The Best Credit Cards for Every Type of Small Business

9 min read • Dec 13, 2019 • Mary Kate Miller

The right business credit card can be an essential tool in making your business spending work for you. We’ve spent hours combing through the minutiae of credit card details so you don’t have to. Because not all small businesses have the same needs—and not all credit cards offer the same rewards—we’ve curated the best small business credit cards for 2019 based on specific business considerations.

If you’re new to small business credit cards (or need a refresher), here’s a quick overview of what you need to know.

Small Business Credit Cards vs. Personal Credit Cards

While you can technically use a personal credit card for business, a business card will better serve you in a few ways. First, it’s going to make accounting much easier. If you have a card specifically set aside for business spending, you’ll spend less time weeding out business purchases from personal purchases. If you have employees, business cards provide options for employee cards. Plus, they can help you build business credit (did you know your business has its own credit score?), and many business cards have designed their benefits packages for business spending.

Small Business Credit Cards vs. Corporate Cards

Business credit cards are designed for small businesses. Corporate cards are usually issued to companies with revenues of several million dollars. The key difference here is that with a corporate card, the company is held liable for the spending (hence the revenue requirement), whereas an individual is liable for nonpayment of a business credit card.

The Best Card If You Advertise on Social Media

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

If sponsored posts on Instagram and Facebook are part of your regular marketing strategy, you’re going to fall head-over-heels for the Chase Ink Business Preferred card. Ink Business Preferred gives you 3X points on Facebook and Instagram ad spending.

What Makes It the Best

  • A killer signup bonus of 80,000 points if you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.
  • 3X points on the first $150,000 of combined expenditures from travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services, and internet/social media advertising.

Other Aspects We Love

  • Points worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (that 80,000 point signup bonus could be worth up to $1,000).
  • Up to $600 (for each cell phone listed on the plan) for theft or damage if you pay your cell phone bill with your Chase Ink Business Preferred card.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost.

Annual Fee

  • $95

The Best Card If You’re a Jet-Set Business Person

American Express Business Platinum Card

Are you constantly camping out by the airport charging stations so you can send off a few quick emails before boarding a flight for a meeting? The Business Platinum Card from American Express is the stuff your travel-rewards dreams are made of.

What Makes It the Best

  • 35% of your points back when you pay with membership rewards points for all or part of a flight (with a qualifying airline). A perk so good you’ll want to repeat it until you hit the 500,000 point limit each year.
  • 5X membership rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels through amextravel.com.
  • A comfy place to wait until your flight departs with the Global Lounge Collection. Cardholders get access to over 1,200 airport lounges in 130 countries.
  • A chic office wherever you land with 1 year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ WeWork office spaces in 75+ cities. (Valid for cardmembers who enroll between  February 15, 2019 and December 31, 2019.)
  • Receive statement credits when you apply for Global Entry ($100 every 4 years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 every 4 1/2 years).

Other Aspects We Love

  • A two-tier signup bonus of 50,000 points when you spend $10,000.
  • Up to $100 statement credit from Dell twice a year (once between January and June and a second between July and December) for a total of $200 a year on your purchases from Dell.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Hilton Honors Gold Status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status.

Annual Fee

  • $595

The Best Card If You Want Travel Perks Without the Fees

The Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards Mastercard

Don’t travel enough to make the American Express Business Platinum Card worth the fees? Or are you the type of business traveler who’s always looking to save without spending? Buckle up (and lock that tray table in place) because you’re going to love the Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards Mastercard.

What Makes It The Best

  • 25,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first 60 days. Points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel rewards.
  • No annual fee and no transaction fees.
  • Redeem points for travel with no blackout dates.

Other Aspects We Love

  • 1.5X points on every dollar spent. Points don’t expire.
  • 0% intro APR in first 9 billing cycles.
  • Redeem points for cash or gift cards.

Annual Fee

  • $0

The Best Card If You’re Making a Big Purchase or Consolidating Debt

The Blue Business Plus Card by American Express

If you’re looking to transfer the balance from a high-interest credit card or if you’re planning to make a large purchase in the next year, the Blue Business Plus Card by American Express might be the card for you. In lieu of a signup bonus, credit card holders have 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months as long as you make the minimum payment each month.

