Best Business Credit Cards of 2018

10 minute read | 11/13/18Nov. 13, 2018

Let's talk about this year's top business credit cards

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.

Finding the right card 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 Small Business Credit Cards For 2018

Best Overall:

Chase Ink Business Preferred

The Chase 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.

Bonus Offer

80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months

Annual Fee

$95

How to Use It

  • Earn 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping, social media advertising, and internet/cable/phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • Cell phone insurance benefit – Get up to $600 in protection against theft/damage for up to 3 claims per year with a $100 deductible, when you use your card to pay your 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

Learn more about the Chase Ink Business Preferred

Best for Choosing Your Own Rewards Category:

American Express Business Gold Card

Often seen as a go-to card, the American Express Business Gold Card gives you the power to choose your own rewards categories, earning 4 points per dollar in two chosen categories where you spend the most for your business each month, up to the first $150,000 in combined purchases per calendar year. You can also access Amex’s Expense Management Tools to help track and organize expenses efficiently.

Annual Fee

$295

How to Use It

  • Earn 4 points per dollar on two categories of your choosing from the following: U.S. purchases for advertising in select media spend, at U.S. gas stations, U.S. shipping, U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing, and U.S. restaurants.
  • 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.

Learn more about the American Express Business Gold Card

Best for Airfare & Airport Lounge Access:

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

The extensive air travel benefits offered by The Business Platinum Card from American Express helps this premium metal card stand above the rest when it comes to travel. Since it’s a charge card, you’ll need to pay it in full each month. Along with a $200 annual airline fee credit, you also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, and access to top-rated lounges across the globe.

Special Offer

50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 in the first three months – that’s up to 75,000 points! 

Annual Fee

$450

How to Use It

  • Earn 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. Terms apply.
  • Earn 1.5 points per dollar on purchases $5,000 or more (up to 1 million extra points per year)
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • Enjoy access to Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass Lounges, as well as Delta Sky Clubs when you’re flying Delta

Learn more about The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Best for Cash Back Rewards:

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

Straightforward and easy to remember, the high, flat rewards rate offered by the Capital One Spark Cash for Business is a good fit for the business owner who wants to carry a single card that earns cash back without a lot of bells and whistles.

Bonus Offer

Limited Time Offer: Earn up to $2,000. Earn $500 cash bonus after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening,  plus $1,500 after spending $50,000 in the first six months

Annual Fee

$0 the first year, then $95

How to Use It

  • Earn 2% unlimited cash back on all purchases
  • The break-even point on the annual fee for this card is about $4,750. If you plan to spend less, you may want to consider the no-annual-fee version (or another card altogether) instead.

Learn more about the Capital One Spark Cash for Business

Best No Annual Fee Business:

Chase Ink Business Cash

Offering several cash back earning opportunities, no annual fee, and 0% intro APR for the first 12 months, the Chase Ink Business Cash is a dream come true for many business owners. Along with zero liability protection, fraud and purchase protection, and extended warranty protection, you can also add employee cards at no additional cost.

Bonus Offer

$500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months

Annual Fee

$0

How to Use It

  • Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet/cable/phone services (on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year)
  • Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year)
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel, and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • Cash back rewards never expire as long as your account is open

Learn more about the Chase Ink Business Cash

Best for a New Business:

Chase Ink Business Unlimited

When you’re starting a new business, capital can be hard to come by. The Chase Ink Business Unlimited offers a generous cash back bonus, unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards, and has no annual fee. It also has a 0% introductory APR period for 12 months on both purchases and balance transfers – a rarity among small business credit cards.

Bonus Offer

$500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months

Annual Fee

$0

How to Use It

  • Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel, and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • Cash back rewards never expire as long as your account is open

Learn more about the Chase Ink Business Unlimited

Best for Startups:

SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Startups spending a lot in categories not routinely covered by other cards will appreciate the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. Known for its flexible cash back rewards program, you can choose your own 3% cash back spending category.

Special Offer

Save on interest by taking advantage of 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months

Annual Fee

$0

How to Use It

  • Earn 5% cash back at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless phone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, up to the first $50,000 per calendar year.
  • Earn 3% cash back in a category of your choosing. Categories include: Airfare purchased directly, hotels purchased directly, car rentals purchased directly, U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, U.S. advertising/media spend, U.S. shipping, U.S. computer hardware/software, and cloud computing, up to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

Learn more about the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Best for Online Marketing:

Chase Ink Business Preferred

The Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is a strong contender for online marketers who spend a lot on advertising, media placement, PPC, and Google Adwords, along with other hardware and software expenses. As a cardholder, you can add employee cards at no additional cost, and there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about. Primary car rental insurance is also an added benefit.

Bonus Offer

80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months

Annual Fee

$95

How to Use It

  • Earn 3x points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping, social media advertising, and internet/cable/phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1x point per dollar on everything else
  • Cell phone insurance benefit – Get up to $600 in protection against theft/damage for up to 3 claims per year with a $100 deductible, when you use your Card to pay your 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

Learn more about the Chase Ink Business Preferred

Benefits of Business Credit Cards

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 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 benefits 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, review transactions, 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 easily being able to maximize tax deductions. By taking advantage of a business credit cards in-depth free reporting tools and accounting features, business owners can more easily determine which tax benefits they qualify for and can maximize.

Rewards

Many business credit cards offer generous rewards that can be used for cash back, points and miles, and more. When using your card to cover expenses for advertising, office supplies, internet, etc, why not earn rewards towards booking a free vacation or some grand getaway?

How do business credit cards work?

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. Much like a personal credit card, business credit cards have a set credit limit and carry interest charges if the balance isn’t paid in full each billing cycle. 37% of small business owners report using business credit cards to finance short-term needs and help increase their company’s purchasing power.

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.

How do I choose the best business credit card for me?

Finding the business credit card that best fits your needs comes down to assessing a few key factors of the card and determining your specific business needs. For instance, consider the rewards, APR (intro and ongoing), 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 toward advertising? Do you deal with irregular payments? Answering these questions can help narrow down your choices.

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 for opening more than one card. One obvious benefit – more 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.

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 commercial credit bureaus. Other business cards report account activity to both commercial and consumer credit bureaus.

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 boost your FICO score. Then, once you’ve boosted your score, apply for the business card that fits your needs.

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 categories. 

Disclaimer: This content and the opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and have not been provided, commissioned, or endorsed by the credit card issuer. All information was accurate at the time of this post but card terms and conditions may change at any time.


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