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Best Business Credit Cards for 2020: A Complete Review

Best Business Credit Cards for 2019_ A Complete Review (1)

Looking for the best business credit cards?

If you’re reading this, that’s probably what you’re wondering if it exists. That or what the best business card cards are for 2019 (we’ll get to that in a sec).

Business credit cards fill a unique space between personal and corporate business cards.

Personal credit cards are great for improving your personal credit score.

However, if your aim is to improve your business credit, and you’re not large enough to be accepted for (or have a need for) a corporate business card, then a business credit card is ideal.

In fact, depending on the business credit card you obtain, you could improve both your personal and business credit at the same time.

Do business credit cards affect your personal credit score?

Before obtaining a business credit card, it’s important to know how that card will affect both your business and personal credit.

Finance blog NerdWallet contacted 9 of the largest small business credit card companies to find out how each reported activity from their business credit card customers to both consumer (personal credit) and commercial (business credit) credit bureaus.

They found that while most companies reported activity to the commercial credit bureaus, results were mixed for consumer bureaus:

Whether your goal is to improve your credit or not, it’s important to know who you’re getting your business credit card from to understand in advance how that card might affect not only your business but also your personal credit.

Best business credit cards for 2019

So, what’s the highest rated small business credit card? It all depends on what you’re looking for and where your credit score is at.

Below, we’ve organized the best business credit cards for 2019 based on four credit levels:

  • Excellent credit
  • Good credit
  • Fair credit
  • Bad credit

No matter what your credit score is, we’ve included the best cards available, even business credit cards for those with bad credit.

Within each card’s breakdown, you’ll also find a list of pros and cons to further help you decide which is the right business credit card for you based on other factors such as APR, annual fee, rewards, and sign-up bonuses.

The Top business credit cards for excellent credit

The business credit cards listed below are best for those with excellent credit, ranging from 720 credit score and up.

Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard

BofA’s Business Advantage Travel Rewards card is unique in that it’s a travel rewards card with no annual fee.

The travel rewards rate isn’t as favorable compared to other travel cards with fees, but 1.5 points for every dollar spent along with 3 points for every dollar spent on travel purchases made through BofA isn’t bad.

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • 25,000 point sign-up bonus
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 0% APR on purchases for first 9 billing cycles

Cons:

  • Excellent credit required
  • Other travel rewards cards offer better deals

CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard

CitiBank’s CitiBusiness AAdvantage card is easily the winner for business credit card if your goal is to rack up airline miles.

First, there’s the 70,000 point sign-up bonus after spending just $4,000 in qualifying purchases within the first 3 months. Then, you get 2 miles for every $1 spent on qualifying business purchases thereafter.

Pros:

  • Great sign-up bonus
  • Best card for racking up miles
  • Flier benefits such as free bag checking, preferred boarding, and 25% off in-flight purchases with American Airlines

Cons:

  • High credit requirement
  • High annual fee at $99
  • APR is on the high end

Best business credit cards for good credit

The business credit cards listed below are best for those with good credit, ranging from 690 – 719 credit score.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Chase’s Ink Business Preferred card is great if you’re a fan of credit card rewards programs.

That’s because the Chase Ink Preferred card offers 3 points for every $1 spent up to $150,000 within a calendar year on advertising, internet, phone and cable service, and shipping and other travel expenses. All other purchases receive 1 point per $1 spent.

In addition, the card offers one of the best sign-up bonuses around: 80,000 points if you spend $5,000 on qualifying purchases within 3 months of opening your account.

Pros:

  • Great sign-up bonus
  • Impressive rewards program

Cons:

  • High annual fee at $95
  • Only a fit for business owners who expect to use their card for a large amount of very specific business expenses (see above).

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card is another great card if you’re looking to rack up miles or points which can be put towards qualifying travel expenses.

Currently, the card offers a 60,000 point sign-up bonus on $3,000 of qualifying business expenses within 3 months of opening your account. It also offers several opportunities for bonus points such as a card member anniversary bonus (6,000 points) and 1,500 points for every $10,000 spent.

