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If you’re a small business owner within Citizens Bank’s jurisdiction, you might have researched the Rhode Island-headquartered bank’s small business loan program, or you might just like keeping your personal funds there. Either way, it’d make sense that you’d also be interested in a Citizens Bank business credit card, if only to cover your bases.
Actually, there are two Citizens Bank business credit cards: the Everyday Points Business Mastercard and the Business Platinum Mastercard. The first offers cardholders the opportunity to earn rewards points on their purchases, and the second carries especially low interest rates, which gives business owners a bit more peace of mind if they think they’ll need to carry a balance for a few months. (That’s in addition to a few extra features, which we’ll tell you about here.)
But do the Citizens Bank business credit cards offer enough incentive to make you sign up? If so, great! If not, that’s also fine! We’ll give you a few comparable alternative business credit cards to consider, which might work harder for your business than the Citizens Bank business credit cards can.
Citizens Bank’s Everyday Points Business Mastercard has no annual fee. But like so many other business credit cards on the market, it is subject to fees for certain processes, like:
If you make a late payment, spend over your credit limit, or if you attempt to pay with insufficient funds, you’ll need to pay extra, too. None of these fees or rates are unusual in a business credit card, though.
As you can probably guess, Citizens Bank’s Everyday Points Business Mastercard rewards cardholders for their everyday business purchases—with points!
More specifically, cardholders will earn 2x per dollar spent on this card, with no limit on the amount of points they can earn. Through Citizens Bank’s rewards portal, you can easily track and redeem your points for gift cards, travel, electronics, restaurants, merchandise, or cash back. Plus, you can choose whether to aggregate points on an individual level or on a company level. Consider the latter if you plan on delegating spending to your employees on separate cards.
On the bright side, as a signup bonus, new cardholders will get an incredibly generous, 12-month-long 0% intro APR, which applies only for the first year after account opening. After those 12 months, your standard APR will kick in, which will vary according to your creditworthiness and the market prime rate. Also as part of your signup bonus, you’ll get 25,000 bonus points if you spend $5,000 within the first 90 days after opening your account.
And if you’re an Everyday Points Business Mastercard cardholder, you’re essentially a Mastercard cardholder, so you’ll benefit from a few of the network’s advantages. On this card, that includes car rental insurance, travel assistance, purchase protection, and rebates of up to 10% from partner merchants.
If you’re an existing Citizens Bank customer, their Everyday Points Business Mastercard might afford you the rewards you need (or want) as you maintain your loyalty to the bank. But if you’re not tied to Citizens Bank, you may find a more lucrative rewards credit card elsewhere—perhaps with the Chase Ink Business Preferred.
This card works best for companies that spend mostly on typical business expenses, like travel, shipping, advertising on search engines and social media, and internet/cable/phone services, since its tiered reward structure affords the most points (3x) to these categories. Outside of those spending categories and beyond the $150,000 limit, you’ll earn 1x point per dollar.
But where this card really shines is its signup bonus: If you spend $5,000 during your first three months after account opening (or just about $1,667 a month), you’ll earn 80,000 bonus points. That’s $1,000 worth of free travel if you redeem those points through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
That said, you will need to pay an annual fee of $95 for this card. For no-fee alternatives, frequent flyers can look into the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business. And business owners with challenged credit can consider the Capital One Spark Classic for Business, which has one of the lowest eligible credit-score thresholds we’ve seen in a rewards business credit card.
The Business Platinum Mastercard from Citizens Bank has the same fee structure as the Everyday Points Business Mastercard, the same annual fee (which is none), and the same Mastercard benefits. However, this card is not a rewards card, so you won’t earn points for your purchases.
Rather, the benefit of using this card is its lower-than-usual interest rate, which will be a little more forgiving on businesses that need to carry a balance from month to month. The 30-day billing period, 20-day settlement period, and 12-month 0% intro APR period all give business owners a little wiggle room to pay off extra-large balances, too. (Of course, after these 12 months, your APR will kick in at a rate that will vary with the market prime rate, so you’ll need to consult the issuer’s terms and conditions for the latest APR information.)
It’s nice to know that the Business Platinum Mastercard has a forgiving APR and billing period in case you do need to carry a balance one month. Still, you shouldn’t make it a habit not to repay your bill in full every month—and if you’re following this best practice of card ownership, then the Business Platinum Mastercard won’t provide any benefit to your business other than its sheer ease of use (which any other credit card on the market will give you!).
Unless you’re a hardcore Citizens Bank loyalist, you’ll be better served by another business credit card with a long 0% intro APR period and additional perks. Here are our two top picks:
If you’re concerned about paying down a large balance, the American Express Blue Business Plus might be your best option—at 12 months, it has one of the longest 0% intro APR periods we’ve seen in a business credit card. Like any other intro APR period, after your 12 interest-free months are up, a variable APR sets in at a rate depending on your creditworthiness. This rate will also vary with the market, so check the issuer’s terms and conditions for the latest APR information.
Just like the Citizens Bank Business Platinum Mastercard, Amex’s Blue Business Plus has no annual fee. Unlike the Citizens Bank business credit card, though, this card doesn’t stop rewarding you beyond those first 12 months—even after your grace period is up, users earn 2x points for every dollar they spend on their first $50,000 annually, then 1x thereafter.
The Chase Ink Business Cash also has a year-long 0% intro APR period that applies to purchases. But cardholders who don’t anticipate needing to carry a balance will still find something to take advantage of with this card—namely, its ongoing cash back program.
Firstly, as a signup bonus, you can earn $500 if you spend $3,000 within the first three months after you open your account. Additionally, throughout the life of the card you’ll earn either 5x, 2x, or 1x cash back, depending on where you spend. All told, the Chase Ink Business Cash card works much harder for your business than the Citizens Bank Business Platinum Card can, all for no annual fee.
Citizens Bank customers on the market for a business credit card might find a fit with either of the bank’s two offerings.
In addition to a year-long 0% intro APR period, their Everyday Points Business Mastercard offers business owners a straightforward, flat-rate rewards program of 2x points per dollar. This no-fee card could work for cardholders who don’t want to fuss with cracking a complicated rewards system and who’d like the option of carrying a balance during their first year without incurring high APRs.
For even more wiggle room, business owners who are intent on finding a card through Citizens Bank can look toward their Business Platinum Mastercard, which offers a 30-day billing cycle, 20-day settlement period, and lower-than-usual APRs, on top of that year-long interest-free period. You won’t earn any additional rewards points or cash back with this card, though.
Ultimately, it’s worth investigating business credit cards beyond what Citizens Bank can offer. Whether you’re looking for a more lucrative rewards or cash back program, an even longer 0% intro APR period, or a better signup bonus, you’ll be able to find a non-bank business credit card that suits your needs.