Below are our staff picks for 2023's best business credit cards. These cards are ideal for those seeking a business-sized credit line to go with top-notch perks and rewards.
Written by: Brittney Mayer
Brittney is a Credit Strategist and Finance Expert who has spent years honing her knowledge of the credit industry both personally and professionally. Brittney applies her more than a decade of research experience to crafting in-depth consumer guides designed to help CardRates readers make better, more informed financial decisions.
Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.
With more than a decade of experience as a content manager and marketer, Ashley has specialized in finance coverage since 2015. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media campaigns. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among others.
Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of card membership
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, 1.5X points on business categories and purchases of $5,000 or more on up to $2 million per calendar year, and 1X point for each dollar you spend on other purchases.
Get up to $400 back per year toward U.S. purchases with Dell Technologies, up to $360 back per year for purchases with Indeed, and $120 back per year for wireless telephone service purchases on the Business Platinum Card, plus additional credits. Enrollment is required for all.
Access to more than 1,400 lounges across 140 countries and counting with the American Express Global Lounge Collection®
Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of an eligible fare and get 35% of those points back, up to 1,000,000 points back per calendar year
Welcome Offer: Receive a $125 Amazon.com gift card upon approval
5% Back or 90 Days Terms on U.S. purchases at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com, and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership on the first $120,000 in purchases each calendar year, 1% Back thereafter
2% Back on U.S. purchases at restaurants, gas stations, and wireless phone services purchased directly from service providers
1% Back on all other eligible purchases
Expense management tools to help you track and organize expenses
Earn 85,000 Bonus Miles after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership
With Status Boost®, get closer to Medallion® Qualification Miles(MQMs) Status by earning 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to 2 times per year
Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and purchases made directly with hotels
Earn 1.5 Miles on single eligible purchases over $5,000, up to 50,000 additional miles per calendar year, and 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases
You can check your first bag for free and save up to $60 on a round-trip Delta flight, plus enjoy early boarding on Delta flights
Enjoy early boarding on Delta flights as a benefit of card membership. You can board your flight when Main Cabin 1 priority boarding is called so you can find room for your carry-on bag and settle into your seat sooner.
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of card membership
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle, including airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio), U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions, and U.S. purchases at gas stations, restaurants, or for shipping. Applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.
Earn 1X Membership Rewards® points on other purchases
Book your flight with American Express Travel using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points and get 25% of those points back, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year
Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending 4,000 within 4 months of account opening
Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases and at cable and internet providers, gas stations, select telecommunications merchants, and car rental services — all other purchases earn 1X points
First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 4 travel companions
25% savings on American Airlines inflight WiFi, food, and beverage purchases when you use your card
Earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate for domestic travel after $30,000 in purchases each card membership year and card membership is renewed. Fees apply.
Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership
Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta, all other purchases earn 1 Mile per dollar spent
After you spend $150,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, you can earn 1.5 miles per dollar on eligible purchases for the rest of the calendar year
Enjoy complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs plus complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card
Enjoy a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card
Enjoy early boarding on Delta flights as a benefit of Card Membership. You can board your flight when Main Cabin 1 priority boarding is called so you can find room for your carry-on bag and settle into your seat sooner.
CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.
Review Breakdown: Business Credit Cards
Whether you're a small business owner looking to finance a big venture, or a corporate purchaser seeking to earn cash back on your company's expenditures, the credit card offers below are an excellent choice for any business. Compare top-reviewed cards by feature and rate using the simple summary table.
For the typical small business owner, cash flow can be a fickle mistress, often ebbing and flowing like the tide. This means many businesses must rely on credit to meet their constantly evolving financial needs.
While financing at the corporate level often involves six-figure credit lines and loans, the average small business owner isn’t going to qualify for that kind of credit — nor do they need it. For a small business, the best business credit cards can provide the financing necessary to take care of the day-to-day business expense that can’t wait for pending purchases or outstanding invoices.
1. What is a Business Credit Card?
A business credit card works just like a personal credit card that can be used to make purchases, up to the available credit limit. The only way it differs from a personal card is that the primary applicant must be a business owner.
