Brex for Life Sciences Review: The Business Card for Science Industry Startups [2021]

The Brex for Life Sciences card offers valuable rewards and benefits for things like lab expenses and conference tickets. But is it the right fit for your business?
Last updated Mar 1, 2021 | By Ben Walker

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The Brex for Life Sciences card is issued by Brex, a company looking to disrupt the way business owners manage their company’s finances. When you look at this product’s high earning potential, great partner perks, and the fact there’s no personal credit check to apply, it’s hard to see how other business cards can compare.

But is it too good to be true? In this Brex for Life Sciences review, you’ll learn about this card’s benefits and drawbacks, and how to earn and redeem points. This will help you decide whether the Brex for Life Sciences is the right card choice for helping manage your small business.

No Social Security Number Needed

Benefits

  • Earn rewards on your business spending
  • No interest and no fees
  • Does not require a personal guarantee

Drawbacks

  • Must pay balances in full since it is a charge card
  • $100,000 in monthly sales in the previous 30 days to qualify

In this Brex for Life Sciences card review

Who should get the Brex for Life Sciences card?

If you think “Brex for Life Sciences” sounds different from any other business or corporate credit card out there, it’s because it is. The name is specific enough to let you know right away which type of business could benefit from this card’s features and benefits. Brex for Life Sciences, previously known as Brex for Startups, is similar to the Brex for Tech card but focused on the life sciences industry. The life sciences industry includes companies that work in the fields of neuroscience, genetics, biology, biochemistry, and much more.

If you can’t take advantage of this card’s rewards program or benefits, it likely wouldn’t be a good fit for your business. Conference tickets is a specific category for earning rewards points and not every business will find that useful. However, purchases on flights and hotels booked through Brex Travel, Brex’s travel portal, could appeal to more companies. In addition, partner perks with Amazon Web Services, Slack, Gusto, Google Ads, and more could help all types of businesses.

The application process for the Brex for Life Sciences card can help prospective cardholders find the right Brex card for their company. You need to specify your type of business when applying, which could be tech, life sciences, ecommerce, or other. Upon reviewing your designated industry and subject to eligibility approval, you’ll be automatically assigned the Brex card that most aligns with your business. The Brex onboarding team will also have a say in the matter.

Keep in mind that there is no personal credit check when you apply, which could be helpful if this has impeded your progress with other business credit cards or if you want to keep your personal finances completely separate from your business. But you do need an EIN (employer identification number) to qualify.

Card basics

Card type Business
Credit card issuer Brex
Credit card network Mastercard
Annual fee $0
Intro bonus Earn 30,000 bonus points Brex Rewards points when you sign up
Reward rate 7X on conference tickets, 4X on flights and hotels booked through Brex Travel, 3X on eligible Apple products via the Brex portal, 2X on lab supplies from select partners, and 1X on all other purchases
Recommended credit score No credit needed
Foreign transaction fee None

Brex for Life Sciences benefits and perks

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 30,000 bonus points Brex Rewards points when you sign up.
  • First-rate rewards: The rewards on this card are tailored to life sciences companies. Boost your earning potential with 7X on conference tickets, 4X on flights and hotels booked through Brex Travel, 3X on eligible Apple products via the Brex portal, 2X on lab supplies from select partners, and 1X on all other purchases.
  • Low fees: Don’t stress about fees with a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
  • Charge card: Since the Brex for Life Sciences card is a charge card, you won’t have to worry about paying any interest charges.
  • Brex Cash: Get additional benefits when you link your card to a Brex Cash cash management account. This could include higher earning rates on your card’s bonus categories and the potential for an increased credit limit. Brex Cash accounts have no fees upon opening, or for monthly maintenance, ACH transfers, or wire transfers.
  • No credit check: There’s no personal guarantee when applying for this card, which means your credit history won't be checked and your personal credit score isn’t affected by an application. You also won’t be held personally liable for your business debt.
  • Build business credit: Brex reports your on-time payment history to Experian and Dun & Bradstreet, which could help build your business credit.
  • Higher limits: Brex advertises 10 to 20 times higher spending limits on the Brex for Life Sciences card compared to traditional business credit cards. This could help the cash flow of your business.
  • Employee cards: Issue and manage cards for your employees, including an unlimited number of virtual cards.
  • Integrations: Brex supports integrations with QuickBooks, Expensify, Xero, NetSuite, Concur, and Pilot to help with your business’ accounting needs.
  • Redemption options: Rewards points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, or flights and hotel stays through Brex Travel. You can also transfer your points to airline partners, and you have the option to convert points to airline miles and gift them to employees.
  • Brex Travel: Receive special discounts through the Brex Travel portal, with savings of up to 60%. In addition, access a team of 24/7 travel specialists to assist with your travel needs.
  • Partner perks: Receive loads of partner perks (worth up to $150,000) from companies like Amazon Web Services, Slack, Zoom, Google Ads, Gusto, Dropbox, and more.
  • World Elite Mastercard: With the Brex for Life Sciences card, you receive World Elite Mastercard benefits including car rental insurance, cell phone protection, access to the Mastercard Luxury Hotel Program, and more.
  • Mastercard network: Brex for Life Sciences is part of the Mastercard network, which works in countries worldwide.

