The Best Business Credit Cards for Startups in 2021

Business credit cards are particularly vital for startup companies—which one is right for you?

Startup Business Credit Cards: What You Need to Know

As a startup company, one of the best ways you can separate your business and personal finances, start building business credit, and have access to financing is to get a business credit card. Plus, with a startup business credit card, you’ll also have the opportunity for additional perks like welcome bonuses, rewards programs, and more.

This being said, if you’re wondering how to find the best business credit card for your startup, we’re here to help. Although there are a multitude of business credit cards on the market, there are certainly those that are more suited to startup companies.

Therefore, we’ve compiled this list of the best startup business credit cards. We’ll break down these top options—discussing what they can offer your startup, how to choose the right card for you, and finally answering some common questions business owners have regarding the best credit cards for startups.

Best Business Credit Cards for Startups

  • Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • American Express® Blue Business Cash Card
  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • The Plum Card® from American Express
  • Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard®
  • Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard®
  • Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business
  • Bento for Business Visa® Debit Card
  • Brex Card for Startups

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card From Chase

Credit Card

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Great For: Unlimited cash back and welcome bonus
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on Chase's secure website
  • $750 welcome bonus if you spend $7,500 in first 3 months
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for first 12 months
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • Welcome offer

    $750 cash back

  • Rewards rate

    1.5% cash back

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Minimum credit

    660

For a startup business credit card with limited fees and one of the best flat-rate cash back rates out there, you might consider the Ink Business Unlimited card from Chase.

This Chase card offers 1.5% cash back on all spending with no caps—giving you an impressive opportunity to earn while paying startup expenses and building business credit in the process. Plus, you can earn a generous signup bonus if you meet the spending threshold.

On top of this robust rewards program, the Chase Ink Unlimited also offers 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, as well as no annual fee and free employee cards. Just remember that an APR at prime market rate will set in after those 12 months, so be sure to scrutinize your terms and agreements.

Ultimately, of all the options on our list of the best business credit cards for startups, this is one of the most simple, straightforward, and cost-effective choices.

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Credit Card

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Great For: Typical business expenses
Apply Now
on Chase's secure website
  • $750 signup bonus if you spend $7,500 in first 3 months
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases
  • 5%, 2% or 1% cash back depending on where you spend
  • Welcome offer

    $750 cash back

  • Rewards rate

    5%, 2% or 1% cash back on purchases

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Minimum credit

    660

On the other hand, if you like the simplicity of the Ink Unlimited, but would like a greater opportunity to earn rewards for your startup, similar to the travel rewards of the Ink Preferred, you might look into another startup business credit card from Chase: the Ink Business Cash credit card.

Like the Ink Unlimited, the Ink Cash offers:

  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months
  • Free employee cards
  • A generous signup bonus if you meet the spending threshold

Similar to the Ink Unlimited card, a variable APR will set in after those 12 months, so you should check the terms and conditions for latest APR information. However, the Ink Unlimited has a tiered cash back rewards system based on different categories of spending. You’ll earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend at office supply stores and on internet, phone, and cable services per year. You’ll also earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend at gas stations and restaurants per year. Finally, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases with no limit.

Therefore, if you think your startup will benefit from higher cash back rates in these categories, this might be a business credit card worth considering.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card From Chase

Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Great For: Point redemption rewards
Apply Now
on Chase's secure website
  • 100,000 point signup bonus if you spend $15K in first 3 months
  • 3x or 1x points depending on how you spend
  • Welcome offer

    100,000 points

  • Rewards rate

    1 or 3 points

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Minimum credit

    700

Next on our list of the best business credit cards for startups is the Chase Ink Business Preferred card. This card is particularly noteworthy because of its large signup bonus and impressive travel rewards.

This Chase card offers a welcome bonus of 100,000 rewards points (worth up to $1,250 toward travel) if you spend $15,000 in the first three months of card membership.

Additionally, for ongoing rewards, the Chase Ink Business Preferred card earns:

  • 3 points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in the following categories:
    • Travel
    • Shipping
    • Advertising
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases, with no limit on the amount you can earn

You can redeem your rewards points for travel, cash back, gift cards, and more. Plus, if you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, they’re worth 25% more.