Whether you walk dogs for a living, manage an Etsy shop, or run a Fortune 500 company, the best business credit cards can suit a variety of business expenses and reward you for your eligible net purchases. Most business cards design their rewards programs around the things business owners buy most.
For example, Chase rewards cardholders with Chase Ultimate Reward points for purchases made in select business categories that include social media and search engine advertising as well as internet and cable providers, among others. Whereas other business cards, like the Capital One® Spark Cash line of cards, offer flat-rate cash back on all purchases.
So, if you’re a handyman who drives across town regularly to perform jobs, a business card that rewards fuel purchases may make sense. But if your business operates in an office and you have office supplies on auto-ship, a business card that offers bonus rewards for office store purchases, such as the Ink Business Cash Credit Card does, can help you save on those purchases.
You’ll then make monthly payments to the credit card company on or before your due date, just as you would for a personal credit card. And, you’ll receive zero fraud liability for any unauthorized transactions made with your business credit card account.
2. How Do You Get a Business Credit Card?
For the most part, applying for a business credit card is the same as applying for a consumer credit card. You simply select your card, click the “apply” button, and start filling out the application. You’ll likely see the expected queries, such as your business’s name and address, as well as questions asking for financial information, including your company’s income.
The main variation from a consumer credit card application will likely be that you will need your business’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), which can be obtained through the IRS. In some cases, you may be operating your business using your personal credit, in which case you will use your Social Security number instead.
In essence, an EIN is the business equivalent of a Social Security number. The EIN will be associated with all of your business’s financial operations, including taxes and business credit.
You’ll need an EIN to open up business checking and savings accounts, as well as to apply for most types of business financing.
For example, when applying for a small business credit card, you’ll use your business’s EIN rather than your Social Security number on the application. This associates the credit account with your company’s credit instead of your own personal credit.
Similarly, any trade lines or other credit products you open for your business will typically require an EIN to establish.
3. Is a Business Credit Card a Good Idea?
A business credit card is a good idea if you want to be rewarded for your business expenses but you won’t roll over a large balance from month to month. Credit cards can charge high APRs that are based on your personal credit score unless you already have established business credit.
As you can see in the chart above, you may be charged around 20% of your balance every year you maintain a balance on your card. A low-rate business loan may be a better option if you need capital to make a few necessary purchases and want to pay it off over time.
Alternatively, you can look for a business card that offers 0% financing on new purchases for a promotional period. These promotional rates last about 12 months or so and most come with rewards for all the eligible net purchases you make during that period.
This means you’ll actually come out ahead, assuming your balance is paid by the time the promotional period expires. You may even be able to achieve a signup bonus, which would really make getting a business card a good idea.
4. How Do I Compare the Best Credit Card Offers and Deals?
When it comes to choosing between the best business cards, you’ll need to consider a few points, including the small business card’s APR, whether it charges an annual fee, and (most importantly for some) what kind of rewards it offers.
In the modern credit card world, the vast majority of credit cards — both consumer cards and small business credit cards — provide some kind of purchase rewards. A good business rewards credit card can be extremely lucrative if you select one that lets you earn rewards on the purchases you make most frequently.
To get the most out of your business rewards credit card, comparing rewards cards will involve looking at where you tend to spend most of your cash. You’ll also need to consider how you’re most likely to use your rewards, namely if you want cash back, travel rewards, or flexible points.
Cash back rewards are the most straightforward and can be easily redeemed for a statement credit or check, but points and miles typically provide more redemption options.
Businesses that require a lot of travel can often get a lot of value out of travel rewards credit cards, especially those that offer bonus rewards for travel-related purchases like plane tickets and rental car purchases. Many business travel rewards cards will also come with extraneous perks like elite hotel status, trip insurance, and lost or delayed baggage reimbursement.
With most rewards programs, cardholders earn unlimited rewards at a low flat rate, while some programs will also provide bonus rewards for purchases made in specific categories, like gas or office supplies. If many of your business expenses fall into these popular categories, a program that provides bonus rewards can provide significant value.
