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Managing your finances as a freelancer—whether you’re a sole proprietor or a freelance LLC—is all about equipping yourself with the right tools. One resource that everyone working on their own needs to help them spend intelligently is a business credit card. The best business credit cards for freelancers will provide you with payment flexibility and the ability to earn rewards—and not charge you an arm and leg to do it.
This is a valuable tool for freelancers. While they are a diverse demographic, freelancers tend to face similar hurdles due to the independent, invoice-based nature of their work. Though there may be varying business credit card requirements, a business credit card for freelancers can really help with a lot of these shared challenges—they’re actually a crucial part of a solopreneur’s finances.
We’ll explain why, show you five of the best freelancer credit cards on the market, and explain more about how solopreneurs stand to benefit from a freelancer credit card.
The first step to getting a business credit card for freelancers is choosing the right one for you. Here are five top business credit cards that can address needs particular to freelancing:
Best for: Freelancers Who Want More Spending Power
If you’re looking for even more spending wiggle room than your typical business credit card can offer, then the American Express Blue Business Plus will be the best freelance business credit card for you.
That’s because the Blue Business Plus offers one of the longest 0% intro APR period on the market. For your 12-month introductory period with this freelance business credit card, you’ll be able to carry an interest-free balance from month-to-month as long as you make your monthly minimum payment on time every month.
After that intro period, your APR will set in at a rate that will depend on your creditworthiness and the market Prime Rate, so be sure to see the issuer’s terms and conditions for the latest APR information.
Even after this 12-month intro period, though, you’ll be able to outspend your credit limit without penalty, as long as you pay off your balance in full on time. Of course, the amount you spend above your Blue Business Plus credit limit isn’t unlimited, but Amex will be less stringent with limiting your freelance spending on the Blue Business Plus than other issuers will be.
Note that there is no welcome offer with the Amex Blue Business Plus, but you will earn 2x cash back on the first $50,000 you spend annually. What’s more, this is a business credit card with no annual fee.
Best for: Freelancers Who Want Cash Back Rewards
If you’re looking for a more sustained buffer from your business credit card than the Blue Business Plus provides, then your best business credit card for freelancers will be the Capital One Spark Cash.
To start off your card membership, this card has a welcome offer of $500 cash back if you spend $4,500 during your first three months with the card.
But the main draw of spending with the Spark Cash will be the solid, unlimited 2% cash back you’ll earn for every single dollar you spend. No matter what your freelancing expenses end up being, you’ll be earning 2% of every dollar you spend back.
Be sure to note that after your first year, the Spark Cash will have an annual fee of $95, but your first year with the card will be completely free.
Best for: Freelancers Who Work as Writers
Writing is one of the most popular areas of focus for those who work as freelancers, and Chase makes a rewards card tailored to their needs. With an Chase Ink Business Preferred, you’ll earn 3x cash back on online advertising, travel, internet, and cable and phone services—all things freelance writers need to operate.
There’s also a nifty welcome offer of 80,000 points if you spend $5,000 during your first three months with the card. Note that this card does come with an annual fee of $95. The Chase Ink Business Preferred is a great credit card for freelancers who spend a lot in the aforementioned categories.
Best for: Freelancers Who Travel Often
One of the most attractive aspects of freelancing is that you can work from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. On the other hand, you may be a freelancer who is hired for jobs in far-flung places. If either of these is true of your business, we have the perfect freelancer credit card for you—the Amex Express Business Platinum Card.
For starters, the Business Platinum Card offers you 5x rewards for every dollar you spend on flights and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com. You’ll also earn 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on each purchase that’s worth $5,000 or more. This rate will only apply for up to 1 million additional points per year. On top of that, you’ll earn 1 point for every dollar you spend elsewhere.
The Business Platinum Card welcome offer is also very generous. You’ll be able to earn up to 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend an additional $15,000 on qualifying purchases on the Business Platinum Card, within your first three months of Card Membership.
Now, all these great rewards do come at a steep cost. The Amex Business Platinum Card carries a $595 annual fee. But if you travel often, the money you’ll save can make up for this cost and then some.
Best for: Freelancers Who Need Payment Flexibility
The American Express Plum charge card rounds out our list of the very best business credit cards for freelancers. This card is a really solid pick for freelancers who have an unpredictable income schedule because of its incomparable payment and rewards flexibility.
For every statement balance you carry with the Plum Card, you’ll have a payment grace period of 60 days. Alternatively, if you’re able to pay off your statement balance early—within 10 days of the statement closing date—then you’ll receive a 1.5% discount on your statement.