Moreover, the Chase Ink Preferred has no foreign transaction fees and provides employee cards at no additional cost. All of this being said, however, this startup business credit card will require a $95 annual fee, which is something to consider if you’re operating on a tight budget.

It’s also worth noting that Chase won’t report your business credit history to personal credit bureaus unless your account is seriously delinquent—so any small mishaps you have with your business finances will not negatively impact your personal credit.

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

Credit Card

American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

Great For: Earning cash back and a long 0% intro APR period
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on American Express's secure website
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  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
  • 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%
  • No annual fee
  • Intro APR

    0%

  • Regular APR

    13.24% – 19.24%

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Minimum credit

    660

Next on our list of the best business credit cards for startups is the Blue Business Cash from American Express.

What makes this credit card so useful for startup companies?

In essence, the Blue Business Cash card is such a great option because it’s simple. This card has no annual fee, includes free employee cards, and has a flat-rate cash back rewards program. This being said, then, this business credit card can help you easily finance your startup.

The Blue Business Cash card earns 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year and then 1% cash back on everything else.

Additionally, this startup business credit card offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months—after that, your spending will be subject to an APR that will vary with the market—so you’ll want to check the issuer’s terms and conditions for the latest APR information.

With such a long intro APR period, the Blue Business Cash is particularly useful if you need to pay down existing debt or if you plan on making large purchases for your startup within your first year with the card.

Plus, on top of all these benefits, American Express reports your credit history to the business credit bureaus, so you can use this credit card to build business credit for your startup.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card From American Express

Credit Card

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Great For: Making purchases with a 0% intro APR period
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on American Express's secure website
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  • 12 month 0% intro APR period on purchases from the date of account opening
  • 2X points for the first $50K spent
  • No annual fee
  • Intro APR

    0%

  • Regular APR

    13.24% – 19.24%

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Minimum credit

    700

Another Amex Card, the Blue Business Plus credit card, will be the best business credit card for startups particularly if you’re looking for a 0% intro APR period and rewards points, rather than cash back.

With this card, you’ll have access to the 0% intro APR period for 12 months, allowing you to carry a credit card balance without accruing interest. Like the Blue Business Cash card, however, once the 12-month intro period is up, any balance you have will accumulate interest at a rate that will vary with the market, so you’ll once again want to check the issuer’s terms and conditions for the latest APR information.

This being said, on top of offering the longest 0% intro APR period, the Blue Business Plus also gives you the following rewards:

  • 2x reward points on the first $50,000 you spend on the card annually
  • 1x reward points for every dollar you spend thereafter

Moreover, the Blue Business Plus card has no annual fee.

Therefore, if you plan on carrying a balance within your first 12 months as a cardholder, this is one of the best startup business credit cards for you.

Finally, just as is the case with the Blue Business Cash card, AmEx only reports your spending and payments to business credit bureaus—meaning if you’re spending wisely, you’ll be able to grow your business credit with this card and, if you have any payment issues, you won’t have to worry about your card activity impacting your personal credit score.

The Plum Card® From American Express

Charge Card

The Plum Card® from American Express

Great For: Discounts for paying early
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on American Express's secure website
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  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no cap if you can pay early
  • No preset spending limit
  • Choose your billing cycle and take up to 60 days to pay your balance
  • Welcome offer

    N/A

  • Rewards rate

    1.5% cash back

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Minimum credit

    660

The next option on our list of the best credit cards for business startups, the Plum Card from American Express, operates a little differently than some of the other cards we’ve discussed thus far.

The Plum Card, like the Ink Unlimited, earns 1.5% cash back—but only when on the spending you pay off early. If you pay off your spending early to earn this cash back, there is no limit to the amount you can earn. Additionally, the Plum Card allows you to choose your billing cycle and gives you up to 60 days to pay your balance.

Moreover, with no preset spending limit, this card gives you the ability to make big purchases for your startup, and then take advantage of a longer billing cycle to pay for them. Although there is no welcome offer on this card, Amex does waive the annual fee for the first year, after which time you’ll be subject to a $250 annual fee. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees with this card.