For the rare small business owner who doesn’t care about credit card rewards, a card that provides an introductory APR deal can be a good investment. Typically offering 12 months or more of 0% APR on new purchases, intro APR cards can provide significant savings for business owners who need to carry a balance from month to month. Find one without an annual fee to stack the savings.
5. What is the Best Business Credit Card?
Although life (and business) would certainly be simpler if there were a single “best” product for everyone, in most cases, it’s more about finding the best one for you — and that includes your small business credit card. That being said, the cards that typically earn the distinction as being one of the best business credit cards share a few commonalities.
Firstly, most great business cards will offer some type of purchase rewards, be it cash back, travel rewards, or points. The type of reward that’s best for you will be the type you’re most likely to use.
For example, if your annual traveling is limited to a single round-trip flight to visit your relatives, a travel card may not be worthwhile. If you’re a frequent flyer, however, travel rewards can be lucrative.
In addition to rewards, you’ll want to look at the interest rate charged by your card. If you tend to carry a balance from month to month, the best card for you will be one with a low ongoing APR or an intro APR deal that provides a 0% interest rate for a set period after opening the account. You may also find cards that offer intro APR deals on balance transfers, although balance transfer deals aren’t as prevalent in business cards as they are in the consumer market.
Another popular differentiator for many cardholders is the card’s signup bonus. A good signup bonus can work out to hundreds — sometimes even thousands — of dollars in cash back, points, or frequent flyer miles. Most signup bonuses have a minimum spending requirement to earn the bonus, with the size of the spending requirement varying with the size of the bonus.
The fringe benefits available to cardholders may also factor into your decision. This can be anything from whether the card charges foreign transaction fees to the verification structure (most U.S. cards use chip-and-signature technology, while many European countries believe a secure credit card is one that requires a PIN).
All being considered, you’ll see our top-rated business card listed as #1 above. We like that particular Chase business credit card for its hefty signup bonus, solid rewards structure, and all the great travel insurance and purchase protections that Chase credit cards are notorious for having.
6. What is the Best Credit Card for a Small Business?
While it’s not the answer many business owners want, the fact of the matter is that there is no “best” card. The best credit card for your business will vary based on your specific needs and spending habits. This includes everything from the card’s APR and fee structure to the type of rewards it offers.
These days, one of the most differentiating factors between credit cards is the rewards. You’ll need to choose between cash back, travel rewards, or points, as well as figuring out the rewards credit card structure you prefer.
Bonus category programs reward credit cardholders with bonus cash back, points, or travel rewards for spending in popular categories, like office supplies and internet or cellphone service purchases.
For more general spending, a flat-rate unlimited rewards card may be best. These reward cardholders with consistent earnings no matter where they spend.
Depending on the size of your business, the best credit card for your company may end up being the one with a spending limit that can accommodate your monthly business expenses. While most credit card issuers don’t advertise maximum credit limits, you can often find information on average limits by researching small business credit card reviews.
7. What is the Best Business Credit Card for Rewards in the U.S.?
Home to the very first rewards credit card (issued by Discover in the mid-1980s), the U.S. credit card market has an abundant selection of rewards cards, including a plethora of business options. With so many cards from which to choose, how do you determine the best small business credit card for rewards?
In the end, there is no single “best” business rewards card, simply the best one for your small business. If you travel a lot for your business — or simply for pleasure — then a credit card with travel rewards can be quite lucrative. On the other hand, cards with cash back rewards are easy to earn and even easier to redeem, typically applicable as a statement credit in just a few clicks.
Once you’ve chosen a form of rewards, you’ll need to select the card that gives you the most rewards based on your current spending habits. For instance, if your business goes through enough pen, paper, and Post-Its that you have the office supply store on speed dial, pick a card, like the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card, that gives you bonus rewards for office supply purchases.
Once the options have been winnowed down, many cardholders will use the signup bonus as the deciding factor. With a quality signup bonus, you can earn a hefty one-time bonus of cash back, points, or miles that can be worth hundreds of dollars. Remember that you’ll likely need to meet a minimum spending requirement to earn your bonus.
