The ultimate guide to the top 9 business credit cards in 2021.

Husain Sumra profile image October 14, 2021 | 10 min read

Using a business credit card can help a business manage cash flow. However, there are many different cards on the market. Before you spend time filling out a business credit card application, take a step back to think about your credit card needs with the following checklist.

Know your small business credit card needs.

Small business owners interested in a business credit card have different criteria to keep in mind.

  • Credit limit. The credit limit amount a lender is willing to provide on a business credit card varies. To estimate the credit limit your business may need, review your business expenses over the past 12 months.  
  • Interest rate. The average business credit card interest rate was 14.22% (i.e., annual APR) as of August 2021. If you are looking for credit at a lower rate, you might want to consider a different option like a business line of credit with interest rates from 5% to more than 20%. Paying your credit card bill on time can help you get a lower interest rate.  
  • Fees. Some business credit cards charge annual or monthly fees. Viewing the credit card fee in isolation may be misleading. After all, you may be willing to pay an annual fee for a credit card with benefits valuable to your business. Sometimes, the benefits of a credit card like cash back, travel and other rewards may outweigh the fees.
  • Cash back. Some credit cards offer a cash back feature that helps business owners save money when they buy office supplies and other business expenses.
  • Travel and rewards. Other business owners might prefer to receive different rewards like points for travel if their company requires business travel. In light of pandemic restrictions, it is essential to research alternative ways to use rewards if travel is not available.
  • Business services. Some cards offer additional services to business owners. For example, some business credit cards offer purchase protection. You can also download quarterly and year-end summaries, which can be easily uploaded to accounting software.

Reflecting on these options will help business owners narrow their choices. For example, if you are focused on cash back rewards, research that subset of cards. Likewise, you might prioritize a low interest rate if that option better helps your business manage cash flow.

Are credit scores the only factor that matters with a credit card?

There are several factors worth considering when choosing a business credit card to apply for. Some information, like details on the rewards program, is usually clearly described by the credit card company. Some information, like the interest rate, is straightforward. However, we found that some credit card companies do not disclose the required credit score for their products. That is why we are providing an estimated credit score, which you can use as a guideline. Keep in mind that a credit score is not the only factor that matters when you apply for a credit card. Other factors that may be considered include your annual income, credit history and monthly housing costs.

Guide to business credit cards: The top nine options in 2021.

The following guide to business credit cards draws on several industry rankings and reviews of the best options from multiple publications, including Forbes. You will find cards that offer cash back rewards, others that offer no fees, and more. Keep in mind that the specific credit limits and terms you receive from a lender will vary depending on your business’s financial and credit situation.

Best business cash back credit cards.

The details for each credit card were current as of spring 2021. Please note that credit card details change over time including rates, rewards and fees. The term “APR” means “annual percentage rate.” Think of it as a “bottom line” interest rate you can use to compare interest rates between credit cards.

  1. Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
  • Credit Card Issuer: Chase
  • Interest Rate: 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases; after that period, 13.24%–19.24% variable APR
  • Estimated Credit Score: Sources indicate that a credit score of excellent or good is recommended for this credit card, which typically means a minimum FICO score of 670, according to ValuePenguin.
  • Fees: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: Earn up to $750 bonus cash back when you spend $7500 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account.
  • Rewards: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business. Cash back rewards can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards and travel.

This card is attractive for several reasons, including the unlimited cash back feature and the zero annual fee. The downside to this card is a 3% fee on foreign transactions and a lack of special bonus reward categories where a business can earn additional cash back. For example, the Ink Business Cash Credit Card (described below) offers higher cash-back rewards for spending at office supply stores.

  1. Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
  • Credit Card Issuer: Chase
  • Interest Rate: 0% APR for the first 12 months; after that, 13.24-19.24% APR
  • Estimated Credit Score: This credit card requires a minimum credit score of 670, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • Fees: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: Earn up to $750 bonus cash back after spending $7500 on purchases within three months of account opening.
  • Rewards: Cash back rewards vary between 1%, 2% and 5%. The highest reward level (i.e., 5%) applies to purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services. After spending $25,000 on the credit card in a year, the reward rate falls to 1%.

This credit card is similar to the first card in the list with one significant difference: rewards. If a business has significant spending at office supply stores or on business phone, cable and internet services, it might be possible to get more cash back with this credit card.

  1. American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
  • Credit Card Issuer: American Express
  • Interest Rate: 0% APR for the first 12 months; after that 13.24-19.24% APR
  • Estimated Credit Score: This credit card requires a credit score of 690 or above, according to NerdWallet.
  • Fees: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: None
  • Rewards: This business credit card offers 2% cash back on eligible purchases up to $50,000. After $50,000 in spending, the reward level falls to 1%.

If a business spent exactly $50,000 on this credit card, the cash back reward would be $1,000. Such a reward could make a significant impact on cash flow. In the short term, this card’s lack of a welcome bonus is notable. Other cards that offer a welcome bonus may provide a more immediate benefit.

