How Many Business Credit Cards Should I Have?

The right number depends on your business, but each of your business credit cards should serve a specific purpose.
Rosalie Murphy
By Rosalie Murphy 
Published
Edited by Ryan Lane

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Most small-business owners and entrepreneurs can benefit from having at least one business credit card. Using that card responsibly can help you separate personal and business expenses and start building your business credit.

Beyond that, the right number of business credit cards depends on your company’s spending habits. Your ideal set of business credit cards will maximize the benefits of that spending — without growing more unwieldy than you can manage.

Here’s how to figure out if you should add another business credit card to your collection.

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Can my business have multiple credit cards?

Yes, you can have multiple business credit cards. There’s typically no limit on the number of cards you can have overall, but some issuers may have their own restrictions.

For instance, Capital One limits the total number of credit cards you can have with them to five. That includes personal and business cards. With Chase, you can’t qualify for a new card if you’ve been approved for five credit cards within the past 24 months from any issuer. Most non-Chase business cards don’t count toward the so-called 5/24 rule, but some do.

Typically, getting a business credit card relies on your personal credit, not factors like revenue or time in business. That means your credit history can also affect your ability to get multiple business credit cards, especially if you try to open too many cards too quickly.

How many employee cards should I have?

If you have a card from a major business credit card issuer, you can likely get additional employee credit cards. These are separate physical or virtual cards with their own credit card numbers. They draw on the same line of credit as your primary card, however, so neither card issuers nor business credit bureaus view them as separate credit accounts.

Some card issuers don’t limit the number of employee cards you can have. And when there are limits, they tend to be high enough for many small-business owners — for instance, American Express business cards come with up to 99 employee cards for free.

It can make sense to issue employee credit cards to anyone who does frequent spending on behalf of your business. Just make sure you set up controls to limit how much each employee spends, if possible, and monitor their activity.

Benefits of having multiple business credit cards

Accessing more capital

Business credit cards come with individual, revolving limits you can spend up to — for instance, $10,000. By getting an additional card, you could increase that total amount of capital you can consistently access from $10,000 to $15,000, $20,000 or potentially even more.

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Many business charge cards have no preset limit — further enhancing your spending power. The catch? You'll need to pay your balance in full each month, though some cards (like the Ink Business Premier® Credit Card) let you finance certain large purchases.

Financing your business using multiple credit cards is a strategy that’s sometimes known as credit card stacking. This may be an option for startups that don’t have the revenue and business history to qualify for options like business lines of credit. But since credit cards generally have high interest rates, it’s best to explore other forms of financing first.

One exception might be if you’re anticipating a one-off large purchase. In that case, opening a new 0% intro APR business card on which the issuer doesn’t charge interest for a set period would give you the flexibility to pay it off over time. If you don’t pay off your balance by the time the introductory period ends, though, you’ll owe interest.

Maximizing your rewards

Having multiple business credit cards lets you take advantage of rewards programs and perks. These might include:

  • Combining cards for the highest rewards rates. A solid cash-back business card will pay 1.5% or more on all your spending. But other cards may offer rewards rates of up to 5% on things like Amazon purchases, fuel or ad spend. Using certain cards for certain purchases (especially the ones you make most often) can earn your business money across the board. 

  • Accessing specific perks. Looking to pair your existing business card with one that offers a feature it lacks, like airport lounge access or no foreign transaction fee? You can likely find a new card that meets your needs. 

  • Earning welcome bonuses. Some business credit cards offer bonuses in the form of cash or points for new cardholders, provided you reach a certain spending threshold in a certain period of time. If you have a big expense coming up, consider a card with a generous bonus that you’ll be able to obtain. 

Building business credit

Having multiple credit lines can help you build business credit over time. Using your business credit cards and making payments on time shows business credit bureaus and potential lenders that you use financing responsibly.

Opening a business credit card early in the life of your business can help establish your business credit history. Over time, a longer history may help build your business credit score.

Having access to more credit than you actually plan to use so that you can stay well below your limit can be good for your score, too.

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Drawbacks of having multiple business credit cards

Here's why you may want to be cautious about opening additional business credit cards.

  • You may pay more interest. In general, business credit cards have higher interest rates than other types of business financing, like business loans and lines of credit. If you're turning to one or several additional business credit cards to access long-term financing, explore potentially less expensive options first.

  • Your personal credit can be dinged. Opening business credit cards can affect your personal credit score, since each application will likely require a hard pull on your personal credit. Try to avoid opening multiple cards in quick succession to limit that impact. Keep in mind that negative payment history on a business card can hurt your personal credit as well.   

  • You’ll have more to manage. Tracking multiple business cards can get complicated, especially if you’re juggling multiple rewards programs or issuers. Opting for a single credit card company can help, as many offer cards with rewards that complement each other. You may also want to schedule automatic payments, provided you’re confident you’ll have enough in your bank account to cover the amount deducted. Ultimately, you may decide the hassle outweighs the reward.

How to choose another business credit card

A flat-rate cash-back business credit card with no annual fee is a good place for many business owners to start. You’ll get a flexible source of financing without having to keep track of a complex rewards program.

After that, look for business credit cards that reward your business’s spending patterns. These might include cards that pay higher cash-back rates on certain categories, like gas or office supplies; business travel credit cards that reward loyalty to a certain airline or hotel brand; or fleet cards that you can issue to your drivers for fuel savings. Each card should serve a purpose.

Ask yourself the following questions when considering a new business credit card:

  • What unique value does the new card offer? When choosing a business credit card, a diverse portfolio is key to maximizing your rewards. Look for cards that give you access to different or better perks than you currently have, not just comparable ones. 

  • Is the annual fee worth it? There are lots of good options among no-annual-fee business cards, but business cards with more premium rewards tend to charge annual fees. Do some rough calculations to make sure the rewards a card offers will offset that fee. 

  • Can you keep up with payments? Don’t open a business credit card without a plan to pay it down. Credit cards tend to have higher interest rates than other forms of business funding, so they’re usually not the best choice for major expenses that might take years to pay off. You may need a business loan instead.