8. What’s More Important in a Business Card: Low Rates or Good Reviews?
In the internet era, the power of the review has reached a monumental scale. With a few clicks and some choice words, a single consumer now has the ability to boost — or bury — a particular product, seemingly overnight. But when it comes to small business credit cards, should you let a poor review sway you from what could potentially be a great deal?
For many business owners, it likely comes down to how good of a deal is at stake. A lot of credit cards these days come with really tempting introductory 0% APR offers that can save a lot of money for business owners who tend to carry a balance.
If you’re contemplating a card with a solid intro APR offer, you may find it’s worth defying a few reviewers to avoid spending hundreds of your hard-earned dollars on interest fees.
On the other hand, if the card has a significant number of negative reviews, you may want to think about why so many other business owners dislike the card. If every reviewer has had issues with the credit card company’s customer service, for example, take that into consideration.
That intro APR deal may seem like less of a deal after two hours on the phone with your credit card issuer to remove an erroneous fee.
Overall, a good rule of thumb is to take all reviews — positive and negative — with a proverbial grain of salt. Even the most popular gold and platinum cards will probably have a few negative reviews, and cards that are otherwise reported to be terrible may have a fan or two. Balance a good deal with a good reputation when weighing your options.
9. How Do You Open a Business Credit File?
As in the consumer credit world, your business’s credit history is what will determine its ability to obtain financing and other forms of credit from banks, individual lenders, and even some vendors. Unfortunately, establishing business credit isn’t quite as simple as obtaining a business credit card — although that is a good early step.
The very first step to building business credit, however, is to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS. The EIN is essentially your business’s Social Security number and will be the number associated with your business’s credit profile. The EIN is also used for tax purposes and is used to open your business bank accounts.
With an EIN and checking accounts in hand, your business can obtain its first credit lines. This can include a business credit card, but will also likely include vendors, manufacturers, and other suppliers. You may also wish to set up accounts with the main business credit reporting bureaus, which include Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and TransUnion.
Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and TransUnion are the three main business credit reporting bureaus.
Presuming the trade line is reported to the credit bureaus, your business credit will grow slowly over time. If the company with which you have a trade line doesn’t report to the credit bureaus, you can report the credit account as a “trade reference” on your credit account.
10. How Do I Establish Business Credit?
Establishing business credit starts with obtaining an EIN from the IRS, then opening business checking and savings accounts using the EIN. You can then apply for accounts with the companies with whom you regularly do business, such as vendors, manufacturers, and other suppliers.
Make sure the party you establish a trade line with reports to the credit bureaus (the bureaus don’t generally track down information themselves). Over time, as your credit accounts report your payment behavior to the credit bureaus, your business’s credit history will grow.
Always maintain all of your business accounts in good standing to ensure your business credit profile looks its best. The specific factors that influence your business credit scores will vary by bureau, but they’ll look at the same general areas, including your outstanding balances, payment habits, and credit utilization.
According to Experian, the factors that affect your business credit profile include, but are not limited to:
The presence of derogatory public records on the business profile, such as collections, liens, judgments, and bankruptcies
The status, recency, frequency, and dollar amounts of any applicable liens, judgments, or bankruptcies
An increased trend in slow payment of obligations
An increase in the number of business credit inquiries or applications that are generated by the business or the owner
The number of trade experiences, balances outstanding, payment habits, credit utilization, and trends over time
Years in business, line of business or Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, size of the business, and other demographic data
You’ll notice many of these factors are the same for personal credit reports.
11. How Do I Get Credit for My LLC?
The process of building business credit for an LLC is the same as that of most other businesses, starting with the need to obtain an EIN from the IRS. You’ll then need to open business bank accounts to ensure your company’s finances are distinct from your own.
Using your EIN, you can open accounts with your regular suppliers and vendors, which will, hopefully, report your payment behavior to the business credit bureaus. You may also wish to open a business credit card to the diversity of your company’s growing credit profile.
