BEST OF

6 Best Business Credit Cards for Sole Proprietorships

Nov 15, 2022

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Sole proprietors can use a business credit card to earn rewards on daily business spending and finance larger purchases. While a personal credit card can check those boxes, you’ll need a business card to establish and build your business credit history — a must if you need a business loan down the line.

Opting for a small-business credit card unlocks reward categories rarely offered on personal cards, including shipping, advertising and office supplies, as well as standard categories like travel and restaurants.

Match your card to your spending needs and habits to maximize your rewards. Planning to make a big purchase? Look for a card with a long 0% introductory APR offer. Always on the road? Consider a card that earns extra cash back at the pump. No time to worry about bonus categories? A flat-rate rewards card may be a good fit.

Some of our selections for the best business credit cards for sole proprietors can be applied for through NerdWallet, and some cannot. Below, you'll find application links for the credit cards from our partners that are available through NerdWallet, followed by the full list of our picks.

NerdWallet's Best Business Credit Cards for Sole Proprietorships

Best Business Credit Cards for Sole Proprietorships From Our Partners

Our pick for

Travel rewards bonus categories

Apply now

on Chase's website

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$95

Rewards rate

1x-3x

Points

Intro offer

100,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • New cardholder bonus offer

  • Bonus categories

  • Transfer partners

Cons

  • Has annual fee

  • No intro APR offer

  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases

  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring.

  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.

  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open

  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Read full review

Our pick for

Cash back bonus categories

Apply now

on Chase's website

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$0

Rewards rate

1%-5%

Cashback

Intro offer

$900

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Intro APR period

  • New cardholder bonus offer

Cons

  • Requires good/excellent credit

  • Low rate outside bonus categories

  • Spending caps on bonus rewards

  • BEST OFFER EVER: Earn $900 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year

  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring.

  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.

  • No Annual Fee

  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases

Read full review

Our pick for

Flat-rate rewards (cash back)

Apply now

on Capital One's website

Capital One Spark Cash Plus

4.4

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Capital One's website

Annual fee

$150

Rewards rate

2%-5%

Cashback

Intro offer

$1,000

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • Earns cash back on primary and employee cards

  • Rewards don’t expire

  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Balance must be paid in full every month

  • Has annual fee

  • Earn up to a $1,000 cash bonus; $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, and $500 once you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of account opening

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase, everywhere—with no limits or category restrictions

  • Comes with no preset spending limit, so it can adapt to your needs based on your spending behavior, payment history and credit profile

  • Earn an annual $200 cash bonus every year you spend $200,000 or more—that's enough to cover your annual fee and then some

  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

  • Add employee cards for free, and earn unlimited 2% cash back from their purchases

  • $150 annual fee

  • Spark Cash Plus has no APR because your balance is due in full every month

Read full review

Our pick for

Flat-rate rewards (travel)

Apply now

on Capital One's website

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

4.9

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Capital One's website

Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Rewards rate

2x

Points

Intro offer

50,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • No minimum redemption amount

Cons

  • Has annual fee

  • No Intro APR period

  • High APR

  • Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account

  • Transfer your miles to 15+ travel loyalty programs

  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services

  • Fly through security with one statement credit for either the $85 TSA PreCheck® application fee or the $100 Global Entry application fee

  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

  • Free employee cards which also earn unlimited 2X miles from their purchases

Read full review

Our pick for

Premium travel perks and rewards

Apply now

on American Express' website

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on American Express' website

Annual fee

$695

Rewards rate

1x-5x

Points

Intro offer

120,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • Lounge membership

  • Transfer partners

  • Bonus categories

  • Automatic elite status

  • Premium travel protections

Cons

  • High annual fee

  • Complicated rewards

  • Requires good/excellent credit

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.

  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.

  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.

  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.

  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.

  • $695 Annual Fee.

  • Terms Apply.

