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If you live in the southeastern United States or Washington, D.C., you might have come across one of SunTrust Bank’s 1,288 branches or thousands of ATMs. And if you’re already a SunTrust customer—or if you’re on the hunt for a place to call your small business bank account home—you might be wondering about the SunTrust Small Business Credit Card.
Simply put, signing up for the SunTrust Small Business Credit Card makes the most sense for pre-existing bank customers, mostly because SunTrust loyalists reap the greatest rewards (more on that later). But small business owners who don’t bank with SunTrust might still be intrigued by this Mastercard’s cash back earning potential, no annual fee, free employee cards, and access to SunTrust Business Credit Card Online—which, just as the name suggests, is the bank’s online banking portal.
Learn all about those features and more, and some comparable business credit cards to consider as an alternative in this comprehensive review of the SunTrust Business Credit Card.
If you’re on the fence about signing up for the SunTrust Small Business Credit Card, its first major feature might tip you over the edge: This card has no annual fee. That’s a huge point in its favor (and yours, potentially).
However, SunTrust does charge a 3% foreign transaction fee, so if you often travel abroad, you might want to look for a travel-friendly alternative. Like most other credit cards, the SunTrust card charges a cash advance fee and a balance transfer fee, too.
One thing to look out for is SunTrust’s research fee. This little-known fee kicks in if you request to see a specific document in your account history, such as a bank statement, check, or deposit; or if you dispute a transaction with the bank. Your fee will either be $3 per statement copy, or $20 per hour of research time. (SunTrust is far from the only bank that charges a research fee; they’re just more upfront about it in their terms.)
When you spend with the SunTrust Small Business Credit Card, you’ll have the opportunity to earn cash back at varying rates through the tiered rewards structure.
With this card, you’ll earn 5% cash back on the first $2,000 spent monthly on office supplies and gas within the first 12 months of account opening. After those first 12 months, you’ll earn 3% cash back on the first $2,000 spent monthly on office supplies and gas. You’ll also earn a flat 1% cash back on other qualifying purchases. You can choose to redeem your cash back either as a statement credit, a check, or as a direct transfer into your SunTrust bank account.
SunTrust banking customers will enjoy extra rewards, as customers will earn either a 10% or 25% cash deposit bonus, depending on the type of accounts they hold with the bank.
On top of those rewards, new cardholders will benefit from a generous, 12-month 0% intro APR period—so, over the first 12 months after you activate your account, you can carry a balance without incurring added interest. Just make sure you can ultimately pay off your balance in full—after these 12 months are up, your APR will set in at a rate that will vary with the market prime rate, so be sure to see the issuer’s terms and conditions for the latest APR information.
The SunTrust Small Business Credit Card is a Mastercard, so cardholders have access to the network’s major benefits. Some of those benefits include:
You can also take advantage of SunTrust Business Card Online, which allows you to monitor and track your spending, view your transaction history, dispute transactions, easily separate your business and personal expenses, schedule payments ahead of time so you never fall behind (and risk damaging your credit score)—essentially, take care of all your basic banking needs remotely or on-the-go.
This card can work well for business owners who delegate spending to employees, since you can add additional employee cards at no extra cost, and also set a spending limit on each card. You can easily order, activate, and monitor all additional cards via SunTrust Business Card Online.
Although you might be sold on the SunTrust business credit card, especially if you’re already a SunTrust customer, it’s always in your best interest to look into other cards on the market. Your business credit card will be your business’s go-to financing tool, so make sure you’re choosing that card wisely.
One potential drawback of the SunTrust Business Credit Card is that its cash back earning potential is fairly limited, since extra earnings cap out at $2,000. If your business runs on a larger budget, you might consider setting your sights on a card that’s better aligned with your spending habits.
For instance, the Chase Ink Business Cash credit card also features a tiered rewards program but allows users much more space to reap the benefits—these rewards top out at the first $25,000 annually (as opposed to SunTrust’s $2,000 limit), and the 5% category doesn’t end after the first 12 months of card ownership.
More specifically, you’ll earn:
Like the SunTrust business credit card, the Chase Ink Business Cash card has no annual fee and a 12-month 0% intro APR period. And just like the SunTrust card, after your intro period is up, your APR will set in at a rate that will depend on your creditworthiness and the market prime rate, so be sure to check the issuer’s terms and conditions to get the latest APR information. (Also like SunTrust, Chase charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.)
This card’s signup bonus just might beat out SunTrust’s, though—if you spend $3,000 during the first three months of card ownership, Chase gives you $500 cash back.
In all, the Chase Ink Business Cash card might be a better pick for business owners with higher spending thresholds, and who want even more opportunity to be rewarded for their expenses.
Arguably one of the SunTrust business credit card’s best features is its 12-month 0% intro APR period—a full year to take advantage of an interest-free balance is a long time! Similarly, the American Express Blue Business Plus carries a 12-month 0% intro APR period on purchases and transfers (and no annual fee). Of course, that interest-free period doesn’t extend over the life of your card; after 12 months, your APR will be a variable rate, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
What will last throughout the life of your card, however, is the Blue Business Plus’s ongoing rewards offer of 2x points on your first $50,000 spent annually, then 1x on every dollar thereafter. Obviously, that’s a much higher threshold than SunTrust’s $2,000, so this card best suits big spenders.
So, if a long 0% intro APR period is important to you—maybe you’re planning on making a large expense, and want to buy yourself some time to pay it off without incurring added interest—you might consider the American Express Blue Business Plus card over SunTrust’s card (or any other business credit card on the market, for that matter).
If you don’t want to track rewards caps, as you would with any other card on this list, consider a cash back card with a flat-rate rewards program. You might find a better fit in the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card, which earns you a consistent 2% cash back on every dollar you spend, regardless of where you spend.
Unlike the no-fee SunTrust card, though, the Spark Cash card does carry a $95 annual fee, though that fee is waived the first year. And if you access the card’s signup bonus of $500, that fee pays for itself for six years of card ownership. Plus, this card has no foreign transaction fee—a major plus if you often travel abroad for business.
Small business owners who already bank with SunTrust can’t go wrong by signing up for the institution’s business credit card. Some of its best features are its free employee cards, no annual fee, and extra rewards potential for pre-existing clients. It’ll work especially well for entrepreneurs who spend a lot on office supplies and gas, and who don’t often travel abroad for business.
If you’re not already a SunTrust client, but there’s a local branch near you, signing up for this card is worth your consideration. Banks reward loyalty, so developing a strong relationship with your local financial institution now could help your odds of securing a small business loan from them in the future.
But even SunTrust customers might find the bank’s small business credit card rewards program lacking, at least in comparison to other business credit cards on the market. If you don’t want your rewards potential to cap out at $2,000 annually, look toward the Chase Ink Business Cash credit card. If you want a 0% intro APR period that also applies to balance transfers, the American Express Blue Business Plus—and its 12-month interest-free grace period on balance transfers—is the card for you. And the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card takes all the guesswork out of your rewards program, so you can spend safe in the knowledge that know you’re earning whenever, and wherever, you go.