With several accounts reporting to the bureaus, your credit will start to grow. So long as you maintain your credit accounts in good standing — i.e., pay your debts as agreed and avoid late payments — your LLC will have a well-established credit profile in just a few years.
12. Do Business Credit Cards Build Credit?
Between the swipe-and-go convenience and rewards offered by your typical business credit card, the list of reasons to apply keeps getting longer. But while nearly any business can benefit from bonus rewards on binders, a big incentive for obtaining a small business credit card is the ability to build your business credit profile.
Indeed, because the vast majority of business credit card issuers will report to the three major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and TransUnion), your business credit card can boost your business credit and diversify your profile. If your credit card company doesn’t report to the bureaus, you can still get recognition for the account by listing it as a trade reference.
Of course, your business credit card only helps your business credit profile if you maintain your credit card account in good standing. This means always paying your card as agreed; as with consumer credit, business credit is heavily influenced by your payment history.
If you have a charge card, this means paying your balance in full each month. For a revolving credit line, be sure to make at least the minimum payment by the due date.
Depending on the size of your business, tools typically for the consumer market can help you keep track of your small business expenses, too. For instance, you can use Prism credit card balance tracking to stay up-to-date, or Mint budgeting to get the bird’s-eye view of your spending.
13. How Do You Get a Credit Score for a Business?
Although you can establish business credit with your first trade line, obtaining a business credit score takes a bit more work. Indeed, while the consumer credit world almost universally uses FICO credit scoring models to calculate your score, the business credit world isn’t so simple.
Each business credit reporting bureau will use its own scoring model and provide lenders with its own score. Of course, while each bureau has its own model, the basic factors will be the same, including payment history, credit utilization, and outstanding balances.
Furthermore, each bureau has its own requirements and qualifications to obtain a score. For example, you’ll need at least three active business trade lines to get a Dun & Bradstreet Paydex score.
You may also need to register with the bureau to provide important details about your business, such as any trade references not reporting on their own.
14. How Do I Check My Business Credit History?
In another parallel with consumer credit, once you’ve established business credit, you should regularly check that credit to ensure it stays on track. Thankfully, a wide variety of credit tracking services and options are available for businesses to keep an eye on their growing business credit score.
Perhaps the most straightforward option is to open an account with each bureau and check your report through the bureau’s website.
For instance, you can sign up with Experian to receive a single business credit report, which also includes your Experian business CreditScore™. For a more comprehensive experience, you can sign up for an annual membership that provides daily report monitoring and unlimited access to your report and score.
Another option is to use a third-party credit monitoring service that will provide you with one, two, or all three of your business credit reports. While typically not as thorough as the reports obtained directly from the bureaus, these services can be good for getting an overview of your business’s credit and seeing how specific changes affect your overall credit profile.
15. How Do I Get a Corporate Credit Card?
Corporate credit card accounts are credit lines designed for large-scale corporations with multimillion-dollar revenue streams. Obtaining a corporate credit account generally involves reviewing the corporation’s finances and will require an EIN (in contrast, small business credit cards tend to have the option to use your personal Social Security number instead of an EIN).
Corporate credit accounts are often structured more like charge cards than revolving credit cards, with large — or even unlimited — credit lines that are regularly paid off. These accounts also usually come with a large number of employee cards and comprehensive monitoring software to keep track of copious users.
16. What is American Express OPEN?
American Express OPEN is the division of Amex that deals with small business credit cards, including two of the most recognizable business credit cards available — the Business Gold Rewards Card and the Business Platinum Card®.
Amex OPEN cards come with a variety of exclusive perks, such as OPEN Savings®, which provides additional Membership Reward points and special discounts on eligible purchases.
Many Amex OPEN cards are charge cards, not revolving credit cards. This means you’ll need to pay off your balance in full each month, rather than being able to carry a balance from month to month. On the plus side, charge cards don’t charge interest fees because you pay off your balance each billing cycle.
