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7 types of businesses and our recommended credit cards for each

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There are myriad reasons to get a business credit card, and they extend far beyond the convenience factor credit cards offer when you make purchases in-person and online. For example, a business credit card can help you organize business-related purchases for accounting purposes and streamline your expenses to make filing business taxes a breeze.

Many business credit cards also let you earn points or miles on business purchases, and all while enjoying various consumer protections and travel-related perks. Some business credit cards even come with welcome offers worth $1,000 or more when you hit a minimum spending requirement within the first few months of account opening.

But, which type of card is best for your business? That typically depends on the type of business you have, what you spend the most on and the cardholder benefits you use the most.

Digital marketing

Our pick: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Why we picked it

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is perfect for digital marketing specialists, as well as bloggers and individuals who run affiliate websites. This is mainly due to the rewards program this card offers, as well as the categories cardholders earn bonus points in.

Cardholders earn 3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year (then 1X points), plus 1X points on all other purchases. The 3X points categories include shipping purchases, online advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines, travel and internet, cable and phone services.

New cardholders can also earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. Also note that rewards earned with this card fall within the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, so they can be used for merchandise, gift cards, travel through Chase and even point transfers to airline and hotel partners. A $95 annual fee applies.

Another good choice: American Express® Business Gold Card — Earn 4X points on up to $150,000 per year in two select categories your business spends the most in each billing cycle. Categories include advertising (purchased in the U.S. to promote your business online, on TV or radio), U.S. shipping costs and U.S. computer software, hardware and cloud data purchases made directly from select providers, and more.

Restaurants

Our pick: Capital One Spark Cash Plus

Why we picked it

The Capital One Spark Cash Plus is ideal for restaurant owners for a few reasons, including the fact that it’s a charge card with no preset spending limit. This makes it a good option for restaurant owners who have fluctuating expenses, as well as those who need to invest in pricey furniture or equipment and want a chance to earn rewards along the way.

While a $150 annual fee applies for those who choose this card, every purchase earns 2 percent back with no exclusions or limitations. New cardholders can also earn up to $1,000 in bonus cash within the first six months of account opening — $500 after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months, then another $500 after spending $50,000 on purchases within six months.

Another good choice: The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi — You’ll earn 2 percent cash back on all Costco and Costco.com purchases.

Traditional office

Our pick: Ink Business Cash Credit Card

Why we picked it

Business owners who run a traditional office should look for cards that reward them for the type of purchases they make the most. For many business owners, a card like the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is ideal because it offers bonus points at office supply stores. Specifically, this card gives you 5 percent 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. Cardholders also earn 2 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year and 1 percent back on all other purchases.

New cardholders can also earn $750 in bonus cash after spending $7,500 on purchases within three months of account opening. There’s no annual fee, and there’s also an intro APR offer for purchases that lasts for 12 months. After that, the regular APR of 15.49 percent to 21.49 percent (variable) kicks in.

Another good choice: Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card — Earn 3 percent cash back in the category of your choice, including office supply stores, computer services, telecom and wireless services, business consulting services and more.

Hospitality

Our pick: American Express Blue Business Cash Card

Why we picked it

Hospitality businesses (i.e. hotels, tour companies, travel vendors and more) need a credit card that earns a generous amount of rewards on all their purchases, which may fall into many different categories. With that in mind, the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card can work well since it offers 2 percent cash back on the first $50,000 spent each year, followed by 1 percent cash back.

This business credit card doesn’t charge an annual fee, and new customers can earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening. The American Express Blue Business Cash Card even comes with 0 percent APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 15.49 percent to 23.49 percent.

Another good choice: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card — 3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year, then 1X points

Freelance

Our pick: The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Why we picked it

While freelance businesses can be built around a wide range of industries, professionals in many fields popular for self-employment often need a credit card they can use for all their computer software, equipment and supplies. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express may not work for all freelance business owners, but it’s a solid pick for those who want to enjoy statement credits for a wide range of purchases, as well as those who want to earn rewards in the flexible American Express Membership Rewards program.

Cardholders earn 5X Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com, 1.5X points (on up to $2,000,000 per calendar year) on key purchases of $5,000 or more (electronics goods, retailers, software, and cloud service providers; construction materials and hardware supplies; and shipping providers) and 1X points on all other purchases.

While a $695 annual fee is required for this card, customers get up to $400 in credits toward Dell Technologies purchases each year, along with up to $360 in credits toward Indeed.com, up to $150 in credits toward Adobe purchases and up to $120 in credits toward wireless phone services. Other major perks include airport lounge access, up to $200 in airline fee credits, up to $179 toward Clear membership, a 35 percent airline bonus and more.

Another good choice: Ink Business Cash® Credit Card — 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores, internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year

Delivery or rideshare services

Our pick: Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Why we picked it

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card is perfect for entrepreneurs and gig workers who spend a lot of money on gas. First off, new cardholders can earn a $300 online statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases within 90 days of account opening. From there, they earn 3 percent cash back in the category of their choice, 2 percent cash back on dining purchases (on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, then 1 percent back) and 1 percent back on all other purchases. Gas is one of the 3 percent category options, as is travel, office supply stores, computer services, telecom and wireless services and business consulting services.

This card doesn’t charge an annual fee, and new customers can benefit from 0 percent APR on purchases for the first nine billing cycles (followed by a variable APR of 14.49 percent to 24.49 percent).

Another good choice: Ink Business Cash® Credit Card — 2 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year

Retail

Our pick: Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

Why we picked it

There aren’y many credit cards geared explicitly toward retail store owners, so it’s best to pursue a flat-rate cash back card like the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card. This card can be ideal for nearly any type of business, but especially those that want to earn cash back or carry a balance for a limited time. This card starts new customers off with a $750 cash bonus after they spend $7,500 within three months of account opening, and they also earn a flat 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase they make.

Retail businesses can also benefit from having 0 percent APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 15.49 percent to 21.49 percent. This perk can buy new businesses some time if they want to pay down large business expenses without interest for a while. The best part? This business credit card doesn’t even charge an annual fee.

Another good choice: American Express Blue Business Cash Card — 2 percent cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%

The bottom line

The right credit card for businesses depends on the type of business someone runs and the cardholder perks they want the most. Ultimately, that’s why it always makes sense to compare the best business credit cards to see how they stack up in terms of rewards, sign-up bonus offers and other perks.

From there, you can try to imagine which card would leave you better off due to the rewards you can earn or the cardholder benefits you receive. In the meantime, be sure to compare cards based on their fees and interest charges, and only settle when you find a card that fits your spending style and your budget.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit cards, loyalty and insurance topics. In addition to writing for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more.
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