You don't need to own a big business to see big rewards from a business credit card. Whether you're looking for bonus cash back on office supplies, a way to build business credit, or a card with no annual fee and a long 0% introductory APR period, there's a business card that will meet your needs.
Generous sign-up bonuses also sweeten the deal for small business owners and will likely leave you wanting to apply for multiple cards to take advantage of all the introductory offers and other cardholder perks. Hopefully, one of the credit card offers below provides just the perks and rewards that you're looking for to get the maximum benefit from your company card.
The best small business credit cards
Flexible Payment Options with Unlimited Rewards
Earn $1,000 bonus cash back after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; unlimited 2.5% cash back on purchases of $5,000 or more; unlimited 2% cash back on all other business purchases
Simplified Earnings for Small Business Owners
0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, a variable APR of 18.49% to 26.49%
2X Membership Rewards points on everyday eligible business purchases up to $50,000 each year, and 1X points on eligible purchases after that
Hot Welcome Bonus
Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
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
Get 2% Back Automatically
0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, a variable APR of 18.49% to 26.49%
2% cash back on the first $50,000 in eligible purchases each year, then 1% after that
Premium Business Rewards
Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months
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
Generous Welcome Bonus
Earn $750 in rewards when you spend $7,500 in eligible purchases on the account owner's card within the first 120 days of opening your account
$95 (waived first year)
5% cash back on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Rewards Center; 2% cash back in top two categories where you spend the most each month automatically; 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
Pick Your Top Business Cashback Category
Get up to 3X points
High Rewards on Your Biggest Spending
Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months
4X Membership Rewards points for the first $150,000 spent in two select categories each year (after that 1X), and 1 point per $1 spent on other eligible purchases
Double miles on American Airlines purchases
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening
$99 (waived first year)
Earn 2X miles per dollar on all eligible American Airlines purchases and on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations; plus 1X miles on other purchases
A Slew of Valuable Business Perks
Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on direct purchases with Hilton; 6X at U.S. gas stations, cell phone services from U.S. providers, U.S. shipping purchases, U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel, and select car rentals; and 3X on all other eligible purchases
Generous welcome offer
Earn 125,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you use your new Card to make $8,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 11/1/23.
6X points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels; 4X points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, U.S. purchases on shipping, and wireless telephone services purchased from U.S. providers; and 2X points on all other eligible purchases
Unlimited 2% Cash Back
Capital One Spark Cash Plus
Earn a $1,200 cash bonus after spending $30,000 in the first 3 months
2% cash back on every purchase, every day; plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
How to pick the right card for your business
No two businesses are alike and different company owners will have their own unique needs when it comes to the perfect small business credit card. To find the best business card for you, consider:
- How much you plan to spend on your card: Some cards have maximum spending limits within bonus rewards categories; others offer extra perks for big spenders. Consider your average budget and business finances, your ideal credit limit, and how much you can comfortably spend each month.
- What type of spending you do the most: Look at your typical business spending in a given calendar year. Business credit cards often offer bonus rewards for different spending categories, and you'll want a card that gives you extra points for the things your company spends the most on. If you have a wide variety of expenses that don't always align with specific categories, you might consider a flat-rate rewards card.
- What kinds of rewards you're interested in: Some cards offer the chance to redeem for cash back or gift cards, while others allow you to trade points for travel purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, or rental cars. Some even allow you to use your rewards points with partner rewards programs as a redemption option. Consider how much redemption flexibility you need and which rewards excite you, whether that's Marriott Bonvoy points, Delta SkyMiles, Membership Rewards points, or another rewards currency, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards you can earn with Chase Ink Business cards.
- Your card benefit preferences: Many business cards provide additional benefits to cardholders. If you have specific preferences, such as receiving flight upgrades, travel credit, or a Quickbooks discount, make sure you read over the benefits on each card you compare.
- How many employee cards you need: If you have lots of staff who need to charge purchases to your account, free employee cards could be an important perk and management tool.
- Can you afford — and justify — an annual fee: There are free business cards and cards that charge you to become a cardholder, though some waive the annual fee for the first year. Paying an annual fee is worth it only if you'll earn enough rewards to justify the fee or if the cardholder perks make the fee worth paying. Many of the best credit cards have an annual fee, but you have to consider whether the card's benefits will help you more than offset the cost.
- Business credit reporting vs. personal credit reporting: Certain card issuers report business card activity to your personal credit report, while others only report business credit card activity to your personal credit report if your account is delinquent. The rules typically vary by issuer, so do your due diligence before you apply for a card if this is an important consideration for you. Many business credit cards also require a personal credit inquiry to qualify. In some cases, you might need a good or excellent credit score to be eligible.
Business credit cards vs. personal credit cards
Business credit cards are meant for small business owners to use on business expenses. Personal credit cards are meant for individuals to use on everyday expenses, such as groceries or gas.
This doesn’t mean you have to use a business credit card for business expenses. But as a small business owner, the benefits of having a business credit card over a personal credit card could include:
- A higher credit limit
- Bonus categories that align with common business expenses
- Business-related perks and benefits
- Separate credit reporting
- Employee credit cards
- Convenient tracking of business expenses
One of the most important reasons to have a business credit card for your business is because it can help separate your business and personal expenses. This can make it easier to file your taxes and help provide necessary bookkeeping if you’re audited.
