Credit card companies offer a growing number of products for small businesses, with all sorts of fancy names. Are you Plus, Preferred, or Gold? Maybe even Platinum?
Most of that is just marketing (who doesn’t want to think of themselves as “platinum”?), but business owners should look beyond the hype and pick the card that actually offers them the best benefits. We’ve surveyed the entire field, whittling the bewildering array of options down to a selection of the best business credit cards in each of five different categories relevant to you.
Our financial experts researched credit cards from all the major providers with a strict eye on rewards, APR, cash-back rates, introductory bonuses, and general usefulness. We dove into five different categories, and picked a top card for each:
Take a look at the list of lines of credit below, and let us know in the comments if you have a favorite card that we didn’t mention.
Best Rewards Credit Card for Small Business: Chase Ink Plus
Annual Fee: $95 (waived for the first year)
Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months
Chase has been pushing its Ultimate Rewards program for some time; it’s a compelling offering because these points can go toward cash back, travel, and other programs — whatever helps your bottom line the most. If you’re a fan of that program, then the Ink Plus card can be hugely valuable. First, you earn five points for every dollar spent, up to $50,000 annually, on office supplies, wireless/landline phone bills, internet, and cable TV. You also get two points for every dollar spent on gas and hotel accommodations. For any other purchases, you get one point per dollar spent. That adds up to a huge amount of points, and the sign-up bonus alone gets you far along in earning a lot of cash back or travel perks.
Best No-Annual-Fee and Cash Back Credit Card: American Express SimplyCash
Annual Fee: None
Sign-Up Bonus: None
What the SimplyCash card lacks in the sign-up-bonus department, the card makes up with stellar benefits and no annual fee. It has low interest rates including 0% APR for an initial period, and it lets you get cash back on common purchases. Specifically, it gives 5% cash back on office supplies, 5% back on your wireless phone bill, and 3% back on gas purchases, each up to $12,000 spent annually. On top of that, you get unlimited 1% cash back on other expenses. You’ll also get other benefits like purchase protection, baggage insurance, car rental insurance, and other goodies.
Best Credit Card for Travel: Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card
Annual Fee: $65 (waived for the first year)
Sign-Up Bonus: 25,000 Starpoints when you spend $5,000 in the first six months
Because of its deep ties to a generous hotel rewards program, the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card is incredibly unique, packed with benefits for those who frequent Starwood Hotels like Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Méridien, and more. As you spend, you rack up more Starpoints, which can be redeemed for nights at Starwood hotels and for flights through SPG Flights. When you use your card to book a hotel, you get two Starpoints per dollar spent, and you get one Starpoint for every dollar spent on everyday purchases.
Best Credit Card for Building Credit: Capital One Spark Classic for Business
The Capital One Spark Classic for Business card is fairly straightforward. If your credit needs improvement, then this is a card to help you get back on the right track. Capital One will give you an automatic credit line increase after the first 90 days if you use your card during that time, stay within your credit limit, and make your first three payments on time. On top of that, you also get 1% cash back on any purchases you make, and you can trade in your cash back at any time.
Best Credit Card for Short-Term Financing: Citi Diamond Preferred
While we would advise you to consider a cheaper small business loan, sometimes a credit card can come in handy if you need a small or moderate amount of money immediately. The Citi Diamond Preferred card is the best card we’ve found for such a task. The big win here is a 0% APR for the first 18 months on purchases and transfers. According to CardHub, this is the longest grace period of its kind in the industry. So you could move a lot of your debts over to this card and then pay it off before the 18 months is over, with no interest accrued. However, there are virtually no rewards tied to the card, so it’s best used purely for financing rather than for earning points and perks.
For small business rewards cards, you might also want to try the sifting and calculation tool at http://siftswift.com/en-us/credit-cards_business/ to find cards that can earn your business more cash back or other rewards for your business expenses.