Low-interest business credit cards can be a small business owner’s lifeline. They offer more flexible, accessible financing than a bank loan, and you often get a 0% introductory APR period that lets you make big purchases and pay them off over time. (In a lot of ways, having a 0% introductory APR credit card in your back pocket is like having a free loan for a set amount of time. You don’t pay interest on the balance you roll month to month while you’re still on the introductory period.)
We break down the best low-interest business credit cards to help you find the top offers for 2017.
Don’t quite have the time to comb through the whole review of the top low-interest business credit cards?
Not to worry—we’ve still got you covered. Here’s a brief synopsis of your top low-interest business credit card options on the market:
If none of these low-interest business credit cards quite sound right for you, then you should consider looking into low-interest personal credit cards, as well. The Citi Simplicity® and the Chase Slate both offer lengthy 0% intro APR periods for purchases and balance transfers, so be sure to weigh these two personal credit cards as viable low-interest options. Be sure to note that using a personal credit card is a great option as a complement for a business owner who needs access to lower interest, but a personal card can’t do the same things as a business credit card.
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The Chase Ink Business Cash is one of the best low-interest business credit cards because it’s a twofer: good rewards and a yearlong zero APR period. To start off, you get a $300 cash bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You also get 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. After that, your APR will depend on creditworthiness. You also get ongoing rewards (paid out on your account anniversary):
The Ink Business Cash is a low-interest business credit card that maximizes both length of introductory APR period and cash back rewards. For small businesses looking to make big purchases in typical office categories, it’s hard to do better than this.
The American Express SimplyCash® Plus is one of the top low-interest business credit cards that’s also cash-back keeper. It offers nine months of zero interest on purchases, after which your APR will be a variable rate. You also earn 5% on the first $50,000 spent annually on office supplies and wireless phone services, as well as 3% on the first $50,000 spent annually on your choice of one of these eight categories: airfare; hotels; car rentals; gas; restaurants; shipping charges; advertising; or computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases. You earn an unlimited 1% cash back elsewhere. There’s no annual fee or additional card fee.
Though its intro APR period is shorter than the Chase Ink Cash’s, the Amex SimplyCash offers better rewards for bigger-spending businesses. If you’re spending over $25,000 in the Ink Cash’s bonus categories, you might as well be able to earn more with the SimplyCash.
When it comes to low-interest business credit cards, the American Express Blue Business Plus is an absolute winner.
Because it comes with the longest 0% introductory APR period on the business credit card market.
With the Blue Business Plus, you’ll get a 0% intro APR for 15 months. After that, you’ll get a variable rate.
Beyond the introductory APR period, you’ll earn Membership Rewards points on your everyday purchases. Specifically, you’ll earn 2x points on business purchases like office supplies or client dinners. Keep in mind that the 2x rate only applies to the first $50,000 spent per year, with 1 point per dollar spent thereafter.
All in, if you’re looking for a long 0% intro APR period, then the Blue Business Plus is one of the best low-interest business credit cards for you.
Remember, a personal credit card is different than a business credit card in a few different ways. And there are some downsides to using a personal credit card for business expenses.
You’ll typically use your personal credit score when applying for both business and personal credit cards, and almost always have to provide a personal guarantee on both loans. However, not every business credit card impacts your personal credit score.
Bank of America and U.S. Bank, for example, won’t report your business credit card debt and payoff information to personal rating agencies; Chase won’t report unless the account is delinquent. (Capital One is among the few banks that send reports on non-delinquent accounts).
If you have a personal credit card that you use for business purchases, that’ll go straight to your personal credit history. Your business’ missed payments or high balances can impact your own chances of getting an auto loan or qualifying for a low-rate mortgage. And if you’re planning on taking out a credit card to build business credit, having a personal credit card certainly won’t help you with that endeavor.
Another downside to using a personal credit card for business expenses is the accounting nightmare come tax season. Keeping your business and personal financials separate in general is a good idea. And if you’re trying to separate business and personal purchases on a personal credit card for accounting purposes, you might have a clerical headache coming for you. Best practice when using a personal credit card for business is to put only business expenses on the card.
If you’re confident in your ability to use the personal card responsibly for your business, personal credit cards can give you access to lengthier 0% intro APR periods than low-interest business credit cards.
Here are two great options if you think personal credit cards for business spending could work for you:
The Citi Simplicity® is a personal credit card that can be useful for business owners who need a long 0% APR period. And we’re talking really long. With 21 months of zero interest on purchases and balance transfers, it has one of the longest intro periods available. The card also comes with no late fees, penalty interest rates, or annual fees. Nearly two years of zero interest make it a compelling alternative to small business loans.
The Chase Slate® is one of the best credit cards for balance transfers out there, full stop. There’s no balance transfer fee (most personal credit cards charge 3%; most business cards 5%), which combined with a 15-month 0% interest offer, makes it a very attractive option for your existing credit card debt. If you’ve already racked up a balance, transferring to the Slate gives you some time to pay it off interest-free.
Like we mentioned, it is possible to use a personal credit card for business use, but the downside is that your card usage gets reported to personal credit bureaus as well as business ones. Transferring a business credit card balance is usually only a good idea if your business’ debt is already on a personal credit card.
All in all, using a personal credit card is a great option as a complement for a business owner who needs to transfer debt, but a personal card can’t do the same things as a business credit card.
In many cases, low-interest business credit cards can be better financing options than small business loans. Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons.
Advantages of low-interest business credit cards:
Disadvantages of low-interest business credit cards:
Generally speaking, if you’re confident that you can pay off your balance during the zero-APR period and aren’t worried about missed payments or defaults, low-interest business credit cards might be the way to go.
Apply to these business credit cards