Similar to the Ink Business Preferred card from Chase, the Amex OPEN Business Gold Rewards Card offers bonus rewards in business-centered categories, including shipping charges. Unlike the Ink Business card, however, the Business Gold card lets you choose the category for which you want the biggest bonus.
The Platinum Card is a good option for frequent travelers, providing a significant Membership Rewards point bonus for travel purchases made through the Amex travel portal. Your Platinum Card also comes with an annual airline credit, airport lounge access, as well as providing bonus rewards for large purchases. The Business Platinum Card is by far one of the most premium business cards you can carry and comes with vast benefits for business persons who spend a lot of time in airports.
17. Can I Get a Secured Credit Card For a Business?
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of business credit is that it often falls victim to the old cache-22 of “you need credit to get credit.” One way to (mostly) get around the credit requirement is to obtain a secured business credit card, which tends to have more flexible credit requirements.
In contrast to unsecured credit cards, secured cards require an initial deposit to open the account, with minimum deposit amounts varying by card (but generally at least $500). The deposit effectively acts as collateral, which is used to cover any outstanding balance in the event you become seriously delinquent (180+ days late).
With secured business credit cards, the size of your deposit will directly determine the size of your available credit line. A typical secured card credit line is equal to 90% (but up to 100%) of your deposit amount.
The average credit card company offering secured credit cards will allow you to increase your credit line as you go by adding to your deposit at any time. Some secured cards will even review your account periodically to see whether you qualify for an upgrade to an unsecured card. If you decide to close your secured card, your deposit will be refunded to you, minus any owed balance or fees.
18. Which Banks Offer Secured Business Credit Cards?
Perhaps the most difficult part of obtaining a secured business credit card is finding one, as few major credit card issuers actually offer secured business cards. Indeed, as far as the top issuers are concerned, your main options are the Secured Visa® Business Credit Card from BBVA or the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card.
That said, you may have better luck checking with your local credit unions and/or community banks. These smaller institutions tend to have more flexible credit and income requirements for new and small businesses, particularly local businesses.
Credit unions and community banks can also be great places to open your business banking accounts, as you’ll likely receive more individual attention than at a larger institution. Credit unions are able to charge fewer fees and lower interest rates because they’re member-owned institutions.
This means when you sign up to be a member of a credit union, you become part owner, and your profits are returned to you in the form of low-cost products and services. The National Credit Union Association (NCUA) offers a credit union locator you can use to find one near you.
19. How Do I Earn a Signup Bonus?
Signup offers reward cardholders with a one-time bonus of cash back, points, or miles, often worth several hundred dollars. In most cases, signup bonuses — sometimes referred to as a welcome bonus — require you to meet a minimum spending amount within a set period of time (usually within the first 90 days, though this can vary).
Once you meet the spending requirement, your welcome bonus should be automatically credited to your account.
In the consumer credit market, signup bonuses are often used by “churners” to rack up stockpiles of points or miles. Though business cardholders are significantly less likely to churn cards, signup bonuses can still be quite lucrative.
For example, with the right travel rewards card signup bonus, you could earn enough miles to book a free round-trip flight in just a few weeks.
By the rules of most credit card companies, you can only earn one signup bonus per card per 24-month period. In other words, if you earned a specific sign-up bonus in January of 2020, you typically won’t be eligible to earn a sign-up bonus for that card again until January of 2022.
Amex is the most prominent exception to this guideline, limiting signup bonuses to once per card, period. So if you’ve already earned a signup bonus for the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, for example, you won’t ever be eligible to earn another Business Platinum Card® signup bonus.
Note that balance transfers and cash advances almost never qualify toward the minimum required spending amount to achieve a signup bonus (nor do they qualify to earn rewards), so if you think you can transfer a balance from one card to another and earn a hefty sum of rewards, think again.
20. How Do I Earn and Redeem Points on Business Purchases?
While business credit cards can be quite useful, perhaps the most fun part is earning and redeeming your rewards — especially flexible rewards points. Most points programs offer a wide range of redemption options, including everything from cash back or statement credits to merchandise from popular brands to travel credits.
