Best Startup Business Credit Cards [2024]

CREDIT CARDS - BUSINESS CREDIT CARDS
Let's talk about the top small business credit cards for startups, and how to figure out which of these credit cards can give your new business a boost.
Updated May 9, 2024
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Business credit cards can help you save money, earn rewards, and make life as a business owner easier, but here's the thing — they're not one-size-fits-all. And if you're a brand-new entrepreneur looking for the best startup business credit cards, you may find all the options overwhelming. From corporate cards to charge cards, there are a lot of financial products out there.

We're going to help you simplify the process of running your business. Finding the right card just depends on your needs and spending habits, but if you’re making business-related purchases, you should be reaping the benefits. Beyond the huge rewards potential, separating business and personal expenses is a smart long-term move.

Best startup business credit cards of 2024

In this article

Best startup business credit cards [2024]

Best overall: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers generous rewards and ample flexibility, making it a favorable choice to use on any core business expense. You can also add employee cards at no additional cost, get primary rental car insurance, and pay no foreign transaction fees. It's a good card if you find yourself incurring rideshare costs in particular.

Bonus offer: Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual fee: $95

What's great about it:

  • Earn 3X points 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; and 1X points per $1 on all other purchases
  • Cell phone insurance benefit — Get up to $1,000 in protection against theft/damage per claim for up to three claims per year with a $100 deductible, when you use your card to pay your monthly cell phone bill
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal

For more information, read our full Ink Business Preferred Credit Card review.

Excellent for earning where you spend the most: American Express® Business Gold Card

The American Express Business Gold Card gives you the power to earn points in bonus categories where you have the most business expenses. You can also access Amex’s Expense Management Tools to help track and organize expenses efficiently.

Annual fee: $375  (Terms apply)

What's great about it:

  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards Points on purchases in the two categories with the most spend each billing cycle from 6 eligible categories (up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, after that 1X), 3X Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels booked at amextravel.com, and 1 point per $1 spent on other eligible purchases
  • Redeem and/or transfer points through the Membership Rewards program to book high-end travel, purchase gift cards to reward employees, and book dinners for entertaining clients

For more information, read our full Amex Business Gold review.

Excellent for airfare and airport lounge access: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

The Business Platinum Card from American Express is a premium metal card that has extensive air travel benefits and perks. You can also take advantage of multiple business-related credits, including up to $120 statement credit per year for purchases made with your card at U.S. wireless telephone service providers. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Welcome bonus: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $20,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months

Annual fee: $695 (Terms apply)

What's great about it:

  • Earn 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels on Amextravel.com; 1.5X points on eligible purchases at U.S. suppliers of construction materials and hardware, U.S. retailers of electronic goods, U.S. providers of shipping, software and cloud systems, and eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (up to $2 million per year, then 1X); and 1X points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
  • Enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion Lounges, Escape Lounges, Plaza Premium, and Priority Pass Lounges, as well as Delta Sky Clubs when you’re flying Delta and Lufthansa Lounges when flying Lufthansa Group. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

For more information, read our full Amex Business Platinum Card review.

Excellent for cashback rewards: Capital One Spark Cash Plus

Straightforward and easy to remember, the simple rewards rate offered by the Capital One Spark Cash Plus is a good fit for the business owner who wants to carry a single card that earns cash back on everyday business spending, but that doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles.

Early spend bonus: Earn $1,200 after spending $30,000 in the first 3 months

Annual fee: $150

What's great about it:

  • Earn 2% cash back on every purchase, every day; plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • High-spending businesses have the $150 annual fee refunded each year they spend at least $150,000

For more information, read our full Spark Cash Plus review.

Excellent for no annual fee: Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

The Ink Business Cash is a dream come true for many business owners because it earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points and provides an intro APR offer on purchases. You can also add employee cards at no additional cost. 

Bonus offer: Earn $350 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening

Annual fee: $0

What's great about it:

  • 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; 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year; and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 0% intro APR offer - 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases (then 18.49% - 24.49% Variable)
  • Redeem rewards for travel, cash back, gift cards, and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Cashback rewards never expire as long as your account is open

For more information, read our full Ink Business Cash review.

Excellent for a brand-new business: Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

The Ink Business Unlimited offers unlimited rewards and has a $0 annual fee. This Chase Ink Business card also has an intro APR offer on purchases.

Bonus offer: Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual fee: $0

What's great about it:

  • Earn Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • 0% intro APR offer - 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases (then 18.49% - 24.49% Variable)
  • Redeem rewards for travel, cash back, gift cards, and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Cashback rewards never expire as long as your account is open

For more information, read our full Ink Business Unlimited review.

Excellent for simple travel rewards: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is a great option for businesses expecting a lot of big purchases because it provides an intro APR offer on purchases.

Welcome offer: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership

Annual fee: $0 (Terms apply)

What's great about it:

  • Earn 2X Membership Rewards points on everyday eligible business purchases up to $50,000 each year, and 1X points on eligible purchases after that. 
  • 0% intro APR offer - 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases (then 18.49% - 26.49% Variable)
  • Points are earned in the form of American Express Membership Rewards, which can be transferred to a variety of Amex travel partners
  • Rental car insurance and access to the Global Assist Hotline in case things go awry while you are on the road

For more information, read our full Amex Blue Business Plus Credit Card review.

Excellent for simple cash back: The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

If earning cash to put back into your business is as much of a priority as saving interest on purchases, the American Express Blue Business Cash Card could be the right choice for you. This card provides an intro APR offer on purchases, which could help if you have upcoming large expenses.

Welcome offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

Annual fee: $0 (Terms apply)

What's great about it:

  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in eligible purchases each year, then 1% after that
  • 0% intro APR offer - 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases (then 18.49% - 26.49% Variable)
  • Rental car insurance and access to the Global Assist Hotline

For more information, read our full Amex Blue Business Cash Card review.

