NerdWallet’s Best Small Business Credit Cards, Spring 2013
Running a small business is never easy – keeping track of endless details, especially expenses can be a hassle, so having a great business credit card is essential to the success of a small business. We’ve compiled a list of the best credit cards for your small business in hopes of making your life just a little bit easier.
Whether you’re looking for low-interest rates or to take advantage of your travel expenses, we’re here to help you choose the right card for you and your business.
Running a small business comes with a myriad of expenses, so why not earn some rewards in the process? If you currently aren’t in need of credit card financing, consider these business rewards cards. Some emphasize travel expenses, while others pay back on essentials like office supplies.
Best Overall: Chase Ink Plus
Our top-ranked business credit card, the Chase Ink Plus starts off with a bang: 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. That’s worth 25% more when you redeem for travel, making the Plus a better travel card than most airline credit cards. Lest you think the Ink Plus is a mere flash in the pan, past the signup bonus, you’ll earn:
- 5 points per $1 you spend on office supply stores and utilities, up to $50k spent annually
- 2 points per $1 you spend on gas and hotel stays, also up to $50k
- An unlimited 1 point per $1 elsewhere
But wait, there’s more! The Ink Plus has no foreign transaction fee – business travelers, take note – zero interest on purchases and transfers for 6 months, and free employee cards. It’s also a great airline miles card: you can transfer your points 1:1 to United MileagePlus, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott and more. There is, however, a $95 annual fee (waived in the first year), so the card’s best for higher-spending companies.
Best Cash Back, No Annual Fee Card: the Chase Ink Cash
The Ink Plus’ no fee/cash back cousin, the Chase Ink Cash still earns 5x rewards in bonus categories, but only up to $25,000 a year. On the plus side, it pays out in cash, which is pretty much the easiest kind of rewards program to deal with. Here’s the breakdown of the Cash’s rewards program (changes from the Plus highlighted in bold):
- 5 points per $1 you spend on office supply stores and utilities, up to $25k spent annually
- 2 points per $1 you spend on gas and dining, also up to $25k
- An unlimited 1 point per $1 elsewhere
The Cash’s signup bonus is a bit smaller, at $250, and it isn’t eligible for the 25% points bump. But for a smaller business with fewer expenses, it has some key perks. Not only does it have no annual fee, it gives a full 12 months of zero interest on your purchases and transfers. That, combined with the 5% rewards on office supplies, makes it ideal for businesses outfitting that first corporate office. No fees, no fuss, high rewards.
Best for Travel: American Express Business Platinum
This card offers a number of valuable services for when you need to take your business on the go. Its versatility makes it a great card for travel and all around business expenses. You’ll have access to over 1,000 American, Delta, and US Airways airport lounges worldwide. There’s also a $200 credit to offset different airline fees, and you’ll get a complimentary companion ticket when you purchase a business or first class international ticket on partner airlines. When on the ground, the card offers premium rentals with Avis, Hertz and National. You can also rely on free hotel upgrades or benefits worth up to $450 per stay – that, alone, could offset the $450 annual fee. And, as with any top travel credit card, there is no foreign transaction fee.
Remember, though, that the Platinum is a charge card. Charge cards are just like credit cards only they have to be paid for in full each month. You won’t have to deal with spending caps, but expect insanely high fees and interest rates if you carry a balance. If you can stick to a strict no-balance regimen each month, then charge cards are a great way to go.