Another popular way to redeem points is to transfer them to an airline or hotel loyalty program. Many popular brands have credit card partnerships that allow you to transfer your points to your frequent flyer or hotel loyalty account.
Business owners who issue employee cards can potentially earn points incredibly fast, as each employee card will earn points on every eligible purchase. Those points are added to any points earned by the primary cardholder — and any other employee cards — so you could earn your way to awesome rewards in next to no time.
21. How Do I Earn Cash Back or a Statement Credit on Business Purchases?
The simplest and most straightforward credit card rewards program, cash back cards allow you to earn cash back for every qualifying purchase made with your card. Cash back can typically be redeemed through your issuer’s website, though some smaller institutions may use a third-party partner site for redemption. Cash back can usually be redeemed for a statement credit, gift cards, or a physical check (issued through the mail).
Most cash back programs come in one of two types. The first and most basic is an unlimited flat-rate rewards program, in which cardholders earn the same amount of cash back on every qualifying purchase with no limit. The second type of program provides a higher earnings rate for purchases in specific bonus categories, typically with a limit on how much you can earn per quarter.
The most lucrative cash back rewards program for you will depend on your business’s needs. If you don’t spend much in the common bonus categories, for instance, an unlimited cash back card may be more valuable. In either program, you don’t have to do the earning yourself; employee cards will earn cash back rewards, too.
An important thing to note is that credit card rewards are earned based on net purchases, meaning refunds and returns may affect your earned rewards.
22. Can I Earn Frequent Flyer Miles with a Business Credit Card?
One of the lesser-known ways to get great value out of your business credit card rewards is to transform them into frequent flyer miles. Nearly every frequent flyer program has at least one credit card partner (and some have a dozen or more partners) from which points or miles can be transferred into frequent flyer miles.
For those whose businesses require them to fly so often that the pilots know their names, a good points or travel rewards card can boost frequent flyer accounts into overdrive. In fact, even those who haven’t quite hit jet-setter status can still get a lot of value by using their business credit card to rack up free travel.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards points program is a great example, as Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to more than half a dozen different hotel and airline loyalty programs, potentially making you one signup bonus away from a round-trip flight. Indeed, transferring to frequent flyer miles often offers more per-point value than other redemption options.
To transform your credit card rewards into frequent flyer miles, you’ll need to log into your card issuer’s redemption website (or call the redemption number) and input your frequent flyer account information. Once transferred, you should be able to redeem your frequent flyer miles through the airline partner site as usual.
Another way to earn frequent flyer miles with a business credit card is to obtain an airline-branded card, such as the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card. Not only will you directly earn frequent flyer miles for eligible purchases, but branded cards often reward cardholders with additional perks, such as free checked bags and/or preferred boarding.
23. Do Small Business Credit Card Rewards Expire?
While it’s all well and good to rack up tons of rewards, what if you can’t use them right away, such as when you’re saving miles for a future trip?
Well, thankfully, credit card rewards aren’t a use-it-or-lose-it commodity; in fact, most credit card rewards won’t expire at all, so long as your account remains open and in good standing (but check with your issuer just in case).
But be sure to read the fine print of your credit card agreement because some cards do let rewards expire if not used within a certain period. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) maintains a database of credit card agreements, but you can also find this information easily on the card issuer’s website.
You can secure credit card rewards by making sure you spend a little on your card (or make a rewards redemption) at least once every few months. This will keep your account open and active, reducing the likelihood of your account being closed due to inactivity.
24. Can Owning a Card Lower My Credit Card Processing Fees?
In the modern consumer landscape, the average purchase is made with plastic, not paper. While this is often convenient for consumers and businesses alike, the fees associated with credit card processing are anything but convenient.
While the exact cost varies with the credit card processor, most card transactions cost the merchant at least 1% of the transaction total, with 2% to 3% charges being more common.
Unfortunately, you can’t lower your credit card processing fees simply by obtaining a business credit card, even if you get the card from the same institution that acts as your credit card processor. Other than comparison shopping before signing on with a processor, the only real ways to save on credit card processing fees are to limit manual card entries and impose minimum credit card purchase amounts.
