Businessman checking his no annual fee credit card

The Best Business Credit Cards with No Annual Fee in 2020

10+ min read • Dec 14, 2019 • Jesse Sumrak

If you’re in the market for a business credit card, you’ve probably come across some stellar options. Some cards promise enticing sign up bonuses, exclusive lounge memberships, gold status at hotel chains, priority boarding privileges, and much more. 

Sounds like a party, right? So, what’s the catch? Well, you’ve probably already realized it by now—annual fees.

Annual fees are payments you have to make every year to keep enjoying your credit card and its wonderful perks. Some cards will waive the fee for your first year, but then you’ll be charged every year for the life of your card. And these fees can climb from $95 to $550 a year—half a grand annually isn’t something to commit to all willy-nilly.

Sure, paying a high annual fee can be worth it sometimes to enjoy substantial rewards—especially if you’re a frequent flyer or heavy spender. But in a lot of cases, you’ll find credit cards with no annual fee are going to provide you with higher long-term value than those that do.

There are plenty of options out there, but not all credit cards are created equal. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you and researched the best business credit cards that don’t charge annual fees. You’re welcome!

First, let’s see if a no annual fee credit card is right for you, then we’ll quickly share how you can choose the best card for your business. Lastly, we’ll highlight our 4 favorite no annual fee cards and what makes them special.

Is a No Annual Fee Credit Card Right for You?

Now, don’t get the idea that any card that charges an annual fee is wicked and worthless. There are certain situations where a card’s rewards and perks make it well worth the price.

Take the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, for example. It has a hefty $125 annual fee, but it promises 1 Free Night Award every year on the anniversary of opening your card. A free night at most Marriott hotels is going to be worth more than $125—making this card worth the cost if you’re planning on traveling a lot.

But if your business is new or you don’t need access to top-tiered perks, no annual fee credit cards are going to be your best choice. Yeah, you might not get to kick back and relax with the cool cats in the airport lounges, but you’ll save your business some money (and for many small business owners, every dollar counts).

And if you need to issue cards to additional employees, it’s usually no extra cost with a no annual fee card. Loftier cards often charge an added yearly fee for every extra card you acquire—these costs can quickly add up.

How to Choose the Best Card with No Annual Fee

Remember, we’re looking for the best no annual fee business credit cards, not perfect cards. Even the best cards will have their downsides. Here’s what to keep in mind when you’re comparing cards:

Annual fee: The yearly cost to own a credit card. In this guide, we only looked at credit cards with no annual fees.

Sign up bonus: Many cards will grant you points or cash back rewards if you meet a minimum spending requirement in the first 3 to 6 months of owning your card.

Introductory APR: Credit cards will often provide 0% introductory APRs for the first 6 to 12 months. When the introductory period ends, your leftover balance becomes subject to the standard APR.

APR: An annual percentage rate (APR) is simply the cost to borrow money. Don’t get it confused with interest rates—they’re not synonyms. Interest rates are the percentage of the principal that you’re charged to borrow money. APRs are your total costs to borrow money (interest rate + other associated fees).

Rewards: You can earn cash back or point-based rewards on category-specific or everyday purchases. 

Perks: Perks can include things as little as free baggage and fraud protection or as big as Sky Club membership and Marriott Gold Elite status.Required credit: Better cards with better perks and rewards often require good or excellent credit. Cards with fewer fancy rewards usually have looser credit requirements.

1. Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

Annual fee: No annual fee, ever

APR: 0.0% introductory APR for 12 months—then variable APR, currently 14.24–20.24%

Sign-up bonus: No introductory rewards

For new business owners who don’t expect to put a massive number of expenses on their card, the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is going to be your new favorite card.

We’re huge fans of this plastic financing tool—that’s why it’s our Lendio’s Choice for Best Overall business credit card.

Introductory Bonus

Seriously, this card wins in all categories except for sign-up bonus. Many other American Express business cards provide incentives big and small for early spenders, but you won’t find any with this card. Sorry.

APR

You should pay your card off in full each month, but if you hit hard times, rest assured the Blue Business Plus charges no interest on purchases for 12 months from account opening and on balance transfers requested within 60 days of account opening.