Therefore, with a sizable annual fee after the first year, this Amex card might not be right for all startups—but if you’ll be making larger purchases, taking advantage of a high limit business credit card, and earning 1.5% cash back by paying early to offset this cost, it’s certainly worth considering.

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard®

Do you have a business bank account with Bank of America? If so, you might be interested in this startup business credit card.

With the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards card, you’ll receive a 0% intro APR for nine months, no annual fee, and you’ll be eligible for a $300 welcome bonus if you spend $3,000 in purchases within 90 days of opening our account. A variable APR will set in after those nine months, so check Bank of America’s terms and conditions for the latest APR information.

Additionally, you’ll be able to access a tiered rewards program that allows you to earn 3%, 2%, or 1% depending on where you spend. All of these rewards can be redeemed as a statement credit, check, or be deposited directly as cash into your Bank of America checking or savings account.

Moreover, as your startup grows, you may be able to qualify for the Preferred Rewards program with Bank of America, which will increase your cash back earnings to 5.25%, 3.5% and 1.75% with no limit on the amount you can earn at the latter rate.

Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard®

On the other hand, if you like the benefits of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards card, but would prefer your rewards to be specific to travel, you might consider the next option on our list of the best credit cards for business startups.

With the Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World card, you’ll have no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and a 0% intro APR for nine months. Similar to the Business Advantage card, a variable APR will set in after your introductory period, so be sure to consult the terms and conditions for more information.

Additionally, you’ll be able to earn 3x rewards points for every dollar you spend on travel booked through the Bank of America Travel Center and 1.5 points for every dollar spent everywhere else. You’ll be able to earn unlimited points and the points never expire.

Moreover, you’ll be able to redeem your points for travel with no blackout dates, as well as for cash back and gift cards. On top of all this, you also have the opportunity to earn a welcome bonus of 30,000 points if you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account.

Plus, just like the Cash Rewards card, if you qualify for the Preferred Rewards program, you’ll earn more points—2.62 for every dollar spent and 4.12 for every dollar spent on travel through Bank of America.

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

As we mentioned briefly above, as a startup, your business will have no credit to rely on when applying for a business credit card. Therefore, card issuers will largely rely on your personal credit history to approve or deny your application. So, what if you only have average personal credit?

Luckily, there are still business credit card options for fair credit, including the Capital One Spark Classic.

Compared to other startup business credit cards on the market, the Spark Classic has a lower minimum credit score threshold, making it a great option if your personal credit isn’t where you’d like it to be.

Plus, the card has a number of other benefits that are relevant for startup companies. The Spark Classic has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and allows you to earn 1% cash back on all purchases.

With this startup business credit card, therefore, you can build up a strong credit history to be able to access cards with higher-rewards offers.

Unlike some of the other cards we’ve discussed, the Spark Classic will report your spending to personal credit bureaus—so you’ll want to avoid running a large balance or missing payments. On the other hand, if you spend responsibly and make your payments in-full and on-time, these reports will work for you, not against you, and you’ll be making the most of this startup business credit card.

Bento for Business Visa® Debit Card

Secured Card

Bento for Business Visa® Debit Card

Apply Now
on Bento for Business's secure website
  • Instant decision
  • No credit check required
  • One-click card controls & expense reports
  • Welcome offer

    60 day

  • Rewards rate

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Minimum credit

    N/A

Finally, if you’re still concerned about how getting a startup business credit card may affect your personal credit, or that you won’t be able to qualify for a business credit card due to your personal credit, you nevertheless have a few unique options to consider.

First, you might look into the Bento for Business Visa® debit card. Although this is technically a business debit card, it will afford your startup some of the perks of a business credit card.

With the Bento for Business, there’s no personal credit check, no personal liability or impact on your credit score, and you’ll receive instant online approval. Additionally, you’ll be able to access employee cards, control employee spending, and monitor all expenses to a tee. Plus, you can take advantage of the Bento for Business 60-day free trial.