Although it won’t help you save on credit card processing fees, your average business card has plenty of other card membership rewards. For example, most credit cards include some sort of rental car insurance, purchase warranty extensions, and concierge services — and the best business credit cards offer a host of other benefits, as well.
25. Do Business Cards Charge Annual Fees?
In the credit card business, an annual fee is similar to a maintenance fee and is charged once a year, typically on your card’s anniversary. Just like personal credit cards, some charge annual fees and others don’t. Annual fees are often used to offset the cost of the card for the issuer.
For instance, the business credit cards with the most lucrative rewards tend to charge the highest annual fees as a way to compensate for the perks. Check out the Amex Business Platinum Card’s annual fee as an example.
That said, many credit card issuers are now offering a variety of cards without annual fees as a way to differentiate their cards from other options. With a little research, you can even find a quality card that will reward credit cardholders without charging an annual fee for its privileges.
26. What is a Foreign Transaction Fee?
Likely a foreign concept to cardholders who don’t travel abroad, foreign transaction fees are the fees charged by credit card companies to cover the cost of converting to and from a foreign currency. They typically apply anytime you make an international purchase in another currency, whether the purchase originates in the U.S. or abroad, and run 3% to 5% of the purchase amount.
As an example, suppose you travel to London for business and purchase a Double Royale (with cheese) after your meeting. The purchase will be charged in British pounds at the restaurant, but your credit card account is full of U.S. dollars, so your credit card processor will need to convert your USD into GBP to complete the purchase — charging you foreign transaction fees in the process.
To combat the extra cost of traveling, a variety of consumer and business credit cards are available that don’t charge foreign transaction fees. Travel rewards cards, in particular, will often eliminate foreign transaction fees.
In a way, cards without foreign transaction fees can be thought of as “tourism credit cards,” since you can travel across borders without fear of being attacked by fees for every purchase in another currency.
27. What Other Business Credit Card Fees Should I be Aware Of?
Whether we like it or not, of course, annual fees and foreign transaction fees are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to credit cards. When comparing business credit cards, in particular, look out for cards that charge fees for additional employee cards, as these can get costly if you have a big team.
Other fees to look out for include fees for extra services, such as cash advance fees and balance transfer fees. The best way to avoid these fees is to avoid the associated services (cash advances are always a bad idea, anyway).
Another common fee is the dreaded late fee, which you’ll be charged for making late credit card payments. You can avoid late fees simply by making at least the minimum payment before your due date. Remember that, as far as your credit card issuer is concerned, late is late. It doesn’t matter if you’re a month late or a day late, you’ll likely be charged a late fee either way.
Of course, when it comes to late payments, the fees may actually be the least of your worries. As you work to build your business credit, your payment history will be extremely influential, and late payments are an easy way to wreck your budding business credit. If you think paying on time will be an issue, set up automatic payments to ensure you’re never late.
Remember, building a business takes a lot of time and dedication — and so does building business credit. The right business credit card can make a huge difference, both by providing the necessary financing to get you through the ebb and flow of your business’s income streams, but also by helping to build up your business credit profile.
Editorial Note: Our site content is not provided or commissioned by any credit card issuer(s). Opinions expressed on CardRates.com are the author's alone, not those of any credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by credit card issuers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information; however, all credit card offer details, including information about rewards, signup bonuses, introductory offers, and other terms and conditions, is presented without warranty. Clicking on any offer on CardRates.com will direct you to the issuer's website, where you can review the current terms and conditions of the offer.
The information on this page was reviewed for accuracy on .
About the Author
Brittney is a Credit Strategist and Finance Expert who has spent years honing her knowledge of the credit industry both personally and professionally. Brittney applies her more than a decade of research experience to crafting in-depth consumer guides designed to help CardRates readers make better, more informed financial decisions.
Share the Knowledge!
Our finance experts work hard to show you the best credit cards. Want to show your appreciation? Share this page!
Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which CardRates.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. See the credit card issuer's website for specific terms and conditions of each card.