In addition, it offers 2 points per every $1 spent on Southwest, Rapid Rewards hotel, and selected partner car rental purchases.

Pros:

  • Great sign-up bonus
  • Good rewards program

Cons:

  • High annual fee at $99

Top business credit cards for fair credit

The business credit cards listed below are best for those with fair credit, ranging from 630 – 689 credit score.

Capital One Spark Classic for Business

The Capital One Spark Classic for Business credit card is one of our two best picks for fair credit business credit cards.

That’s because the Spark Classic card not only has no annual fee but you pay no interest on purchases if you pay your balance in full for a billing cycle. These two points combined make it an extremely affordable business credit card.

Pros:

  • No interest if you pay your balance in full each billing cycle
  • $0 annual fee
  • More affordable compared to most ‘fair credit’ business credit cards

Cons:

  • APR is on the high end if you pay late

Amazon Business American Express Credit Card

A recent entry into the business credit card space, Amazon’s AMEX business credit card offering has no annual fee, competitive APR, and a good intro APR offer.

The card also offers two unique features in a $100 Amazon gift card upon approval and 3% cash back or pay interest fee for purchases at Amazon.com, Amazon Business, AWS, and Whole Foods Market (with 1-2% cash back at other locations).

Pros:

  • One of the most affordable business credit cards with a 60-day no interest offer and no annual fee

Cons:

  • Rewards program not comparable other business credit cards unless you shop frequently with Amazon

Best business credit cards for bad credit

The business credit cards listed below are best for those with bad credit, for anyone at 629 credit score or below.  

Capital One Secured Mastercard

The Capital One Secured Mastercard is one of two ideal picks for business owners with bad credit.

It’s technically not a business credit card. However, if you’re careful about keeping your spending on the card to strictly business expenses (for tax purposes), it can start you off in the right direction towards being accepted for a business credit card, especially Capital One’s own Spark business credit card.

Pros:

  • Unlike most secured cards where the amount you deposit becomes your credit limit, depending on creditworthiness, you can make a deposit of $49, $99, or $200 for a credit limit of $200
  • No annual fee

Cons:

  • It’s a secured credit card, so you’ll need to make a deposit depending on your creditworthiness before you can begin using the card

Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card

Wells Fargo’s Business Secured Credit Card is the second of two great secured options for those looking to get started with business credit cards.

It’s uniquely fitted for business owners looking to improve their credit spending power as Wells Fargo will regularly review your account and, upon developing a good track record with them, move you up to an unsecured business credit card.

Pros:

  • Wells Fargo makes it easy to move up to one of their unsecured business credit card options
  • 1.5% cash back on every $1 spent

Cons:

  • $25 annual fee
  • No liability protection

Secured vs unsecured business credit cards: What is the difference?

If you have bad or fair credit especially, you may have encountered the terms secured and unsecured quite a few times when researching business credit cards.

There’s a big difference between the two types of cards, so it’s important to understand the difference.

Here’s a breakdown of secured vs. unsecured credit cards:

What is an unsecured credit card?

An unsecured credit card is the typical credit card structure you’re likely already familiar with.

Based on your credit score, you’re approved for a particular credit limit. As you use your balance up, you’re required to repay that balance based on a specified interest rate.

Why are they called unsecured credit cards?

Secured in finance terms refers to whether or not there is cash or a cash equivalent which a lender has received to guarantee or “secure” repayment of the amount.

In this case, a credit card company is offering you credit without requiring anything to secure the amount lent.

What is a secured credit card?

A secured credit card is primarily used as a tool for improving credit.

That’s because, as opposed to unsecured credit cards, secured cards require a cash deposit to “secure” the card for the credit card company. These deposits typically range from $250-500.

That might sound pointless, but it’s ultimately the same thing as a typical unsecured credit card after making the deposit. And, most importantly, it gives you a reliable way of improving your credit.

