
Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card 3% cash back on your choice of one of six categories, 2% cash back on dining (on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) 3.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital on Tap Business Card Unlimited 1.5% cash back, with no impact to your credit score when you apply 3.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
United Business Credit Card 2 miles for every dollar spent on United purchases, dining, at gas stations, office supply stores and on local transit; 1 mile for all other purchases 4.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card 12X points on Hilton properties, 6X points on select business (U.S. gas stations, U.S. cellphone service providers and U.S. shipping purchases) and travel purchases (U.S. restaurants, airfare booked through Amex Travel and select car rentals) with 3X points on all other purchases 4.7 / 5
(Read full card review)
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 3X points on the first $150,000 annually in combined travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services 4.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Divvy Business Card Up to 7X rewards points with the amount varying by spending category and how often you pay your bill 3.9 / 5
(Read full card review)

A closer look at our top business credit cards

Ink Business Cash Credit Card: Best for bonus categories

  • What we love about the Ink Business Cash Credit Card: The bonus categories, which include office supply stores, cable, internet and phone services, are uniquely valuable to a wide variety of businesses.
  • Who this card is good for: Small-business owners, e-retailers and Etsy store owners who spend a lot on internet, phone and office supplies.
  • Alternatives: If most of your monthly business expenses go beyond routine office supplies, you may find that a flat-rate card like the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card offers more value.

Learn more: Ink Business Cash Benefits Guide.
Read our full Ink Business Cash Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card: Best for unlimited cash back

  • What we love about the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card: It’s not uncommon for business credit cards to charge fees for additional employee cards, but the Ink Business Unlimited provides them for no additional cost. Plus, you can set individual spending limits for employee cards.
  • Who this card is good for: Small-business owners who are new to rewards and prefer simplicity will find a lot to like about the Ink Business Unlimited.
  • Alternatives: The Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus offers the same rewards rate, but its sign-up bonus comes with a much lower spending requirement ($500 bonus when you spend $4,500 within the first three months).

Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Ink Business Unlimited Card.
Read our full Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business: Best for business travel rewards

  • What we love about the Capital One Spark Miles for Business: While some travel credit cards have complicated rewards structures, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business keeps it simple. You can book travel through Capital One or use your miles to cover travel-related purchases made on your card within the last 90 days, including airfare, hotel bookings, transit and more.
  • Who this card is good for: Budget-conscious business travelers. If you’re looking for even more rewards, free employee cards make it easy for your business to rack up miles on every purchase.
  • Alternatives: The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card charges the same annual fee but comes with a broader range of travel benefits, including trip protection.

Learn more: Capital One Spark Miles for Business vs. Capital One Spark Cash Plus
Read our full Capital One Spark Miles for Business review or jump back to offer details.

Capital One Spark Cash Plus: Best for no-hassle cash back

  • What we love about the Capital One Spark Cash Plus: The 2 percent flat-rate cash back on this card is significant. Your rewards also won’t expire for the life of the account and you can redeem your cash back for any amount. Plus, you can earn an annual cash bonus of $200 every year you spend $200,000 or more.
  • Who this card is good for: Small-business owners who are new to the world of rewards will find a lot to like about the Ink Business Unlimited.
  • Alternatives: Like the Spark Cash Plus, The Plum Card® from American Express also comes with no preset spending limit. The Plum Card lets you carry a balance for 60 days, which is especially attractive for business owners who may need a little extra time to pay off their bill.

Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Capital One Spark Cash Plus card.
Read our full Capital One Spark Cash Plus review or jump back to offer details.

American Express Business Gold Card: Best for a variety of rewards categories

  • What we love about the American Express Business Gold Card: American Express offers six valuable, business-oriented rewards categories. Each billing cycle, you’ll be rewarded at a rate of four points per dollar in whichever two categories your business spent the most within (up to $150,000 in combined purchases per year).
  • Who this card is good for: Small-business owners with ever-changing spending habits. The ability to add employee cards can also help you earn rewards and offset the $295 annual fee.
  • Alternatives: Though the Business Platinum Card from American Express comes with a whopping annual fee of $695, globetrotting business owners may find its premium travel perks worth every cent.

Learn more: How to choose between the Amex Business Gold and Amex Business Platinum.
Read our full American Express Business Gold Card review or jump back to offer details.

American Express Blue Business Cash Card: Best for startups

  • What we love about the Blue Business Cash Card: This card offers Expanded Buying Power, a potential game-changer for a new businesses. This benefit gives you the option of exceeding your credit limit without paying an over-limit fee (see terms).
  • Who this card is good for: The American Express Blue Business Cash Card is a great match for new businesses, freelancers and vendors looking for a versatile flat-rate cash back option.
  • Alternatives: Small businesses who prefer the value of points over the convenience of cash back may prefer the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express. It’s also worth noting that Amex Membership Rewards points can be transferred to partnering hotels and airlines, often boosting their value.