After the grace period is over, you’ll pay a variable APR of 14.74 to 20.74% (see rates and fees) depending on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.

Rewards and Perks

Here’s where the Blue Business Plus shines:

  • Earn 2x Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases (no categories) on up to $50,000. Once you exceed that cap, you’ll begin earning 1x unlimited points.
  • Exceed your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power. Make those necessary larger purchases and then pay off your additional spending in full before the month is over.
  • Get up to 99 employee cards, making it easy to distribute the wealth around your business.

You can redeem your Membership Rewards points on a variety of purchases, but Amex gives the best conversion rates when you use it on their travel partners. Rates aren’t as good, but you can also transfer your points for cash back, gift cards, Amazon purchases, Uber rides, and more.

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is perfect for small business owners who want to reward their everyday purchases. Sure, a welcome bonus would be nice, but the no annual fee perk cancels things out.

The interest-free introductory APR period is great for new businesses with heaps of startup expenses. Just make sure you pay off the card before the first 12-months are over, and you’ll enjoy sweet-sweet interest savings.

But this card might not be for everyone. If you foresee your business exceeding $50,000 in purchases on your card each year, you’re probably better off with another card that rewards heavier spending.

2. Amazon Business Prime American Express Card

Annual fee: No annual fee

APR: Variable rate, currently 15.24% to 23.24%

Sign-up bonus: $125 Amazon.com Gift Card and an additional $100 statement credit if requirements are met

If you love Amazon Prime and frequently shop at Amazon businesses, you’re going to go crazy for the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card. With cash back rewards, bonus gift cards, and the optional 5% back or 90-day terms benefit, you’re going to save with every swipe.

The base rewards on this card are great, but you’ll really see the benefits when you shop Amazon businesses.

Introductory Bonus

Right off the bat, you’ll earn a $125 Amazon gift card upon approval when using your card. After that, you can earn an additional $100 statement credit once you spend over $3,000 on the card in the 2% Back and 1% Back categories within your first 3 months.

A total $225 welcome bonus is a nice little present for businesses that pick up this card—it basically covers the cost of a 1-year Amazon Business Prime membership. For that reason alone, if you’re already an Amazon Business Prime member, you should definitely consider adding this card to your wallet.

APR

The Amazon Business Prime American Express Card doesn’t include an introductory APR, so you’ll start and continue with the variable APR of 15.24% to 23.24% (see rates and fees) depending on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.

While this card doesn’t have a 0% interest introductory period, Amazon Prime members can opt-in for 90-days free financing on qualifying purchases—more on that later.

Rewards and Perks

Amazon Business Prime members, get ready for ongoing perks and rewards:

  • Enjoy 5% back or 90-days interest-free on US purchases at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com, and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership.
  • Receive 2% back at US restaurants, US gas stations, and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers and 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Benefit from all the standard American Express perks: employee cards, return protection, travel insurance, no foreign transaction fees, and more.

The save greater or pay later options are great for new small business owners facing unpredictable expenses. If you’re on top of your finances, you can score extra savings with 5% back—and if things aren’t looking so hot, you can delay payment for up to 90 days. There’s no wrong choice, but it sure is nice to have options.

Now, these options are only eligible when you shop at Amazon businesses with a Prime membership. However, you can still score great rewards on non-Amazon purchases, too. With 2% back in a few popular spending categories and 1% back on everything else, you’re going to score savings no matter where you swipe your card.

If your business already shops at Amazon, then you’ll love the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card. But the Amazon-specific perks might not be significant enough to switch up your business supplying strategy just to enjoy this card’s benefits.

3. Blue Business Cash Card from American Express

Annual fee: No annual fee, ever

APR: 0.0% introductory APR for 12 months—then variable APR, currently 14.24–20.24%

Sign-up bonus: No welcome bonus

For you cash back fanatics out there, you’re going to love the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express. Although it has a low annual cap on cash back, it’s the perfect option for small business owners who want super simple savings.