By doing so, if you have bad credit, you can use a secured card to improve your credit score and eventually “move up” to an unsecured business credit card.

How to get the most from your business credit card

No matter what small business credit card you decide to get, it’s important to know how to make the most of it.

There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind once you’ve been approved for a new card.

Here are a few helpful reminders:

  • Find out when your introductory APR ends: Many small business credit cards have introductory offers. However, these offers have an expiry date that is critical to take note of as it means your interest will change from one month to the next. Remember to check over your first statement to take this expiry date down.
  • Remember to qualify for your card’s sign-up bonus: Similarly, many small business credit cards have sign-up bonuses as well and these bonuses can be well worth the effort. Review the qualification factors and make a note of what you need to do to make sure you take advantage of any and all bonuses.
  • Deduct fees and interest charges when you file taxes: Many business owners aren’t aware that you can write off both interest charges and fees from business credit cards on your taxes. It might not amount to much but it’s welcomed savings that is yours for the taking.
  • Pay your card on time: This is critically important as a business credit card is an opportunity to improve your credit further… or hurt it if you’re late on your payment even once.

You’ll especially want to heed that last point if you’re acquiring a new business credit card to improve your credit score.

Few things can help (or equally hurt) your credit like racking up a balance on a credit card and being late on your payment. So, pay special mind if you’re obtaining a business credit card to improve your credit score and always pay on time.

What is a Voided Check? Definition and Examples.

what is a voided check

What the purpose of a Voided Check?

 

There might be dozens of different reasons you need to learn how to create and share a voided check attached to one of your bank accounts like applying for an unsecured business loan, but the most common reason is so that you can provide critical banking information to an individual or an organization so that they might establish a direct link to that account. 

 

This can be because you are looking to make an ACH or Wire payment to ones account or receive an ACH or wire into your bank account.

Every single check (official check, anyway) includes a couple of key pieces of data that can be used by individuals and organizations to send or request money directly from your account. In a world where electronic and online banking is so commonplace it’s essential that you know how to create a voided check – but it’s just as important that you know how to do so safely, securely, and while maintaining as much of your personal and private information as possible.

 

In this quick guide we’re going to show you exactly how to void a check, how to confirm that the voided check you have created the safe to be shared with others, and how to monitor your account to verify that your personal, private, and payment banking information hasn’t been “hijacked”.

 

Let’s dive right in!

 

What is a voided check, anyway?

 

In the most straightforward terms possible, a voided check is simply nothing more than a 100% legitimate and official check from your checkbook or your banking institution that has had the word “VOID” written clearly (and in large print) all the way across the front of the check – particularly across the name, address, and payment blanks that you usually fill it in.

 

The process of writing VOID across your check essentially “disables” the check so that it cannot be used as legal tender any longer, but it still allows the electronic banking information contained within to be used by individuals or organizations looking to connect to your bank account.

 

The process of figuring out how to void the check by writing this word clearly across the check guarantees that anyone this paper check might be handed to cannot simply fill in the blanks and draw money from your account. Any bank teller (even those working the first hour of their first shift) will understand that the check itself is anything but legitimate and you will have nothing to worry about.

 

Why would I need to void a check?

 

As we highlighted earlier, there are literally dozens of different reasons you might choose to void a check or ask for a voided check from someone – and we touch on the most popular reasons below.

 

At the very core, however, a voided check is always asked for in an effort to utilize the electronic banking information that the checks include printed directly on them.

 

This information includes:

 

  • The actual bank/credit union that the account is hosted at
  • The bank account number for this specific account and
  • The code that identifies your bank electronically (most commonly referred to as the routing number or ABA number)
  • The name of the owner of the account commonly referred to as account name
  • Check Number
  • The address associated with the account (not all the time)

 

The name of your banking institution is going to be printed prominently at the top left-hand corner of your check. At the very left-hand bottom of the front of your check is going to be your routing number, your account number, and the official check series number (in that order).

 

This is the information that today’s electronic banking services need to set up an electronic transfer between two different entities.