What Makes It the Best

  • 0% APR for the first 12 months. After that, the APR transitions to 14.24%, 17.49%, or 20.29% variable APR. APR is determined at the time of card opening based on your creditworthiness and other factors.

Other Aspects We Love

  • 2X points on business-related spending—including office supplies and client dinners —up to $50,000 each year. After that, 1X point for every dollar on business-related spending.
  • Expanded Buying Power. Spend above your credit limit to make big purchases for your business. The expanded amount is based on credit card use, payment history, credit record, financial resources, and other factors.

Annual Fee

  • $0

The Best Card If You Don’t Want to Be Told What to Do with Your Rewards

The Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard

You’re a business person who makes decisions on the fly, you shoot from the gut and can’t be contained by restrictions like “travel rewards.” Or maybe you’re looking for your business expenses to contribute toward some discretionary funding—you might need some new computer equipment, or you might want to use your cash rewards to pay down your monthly balance. If any of this sounds like you, you’re going to want to cash in (not sorry) on the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard.

What Makes It The Best

  • Tiered points system. Instead of a flat rate on rewards points (as is the case with most cash rewards cards), you get a say in where you earn the most points. Members get 3% cash back on a category of their choice (gas stations, office supply stores, travel, computer services, and more). 2% cash back is awarded for dining purchases and 1% for everything else.
  • $300 in statement credit if you spend $3,000 in net purchases in the first 90 days.

Other Aspects We Love

  • 0% intro APR for the first 9 billing periods.
  • If you have a Bank of America checking or savings account, the cash you get back can be directly deposited into that account. Otherwise, you can choose to receive cash back through a statement credit or via check.

Annual Fee

  • $0

The Best Card(s) If You’re Working to Build or Repair Credit

Your credit score doesn’t always reflect your ability to run your business like a boss (we believe in you!). Raising your credit score can make you a more appealing borrower, and it can help you get better rates on a business loan—and it’s totally doable. Building a solid history of making payments on time helps, so if you’re looking to raise your credit score, why not let your small business credit card work for you?

Capital One Spark Classic for Business (Fair Credit)

If you have fair credit (a personal credit score between 580 and 669), The Capital One Spark Classic for Business is a great option as long as you plan to use the card responsibly and make payments in full every month.

What Makes It The Best

  • The opportunity to build business credit if you’re paying your balance off in full each month. (The card has a 25.24% variable APR, so we wouldn’t recommend carrying a balance.)
  • Fraud coverage if your card is stolen or lost.
  • An itemized spending report—quarterly and yearly—to help simplify planning, budgeting, and taxes.

Other Aspects We Love

  • Additional employee cards at no additional cost.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Easy to import transaction history into accounting software like Quicken, QuickBooks, and Excel.

Annual Fee

  • $0

Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card (Poor Credit)

If you have poor credit (a personal credit score between 300 and 850), you’re looking for a business credit card that works as a stepping stone. The most important feature for you is going to be finding a card you can qualify for with fixed costs. Other factors (low interest rates and maxing out your points) won’t really come into play until after you raise your credit score (you can do this!). Secured cards, like the Wells Fargo Business Secured Card, require a deposit that becomes your credit line for that account.

What Makes It The Best

  • A credit line ranging from $500 to $25,000 based on the amount you deposit.
  • Earn 1.5% cash back for every dollar spent on net purchases.

Other Aspects We Love

  • Each quarter, you can collect cash back directly into your account or to an eligible savings/checking account.
  • A periodic review of your account for the opportunity to be upgraded to an unsecured account (where you don’t have to deposit into the account prior to use).

Annual Fee

  • $25 (for each card, up to 10 cards)

When searching for a new business card, shopping around can help you get a better sense of what’s available.  A business card marketplace gives you an easy way to compare the rewards and terms of different credit cards and ultimately helps you make a more informed decision.

Mary Kate Miller

Mary Kate Miller is a writer based in Chicago, IL. She specializes in covering finance (personal and business), investing, and real estate. Her mission in life is to give readers the confidence and the knowledge needed to grow their wealth by making financial topics more accessible. When she's not writing about topics like business loans, you can find her playing armchair financial advisor to the Real Housewives.