Learn more: American Express Blue Business Cash Card benefits guide.
Read our full American Express Blue Business Cash review or jump back to offer details.

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best for everyday business expenses

  • What we love about the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express: Besides its travel redemption options, the Blue Business Plus comes with rental car insurance as well as access to the Global Assist® Hotline, which can help with emergencies such as a lost passport or missing luggage.
  • Who this card is good for: Small-business owners who want to redeem rewards for travel purchases.
  • Alternatives: Business owners with high monthly expenses may get more value from the Capital One Spark Cash Plus Card, which also offers 2 percent cash back but does not put a cap on rewards.

Learn more: Amex Blue Business Plus vs. Amex Blue Business Cash.
Read our full The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express review or jump back to offer details.

Ink Business Premier℠ Credit Card: Best for large general purchases

  • What we love about the Ink Business Premier: This card earns unlimited cash back at a solid flat rate for general purchases with a small boost for larger purchases over $5,000. It’s a great change of pace from tiered categories because it opens up better earning opportunities for business owners who make purchases outside of traditional categories. Not every business functions the same, and not every business uses office supply stores.
  • Who this card is good for: This card is a great option for independent contractors, freelancers or business owners with high cash flow who regularly make large purchases. The card’s rates gives any cardholder a chance to earn favorable rewards, while giving those who make large purchases a favorable boost they might not receive with another card.
  • Alternatives: If your business spending is more aligned with specific business categories, a rewards card with tiered categories may be a better fit. The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card charges no annual fee and offers 5 percent back at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services (up to a combined $25,000 spent each year, then 1 percent). If those categories fit your business’ spending habits, this is a great opportunity to quickly earn twice as much (or more) on your purchases than you would with the Ink Business Premier card.

Read our full Ink Business Premier℠ review or jump back offer details.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express: Best for luxury travel

  • What we love about the Business Platinum Card from American Express: Business travelers get access to over 1,400 airport lounges worldwide with this card. In addition, cardholders can receive up to $200 annually in airline fee statement credits with a select airline and a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck along with other notable perks.
  • Who this card is good for: Big spenders who frequently travel and want access to the most premium travel benefits.
  • Alternatives: If your business doesn’t require much traveling, the American Express Business Gold Card may be a better match. Not only will you spend a lot less on annual fees, but you stand to earn a higher rewards rate on your top expense categories.

Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the American Express Business Platinum card.
Read our full The Business Platinum Card from American Express review or jump back to offer details.

Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card: Best for Bank of America loyalists

  • What we love about the Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Mastercard: You get 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, meaning you don’t have to worry about tailoring your spending towards certain categories. You can also boost those rewards significantly if you qualify for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.
  • Who this card is good for: Business owners whose purchases cover a variety of different spending categories.
  • Alternatives: Big spenders willing to look outside of Bank of America may find more value with the Capital One Spark Cash Plus card and its 2 percent unlimited cash back on all eligible purchases.

Read our full Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card review or jump back to offer details.

Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card: Best for choice of cash back category

  • What we love about the Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard: Cardholders get the autonomy to choose where they can earn the most cash back in select categories for their spending, a rarity in business rewards cards.
  • Who this card is good for: Business owners who can benefit from boosted rewards rates on purchases at gas stations, office supply stores and travel, as these are aligned with this card’s cash back choice categories.
  • Alternatives: Businesses with consistent monthly spending categories that prefer a cash back option may prefer the Ink Business Cash Credit Card. You’ll earn a hefty 5 percent cash back on office supplies, phone and internet services, and 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and restaurants (on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year). Also, you may want to consider other Bank of America Business credit card options.

Learn more: Is the Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard worth it?
Read our full Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card review or jump back to offer details.

Capital on Tap Business Card: Best for no annual fee

  • What we love about the Capital on Tap Business Card: This card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, making it ideal for small businesses that frequently make purchases abroad or online with international merchants.
  • Who this card is good for: The Capital on Tap Business Card is ideal for small business employees who need to frequently charge expenses for their role.
  • Alternatives: Similarly, the Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards card carries no annual fee and offers 1.5 percent cash back. Existing Bank of America and Merrill customers stand to earn significantly higher rewards through its Preferred Rewards program provided they meet program requirements.

Learn more: Tap into the benefits of the Capital on Tap Business Credit Card.
Read our full Capital on Tap Business Card review or jump back to offer details.