 

Direct Deposit

 

Establishing direct deposit for your paychecks (or for one-off payments, if you are a freelancer for example) is incredibly simple with the help of a check that has been voided out.

 

All you have to do is provide this check to the department responsible for processing payments and they’ll be able to input the information we highlighted above into their system and you’ll get your money a lot faster than you would have traditionally.

 

You also don’t have to worry about losing a paper check, having a paper check expire and going through the process of requesting another, or any of the other hassle and headache that traditional paper paychecks inevitably bring to the table. The money also becomes immediately available as soon as it has been direct deposited directly into your account which is another huge bonus.

 

Automate Bill Payments

 

Another advantage of utilizing a voided check is to set up automated bill pay services, streamlining your budget significantly and taking a lot of stress and pressure off of your shoulders trying to remember if and when you have to pay bills every month.

 

Never again do you have to worry about finding your checkbook a couple of times each month and firing off a payment through the mail (hoping it gets there on time), and you don’t even have to worry about logging onto to online bill payment services after you set up automatic electronic transfers, neither.

 

Think of this like a reverse direct deposit. After you have used a voided check to set up automatic bill you can schedule these bills to be paid instantly when they are due and on a recurring basis – essentially a set it and forget style payment system.

 

Mistakes Made with a Check

 

Anyone that has a checkbook is made at least a mistake or two filling out the important information when writing a check, but too many people don’t realize that they need to “secure” that check by voiding it out.

 

Without going through the process of voiding the check folks run the risk of someone getting their hands on the incomplete check, filling the rest of the details out themselves (and usually making the check out to themselves) and then emptying your account of your hard earned money.

 

By voiding out your check that’s never going to happen.

 

How to Get a Voided Check

 

Figuring out how to get a voided check couldn’t be any simpler:

 

Pull a blank check from your checkbook, making sure to note its official check number in your ledger as you do. But it down as a VOID check to make sure you know why that check is skipped when you’re balancing your checkbook.

 

From there, grab a permanent marker (this is important) and write in big, bold, clear print with plenty of spacing to cover the entire face of the check (except for the banking details we mentioned above) the word V O I D.

 

If you don’t have a spare blank check and still need to figure out how to get voided check, there are a couple of options as well.

 

You can ask your bank to draw you up a “counter check”, a special type of check that can be officially voided by the bank but still includes your important account information. You might also ask the business or organization requesting a voided check if they would accept a deposit slip that has been voided as well.

 

If both of these options fail you might want to ask the bank to record your pertinent account information and then notarize the letter, making sure it’s printed on their official letterhead. That’s almost always a solid approach, though circumstances will rarely dictate you have to go down that road.

 

At the end of the day, you shouldn’t have any trouble at all getting your hands on a voided check – and taking advantage of all the benefits it offers – with the help of this quick guide!

5 Best Background Check Sites

EXCELCAPITAL - BEST BACKGROUND CHECK SITES

Sometimes, you just need to be safe.

Whether it’s implementing background checks for new employees or accessing court records, a background check is a useful way of obtaining information that can help you make smarter decisions.

But what exactly can you use a background check for? Are there free background checks? And what are the best background check sites?

Below, we’ll answer all of those questions and more so you know not only the basics about how background checks work online but what the best background check sites are for you to use based on your needs.

Do free background check sites exist?

If you need to run a background check, the first question that likely pops into your mind is: can I run a background check for free?

Despite the apparent advertisement for free background checks from sites like Backgroundchecks.org and even the DMV (where you’ll be redirected to BeenVerified), free background checks don’t exist.

If anyone claims otherwise– be wary.

What if you do it yourself?

Having said that, if you want to know how to check your background, or the background or someone else, there are things you can do which may allow you to obtain the same or similar information if you’re willing to do the work yourself.

Ultimately, it all depends on what you’re looking for.