Keep in mind that the Plum Card is a charge card. Charge cards operate on the assumption that you’ll pay off your balance in full every month, so after the 60-day grace period, if you still have a remaining balance, you’ll incur heavy late fees.
The Plum Card comes with a $250 annual fee that will set in after your first year as a cardholder, but the flexibility and the flat-rate rewards that this card offers could make this card more than worth its annual fee.
Among the most common questions we hear freelancers ask is whether or not they should apply for a business credit card. The answer, almost 100% of the time, is a resounding yes.
Just because you’re a freelancer doesn’t mean you don’t have credit needs—you do. From business credit card rewards to becoming loan ready, business credit cards for freelancers exist to make your life easier. But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s a list of reasons why a credit card for freelancers is a must-have.
We’re sure you’ll see at least one of your major needs in these top reasons why you need to do your freelancing spending on a business credit card:
No freelancer likes tax season. If you don’t separate your business and personal expenses, you and your accountant will have to spend hours together distinguishing between the two. And not only is that annoying, but if you’re paying your accountant on an hourly basis, that’s expensive, too.
One of the most important reasons to get a business credit card for freelancers is to keep your business and personal expenses separate. By getting a business vs. personal credit card for your freelance costs, you won’t have to put office supplies on the same card as your family’s groceries.
Using a business credit card means you’ll just need a copy of your card statements to total your business expenses for the year.
With a freelance business credit card, you won’t have to waste hours sorting through credit card statements, documents, and paper receipts, highlighting to your accountant which expenses are business expenses and which aren’t. That’ll help you quickly figure out your profits and taxable income.
If you went through all of the paperwork and time to set up your freelance business as an LLC—which we highly recommend you do—you want to make certain that you actually get that “limited liability.”
Part of the reason you establish an LLC (aka limited liability corporation) is to protect your personal assets in the case of any unforeseen small business lawsuits. But if you don’t actually separate your finances—splitting up your spending on a business credit card and keeping your business money in a business bank account, for instance—you’re actually forfeiting all of that legal protection. And that’s just nuts!
That’s enough to make you go apply for a business credit card for freelancers right this second, isn’t it?
When you’re new to the freelance world, it’s easy to overlook costs that typically go into running a business. And being new to a freelance career can be especially tricky, because most freelancers experience payment droughts—even if your work is steady. You can’t be sure your clients are going to be diligent about paying you.
If you spend responsibly, you’ll be able to use a business credit card to invest in resources that will help your freelance business grow even when you may not have the necessary cash on hand.
The credit line that a freelance business credit card gives you access to can help you smooth over cash shortfalls and see you through gaps in projects.
Every freelancer needs a budget. In fact, business budgeting tends to be especially important for freelancers because income cycles can be unpredictable. One month you have tons of work, the next month you can’t get a call back.
Generally speaking, freelancers need to figure out how to save for those “valley” times and for long-term needs, like putting money away for retirement and their kids’ college tuition.
Having a business credit card can help track your expenses by itemizing your spending on your statements and letting you see what you’re investing in your business each month. In turn, you can budget more effectively.
Plus, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your expenses as often as you need to make sure you’re not going over your budget. Over your time with a business credit card, you’ll be able to track cyclicality in your business expenses and get a better sense for when you may need more cushion to support your business.
Your business credit is different than your personal credit, and you’ll need it to get a business loan if you decide to scale your business down the line. Banks can look at your personal income and credit during the underwriting process, but it’s harder to land large capital for your business with just your personal financial information.
Banks in particular look at business credit when evaluating applications for business funding. And they typically want to see a track record of business credit history and on-time payments before extending their largest and most affordable loans.
Spending responsibly on a business credit card for your freelance career will help you build up business credit history and ultimately improve your future business funding options.
If your freelance career entails working with another freelance partner or having independent contractors working for you, you can add them to your freelance business credit card account. This means they’ll get access to your business credit line and can charge project expenses on your business card.
Additionally, you can get the card in the other person’s name so you know who’s spending what. With this supplementary information, you can track spending and spot any problems that may arise.
We don’t often make blanket statements, but we’ll make an exception here. We feel very strongly that all freelancers need some form of a business credit card. There are too many benefits to leave on the table if you don’t have one—you don’t know the way your business is going to grow, so set yourself up for all of the possible potential with a business credit card for freelancers.
Whether you apply for a freelance business credit card with cash back, travel rewards, a hefty signup bonus, or even no rewards at all, just be sure you get your hands on one so you can reap the benefits.