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KeyBank Business Credit Card Review, Plus Top Alternatives

Sally Lauckner

Sally is the managing editor at Fundera. Previously, she was a senior editor at SmartAsset, a personal finance startup, and has held various editorial roles at the Huffington Post and AOL.com. She is passionate about financial literacy and educating small business owners.
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If you’re a small business owner who has a KeyBank business checking or savings account, or if you have a business loan with the bank, you might be considering applying for a KeyBank business credit card. There are many reasons for opening a business credit card with the Cleveland-based bank, and convenience is one of them. KeyBank has over 1,100 full-service branches and over 1,500 ATMs across 15 states. If you live near a KeyBank location, you might be a natural fit for applying for a KeyBank business credit card.

When it comes to business credit cards, KeyBank offers two different products for business owners—the KeyBank Business Rewards Mastercard and the KeyBank Mastercard Business Credit Card. Neither charges an annual fee and both offer an introductory APR period. But, as you may have guessed by their names, only one card—the KeyBank Business Rewards Mastercard—earns reward points when you spend. Earning points back on purchases allows your business’s spent money to work doubly for you. Plus, you can then use those points for even more merchandise or travel perks.

Everything You Need to Know About KeyBank Business Rewards Mastercard

Fees

No small business owner likes paying credit card fees, especially on a credit card made to earn rewards. Luckily, the KeyBank Business Rewards Mastercard doesn’t charge an annual fee. This can help you focus more on maximizing your rewards and less on keeping up with a maintenance fee.

That said, KeyBank can surprise you with other credit card fees if you’re not careful. Each balance transfer, cash advance, and convenience check advance you make will cost you either $10 or 3% of the transaction amount. KeyBank will charge the greater amount of the two. Cash advances will also incur a $10 fee or 4% of the transaction amount, whichever is greater. An overdraft protection transfer will cost $10.

If your business takes you outside of the U.S. and Canada, you might want to find another card. There is a 3% foreign transaction fee for each transaction you make abroad after the conversion into U.S. dollars.

There are also a couple of penalty fees and rates to look out for. Each late payment can cost up to $39. KeyBank will also charge an over-limit fee of $39 per cycle. Any time you fall behind on payments for two consecutive billing cycles, a penalty APR will also apply and will remain in place until you make six consecutive minimum payments when due. If you’re already struggling to meet your minimum payments, the penalty APR can prove to be harmful to your business’s finances, because you’ll be paying more for your purchases.

Rewards

You have two ways to earn rewards points with the KeyBank Business Rewards Mastercard. For the most points, use your card for gas, restaurants, domestic travel, and telecommunications purchases for your business. Spending in these categories will earn you 10 points per $1 in combined purchases.

Other eligible purchases will earn 5 points per dollar. This does not include cash advances, balance transfers, overdraft protection transfers, or credits.

You also have the opportunity to earn points once you open your card. Spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 60 days of card ownership will snag you 100,000 bonus points, redeemable up to $200.

Once you’ve earned your KeyBank Rewards points, you’re going to want to put them to good use. KeyBank offers a variety of ways to redeem your  rewards points including gift cards, cash back, travel, electronics, and other merchandise. You can even choose to put your points toward charitable donations.

Benefits/Features

Outside of its built-in rewards system, the KeyBank Business Rewards Mastercard includes a few extra perks to help keep both you and your money a little safer. This includes purchase assurance on qualifying purchases, 24/7 lost/stolen card reporting, and zero liability fraud protection. For added convenience, you can add on employee cards to your account at no additional cost.

This credit card also has the added benefit of a 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers. This lasts for your first six billing cycles with the card. So, if you know you’re going to need some extra time to pay off a certain purchase (or two), it’s best to use those six months to your advantage. Once those six months are up, however, a variable APR will go into effect, depending on your creditworthiness. Your rate will also fluctuate with the market according to the prime rate. You should consult the issuer’s terms and conditions for the latest APR information.

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Everything You Need to Know About KeyBank Mastercard Business Credit Card

Not interested in the bells and whistles of a rewards credit card? Not to worry. KeyBank’s second business card, the Mastercard Business Credit Card, is a much simpler and more basic version of the rewards card. This card has no rewards system or signup bonus to speak of, but is otherwise similar to the Business Rewards Mastercard.

Fees

Just like the Business Rewards Mastercard, the Mastercard Business Credit Card, also comes at no annual fee. This can help you focus on growing your business rather than being held back by a maintenance fee.  

An overdraft protection transfer for this card will still cost $10. Balance transfers and convenience check advances will trigger a fee of $10 or 3% of the transaction amount, whichever is greater. Cash advance fees and cash equivalent fees equal either $10 or 4% of the transaction amount, again whichever is greater. And don’t forget about the 3% foreign transaction fee, which could take a bite out of your business’s funds if you use the card abroad.

Any late payments can cost up to $39, and the over limit fee is $39 per cycle.

