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Where Are the Biggest Bonuses? Try Small-Business Cards

Since businesses tend to spend more money than individuals and households, issuers can afford to use more lucrative offers to entice new applicants.
June 11, 2019
Business Credit Cards, Credit Cards
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Credit cards for small-business owners differ from general consumer credit cards in many ways, including reward structures and how you qualify to get the card. Among the most eye-popping differences are the lucrative sign-up bonuses offered by business credit cards compared with their consumer counterparts.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best small-business credit cards

Business card bonuses are typically higher

The more you spend on a credit card, the more the card issuer earns, and businesses tend to spend more than individuals and households.

If a business carries a balance, the issuer makes more in interest charges. Even if the cardholder never carries a balance and never pays interest, the issuer earns a percentage of each transaction through swipe fees.

» MORE: How do credit card companies make money?

Because businesses spend more, issuers can afford to be more generous — and enticing — with their sign-up bonuses. Qualifying for those bonuses, though, often requires a higher amount of spending soon after being approved for the card.

Examples

Sign-up bonuses can change frequently, but here are real examples of sign-up bonuses — sometimes called “welcome offers” — featured by business credit cards compared with a comparable consumer-level card.

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

 Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit CardChase Freedom Unlimited®
Card typeBusinessPersonal
Annual fee$0$0
BonusEarn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account openingDouble Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Maximum bonus value$500$600

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

 Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit CardChase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Card typeBusinessPersonal
Annual fee$95$95
BonusEarn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Maximum bonus value$1,000$750

Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business vs. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

 Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for BusinessCapital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Card typeBusinessPersonal
Annual fee$0$0
BonusPlus, a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account openingOne-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Maximum bonus value$200$150

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

 The Business Platinum® Card from American ExpressThe Platinum Card® from American Express
Card typeBusinessPersonal
Annual fee$595$550
BonusEarn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Maximum bonus value$750$600

How you can capitalize

Even if you’re not a full-time entrepreneur and just have a side business, you may qualify for a business credit card and be eligible for these big sign-up bonuses. Just be aware that cardholder protections are weaker for business cards vs. consumer cards and you must agree to a personal guarantee, stating that you are personally liable for debt even if your business goes belly-up.

On a good note, if you’re using your card for business, its fees and interest count as business expenses. That means you can deduct those card expenses at tax time.

» MORE: Major differences between business credit cards and personal credit cards

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