Advertiser Disclosure

Small-business credit cards offer big value. With more-generous sign-up bonuses and reward rates than consumer cards, these offers can help you establish business credit, preserve cash flow and grow your business.

Small-business credit cards with best-in-class rewards

Best for … Card Annual fee
Cash back Ink Cash® Business Credit Card  $0
Airport lounge access The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN  $450
Travel credit Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business  $0 for the first year, then $59
Fair credit Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business  $0

1. Ink Cash® Business Credit Card: Best for cash back

Ink Cash® Business Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • Bonus cash back categories
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers

Bonus Offer

Earn $300 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

APR

  • APR: 13.49% - 19.49% Variable APR
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn $300 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 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 cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV 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 card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee

Earn $300 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. $0 annual fee.

Benefits of the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card:

  • You’ll get generous cash-back rewards on several everyday purchases.
    • 5% cash back on purchases of office supplies, cellphones, landline phone service, Internet and cable TV up to the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each year.
    • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, up to the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each year.
    • 1 point per dollar spent on everything else, with no limit.
  • If you hit the spending caps on the 5% and 2% categories, you’d earn $1,750 in cash back within a year.
  • You can combine cash-back rewards with Ultimate Rewards points on other Chase accounts that belong to you, your spouse or partner, or your joint business owner.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • You can set spending limits for employees and get extra cards for no charge.
  • You’ll get a 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% - 19.49% Variable APR.

Drawbacks of the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card:

  • The sign-up bonus is relatively modest, as is the case with most cash-back cards.
  • If you don’t plan on using the 0% APR, a different rewards card would offer more value.

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for big cash-back rewards, but also need affordable capital to get your business going, the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card is the best pick. The 0% APR period gives you plenty of time to pay off business debts interest-free. The card’s rewards rate is also among the highest. As is the case with all Chase business credit cards, your payments will be reported to business credit bureaus, not consumer credit bureaus, unless you default. This means your business credit activity won’t affect your personal credit score. With $0, you’ll also be able to keep this card open for a long time, boosting your business credit. For major earnings with minimal investment, this is a fine go-to card.

2. The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN: Best for airport lounge access

The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Bonus Offer

Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply

Annual Fee

$450

Intro APR Promotions

N/A

APR

  • Purchase: N/A

Card Details

  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® points. Offer expires January 25, 2017.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • NEW: Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That’s 1.5 points per dollar, on each qualifying purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • Plus, continue to get one point per dollar for qualifying purchases under $5,000.
  • NEW 50% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 50% of the points back.
  • NEW: You can also receive 50% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Terms & Restrictions Apply
  • View Rates and Fees

Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. The annual fee is $450.

Benefits of The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN:

  • You’ll have access to 900 airport lounges worldwide through the AmEx Global Lounge Collection. You can also enroll in Priority Pass Select for free.
  • You’ll get free access to Gogo and Boingo in-air Wi-Fi.
  • You get a $200 credit for airline incidentals, such as checked baggage fees.
  • Because it’s a charge card, paid off in full every month, you have no credit limit and you won’t pay any interest. Charging a lot each month won’t hurt your credit utilization ratio, as it would otherwise. This makes it a good card for businesses with high operating costs.

Drawbacks of The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN:

  • The annual fee of $450 is steep.
  • The card’s rewards rate — 2 points per dollar spent on travel booked through American Express and 1 point per dollar on most other purchases — is relatively low, considering the high annual fee.
  • Because it’s a charge card, the card provides less flexibility for business owners with unpredictable cash flow. You won’t be able to roll over payments from month to month without incurring hefty penalties.

The bottom line:

One-year access to Delta Sky Clubs, a major airport lounge network, costs $450 for just one person. With The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, you’ll get that, plus access to a worldwide network of Global Lounge Collection lounges and Priority Pass Select lounges, all for an annual fee of $450. It’s not exactly a bargain, but if you travel on business frequently and crave a quiet space to work that has an open bar, high-speed Wi-Fi and free snacks, it could be a worthy investment.

Keep in mind that you can deduct annual fees and interest charges on business credit cards as business expenses on your tax return. That could make this luxurious card a little more affordable.

3. Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business: Best for travel credit

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Bonus Offer

Plus, a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $59

Intro APR Promotions

N/A

APR

  • APR: 17.24% Variable APR
  • Penalty APR: 29.65%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 23.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day
  • Plus, a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval
  • Miles don't expire, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
  • There's no limit to the amount of miles you can earn and miles don't expire
  • Redeem miles for travel, cash back, gift cards and more
  • No foreign transaction fees and fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions

Plus, a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval. The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $59.

Benefits of the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business:

  • You’ll earn an unlimited 2 miles per dollar, which you can redeem for travel statement credit, among other things.
  • You can get additional cards for your employees at no extra charge.
  • You’ll get quarterly and yearly itemized statements that you can use to maximize your business deductions at tax time.
  • The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $59.

Drawbacks of the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business:

  • You can’t transfer miles to other loyalty programs.
  • You don’t get traveling perks, such as priority boarding or free checked bags, as some co-branded airline cards offer.

The bottom line:

With the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, you’ll earn an unlimited 2 miles for every dollar you spend. These miles are worth 1 cent each — the industry standard — when used to book travel through Capital One’s Orbitz-powered travel site, or redeemed as a travel statement credit using the Purchase Eraser tool. This gives you more flexibility when booking travel for a large group of people, or planning a trip during peak travel season, when rewards seats are limited. If you have a business account through Expedia or Orbitz, using the Purchase Eraser for rewards trips could also be a good way to maximize your savings and rewards.

Early-spend bonus aside, you’ll break even on the annual fee if you put more than $2,950 on the card per year. If you plan to spend less, consider going for a card with a lower annual fee or a higher rewards rate.

4. Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business: Best for fair credit

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Pros

  • Qualify with average credit
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • High APR

Bonus Offer

Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, every day

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

N/A

APR

  • APR: 23.24% Variable APR
  • Penalty APR: 29.65%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 23.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Enjoy no annual fee
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Build business credit with responsible use
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Enjoy business benefits including Year-End Summaries, employee cards at no extra cost, and experienced small business customer service

Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, every day. The annual fee is $0.

Benefits of the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business:

  • The card is one of the few options available for entrepreneurs with less-than-excellent credit.
  • You can get extra cards for your employees for free.
  • You’ll get itemized statements quarterly and yearly that you can use to maximize your business deductions for tax season.
  • The annual fee is $0.

Drawbacks of the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business:

  • The rewards rate is low.
  • The ongoing APR is 23.24% Variable APR, which is relatively high. If you plan to carry a balance, you could end up shelling out a lot in interest.

The bottom line:

If you have fair personal credit, qualifying for a small-business loan with affordable rates can be nearly impossible. In this case, the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business is a fine alternative. Though it offers modest rewards, it comes with all the benefits other Capital One Spark cards offer, including free additional cards for employees, and itemized reports of purchases that can make deductions during tax time much easier.

If you have a good credit score, you’d be better off with a more competitive rewards card. But if your personal credit is suffering, this card makes it easy to rebuild.

Methodology

NerdWallet’s credit cards team selects cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to win in multiple categories.  

Last updated October 7, 2016.

Claire Tsosie is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: claire@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ideclaire7.