Reward-style business credit cards.

  1. Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
  • Credit Card Issuer: Chase
  • Interest Rate: 15.99-20.99% APR
  • Estimated Credit Score: This credit card requires a credit score of 690 or higher, according to NerdWallet. 
  • Fees: $95 annual fee
  • Welcome Bonus: To earn the 100,000 bonus points, you must spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Rewards: Points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards and other purposes.

This business credit card stands out for the significant welcome bonus. The 100,000 welcome bonus points are offered after spending $15,000 in the first three months. In practical terms, 100,000 points may be redeemed for $100 cash back or $1,250 in travel rewards.

  1. The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
  • Credit Card Issuer: American Express
  • Interest Rate: 15.75%-24.74%
  • Estimated Credit Score: This credit card requires a credit score of 690 or higher, according to NerdWallet.
  • Fees: $95 annual fee
  • Welcome Bonus:130,000 points when you make $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership.
  • Rewards: This reward card emphasizes rewards at Hilton Hotels. For example, you can redeem points for one free weekend night from Hilton after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year.

This business card is an appealing choice for those who enjoy staying at Hilton Hotels, which has more than 6,400 locations worldwide. This credit card also offers 10 free airport lounge passes each year.

The best business credit cards for low or no credit scores.

What if a business owner has a low credit score? Fortunately, there are business credit card choices on the market to consider.

  1. Capital One Spark Classic for Business
  • Credit Card Issuer: Capital One
  • Interest Rate: 26.99% variable APR
  • Estimated Credit Score: This credit card requires a credit score of 580 or higher, according to The Motley Fool.
  • Fees: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: None stated
  • Rewards: 1% cash back rewards with no minimum to redeem

This Capital One business credit card is an interesting choice because it has a cash back reward and no annual fee, two features that help a company with tight cash flow. In addition, the business credit card has no annual fee. The Capital One Spark Classic for Business may be a good choice if you have a fair credit score and want to use the cash back feature to improve your cash flow.

  1. Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
  • Credit Card Issuer: Wells Fargo
  • Interest Rate: Prime plus 11.90% on purchases, prime plus 20.74% on cash advances
  • Estimated Credit Score: This business credit score requires a credit score between 300 to 670, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
  • Fees: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: None stated
  • Rewards: Cash back or reward points

This secured credit card is a good option for a business with a minimal previous credit history or credit problems. Unlike the other business credit cards discussed here, this product is a secured credit card. That means that a customer needs to deposit collateral into an account (e.g., deposit $500 as collateral, and you may receive a $500 credit line).

Best business credit cards from credit unions.

As a business owner, you have choices that go beyond large banks, namely credit unions, when it comes to credit cards. Credit unions are not publicly traded, do not pay corporate income tax on their earnings, and are owned by their members. In a Federal Reserve survey, approximately 87% of small businesses that worked with a credit union for a loan in 2020 reported being satisfied. In our research, we identified two well-regarded options for business credit cards offered by credit unions. However, we could not find the estimated credit score required for these cards. Keep in mind that you will generally have to become a member of the credit union to use one of their credit cards, so we have covered membership rules in our review as well.

  1. Connexus Credit Union Visa Business Cash Card
  • Credit Card Issuer: Connexus Credit Union 
  • Interest Rate: 0% introductory APR for the first six billing cycles; after that point, the interest rate charged ranges from 13.99% to 22.99%
  • Fees: No annual fee
  • Welcome Bonus: $25 cash back on first purchase
  • Rewards: 1-3% cash back on purchases (cash back reward varies depending on the type of purchase) 

This credit union business credit card offers a few notable benefits. Office supply store purchases and phone, internet and cable TV services are eligible for 3% cash back. Further, the cash back rewards can be redeemed as a cash deposit or as a statement credit to the credit card. There are several ways to become a member of Connexus Credit Union. For a business owner, the easiest option is probably to become a member of the Connexus Association, which requires a one-time $5 donation.

  1. Navy Federal Credit Union Business Rewards
  • Credit Card Issuer: Navy Federal Credit Union
  • Interest Rate: As low as prime plus 5.90%
  • Fees: $0 annual fee
  • Welcome Bonus: We did not find a mention of a welcome bonus.
  • Rewards: Customers may redeem points for cash, travel and gift cards.

Don’t let the name fool you. You do not have to be in the U.S. Navy to join the Navy Federal Credit Union. Instead, the credit union membership criteria includes civilian employees of the Department of Defense, military family members (e.g., parents, siblings, household members), retired members of the military, reservists, and more. Assuming you are eligible, the Navy Federal Credit Union business rewards credit card stands out in terms of reward flexibility—you can choose between gift cards, travel and cash back.

Small business owners have credit card choices.

The business credit card industry is competitive, so it pays to periodically look for new options on the market. You might be able to save money and get better rewards by looking into a new business credit card. Taking an hour to research a new business credit card might yield savings for years to come.

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