United Business Credit Card: Best for first-year value

  • What we love about the United Business Credit Card: This card’s two-tiered welcome offer gives you the chance to earn a huge first-year payout. Bankrate values the card’s welcome offer at up to roughly $1,650 if you’re able to meet the maximum spend requirement. If not, moderate Delta flyers still have a chance to earn an impressive amount of bonus miles as well.
  • Who this card is good for: Boosted rewards in the categories of travel, office supplies, dining, gas and local transit make it a solid choice for small-business owners loyal to Delta Airlines.
  • Alternatives: If you’re looking for a card that’ll complement your travel needs, business needs and your business-related travel needs, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business can be a solid option. You’ll still maintain a relatively high first-year value and you’ll earn 2X miles on every purchase. Unlike with the United Business card, it’ll earn miles for travel purchases on every airline, making it a solid low-maintenance choice for cardholders who aren’t picky about who they fly with. Plus, it allows mile transfers to travel partners that may boost value. The card has roughly the same annual fee as the United Business card, but it’s waived the first year, giving you a solid opportunity to retain some of your card’s first-year value.

Read our full United Business Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Credit Card: Best for everyday business travel

  • What we love about the Hilton Honors American Express Credit Card: This card provides remarkably high rewards rates at Hilton hotels and for business purchases. Coupled with Hilton Honors Gold Status, this card offers more reward opportunities than other travel cards.
  • Who this card is good for: Traveling business owners who are Hilton loyalists can make the most of this card’s rewards rates, discounts and points bonuses for Hilton stay milestones.
  • Alternatives: If you travel for business often but not in areas serviced by Hilton hotels — or you simply don’t prefer Hilton to other hotel brands — a general business and travel rewards card might be a better option for you. The Capital One Spark Miles for Business credit card can be a great way to earn miles on every purchase. Plus, 1 Capital One mile can be worth more than 1 Hilton Honors point based on Bankrate’s estimated value of 2 cents per mile. You can redeem miles for flights, hotels, ride shares or transfer them to 15+ loyalty programs.

Read our full Hilton Honors American Express Business Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Best for flexible travel options

  • What we love about the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: The rewards rates alone make this card valuable for business travelers, but the real icing on the cake is the wealth of redemption options. You can redeem your points for 25 percent more value for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, but you also have the option to transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to big-name airline and hotel partners like United, Southwest, British Airways, Marriott and Hyatt.
  • Who this card is good for: Small-business owners seeking travel rewards and an impressive sign-up bonus.
  • Alternatives: The American Express Business Gold Card offers 4X points on spending in your top two categories where your business spent the most each month (up to $150,000 in combined purchases per year). Though the Ink Business Preferred wins out on travel, the Amex Business Gold’s rewards rate may prove to be a better value for businesses with somewhat predictable expenses.

Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Ink Business Preferred Card.
Read our Ink Business Preferred Credit Card review or jump back to offer details

Divvy Business Card: Best for expense management tools

  • What we love about the Divvy Business Card: This card simplifies expense budgeting by allowing you to set spending limits for employee cards. In addition to expense management and budgeting tools, cardholders can easily request credit limit increases through the platform.
  • Who this card is good for: Business owners looking for a seamless way to manage staff spending. Using the Divvy platform, you can track transactions, create budgets, submit expense reports and reimburse employees.
  • Alternatives: If your business regularly racks up high monthly rideshare expenses, the Brex 30 card offers 8X points on rideshares and also comes with no annual fee.

Learn more: Our guide to Divvy card benefits and features
Read our full Divvy Business Card review or jump back to offer details.


What are small-business credit cards?

Business credit cards are similar to personal credit cards, only tailored to business needs. They can provide businesses with rewards on everyday spending, help cover expenses and assist in building business credit, making it easier to borrow in the future and qualify for a lower credit card APR. Plus, any income-producing endeavor may be considered a legitimate business for a business credit card. Even if you don't have a registered LLC or corporation, you may be eligible to apply.

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Bankrate Insight

You don’t need to own a formal business structure, like a corporation or LLC, to get a business credit card. You also don’t need an employer identification number (EIN); you can apply as a sole proprietor using a Social Security number. In fact, as long as you sell a good or service, you’re usually considered an eligible small-business owner.

How do business credit cards work?

In practice, business credit cards work the same as consumer credit cards: You get approved for a specific credit limit, which serves as your spending maximum. Your available credit decreases as you make purchases, and it increases as you pay off those purchases. Some business credit cards also require a personal guarantee from the business owner, meaning the owner promises to pay the credit card balance if the business itself cannot repay its debts.

