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Updated March 20, 2017

How to Choose a Small Business Credit Card

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For small business owners, credit is vital. But with so many credit cards available designed for businesses, how can you decide which one is right for you and your company? These two factors can help narrow down your selection:

  • If you plan to pay your balance in full each billing cycle, look to maximize rewards with a business credit card with rewards, such as airline miles or cash back.

  • If you think you'll carry a balance, look for a card with a low APR. Avoid charge cards, because they usually require that your balance be paid in full each billing cycle.

Hot Deals for November 2017

A new credit card with an introductory offer can be a great way to get a head start on reaching your business goals.

Here are business credit card promotions you should not ignore:

Deals and Promotions

  • Ink Business Preferred
    Apply for Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
    Rewards: If you spend more than $1,667 per month for your business, this promotion is for you. Ink Business Preferred lets you earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 80,000 points is worth $1,000 toward travel when you redeem via Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn. There are no foreign transaction fees. There is a $95 annual fee.

  • SimplyCash Plus
    Apply for SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
    Cash Back with No Annual Fee: If you spend more than $1,250 per month for your business, consider the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express (a CreditDonkey partner). SimplyCash Plus offers up to $400 cash back. Here is how the special offer works. You earn a $200 statement credit if you spend $5,000 in qualifying purchases on your card within the first six months of Card Membership. You can earn an additional $200 statement credit after you spend an additional $10,000 or more in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first year of Card Membership. There is no annual fee.

    Look: this card earns 3% cash back on the category of your choice (from a list of 8 select categories). This card earns 5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and at U.S. office supply stores. Other purchases earn 1% cash back. The 5% and 3% tiers apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year (then 1% applies thereafter). The cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement. Enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months. After that, a variable APR of 13.24% to 20.24%. Terms apply.

  • Blue Business Plus Promotional APR with No Annual Fee: Blue Business Plus earns 2X Membership Reward® points on the first $50,000 spent on eligible purchases each calendar year, 1 point per dollar thereafter. Enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, a variable APR, currently 12.24%, 16.24% or 20.24%. There is no annual fee. Terms apply.

  • 2% Cash Back on Every Purchase: Capital One Spark Cash offers a one-time bonus of $500 if you spend $4,500 on purchases within three months of account opening. This card earns 2% cash back on every purchase. There is a $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year).

    Does it make sense to choose cash back over reward points? If your business has travel needs, you may find Chase Ultimate Rewards and AMEX Membership Rewards points more valuable. They can be transferred to airline and hotel partners, which often have potential for a higher redemption value.

  • Low Interest with No Annual Fee: U.S. Bank Business Edge offers 0% Intro APR* on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR, currently 10.99% - 18.99%. There is no annual fee.

  • Business Gold Rewards Card Membership Rewards: Business Gold Rewards Card offers 50,000 Membership Rewards® points if you spend $5,000 with your new card within the first three months of opening your account. This card earns 3x points in 1 out of 5 categories and 2x points on the remaining 4 categories. Other purchases earn 1x points. The 3x and 2x apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1x point per dollar thereafter. There is no foreign transaction fees. There is a $175 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year). Terms and limitations apply.

  • American Express Business Platinum Travel Benefits: If you spend more than $6,667 per month for your business, this promotion is worth considering. American Express Business Platinum offers up to 75,000 points. You earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Earn 1.5 points per dollar on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per year). Earn 1 point per dollar for qualifying purchases under $5,000. You can use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back (up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year). There is a $450 annual fee.

    This card has premium benefits for travelers: The card includes access to the Global Lounge Collection, which gives you complimentary access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. That includes Delta Sky Club, The Centurion lounge network, The International American Express lounges, Priority Pass Select lounges (enrollment required), and Airspace Lounge. In addition, you can enroll your card with Gogo to get 10 Gogo inflight internet passes annually. And you can enroll with Boingo for unlimited Wi-Fi at Boingo hotspots. Terms Apply.

  • Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card Travel / Hotel Stays: Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card offers 25,000 bonus Starpoints® if you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your new card account. Earn points toward free nights at over 1,300 hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights. Some hotels and resorts may have mandatory service charges. There is no foreign transaction fee on international purchases. You can enroll for free unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi at more than a million Boingo hotspots worldwide. There is a $95 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year). Terms Apply.

What Kind Of Rewards Are Right for Your Business?

Pretty much all business owners are in favor of earning rewards while reducing costs. The banks know this - that's why they keep flooding your mailbox with enticing reward promotions. They all give different reasons to sign up. So how do you pick the right rewards program for your business?

What it comes down to is how your business spends money. Office supplies, cell phone charges, gas station receipts, wining and dining of clients, airfare, hotel stays, and advertising expenses add up. And they add up quickly.

Based on your business, consider what type of expenses you are most likely to put on your card.

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What to Consider When Choosing a Card for Your Business

Small business owners often rely on credit for day-to-day operations. And a reliable credit card can be vital to keep a company up and running. Many owners tend to lean on their personal credit card to cover those costs. However, it's a smart move to use a card specific for your small business' needs instead. This helps keep your personal and business expenses separate, which can be a lifesaver for accounting purposes and maintaining your personal credit score.

Here are three factors that will help you zero in on the credit card for your unique needs.

  1. Cost
    As with any aspect of a small business, cost is important. Interest rates and annual fees are the two main costs associated with business credit cards:

    • Interest Rate: Keep in mind that many cards come with low-interest introductory rates. But don't forget to read the full offer details so you know what the rate will be after the introductory period ends.

    • Annual Fee: The annual fee can vary greatly depending on the perks that come with the card. Generally speaking, business rewards credit cards have slightly higher interest rates and annual fees to help the card issuer offset the expenses of the rewards and benefits. For that reason, make sure to weigh the benefits of the card with the associated rewards.

  2. Rewards
    If you plan to pay your balance in full each billing cycle, a rewards credit card may be a smart option. Your ability to pay on time is a critical factor, since rewards credit cards often feature a slightly higher interest rate than traditional credit cards. There are a variety of rewards options now available, so consider what would most benefit your small business:

    • Cash Back: Earn cash back on a percentage of your spending.

    • Travel: Earn points or miles for airlines, car rentals, and hotels. This is a great option for small businesses with employees who travel often.

    • Reward Points: Many of the cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for a variety of merchandise. Evaluate the merchandise offering in terms of value for your company's needs.

    While comparing your options, always remember to read the fine print. Take a look at spending caps and other limits that come with a rewards program. This will help ensure that you're choosing a card with perks you can fully utilize.

  3. Credit versus Charge Card

    Like personal credit cards, business credit cards allow you to carry a balance into the next billing period (with interest). This allowance gives small businesses the ability to pay off an expense over time.

    Alternatively, business charge cards require the balance to be paid in full each billing cycle. This typically isn't a realistic route for cash-strapped start-ups and is better suited for more-established businesses.

If you pay attention to the factors above while checking out the current promotional offers, you should be able to find a card you can put to work for your business. (Terms apply.)

Meghan C is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Meghan C at meghan@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Platinum and Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

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CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.