Drawbacks to this card

  • Business requirements: Applying doesn’t require a personal credit check, but not every business will be eligible. This is a credit card for LLCs, LLPs, C-corps, and S-corps. Consumers, sole proprietors, and other unregistered businesses won’t likely qualify.
  • Charge card: While Brex calls their product a credit card, it’s important for you to be aware that the Brex products are technically charge cards. You will need to pay the balance in full on either a daily or monthly basis.
  • Earning rate eligibility: To take advantage of the highest earning rates offered in bonus categories, there are two options that come with their own limitations: qualifying for Brex Exclusive and choosing daily statements. Brex Exclusive status requires that your Brex for Life Sciences card is the only business card you use for your company’s spending, so your Amex, Chase, or other business cards can no longer be in the rotation. With daily statements, you agree to pay your card balance in full each day. While this statement option increases your earnings in each category, it could create extra pressure on your cash flow.
  • Credit limit fluctuation: Your credit limit is based on your account balances in linked bank accounts, which could include a Brex Cash account. If your linked account balances change, so will your available credit.

Earning & redeeming points

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your points can add up with the Brex for Life Sciences card. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of $0.01.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $635

Year two earnings: $335

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes a look at points earned via spending, the sign-up bonus, and the annual fee. It does not take into account that you might use Brex Travel for your travel spending. If you do, then you may see a much higher return from this card. Your value may also increase if you take advantage of the partner benefits.

Best ways to earn

Business credit cards for startups often offer earning categories for common business expenses. As you pay for these expenses with your card, you earn increased rewards. It’s the same with the Brex for Life Sciences card. You’ll earn the most rewards by sticking with purchases that fall into the card’s bonus categories.

In addition, remember to get the highest earning rates possible by meeting these requirements:

  • Get Brex Exclusive status: If you exclusively use your Brex for Life Sciences card for your business, you’ll qualify for Brex Exclusive status and receive a higher rewards rate.
  • Opt for daily statements: You have the choice to pay your card’s statement balance daily or monthly. If you choose to pay based on daily statements, you qualify for an increased earning rate.
Categories Rewards rate
Conference tickets 7X
Flights and hotels booked through Brex Travel 4X
Eligible Apple products 3X
Lab supplies from select partners 2X
All other purchases 1X

Maximizing your redemptions

The Brex for Life Sciences card earns points that can be redeemed for travel through Brex Travel, gift cards, cash back, and points transfers to airline partners. As is typical for many credit cards, the best redemption options are for travel, cash back, or points transfers. Gift cards aren’t as flexible as the other options, which reduces their overall value. Points transfers might be the best option because of the value you could get on different airlines, though this could require additional research if you want the best deals.

The actual redemption value for travel through Brex Travel, gift cards, and cash back is the same. You get $1 per 100 points, which would make 100,000 points equal to $1,000. Points transfer to airlines at a 1:1 ratio, so 100,000 points to JetBlue would equal 100,000 TrueBlue points.

If you pay your card statements every 30 days, you also get the option to redeem points for statement credits. These are worth $0.70 for every 100 points, which would make 100,000 points equal to $700. This is likely the worst redemption option because of the low per point value compared to the other options.

Brex for Life Sciences transfer partners

Transferring points to a partner airline is typically one of the most valuable redemption options available on rewards credit cards. This is because your points often go further than if you were to redeem them for cash back or through a travel portal, but it does require a little more work on your part. Be sure to compare all options, since your results may vary.

For example, it was mentioned above that 100,000 points transferred to JetBlue would net you 100,000 TrueBlue points. If you had redeemed your points for cash back, gift cards, or travel through Brex Travel you would have ended up with $1,000 worth of value. But TrueBlue points are often valued higher than 100 points per $1 depending on how you use them. You might actually end up with $1,300 worth of JetBlue flights or more.

Getting more value from your points is possible with other transfer partners as well. Brex for Life Sciences transfer partners include:

  • Aeromexico - Club Premier
  • Air France KLM - Flying Blue
  • Avianca - LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles
  • Emirates - Skywards
  • JetBlue - TrueBlue
  • Qantas - Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

Brex for Life Sciences card FAQs

How is Brex different?

Brex’s mission is to help businesses launch, scale, and realize their full potential. The company helps accomplish this by offering financial products and services, including Brex Cash, a cash management account, and multiple business cards, like the Brex for Tech card and the Brex for Life Sciences card.

Brex doesn’t require a personal credit check when you apply for one of its business cards, which makes its process different from other companies. It also focuses on the specific needs of new companies by offering valuable rewards, benefits, and partner perks. The simple structure and overall value of its services help make Brex unique when compared to similar companies.

Is Brex a bank?

Brex is not a bank. Brex is a financial technology (fintech) company that offers a variety of financial services and products. This includes a cash management account, Brex Cash, and multiple business cards.

Is Brex FDIC-insured?

Brex Cash accounts store deposits in a Brex program bank, a money market account, or both. You decide what percentage of your Brex Cash account balance goes into each of these options, though the default option is a Brex program bank. Any deposits you choose to store with a Brex program bank are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000. Any deposits you put into the money market account are SIPC-insured for up to $500,000.


Other cards to consider

The Brex for Life Sciences card has plenty of rewards and benefits, but it might not be the best fit for every business. For other options, consider cards like the Blue Business Cash Card from American Express and the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card.

The Blue Business Cash Card from Amex is helpful if you want a general cashback card for a wide variety of business expenses. This card helps you earn 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in eligible purchases each year, then 1% after that. This is different from the Brex for Life Sciences card, which offers bonus rewards in specific categories.

The Chase Ink Business Cash might make sense if the Brex for Life Sciences card’s earning categories don’t line up with your business needs. This card earns 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable, or phone services (up to $25,000 combined annually); 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $25,000 combined annually); and 1% cash back on everything else. These bonus categories are likely common for most businesses rather than specific companies in the life sciences industry.

No Social Security Number Needed

Special Offer

Earn 30,000 bonus points Brex Rewards points when you sign up

See how these cards compare:

Blue Business Cash Card from American Express
Blue Business Cash Card from American Express
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $50,000 spent each year
  • 0% intro APR on purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Terms apply
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
  • $750 cash back sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months
  • Up to 5% cash back