Depending on which type of card you choose, business credit cards often come with additional perks and upgrades. These can include business credit card rewards, which are often customized to fit the categories where businesses spend most, like office supplies, dining and travel. The rewards typically come in the form of cash back or travel miles.

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.

Stay in the know and get informed with the latest business credit card news and advice.

Differences between business credit cards and personal credit cards

While it may seem easier or better to use your personal credit card for your business — especially when you're first starting out — there are many reasons why you should be using a dedicated credit card for your small business instead of a personal card. Using a personal credit card for your small business can create several issues for you and your business down the line, while using a business credit card keeps your business finances streamlined.

For example, keeping track of your business expenses becomes much easier when you use a dedicated small-business credit card because you can track exactly what you purchased for your business, making it simple to keep track of possible deductions. On the other hand, if you use your personal credit card for your business purchases, it’s difficult to keep track of which purchases were business related and which were not. This aspect can make taxes and dealing with the IRS much more difficult.

Personal credit cards also offer fewer protections for your business. In the instance of a limited liability corporation, or LLC, the legal protection benefits you enjoy with this type of business structure are only upheld if you keep your business purchases and your personal purchases separate.

You also forgo the opportunity to build your business credit when you use your personal credit card to make business purchases. You give up all the perks and rewards — like rewards for employees’ travel purchases or purchases of office supplies — when you use your personal card in your business as well.

Types of business credit cards

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

Pros and cons of business credit cards

Pros

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    Lenient qualification: It can be easier to qualify for a business credit card than a business line of credit or a bank loan.

  • Checkmark

    Credit limits: Business credit cards usually provide higher credit limits than consumer credit cards.

  • Checkmark

    Funds access: A business credit card can help address cash flow concerns.

  • Checkmark

    Tax season simplification: Keeping business expenses separate from personal expenses makes tax records simpler to unravel.

Cons

  • Liability: You may be personally liable for any unpaid debt on the cards, and business credit can affect your personal credit.

  • Fewer protections: Business credit cards are not required to offer the same consumer protections as personal cards under the Credit CARD Act of 2009, though many issuers do voluntarily extend these protections to their business products.

  • Higher interest: They can be expensive, with relatively high average interest rates and fees. These costs can eat away at your business’s bottom line if you’re not careful.

Why small-business owners should get a business credit card

Business credit cards are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of small-business owners. While that might conjure an image of someone operating a physical storefront, small-business owners take many shapes. Freelancers, contract workers, online merchants and all kinds of gig workers can qualify for business credit cards. Business credit cards are useful for small-business owners who want to:

  • Operate a sole proprietorship: Business credit cards are for all types of businesses. So even freelancers, independent contractors and gig-economy workers with limited startup or working capital can take advantage of a business credit card to cover inventory, cyclical expenses and emergencies.
  • Earn some extra cash: Even if you’re just using the card for occasional purchases — a client lunch here, supplies there — cash back will rack up over time. If you maximize your rewards, you could get even more cash back or points from a business credit card.
  • Use points or miles to cover business travel: Whether you’re a current or aspiring business traveler, a travel rewards business card can put you one step closer to a free flight or hotel stay with every eligible purchase.
  • Separate business expenses from personal expenses: One of the most basic reasons to have a card dedicated solely to business is to track and manage your company's expenses. Not only does this help with budgeting, but it makes doing your business’s taxes much easier.
  • Finance a large purchase: If you’re dreaming of taking your business to the next level but don’t quite have the funds to comfortably cut a check, a business credit card can help. Not only can you split up the payments over several months, but you can also avoid credit card interest entirely by making use of a 0 percent introductory APR period.
  • Take advantage of unique perks: Business cards often come with benefits designed to appeal to small-business owners. Common perks include free employee cards, expense tracking tools, quarterly summaries, merchant discounts, purchase protection and travel benefits.
  • Track and earn rewards for employee spending: The best business credit cards let you add employees as authorized users to the account for free. Adding employee cards allows you to track or even manage employee spending. In some cases, you can pre-set spending limits.