All of this being said, however, since Bento for Business is a prepaid startup business debit card, you’ll only be able to spend the capital that you load onto the card. This means that you won’t be able to access credit, secured or unsecured, through the Bento for Business Visa® Debit Card—and as a result, you won’t be able to build credit for your business startup with this card.

Therefore, if you need access to many the capabilities of a business credit card, you can look to Bento for Business as you build your personal credit with another card.

Brex Card for Startups

Credit Card

Brex Card for Startups

Great For: Early-stage companies with professional funding
Apply Now
on Brex's secure website
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  • For a limited time, get 75,000 in Brex Rewards points upon signup and waived card fees for life
  • Perfect for tech companies and early-stage corporations with professional funding (U.S. EIN and at least $100,000 funds in corporate bank account required)
  • No personal guarantee and no impact on your personal credit score
  • The best rewards for startups: 7x on rideshare, 4x on travel, 3x on restaurants, 2x on software subscriptions & 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer

    75k bonus points & waived card fees for life

  • Rewards rate

    7, 4, 3 or 2 points

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Minimum credit

    N/A

Another option that protects your personal credit, but is very different from the Bento for Business card, is the Brex Card for Startups. As the name implies, this business credit card was, first and foremost, created for startups—particularly tech companies and early-stage corporations.

This being said, Brex approves applications based on your business’s finances—requiring a U.S. employer identification number (EIN) and at least $100,000 in funds in a corporate bank account. Because of this, then, Brex does not require a personal credit check, does not impact your personal credit score, and is one of the few business credit cards without a personal guarantee.

Additionally, the Brex card has no annual fee, high credit limits, and no foreign transaction fees. Moreover, Brex allows you to earn 7, 4, 3, 2, or 1 rewards points based on spending categories such as rideshare, travel, restaurants, and software subscriptions. Plus, for a limited time, you can even get 30,000 in Brex Rewards points upon signup and waived card fees for life—which has a $300+ value in the first year.

However, it’s important to note that unlike a traditional startup business credit card, Brex is a charge card, meaning your balance is due in full for each billing cycle. This means that you don’t pay interest, but you also can’t be late on payment for too long.

Ultimately, though, if you’re running a promising startup and don’t want to risk your personal finances or rely on your personal credit score, Brex may be a great option. Brex will also report your payments to business credit bureaus, so you can build business credit while using this startup card.

Is a Startup Business Credit Card Right for Me?

Get a Startup Business Credit Card If:

Ultimately, as a startup company, there are a number of reasons why you should choose to invest in a startup business credit card.

This being said, essentially, your startup will be able to benefit from a business credit card if:

  • You’re looking for a line of credit to pay for business expenses.
  • You have minimal time in business and will need to rely on personal credit to qualify for financing.
  • You want access to welcome bonuses or reward programs from a credit card.

Skip Startup Business Credit Cards If:

Although, as a startup, it seems more than likely you’ll fall into one of the options listed above, there are a few scenarios where you might choose not to look for a startup business credit card:

  • You have more than a few months in business and want to access more sustained, lower rates through business loans.
  • You have poor personal credit and will need to look into business debit cards or secured business credit cards.
  • You have excellent credit and will be able to qualify for business credit cards with higher rewards programs.

Choosing the Best Business Credit Card for Your Startup

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide which type of financing is right for your startup. As we mentioned, more than likely, you’ll be able to benefit from a startup business credit card, especially if you haven’t been operating for very long, want access to a line of credit, and want to be able to build your business’s credit history.

This being said then, as you explore your different options, including those on our list of the best business credit cards for startups, you’ll want to consider what features and rewards are most important to your company, as well as what products you think you’ll be able to qualify for. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and ultimately, find the startup business credit card that will most fully support your needs.

Still have questions about business credit cards for startup companies? Check out our frequently asked questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Senior Staff Writer at Fundera

Randa Kriss

Randa Kriss is a senior staff writer at Fundera.

At Fundera, Randa specializes in reviewing small business products, software, and services. Randa has written hundreds of reviews across a wide swath of business topics including ecommerce, merchant services, accounting, credit cards, bank accounts, loan products, and payroll and human resources solutions. 

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