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Best Business Credit Cards for 2019: A Complete Review

Why should you get a business credit card?

If you’re reading this, that’s probably what you’re wondering. 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 best 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 best business credit card for you based on other factors such as APR, annual fee, rewards, and sign-up bonuses.

Best 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 best 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

Best 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.