What you need to apply for a small-business credit card

When applying for a business credit card you’ll need more information than what would be required for a personal credit card application. Know this information or have it readily available when applying for your small-business credit card:

  • Your business’s legal structure. A credit card issuer will need to know your business structure and if it has other beneficial owners with a 25 percent or more stake in the business. It can be registered as a corporation, partnership, nonprofit or a limited liability company.
  • Your business’s legal name. If your business is set up as a corporation or a limited liability partnership, you need to provide your credit issuer with the name you gave the state you registered your business in. If you’re a sole proprietor, or general partnership you can simply provide your own name.
  • Your federal tax ID. Your EIN — your employer identification number — is the nine-digit number assigned to your business by the IRS. The issuer will use your EIN to verify your business. If you’re operating as a sole proprietor and don’t have an EIN yet, you may use your Social Security number.
  • Annual revenue. Your card issuer will want to determine your ability to repay funds if necessary and calculate your debt-to-income ratio. For this requirement, provide your annual business revenue. If you don’t have any, you can provide your personal annual income. You’ll need to provide an estimated monthly spend amount on the card as well.
  • Credit score. You don’t necessarily need good credit to get a business credit card, but if you want one with competitive rates and features, you’ll need good-to-excellent credit. The best small-business credit cards — with low interest rates, generous sign-up bonuses, long intro 0 percent APR offers and more — are reserved for people with a FICO credit score of 670 or higher. Plus, after receiving your first business credit card, you’ll be able to establish a business credit score.

How long does it take to get a business credit card?

After determining which card is the correct fit for your business and going through the application process, you may receive a decision instantly. However, if the issuer needs to take a closer look at your application, you’ll most likely receive a decision within two weeks. If approved, your card may take up to 10 business days to arrive. If your application is denied, consider applying for another card or call the issuer’s reconsideration line.

How to choose the best small-business credit card

Once you’ve decided your company is ready to take the next step and apply for a business credit card, you’ll need to evaluate your needs to select the best card for your financial goals. Here are a few factors to consider:

What categories does your business spend the most on each month?

If your expenses are concentrated in one category like travel, then search for the best business credit card that offers rewards for those kinds of purchases. If your business spending is fairly even across multiple categories, opting for a flat-rate cash back credit card or one that allows you to choose your preferred category might be the better choice.

Can you afford an annual fee?

Some of the best credit cards for businesses come with an annual fee in exchange for better rewards and perks. If you can recoup the cost of the annual fee or afford it outright, then you can unlock more benefits and higher rewards rates with your business spending.

The top business credit cards share many of the same premium perks as the best travel and rewards cards. Cards with a higher annual fee may also offer benefits specifically designed for business owners, such as accounting software, free employee cards and business expense discounts.

Will you carry a balance on your business credit card?

Compare the APRs on the credit cards you’re considering. If you carry a balance from one month to another, expect to pay interest — so finding a card with the lowest APR possible will help mitigate costly charges on your account. Plus, some of the cards you’re considering may offer a 0 percent introductory APR period which offers you time to pay off your balance or finance a large business expense.

Do you want 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. While cards in this category are designed to offer business-focused perks, the most premium benefits are typically accompanied by an annual fee.

In the news: What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday, created by American Express in 2010 in an effort to increase community support of small businesses, falls annually between two of the busiest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2022, Small Business Saturday took place on Nov. 26, offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete with larger brands as the holiday shopping season approaches.

How can your small business benefit from this year’s Small Business Saturday? Erica Sandberg and Mariah Ackary provide helpful tips on how business owners can capitalize on the holiday shopping season.

How we rate the best business cards

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:
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    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 percent intro APR offers.
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    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.
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    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.

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

Ask the experts: When should you consider getting a business credit card?


Travel Rewards Expert Contributor

Small-business credit cards are a great way to earn additional rewards for your company purchases while giving you a chance to separate them from your personal charges. Once you start making regular credit card charges for your company, then you can consider getting a small-business card to keep the charges separate. You might also consider getting a small-business card for the benefits. For example, airline cards for small-business owners can offer perks like priority boarding and a free checked bag. Small-business credit cards are great at helping you to track your expenses and come up with quarterly and year-end summaries that help you to prepare your taxes.

Personal Finance Writer

The best time to get a new business credit card is when your business has a big spend coming up so that you can take advantage of earning the sign-up bonus. Many business rewards cards have a higher minimum spend of at least $3,000 to $5,000 and some have tiered bonuses, giving you better rewards at even higher thresholds up to $15,000. Other great times to consider a new business card are at the beginning of the calendar year or your new fiscal year to help keep your bookkeeping in order, or when you bring on a new employee and want to make sure you have the best option for adding additional cards.

Travel Rewards Expert Contributor

If you own a business or you’re even planning to start one, separating your business finances from personal accounts should be high on your list of things you do. By keeping business transactions separate, you greatly simplify recordkeeping and planning. And if you need to show the Internal Revenue Service that you have a business, not a hobby, separate accounts help you demonstrate you are running the activity like a business. If you operate a business with non-family members or you have employees who need access to a card, it’s definitely time for a separate business card. You can make employees or business partners authorized users on a card, and some business cards even let you control and track spending by user.