What you need to get approved for a small business credit card
Business credit cards aren’t just for large corporations with loads of employees. You could qualify with many different types of business income, even as a freelancer or someone doing a part-time side hustle. Sole proprietors, LLCs, non-profit organizations, startups, and more can all qualify for business credit cards.
Here are some of the application requirements for getting approved for a small business credit card:
- Social Security number (SSN) or individual tax ID number (ITIN)
- Legal business structure (sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, etc.)
- Business’ legal name
- Employer identification number (EIN) if you have one
- Number of employees
- Established business date
- Annual business revenue
In some cases, you can use your SSN or ITIN in place of an EIN. And keep in mind that business credit cards also have credit score requirements. This means that even though some business cards don’t report to your personal credit, you often need a good or excellent personal credit score to qualify.
Pros and cons of business credit cards
- Separating personal and business expenses
- Potentially having a higher credit limit
- Issuing employee credit cards to help with your business needs
- Tracking your business expenses
- Earning rewards on business purchases and/or bonus offers
- Building your business credit history
- Helping improve cash flow for your business
- Taking advantage of credit card benefits, which could include purchase protection or cell phone protection with different service providers
- Transferring rewards to loyalty programs, such as Hilton or Hyatt, with certain business credit cards
- Paying an annual fee unless you have a no-annual-fee card
- Losing out on some of the protections offered to consumer cardholders under the Credit CARD Act of 2009
- Not having the best intro APR offers on purchases or balance transfers (the offers typically last fewer billing cycles compared to consumer cards)
- Potentially having to pay high interest rates with a credit card or certain fees with a charge card
- Having hard credit checks on your consumer credit history could affect your personal finance goals
How do I get a business credit card for my business?
To obtain a business card for your company, research your options and submit an online application. The issuer or lender will consider your creditworthiness as well as other factors when you apply for a new business credit card.
You can use your company's EIN to apply if your business is well-established. Otherwise, you'll likely want to use your personal Social Security number on your business credit card application and apply as a sole proprietorship.
You'll also need to provide details about your business structure and annual revenue. Some issuers may require that you make a personal guarantee indicating you will be personally responsible for any unpaid balances on your business credit card. Based on the information you provide, the credit issuer will either approve or deny your request for credit.
Does applying for a business credit card affect personal credit?
Applying for a business card can affect your personal credit if you apply with your Social Security number, as this will result in an inquiry on your personal credit report. A hard inquiry could impact your personal credit score.
Some business card issuers will report all information, including payment history, from your business card to your personal credit history; others report only negative information.
What are the major business credit bureaus?
There are three major business credit reporting agencies:
- Dun & Bradstreet
- Equifax Small Business
- Experian Business
Each has its own scoring model, so you may see different business credit scores across the three agencies, similar to what you'd see with your personal credit reports if you were checking them in Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Your business credit reports will typically include the following information across the three agencies, even though scoring models will vary:
- Company information: business address and legal name, number of employees, ownership information, subsidiary information
- Public records data: judgments, liens, UCC filings, collection accounts
- Payment data: past payments, accounts receivable, business credit card payment history, credit limits, length of credit history
How many credit cards should a small business have?
The right number of credit cards depends on your company's needs. Some businesses do fine with just one good card that offers generous cashback rewards or travel rewards for everyday business spending or for the kind of spending the company does most often. Other businesses benefit from having multiple cards so they can take advantage of different travel perks or earn the maximum rewards in different business categories.
For everyday business spending, a company could benefit from a straightforward cashback rewards credit card to make regular business purchases without worrying about juggling bonus categories. But for frequent business travel, a company might also save money by applying for a new travel card that offers travel benefits like no foreign transaction fees, bonus points on airfare, airport lounge access, or statement credits for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
Can I get a business credit card for personal use?
The definition of what constitutes a "business" for obtaining a business card is pretty relaxed. Although you shouldn't lie on your application, you can often qualify with something as simple as selling a few items on eBay or listing crafts in an Etsy store.
Once you obtain a business card, the credit card issuer usually won't prevent you from using it for personal use. But if you obtained the card in the name of your business and want to maintain your company's separate legal identity, or you have business partners or shareholders, you typically shouldn't use the company card for personal purchases. Stick with a personal credit card instead.
Can you have a business credit card without a business?
Although you do need to have some type of business to get a business card, credit issuers are pretty lax in their requirements for what they consider to be a business.
If you make some money selling things online, babysitting, or walking the neighbor's dog, technically you could use these activities as your business and apply for a business card. Just be honest on your application and realize not every card issuer will necessarily approve you.
Why are business credit cards useful?
A business credit card can be useful in many ways. Often, small business owners may use credit cards to streamline cash flow and separate personal and business expenses, making it easier to track spending come tax time. Over time, a business credit card can also help you boost your business credit score. A strong credit history may make it easier for you to apply for lines of credit that you can use to grow your business in the future.
To select the best business credit cards, we looked for cards that offer valuable perks for businesses of all sizes. We looked at the value of these rewards, as well as the welcome offer, compared to the annual fee. We did not include all cards available.