If KeyBank does charge interest, the charge will be at least $0.50. Should you miss payments on two consecutive billing cycles, you’ll trigger a penalty APR. This means your future purchases will accrue interest according to that new, much higher APR.

Benefits/Features

Without any rewards points to earn or redeem, the main benefit to the KeyBank Mastercard Business Credit Card is its short-term introductory period. For six months, you get to take advantage of a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. This means you can make purchases on the card without having to worry about racking up huge interest payments as long as you make the minimum payment for each cycle.

After that introductory period, your APR for purchases and balance transfers will be variable, depending on your credit. Note that cash advances do not benefit from an introductory period and will carry their own APR. Each APR will vary with the market based on the prime rate, too. Check the issuer’s terms and conditions for up-to-date information on APRs.

As with the KeyBank Business Rewards Mastercard, you’ll also benefit from purchase assurance on qualifying purchases, 24/7 lost/stolen reporting, and zero liability fraud protection.

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Top Alternatives to KeyBank Business Credit Cards

Whether you’re ready to sign up for a KeyBank business credit card immediately or still on the fence, it’s still a good idea to check out some other options. That way, you can get a feel of the other rewards programs out there and potentially find an even better card for you and your small business needs. Here, we’ve given a couple alternatives to help you choose the right card.

Best Alternative for Cash Back Rewards: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

A number of rewards credit cards, like KeyBank’s, earn points according to your spending. You can use these points for more tangible rewards like merchandise or even cash back. However, these types of rewards systems can often offer low rates of return when you finally cash in your points.

To avoid that middle ground of trading in points, you could turn to a cashback credit card instead, like the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. This fee-free card earns 5% cash back on the first $50,000 spent on wireless telephone services and purchases at office supply stores, 3% cash back on first $50,000 spent in a category of your choice (there are eight options to choose from), and 1% cash back on all other purchases. This system rewards you almost immediately with big cashback earnings showing up directly in your account.

This card would work best for businesses that need a wireless telephone service. Using this credit card to pay those bills can help you pay your bills on time and earn money while you do so. Plus, the second-highest cashback rate comes with a category of your choice. This enables you to really personalize the SimplyCash® Plus rewards, making your money work for your business.

This card also offers a 0% introductory APR, but for a much-longer period of 15 months. That easily trumps KeyBank’s 0% intro APR offer. You might think you don’t need such a long introductory period. But why turn down the opportunity to make purchases on credit without having to pay interest for over a year? This can really help you out with a big purchase that might take a little longer to pay off.

Perhaps you need to use the card to pay for a laundry list of expenses to get your business off the ground. The extra-long introductory period can help you pay for those necessary purchases without worrying about meeting interest payments and accruing debt. Just be sure to pay at least the minimum on your credit card bill—and ideally more than that. Remember that once the 15-month intro period ends, a variable APR will kick in depending on your creditworthiness and fluctuating with the prime rate.

Best Alternative for Long 0% APR Period: Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

Thought the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express had a long introductory APR period? The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express matches it with an introductory period lasting 15 months but applies it to purchases and balance transfers.

If you have existing credit card debt that you need to pay off, this could be just what you need. You can transfer balances to the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express and not have to worry about paying interest for over a year. As always, you should continue to make minimum payments during this time, of course. And be aware that once the 15-month period comes to an end, your APR will set in at a rate that varies with the market prime rate, so be sure to see the issuer’s terms and conditions for the latest APR information.

When it comes to rewards, you’ll earn 2x points for every dollar you spend up to $50,000 in purchases annually with the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express. Once you cross that price point, you’ll earn 1x point for every dollar you spend with the card.

Who Should Get a KeyBank Business Credit Card?

The KeyBank Business Rewards Mastercard will work best for small business owners who already bank with KeyBank and whose most frequent purchases include gas, restaurants, domestic travel (you’ll be hit with a foreign transaction fee if you use the card overseas), and telecommunications. These spending categories earn the most amount of points per dollar on the card. So, if you’re already making business purchases in these areas, using this card for those expenses will only maximize your earnings and make your business spending a little more rewarding.

You could also consider getting a KeyBank business credit card if you’re already a bit more established with your business. For one, this will give you a better look at your history of spending and whether the rewards system will work for you. Plus, both cards have a pretty short introductory APR period of six months with 0% APR. This may pose a time crunch for new business owners who might need more time to pay off their first business purchases on the card.

If you’re unsure about getting a business credit card at all, just know that having one on hand can help you get your business off the ground. It can also help you make purchases if you’re strapped for cash in the moment, allowing you to pay it off later. Plus, the cards’ six-month intro APR period offers a short reprieve so you can pay the minimum bill without worrying about interest during that period.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Sally Lauckner

Sally is the managing editor at Fundera. Previously, she was a senior editor at SmartAsset, a personal finance startup, and has held various editorial roles at the Huffington Post and AOL.com. She is passionate about financial literacy and educating small business owners.

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