Many people are confused about the difference between a small business credit card and a corporate credit card. Corporate cards are used by larger companies who have a great credit history.
If you’re a sole prop, then a small business card might be the right option if you have a lot of expenses. The best business credit cards have many ways to give you value, such as providing rewards, sign up bonuses, and other perks. They are useful for short-term funding.
Why are you looking for a small business credit card?
It’s likely you need additional liquidity to help invest into your business. You’re looking for an infusion of capital, and think the business credit card is your best bit. One of the great things about Delancey Street is we provide additional working capital options for your small business. For example, we can provide you with:
- Term loans
- SBA loans
- Small business loans
- Lines of credit
- Invoice factoring
- and more
What’s important is that we can help you with cost-effective financing options.
Here are the best small business credit cards:
- Best business credit card for sign-up bonuses: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Best for travel benefits: AMEX Platinum Card
- Best for points earning with no fees: Blue Business Plus from AMEX
- Best for flat earning rate: Ink Business Unlimited
- Best for 4x bonus categories: AMX Business Gold
- Best for cash-back bonus: Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Best for startups: Brex Corporate card
Regardless of whether you’re a freelancer, or someone whose got a small business, you should keep your personal and business finances separate. If you want to make your day to day finances easier, you should keep your business purchases separate.
Reasons to get a business credit card
Your personal credit card might not give you the type of spending your company business credit card. Business credit cards have higher limits, and the activity on your business card won’t affect your personal credit report. If you default on your business card, the issuer might be able to come after you personally.
If you’re a sole prop, where you work under your name and social security number, then getting a business card is more than just keeping expenses separate, it also protects your personal credit and assets. If you’re a big enough business though, having a business credit is a MUST. It can help you separate expenses, establish business credit, and give you flexibility when it comes to loans and leases.
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Welcome offer: 80,000 points when you spend $5000 in the first 3 months
Annual fee: $95
Earning rates: 3 points / dollar on the first $150,000 your business spends. Purchases after $150,000 earn 1 point per dollar.
Benefits: Cell phone protection, car rental insurance
If you want to earn reward points on your business spending, the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform is one of the best. If you already have Chase’s personal cards, like the Sapphire Preferred Card or Sapphire Reserve, then the Ink Business Preferred is an ideal business credit card companion.
Like those other cards, the Ink Preferred earns ultimate rewards points, and you can keep them on that card, and separate them from the rest of your stash. The points can be traded for cash back, transferred to other flyer and hotel partners, or used to purchase travel with a 25% bonus. the Ink Business Preferred card also has bonus points in some of the most common expense categories, from travel to advertising, and more.
Another benefit is that the Ink Business Preferred offers cell phone protection. When you use the Ink Preferred to pay your cell phone bill, you are covered up to $600 for damage, loss, or theft to your cell phone, or your employees cell phones. You are limited to 3 claims per 12 months.
Business Platinum Card From American Express
Welcome offer: They offer 75,000 membership reward points, and 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 in the first 3 months. You get another 25000 if you spend an additional $10,000 in the same time frame. This makes it an amazing small business credit card.
Annual fee: $595
Earning rate: 5 points / dollar on flights, and prepaid hotels, which are booked via AMEX travel. You get 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
- $200 annual airline fees are credited back
- Access to airport lounges like Centurion, Priority Pass, and Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta.
- $200 in Dell statement credits annually.
- Get 35% of your points back when you use Pay With Points to book an economy flight with your chosen airline
The small business American Express Platinum card is one of the top business credit cards. In the past year the annual fee has increased, and it’s become a niche product. Other benefits of the AMEX business credit card is access to more than 1,200 airport lounges, 10 Gogo in-flight WiFi passes, and complimentary Gold elite status with both Hilton and Marriott.
- click here to learn more about the Business Platinum card
- read more about the AMEX business platinum card review
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
Welcome offer: None
Annual fee: $0
Earning rates: 2 amex points per dollar on the first $50,000 in spending every year
Benefits: No annual fee, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months
The Blue Business Plus Card doesn’t have a welcome offer, and some people may not be interested because of that. According to The Points Guy, AMEX points are worth 2 cents each, and you’re getting a 4% return on all of your business spend up to $50,000 each year.
Delta SkyMiles Gold Business from AMEX
If you like flying with Delta for business travel, the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business AMEX will pay for itself in the money you save on checked bag fees. Along with a free checked bag, you can get it for you and up to 8 companions. You’ll also get priority boarding on Delta flights, and 20% off inflight purchases.
There is no annual fee for the first year, and you can try it out at no cost for 12 months. You can earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. You can earn 60,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. In addition, you can earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles on the anniversary of your account.
