The Best Credit Cards for Small Business Owners

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Small business credit cards
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In 2018, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that there were over 30 million Americans who owned a small business. And yet I’m sure that this is an understatement, considering how many people participate in the gig economy in some way, without being incorporated.

If you earn money selling things online, drive for a ride-share company, babysit or even just walk dogs for money, then you operate a small business and can qualify for a small business credit card.

Why Apply for a Small Business Credit Card?

Small business credit cards can perform several functions that consumer credit cards don’t. For example, using a small business credit card allows you to separate your personal and company expenses, and many small business cards offer powerful expense tracking and reporting tools.

And instead of featuring bonus for consumer purchases like groceries and entertainment, small business credit cards will also offer you additional rewards on the kinds of purchases your company makes most often, like office supplies, telecommunications services, shipping and advertising. Opening up a new small business credit card account allows you to earn another valuable welcome bonus, which you can often combine with the rewards that you earned from your personal credit cards.

However, most small business credit cards still rely on your personal credit and your personal guarantee of repayment. And just like any credit card, you should always use your small business cards responsibly. For more information, see Clark’s Philosophy on Credit Cards.

Can I Qualify for a Small Business Credit Card?

It might surprise you to learn that you don’t need to be incorporated to qualify for a small business credit card. Anyone can apply as an unincorporated sole proprietor, which just means that you work by yourself and you haven’t filed any paperwork.

Instead of using an Employer Identification Number (EIN), you can just use your Social Security Number (SSN). And for your company name, you can just use any name that you do business under, including simply your own name.

Best Small Business Credit Cards: Team Clark’s Picks

Now that we’ve reviewed the basics of small business credit cards and who is eligible to apply for them, here are out picks for the best ones on the market right now:

Chase Ink Business Cash

This card has no annual fee and lets you earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and on telecom services, which is even more valuable when transferred to rewards with other Chase cards.
Welcome bonus
  • $500 in bonus cash back after spending $3,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening
Rewards
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supplies stores, and on Internet, cable and phone services
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants in there categories each anniversary year
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Cash back is earned as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be combined with rewards from the Sapphire Reserve or Preferred. Points are then worth more than one cent each toward travel reservations, or can be transferred to airline miles and hotel points
Advantages
  • Generous $500 welcome bonus
  • Incredibly valuable 5% cash back categories of office supply and telecom services
  • 2% cash back at dining and restaurants
  • Points can be combined with other Chase to make your rewards even more valuable
  • No annual fee
Drawbacks
  • Bonus categories are limited to your first $25,000 in combined purchases
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Learn More: Chase Ink Business Cash


 

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Earn a $500 welcome bonus and enjoy unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. 
Welcome bonus
  • Earn a $500 welcome bonus after spending $5,000 within three months of account opening and $1,500 after spending $50,000 in the first six months
Rewards
  • Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
Advantages
  • Very competitive welcome bonus
  • Extremely strong cash back offer on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
Drawbacks
  • $95 annual fee (waived the first year)
  • Higher than average APR if you choose to carry a balance

Learn More: Capital One Spark Cash for Business


Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which is even more valuable when transferred to rewards with other Chase cards.
Welcome bonus
  • $500 in bonus cash back after spending $3,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening
Rewards
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which equals 1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when combined with rewards from other accounts
Advantages
  • Generous $500 welcome bonus
  • 1.5% cash back at dining and restaurants
  • Points can be combined with other Chase to make your rewards even more valuable
  • No annual fee
Drawbacks
  • No bonus categories
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Learn More: Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card


American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

Earn 2% cash back and receive 12 months of 0% APR financing on new purchases and balance transfers. 
Welcome bonus None
Rewards
  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%
Advantages
  • Very strong rewards
  • Valuable introductory financing offer
  • No annual fee
Drawbacks
  • No sign-up bonus
  • 2% rewards limited to your first $50,000 spent each year
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee

Learn More: American Express® Blue Business Cash Card


Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

Earn an 80,000 bonus points, plus receive valuable benefits when traveling on Southwest.
Welcome bonus
  • Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of your account; worth about $1,200 in free travel
Rewards
  • Earn 3x points on social media and search engine advertising; Internet, cable, and phone services; and Southwest purchases
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
Advantages
  • Receive four upgraded boardings per year, when available
  • Get up to 365 free inflight Wi-Fi credits each year
  • Use a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit every four years
  • 9,000 bonus points each year on your cardmember anniversary
Drawbacks
  • $199 annual fee

Learn More: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card


American Express® Business Gold Card

Earn 4x Membership Rewards points and $500 back from FedEx shipping.
Welcome bonus
  • Earn up to $500 back in the form of statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx using your American Express® Business Gold Card within your first three months of card membership
Rewards
  • Earn 4x rewards points on the two categories you spend the most on, including:
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
    • U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
    • U.S. purchases at gas stations
    • U.S. purchases at restaurants U.S. purchases for shipping
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
Advantages
  • Ability to earn points at an amazing rate on your most common purchases
  • Rewards can be transferred to airline miles or hotel points
  • 25% back when you pay with points
Drawbacks
  • $295 annual fee

Learn More: American Express® Business Gold Card


Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card By Citi

Earn 4% cash back on gas, and great rewards on dining and travel.
Welcome bonus None
Rewards
  • 4% cash back on gas, including at Costco
  • 3% back at restaurants and on travel
  • 2% back at Costco stores and at Costco.com
  • 1% on all other purchases.
Advantages
  • Excellent rewards for gas
  • Strong rewards for cash back and travel
Drawbacks
  • Cash back is awarded just once a year
  • Gas savings is limited to your first $7,000 spent each year

Learn more: Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card By Citi

 

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