  • View Rates & Fees
Read full review

Our pick for

Sole proprietors with bad credit (personal card)

Apply now

on Capital One's website

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

4.8

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Capital One's website

Annual fee

$0

Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Qualify with limited/bad credit

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Report to three major credit bureaus

Cons

  • Requires minimum deposit

  • No rewards

  • High APR

  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds

  • Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help

  • Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line

  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time

  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed

  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges

  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone

  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking to access your account from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app

Read full review

FULL LIST OF EDITORIAL PICKS:

BEST BUSINESS CREDIT CARDS FOR SOLE PROPRIETORS

Select the card name to read our review. Before applying, confirm details on the issuer’s website.

Our pick for travel rewards bonus categories

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card starts you off with one of the biggest sign-up bonuses of any credit card anywhere (assuming you spend enough to earn it), then gives you bonus rewards in common business spending categories. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel booked through Chase, or you can transfer them to about a dozen airline and hotel partners. Read our review.

Our pick for cash back bonus categories

If your business's spending matches the bonus categories on the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, you can rack up some serious cash back. (If not, then look elsewhere.) There's an excellent sign-up bonus for a no-annual-fee cash-back card, plus an introductory APR period for purchases. Read our review. 

Our pick for flat-rate rewards (cash back)

The Capital One Spark Cash Plus is an excellent option for business operators whose expenses don't fall into the bonus categories on other business credit cards. You get a high, flat rewards rate on every purchase, with no limit to how much you can earn. Just make sure that you can pay off your spending in full each month, as this is a charge card that doesn't let you revolve a balance. Read our review.

Our pick for flat-rate rewards (travel)

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business is basically a business version of the popular Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. You earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, and miles can be redeemed at a value of 1 cent apiece for any travel purchase, without the blackout dates and other restrictions of branded hotel and airline cards. The card offers a great sign-up bonus, too. Read our review.

Our pick for Intro APR + cash back rewards

The U.S. Bank Business Triple Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard® is a solid cash-back card for business owners. Earn 3% cash back on eligible purchases at gas stations, office supply stores, cell phone service providers and restaurants. Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases. Plus, the card offers a competitive welcome bonus and 0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 Billing Cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 17.74%-26.74% Variable APR — all with a $0 annual fee. Read our review.

Our pick for premium travel perks and rewards

Like the consumer version of this card, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a big annual fee. But business travelers who prefer to go in style will find plenty that appeals to them: high rewards on certain travel purchases, bonus rewards on larger non-travel purchases, a superb newcomer welcome offer, extensive airport lounge access, elite hotel status, hundreds of dollars a year in available credits and a list of perks as long as your arm. It's not cheap, but luxury never is. Terms apply. Read our review.

Our pick for sole proprietors with bad credit (personal card)

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card requires a security deposit, as do all secured credit cards. But while most cards require you to put down a deposit equal to your credit line, this one allows some qualifying applicants to get a $200 credit line with a deposit starting at $49. Further, you can be automatically considered for a higher credit line with no additional deposit in as little as six months. Read our review.

Our pick for sole proprietors with bad credit

If you can afford to put a lot of money down, the First National Bank Business Edition® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card may be a good choice for bad-credit borrowers. The secured business credit card requires a credit check (personal credit) and security deposit (between $2,200 and $110,000 in multiples of $50) which dictates your credit limit. Your deposit earns interest and card activity is reported to Dun & Bradstreet, one of the three main business credit bureaus, so on-time payments will help build your business credit score. This card charges a $39 annual fee. Read our review.

How to apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor

Sole proprietors can open a business credit card on the merits of their personal credit history.

Here’s what you’ll need to apply for a business credit card:

  • Business name: Use your own name if you don’t have a formal business name.

  • Business contact information: Use your personal address and phone number if you don’t have a dedicated office or business phone.

  • Federal Taxpayer Identification Number: Use your Employer Identification Number. Don’t have one? Your Social Security number will also work.

  • Industry type: Note what field you work in, whether it’s retail, professional services or deliveries.

  • Annual revenue: Your total business income for the previous year before taxes and expenses. New businesses with no prior revenue can put $0.

You typically need a personal FICO score of at least 690 to qualify for a business credit card, though there are options for those with fair credit (630-689) that have fewer bells and whistles.

Business owners with bad credit (a FICO score between 300-629) can use a secured card to build credit history. These cards require a deposit, typically equal to your requested credit limit.

Last updated on November 15, 2022

Frequently asked questions