Here are some ways (and sources) for obtaining various types of background information for free with a little detective work:

  • LinkedIn: The professional’s social network, LinkedIn is great for obtaining information about their employment history and academic record. Just keep in mind that LinkedIn profiles are essentially online resumes, so the information may not be 100% accurate.
  • Court records: Most court records are public, including criminal convictions, marriages and divorces, name changes, and bankruptcies. The only downside here is that acquiring information this way can take some time.
  • Sex offender registry: All U.S. sex offenders are required to be added to the U.S. Sex Offender Registry, so if this is what you’re searching for, the U.S. Department of Justice website is free and search can be done via address if you don’t have the person’s name.

While there is quite a bit of information you can acquire online if you’re willing to do the work, you can pay to obtain a proper background check online in minutes.

But first, what kind of information can you obtain from a background check?

What shows up on a background check?

What information appears on a background check depends somewhat on where you obtain a background check.

However, this information usually appears in a background check:

  • Criminal record (Most notably for employers, misdemeanors, and felonies)
  • Sex offender registry appearance
  • Global homeland security appearance
  • Warrants
  • Drug screening
  • Military records
  • Employment history & eligibility
  • Education
  • Bankruptcies
  • Lawsuits
  • Traffic and DUI records
  • Motor vehicle information
  • License verification
  • Credit report
  • Contact information (Phone number)

What can you use a background check site for?

The information above is a lot to take in. You might already know exactly what you need a background check for.

However, you might just want to get as much information as possible and want to know what kinds of uses a background check can be utilized towards.

Here are some common reasons for obtaining a background check:

  • Employee verification: Keep in mind that specifically licensed background checks must be used for pre-employment screenings. Regular background check sites cannot be used for employment checks.
  • Roommate verification: Need to rent out a room or considering sharing rent with someone to afford a pricey area? A background check can help you make a smart decision in terms of both credit and criminal records.
  • Date lookup: Sites like Tinder have made it commonplace to get together with perfect strangers online. Clearly, that can be a bit scary and you want to make sure you’re not running into something sketchy.
  • Property lookup: If you’re considering purchasing a property, a background check by address can help you find out all kinds of useful pieces of information that will help you make a smarter decision.
  • Court records: Court records, as mentioned in the previous section, can help you uncover several important pieces of information that can affect everything
  • Self-check: Sometimes, it’s not other people you need to know more about, it’s yourself. Maybe you received a notice that some new record was added to your report, or maybe your just curious. Either way, a self-check is common.
  • Family lookup: Some use background checks to locate missing or distant family members they’ve lost contact with as they’re a very effective way of obtaining contact information.

How to pick a good background check site

There are a few important factors to consider when looking for a good background check site.

Keep these things in mind when deciding where to obtain a background check from:

Background options

Most background sites have basic search options such as people lookup, property lookup, criminal record lookup, sex offender search, and contact information search such as reverse email and phone number.

The best background check site for you is the one that has a search based on the information you’re looking for, that way you know you’re not only getting the information you need before paying but that you’re not paying more for it than you should.

Accuracy of information

It’s hard to know for sure if all the information on a given report is accurate unless you obtain multiple reports. Sometimes, you might find that preferable.

However, it’s important to review how a background check site gathers information and how often it’s updated.

Turnaround time

Sometimes, you need information from a background check quickly. This is important to know in advance because some services take longer than others.

However, in general, most background check sites offer either very quick or instant access to results. It mostly depends on what and how much information you’re requesting (contact information may be immediate while court records could take longer).

Pricing

Pricing is an obvious inclusion, but it should be mentioned. Every background check site charges differently, most notably based on the information they provide.

The most important thing to consider here is exactly what information you need and whether another site offers less information in general, but still exactly what you need (in other words, less filler stuff you didn’t need).

Customer service

Some background check sites offered fantastic customer service and live phone or chat interaction to help answer your questions. Others, not so much.

A mark of good customer service is whether you find it easy to obtain answers to your questions or if it feels like they purposely made it difficult.

This should include easy access a customer service representative over the phone (live chat is a nice plus, but not required) and a comprehensive FAQ page that answers basic questions.