Excellent for fair credit: Capital One Spark Classic for Business

The Capital One Spark Classic for Business is a useful option for small business owners with average or fair credit. It’s not going to bowl you over with high-level perks, but it does enough to stand out among other business credit cards for people with little to no credit.

Annual fee: $0

What's great about it:

  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase for your business, plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Responsible use could help you improve your creditworthiness

For more information, read our full Capital One Spark Classic review.

Benefits of business credit cards

Business credit cards provide business owners and entrepreneurs with easy and convenient access to a revolving line of credit to make purchases and withdraw cash to support their business endeavors. They can also be used all over the world, especially if they're on the Visa or Mastercard networks.

Much like a personal credit card, business credit cards can have intro APR offers on purchases, but they don't typically provide these types of offers on balance transfers.

Business credit cards offer a slew of key benefits worth noting, including:

Instant capital

Having access to instant capital can help fund initial startup costs for equipment and advertising, while also assisting in managing cash flow and operating capital. If your business requires machinery, furniture, or electrical equipment, a business credit card can be used to purchase the equipment upfront — so there’s no delay in earning income — and can be paid off over time.

Business and personal assets remain separate

Keeping business and personal assets separate from each other is smart for any business owner. Not only does it help ensure that you, your family, and your business partners remain protected from business liabilities, it also lessens the risk of endangering your limited liability protection. Without the limited liability protection gained from operating your business as a corporation or LLC, your personal assets may be at risk.

Bookkeeping/account features

Many business credit cards include useful expense management tools and features as added perks to cardholders. Some of these benefits may include minute-by-minute usage reports on cards across the account, capabilities to easily set spending limits or make adjustments on employee cards, cancel or pause cards, track new purchases, filter expenses into categories, and access bookkeeping on a mobile device.

Tax benefits

The main tax benefits of using business credit cards are: simplifying taxes and being able to easily maximize tax deductions. By taking advantage of a business credit card's in-depth free reporting tools and accounting features (such as QuickBooks integration), business owners can more easily determine which tax benefits they qualify for and can maximize.

Note that using a business bank account with a business credit card can help you organize your business expenses and transactions even more, making it easier to stay on top of your business finances come tax season.

Rewards

Many business credit cards are also generous rewards cards that can earn you cash back, points, or miles on eligible business expenses, including bonus rewards in different spending categories. 

When using your card to cover expenses for advertising, office supplies, and the internet, why not earn rewards towards booking a free vacation or some grand getaway? Alternatively, you could redeem your rewards in the form of statement credits to help cover your everyday business expenses.

How to choose the best business credit card for you 

Finding the best business credit cards that fit your needs comes down to assessing a few key factors of the card and determining your specific business needs, as well as your personal finances. For instance, consider the bonus rewards, interest rates (both the intro APR rate and the subsequent ongoing variable APR), credit limit, and fees associated with the card.

Then, consider where most of your business expenses might come from. Do you travel a lot? What percentage of your monthly costs are used for advertising? Do you deal with irregular payments? Answering these questions can help narrow down your choices. Once you've considered how your business will spend and what your business will benefit from, you'll have an easier time picking the best new card for you.

Note that many business card applications still require a personal credit check into your credit report. This could be helpful if you haven't been able to build business credit, but you've built good credit history with personal lenders.

FAQs about startup business credit cards

Do I qualify for a business credit card?

Business credit cards should be used to make business-related purchases. So, whether you’re running a hobby business as a sole proprietor, working as a freelancer, navigating your first business as an entrepreneur, or heading towards building a Fortune 500 empire, you can apply for a business credit card. 

It's best to first apply for your Employer Identification Number (or EIN) before you apply for a business card. This is a federally issued number, similar to a Social Security number, that helps the government identify your business as an entity. Though, you don't typically need an EIN if you're a sole proprietor.

How many business credit cards should I have?

There’s no golden number of business credit cards to keep in your wallet, but there are a few benefits to opening more than one card. One obvious benefit — more credit cards equals a bigger credit line in the event that you need it. And, depending on your business’ spending needs, you can earn more rewards. 

That said, some credit card issuers will have limits on how many accounts you can have open with them, and you should only have as many lines of credit open as you can responsibly handle.

Can business credit cards be used for personal expenses?

While it’s possible to charge personal expenses to a business credit card, you really shouldn’t. Doing so can complicate your business expenses when tax season rolls around and potentially cause problems if your business gets audited. To be safe, it’s best practice to keep your business and personal expenses separate.

Do business credit cards affect your personal credit score?

It depends on the card. While most business credit cards require personal guarantees, only some report account activity to the three consumer credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). Other business cards report account activity to both business and consumer credit bureaus. 

So whether or not your business card activity will impact your personal credit history will depend on the card you choose. Keep in mind that you may want a card that reports to the business bureaus so that you can start building your business credit score.

Can you get a business credit card with bad credit?

Financing options for business owners with bad credit are more limited but they do exist, albeit with higher ongoing APR and penalty fees. In the short-term, you may want to consider applying for a card that could help rebuild your credit and work on improving your credit history. 

Then, once you’ve boosted your score, apply for the business card that fits your needs. Having an excellent credit score will improve your odds of qualifying for the more rewarding small business credit cards.

Methodology

Team FBZ selects the best credit cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Some of the factors we evaluate include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and signup bonuses. For rewards credit cards, we also consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options, and redemption difficulty. Cards are eligible to be chosen in multiple business categories. 

Up to 5% Cash Back

4.8

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Current Offer

Earn $350 when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months after account opening

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

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; 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year; and 1% cash back on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Laura Bostwick Laura writes about managing money, entrepreneurship, getting out of debt, and using credit cards responsibly.

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