Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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If you’re starting a new business or a startup firm, you’re probably juggling a ton of different tasks and wearing quite a few hats.
One thing you should absolutely not compromise on is optimizing your company’s finances.
In addition to separating your business expenses from your personal finances, getting access to quick funding, and starting to build your business credit, there are tons of benefits to opening a new credit card for your new venture.
Many different financial institutions offer business credit cards with a huge range of benefits that can easily become overwhelming.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of the best credit cards for new businesses and startups — let’s get started!
When researching the best business credit card candidates, we put ourselves in the shoes of a new business owner or startup founder and thought deeply about the benefits we’d look for.
We searched for cards that reward you for common expenses associated with starting a business, like technology.
We also looked for products that offer business tools like expense management, employee cards, and purchase protection. And, of course, one of the best perks of a new card is the welcome bonus that can immediately get you on the right track to accelerating your rewards.
Other important benefits of a business credit card include quick, easy access to credit and travel benefits for any business trips you may be taking.
|Card||Welcome Bonus and Annual Fee||Benefits for Startups and New Businesses|
As a new business, no 2 days will be the same, but rest assured that the Amex Business Gold card will consistently be the most rewarding card you can get.
This card has the broadest selection of bonus categories, which means that those unexpected, seemingly random expenses could easily earn up to 4x points. Whether you’re spending on advertising, office supplies like computer hardware, or on gas, the Amex Business Gold card has you covered.
Hot Tip: The bonus categories on the Amex Business Gold card are selected automatically for you every billing statement based on where you spend the most, ensuring you’ll earn the maximum number of points possible on each statement.
This card also comes with purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip delay insurance, car rental insurance, and no preset spending limit.
Even better, the Membership Rewards points you earn from this card are incredibly valuable, and they can be used to book first class flights!
At the end of the day, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a business card that offers a more diverse list of bonus categories where you can earn a whopping 4x points, which is a huge reason why we love this card.
Amex Membership Rewards are the most valuable points you can earn, according to our valuations. By transferring them to Amex transfer partners, you can book some incredible first and business class travel.
You can also redeem your Amex points via Amex Travel, or for gift cards, charitable donations, Amazon, statement credits, and so much more.
The Ink Business Preferred card is similar to the Amex Business Gold card in a few ways but features several unique differences.
Arguably Chase’s best credit card for business spending, Ink Business Preferred cardholders are able to earn 3x points per $1 spent on up to $150,000 per year in several bonus categories, including:
As you can see, the Ink Business Preferred card offers the ability to earn bonus points on expenses common for new businesses or startups like marketing (advertising), website/IT costs (internet, cable, and phone), and even logistics (shipping).
And if you have business trips here and there, you’ll earn 3x points per dollar spent on your travel purchases.
This card also offers awesome cell phone insurance, offering $1,000 per claim with a $100 deductible for up to 3 claims per rolling 12-month period.
Other useful benefits include purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip interruption and cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance, and no foreign transaction fees!
We love earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points because you can redeem them for award travel by transferring them to airline and hotel partners. This is the method to use if you want to get the maximum value out of each point you earn.
You can also redeem your points for travel booked via the Chase travel portal for 25% more in value (1.25 cents per point). Finally, you can redeem them for cash-back, gift cards, merchandise, and services.
Maybe your new business or startup will have large expenses or will require frequent travel. If you’re looking for a card that offers the best travel benefits, look no further than one of the best American Express business cards, the prestigious Amex Business Platinum card.
You can earn 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through the Amex Travel portal. You’ll also earn 1.5x points on select business categories (up to $2 million in purchases per calendar year), including:
You’ll also enjoy the following perks:
We’ve only scratched the surface of all the Amex Business Platinum card’s benefits, but it truly is one of the best cards on the market.
If you happen to be following different spending patterns than what we outlined above, don’t worry! There are plenty of alternative options to consider for a new business or startup venture.
We’re big fans of the Amex Blue Business Plus card, which allows you to earn 2x Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases, on up to $50,000 per year. After that, you’ll earn 1x. If you max out the $50,000 limit on 2x points, you’d earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points before reverting to earning 1 point per dollar.
This card has no annual fee, and it comes loaded with awesome perks like purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and employee cards at no additional cost (rates and fees).
The Ink Business Unlimited card is a simple but exceptionally rewarding business credit card to have in your wallet. If you don’t want to worry about bonus categories or an annual fee, this Chase credit card is a great choice.
You’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash-back on all your purchases with no cap. Plus, if you hold a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, your 1.5% cash-back is equivalent to 1.5x points.
This card gives you the ability to earn flexible and highly valuable points with no annual fee as long as you have a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards.
The Ink Business Cash card is the sister card of the Ink Business Unlimited card.
Whereas the Ink Business Unlimited card offers straightforward 1.5% cash-back, the Ink Business Cash card gives you the ability to earn up to 5% cash-back on select business categories.
You can earn 5% cash-back on up to $25,000 spent in combined purchases on the following categories each account anniversary year:
You can also earn 2% cash-back on up to $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.
If you have an Ultimate Rewards card, 5% and 2% cash-back is equivalent to 5x and 2x points, respectively.
You’ll also be able to take advantage of travel insurance, purchase protection, and primary rental car coverage.
It’s hard to think of another card that gives you up to 5x points with no annual fee!
With tons of different business credit cards out there competing for a spot in your wallet, deciding which one is right for your business can be overwhelming.
That’s why we did the legwork for you, narrowing the field down to just 6 options. The card you end up choosing should fit with your spending habits, your credit needs, and your rewards goals.
With any of these cards, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying credit card benefits, building credit for your business, and setting up your business for success!
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.
For the most part, the bank will check your personal credit report when you apply for a business card.
To have the best chances of getting approved, you should try to have a perfect payment history, show strong personal income to fund your business, and avoid maxing out your existing credit cards.
Small businesses can qualify for these credit cards, so you don’t need to have a corporation, an LLC, or employees to apply for these cards. All it takes to get started is a sole proprietorship and a Social Security number!
We think the best credit cards for new small businesses are the Amex Business Gold card, the Ink Business Preferred card, and the Amex Business Platinum card. You’ll earn rewards quickly, which you can either reinvest in your business or redeem for luxury travel and cash-back!
The first thing you should do is open a business credit card under your LLC’s name. Once you’ve activated the card, you should use your credit responsibly, make payments on time, and avoid maxing out your cards.
If you do that consistently, you’ll build excellent credit for your business.
In general, the most rewarding business credit cards require a credit score of 700 to 720. This isn’t a written rule anywhere, but rather a solid rule of thumb.
It depends. In an ideal world, you’d just have 1 business credit card that allows you to earn all the perks and rewards you want.
In practice, though, you might need to have 2 or 3 to make the most of the rewards and benefits.
Yes, but you probably won’t qualify for the best cards. If you have bad credit, you should focus on rebuilding or repairing your credit first.
To do this, you should apply for a secured or low-limit card, use it responsibly, and slowly increase your credit score.
When you’ve built up your creditworthiness, you can then apply for the top business credit cards.
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