But for you heavy spenders out there, you’re going to see most of the advantages of this card drop off once you’ve hit the annual cap.

If you’re more about cash back and less about points, you’ll probably like this card even more than the previously discussed Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express.

Introductory Bonus

Unfortunately, there is no welcome bonus with this card.

APR

You’ll be charged no interest on purchases for 12 months from account opening, but then you’ll pay a variable APR of 14.24–20.24% (see rates and fees) depending on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.

Rewards and Perks

Get ready for cash back—here are all the great things you can expect with this card:

  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1% after that. Cash back is automatically credited to your statement—one less thing to keep track of.
  • Take advantage of Expanded Buying Power to finance larger purchases when you need to. This benefit lets you spend beyond your credit limit to get business done, but you’ll need to pay off the portion exceeding your limit before the end of the billing cycle.
  • Add employees to your account at no extra cost.

The 2% cash back makes this one of the most rewarding small business credit cards—most cards require a hefty annual fee to earn rewards like this. However, the gift is cut in half once you reach your $50,000 annual cap. Still, if you hit your limit, you’ll gather $1,000 in cash back rewards each year. Not bad.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about confusing point transfers or category-specific purchases—you just get super simple savings whenever you use your card. With excellent cash back rewards, Expanded Buying Powder, and a 0% introductory APR, this card is perfect for small businesses that need funding to get off the ground.

4. Bank of America Platinum Plus Mastercard Business card

Annual fee: No annual fee

APR: 0% introductory APR on purchases for first 7 billing cycles, then 11.74% to 22.74% APR

Sign-up bonus: $300 statement credit when you make $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days

Bank of America’s Platinum Plus Mastercard Business card has the biggest sign-up bonus of any no annual fee card on this list. With a generous introductory APR and competitively low ongoing APR, this card shines without all the bells and whistles.

If cash back and high-end rewards aren’t make-or-break deals for you, keep this low APR bare-bones option top of mind when shopping for your next business credit card.

Introductory Bonus

Score a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in purchases within 90 days of opening your account. This is a one-time reward, so don’t let it influence your decision too much. But if you’re already digging the low APRs, then it’s certainly a nice bonus.

APR

Enjoy a 0% Introductory APR on purchases for the first 7 billing cycles. Keep in mind this APR is for purchases on the card—not balance transfers. So if you need to move over a significant balance, this card won’t be the best option.

After the introductory period is over, you’ll get an ongoing variable APR between 11.74% to 22.74%.

Rewards and Perks

Bank of America’s Platinum Plus Mastercard Business card isn’t very competitive when it comes to rewards and perks, but it does provide a few vanilla benefits that come with most Bank of America cards:

  • Get employee cards at no additional cost to you.
  • Enjoy additional benefits like purchase security, extended protection, overdraft protection, roadside assistance, and more.

Like we said, if you’re after the perks, this probably isn’t the right card for you. But if you want a simple, low APR card that extends your financing capabilities, you’ll be satisfied with the Platinum Plus Mastercard Business card.

Where to Find Credit Cards with No Annual Fee

Credit cards with annual fees aren’t for everyone. If you’d like to forgo special privileges and confusing point schemes in exchange for straightforward savings, then grab yourself a no annual fee business credit card. 

Cards with no annual fee are a great way to finance your small business. You can receive sign up bonuses up to $500, earn rewards up to 5% back, and get access to interest-free financing periods—what’s not to like?

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to finally make your decision. Which business credit card will you choose?

If you’re still not sure, take a look at our best credit cards page. You can filter your search by several categories and criteria—making comparing and contrasting fast and simple.

Don’t get lost in the endless options—stay focused. If you know you’re after a no annual fee credit card, start with that category and then narrow it down from there. Find your business credit card today and start saving!

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Jesse Sumrak

Jesse Sumrak is a Social Media Manager for SendGrid, a leading digital communication platform. He's created and managed content for startups, growth-stage companies, and publicly-traded businesses. Jesse has spent almost a decade writing about small business and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped startup. When he's not dabbling in digital marketing, you'll find him ultrarunning in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Jesse studied Public Relations at Brigham Young University.