- 2x Delta Skymiles on all delta purchases, at restaurants, purchase on advertising in certain media, and U.S. shipping purchases
- One mile per dollar on other eligible purchases
- Main Cabin 1 priority boarding
- Free checked bag for you and 8 other companions on same reservations
- 20% off inflight purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- $100 Delta flight credit, after you spend $10,000 or more in the same calendar year
Annual fee: $99
Brex Corporate Card for Startups: Best Corporate Card
Why it’s good: If your company needs access to credit without the headaches of credit checks or other issues, the Brex Corporate card for startups is the right business card for you. This company uses your company’s cash and equity in order to determine your credit limit, which means theres no hard pulls on your personal credit report, and no liability for the line of credit you’re about to get. The card is essentially a World Elite Mastercard, so you will get other benefits like price protection, extended warranty, discounts on Lyft, Boxed, Lufthansa, and other places. It has no foreign transaction fees for purchases outside the USA. Some consider Brex Exclusive Rewards a highly competitive program, and Brex points can even be transferred at a 1 to 1 ratio to JetBlue TrueBlue along with other programs like Sinapore KrisFlyer, Avianca LifeMiles, and Air France/KLM Flying Blue.
If you use your Brex card only, you will get:
- 7x on rideshares / taxi
- 4x on travel via the Brex travel portal
- 3x on restaurants
- 2x on recurring software/SAAS
- 1x on all other spend
Why it’s awesome: You get credit limits 10 to 20x higher than traditional small business corporate cards.
CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
Why it’s great: This card comes with some solid bonus categories for an airline business credit card. The miles earned on this small business credit card can be redeemed not only on American Airlines, but also on the Oneworld alliance partners. You can get a free checked for you and up to 4 companions when you have this business credit card. You can give employees free cards, which gives you a way to get a lot of miles. It also has a version of Citi Concierge, which offers 24/7 help with travel, hotel, and dining, questions. Best of all, the annual fee is waived for the first 12 months.
Current bonus: They are currently offering 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first 4 months of the account being opened.
Can you apply for a small business credit card?
Small business applies to anything, ranging from a corporation to a corner store, to a landscaping company. Small business cards can make sense for anyone who is in business. You don’t need to be incorporated or have a formal business structure, like an LLC or partnership. Most entrepreneurs in USA are sole proprietors, it actually accounts for 3/4 of all businesses in the USA. They are all eligible to apply for small business credit cards.
Small business cards help you keep your business and personal finances completely separate. When you use the card for business spending, interest, and fees, all of this can be tax-deductible. Many small business credit cards also offer rewards and perks, which surpass what you’d get on a consumer credit card.
What will the small business credit card application ask for?
Applications for small business credit cards are a lot like those for consumer cards. Here are some things that the application could ask for:
Business name – If you don’t have a formal business name, then this can just be your name. When you’re a sole proprietor, you are literally the business.
Business contact information – If you don’t have separate business address/phone then that’s ok – your personal information is fine.
Federal taxpayer identification number – Don’t get intimidated. Your SSN is a federal tax ID number, and if you’re a sole proprietor this is ok. If you have employees or a formal business corporation, you can use your EIN number.
The industry you’re in – What do you do for business? This is a broad category. If you’re stumped, think about what you do, and the service you provide.
How long you’ve been in business
Revenue + expenses – Revenue is how much money you bring in from the business. Expenses are the money you spent to earn the revenue.
What don’t you need
Formal business structure – The business credit card application will ask you to specify what type of business it is. If your business is a corporation, or LLC, you should put that down. If you operate a business with a formal/legal business structure, that’s fine too – you can put sole prop.
Existing business credit history – Businesses can have credit histories, and credit scores, of their own. Having said that, a separate business credit file isn’t necessary to qualify for a small business credit card. Most credit cards require you to personally guarantee the debts of the business.
How to understand small business credit cards
Business and consumer credit cards are different in several ways.
You have to sign a personal guarantee
Virtually small business credit card applications have a personal guarantee. You are agreeing to be personally liable for the debt. It means you’re responsible for the balance even if the business goes bankrupt. You should keep this in mind when you decide to apply for funding.
Your personal credit could be affected
When you apply for a small business credit card it will show up as an inquiry on your personal credit report. This can cost you a few points on your credit scores for a short time. That’s because the issuer of the credit card wants to make sure that you, the business owner, are in fact the one who applied to borrow the money.
Small business cards fall into two categories, some report your account history to commercial credit bureaus, and some report to both consumer and commercial bureaus. In the case of the latter, your spending habits can affect both your personal and business credit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between small business credit cards and corporate cards?
The main difference is whose responsible for debts on the card. With a small business card, the owner of the business is responsible for the debt. It means he, or she, is liable for paying the debt even if the business goes under.
With a corporate card, the business itself is the debtor. If the company goes out of business, the owners aren’t responsible for paying the debt.
The difference is reflected in the application process for business credit cards. When you apply for a small business credit card, the issuer of the credit card will check your personal credit history, as well as the business’s credit.
Submit your review
this is definitely the most comprehensive review of business credit cards