The 5 Best background check sites

So, what are the best background check sites?

In the previous section, we offered a few helpful factors to consider when picking what background site to choose.

The further help that decision, we’ve reviewed what we consider to be the top background check companies.

In no particular order, the 5 best background check sites are:

For criminal record checks: BeenVerified

BeenVerified is a great all-around background check service.

However, where BeenVerified shines is in criminal background and related information checks.

If you’re looking for information such as a criminal record, sex offender registry, judgments, liens, bankruptcies, county records, case numbers, or conviction and arrest details BeenVerified is a great service.

Pros:

  • Super comprehensive reports
  • Great for criminal records and similar information
  • Affordable pricing (Less than $23 / Month)

Cons:

  • Pricing options are limited and they require signing up for a subscription to obtain background check information

Obtain a background check with BeenVerified

Best for multiple reports: Instant Checkmate

Instant Checkmate has incredibly comprehensive reports, possibly the most comprehensive.

However, where Instant Checkmate stands out is in two areas: family search and value for multiple reports.

Instant Checkmate offers a family search function, making it very easy to locate missing or distant family members if that’s your purpose.  

In addition to this, Instant Checkmate offers the best value if you need multiple reports. For $35, you can obtain as many background check reports as you’d like, where most sites charge slightly more than that for a single report.

You have to pay a small fee ($2.99 as of writing this) for each report you download. However, even including this, the site offers a much more affordable service for multiple reports.

Pros:

  • Can obtain multiple reports with a subscription for the price of one from competing sites
  • Easy to search for information
  • High report accuracy

Cons:

  • Need to pay $2.99 per report download
  • No option to purchase single reports (only subscription)

Obtain a background check with Instant Checkmate

Great for education background: Intelius

Intelius is one of the most comprehensive background check sites online, so you can’t go wrong going with them for virtually any need.

However, one area where Intelius is unique is that you can obtain education background information with their reports.

Most background check sites do not provide this information, so if it’s part of what you’re looking for, they’re definitely worth considering.

Pros:

  • Can purchase single reports without the need to sign up for a subscription
  • Education history search

Cons:

  • Slightly higher price among background check sites
  • Can’t download reports

Obtain a background check with Intelius

Best overall value: US Search

US Search is a solid all-around background check service.

However, where US Search shines is in their value.

Not only are individual reports an option, where many background check sites require a subscription, but reports are also on the lower end at just $39.95 per report.

In addition to this, you can purchase a basic ‘people search’ report for just $2.45 if all you’re trying to do is locate someone. If this is your primary reason for obtaining a background check, US Search is the best value by far.

Pros:

  • Can purchase single reports
  • Low price
  • People search for just $2.45
  • Can download reports for free

Cons:

  • Reports not listed chronologically, which can appear somewhat confusing

Obtain a background check with US Search

Most convenient: TruthFinder

Truthfinder doesn’t specialize in a particular type of background information, but it’s background checks are some of the most comprehensive we found.

Truthfinder allows you to obtain all the typical information you can get from a background check in addition to running an in-depth web search that can pull information such as social media profiles and a substantial list of emails.

This is information you can obtain manually through your own effort. However, it makes Truthfinder’s service more comprehensive and convenient if you don’t have the time or simply would prefer the convenience.

In addition to this, Truthfinder has a well-designed Apple and Android app which you can use to obtain their comprehensive background checks from your mobile device, making Truthfinder one of the best background check sites in terms of convenience.

Pros:

  • Mobile app for convenient access to background checks on any device
  • Comprehensive web search including social media profiles

Cons:

  • Hard to find pricing information and structure can be confusing

Obtain a background check with Truthfinder

Get the information you need quickly and easily

Ultimately, the best background check site is the one that gives you exactly what you need when you need it.

For that reason, it all depends on your needs.

But by using the information we’ve provided above, you not only have a list of high-quality background check sites to start with but a list of factors that will help you identify which is the best fit for you.