The Best Business Credit Card

We analyzed 30 of the best business credit cards to find which ones offer at least 3x points or 3% cash back, and did the math to see which have the biggest potential payout. Picking the right one for you comes down to matching the biggest rewards to your biggest business expenses — and taking advantage of built-in extras like receipt trackers and cash-flow management.

The 3 best business credit cards

Best for Freelancers and Small Businesses
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Chase
3x points for travel; shipping; internet, phone, & cable; and online advertising on up to $150,000/year
Pros
Great for online advertising, shipping and travel
1x point per dollar on all other purchases
Ink mobile app
Cons
Chase’s 5/24 rule

Why we chose it

Great for online advertising, shipping and travel

If your business involves getting your products — and yourself — in front of people, this is a great card for you. Chase's Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is great for small businesses and freelancers on the go. With the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ card, you get 3x points per dollar spent on travel expenses, shipping costs, internet/cable/phone services and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines, for up to $150,000 in purchases per year.

1x point per dollar on all other purchases

You also get 1x point per dollar on all other purchases, plus 80,000 bonus credit card points if you spend $5,000 in the first three months of opening your account. One point is worth roughly one cent, which means those 80,000 bonus points are worth $800. Points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards and more — but you get a 25% point boost if you redeem your points for travel purchases, like hotels and airfares, through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. (This card is definitely designed to benefit travelers; it even comes with trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance.)

Ink mobile app

The Chase Ink card gives you access to the Ink app, which lets you “snap and save” receipts, add categories, and keep your business organized. You can also turn on alerts to ensure you know exactly what purchases are being made for your business. Even better, the app gives you access 24/7 so you never have to worry about not being able to check the status of your card.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card Highlights
  • Earn 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 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 no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don’t expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

Points to consider

Chase’s 5/24 rule

Like other Chase credit cards, the Chase Ink card is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. This means that if you opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months, your application will be declined. The 5/24 rule applies even if you have a good credit score. The good news is that if you haven’t opened five or more credit cards in the past two years, and you have good credit, getting approved shouldn’t be a problem.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
3x points on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and online advertising* 450,000 points ($4,500, or $5,625 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®)
1x points on all other purchases 10 points per $1,000 spent ($10, or $12.50 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®)
Bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first three months 80,000 points ($800, or $1,000 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®)

*for up to $150,000 in purchases per year

Best for Big Businesses
The Business Gold Rewards® Card from American Express OPEN
American Express
3x points on one of five categories (and 2x points on all the rest) on up to $100,000 in each category
Pros
Charge card with no credit limit
3x points in a category of your choice
Designed with your business in mind
Cons
$175 annual fee

Why we chose it

Charge card with no credit limit

If you want to run a lot of purchases through a high-powered, high-rewards card, consider The Business Gold Rewards® Card from American Express OPEN. This is a charge card, not a credit card, which means you must pay your balance off in full at the end of every billing cycle. It also means you don’t have a credit limit — which is great if you plan to put a lot of big expenses on your card.

3x points in a category of your choice

The Business Gold Rewards® Card from American Express OPEN comes with serious rewards. You get 3x points on your choice of one of five categories:

  • Airfares purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. gas station purchases
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. shipping purchases
  • U.S. computer hardware, software and cloud computing purchases from select providers

Making this decision should be pretty easy since you get 2x points on all four remaining categories — and your points don’t top out until you’ve spent $100,000 on each of the five categories. You could spend $100,000 on advertising, $100,000 on airfare, and $100,000 on gas and earn 2x or 3x points on all of those purchases.

You also get 1x points on all other purchases, as well as 50,000 membership Rewards® points if you spend $5,000 in the first three months of opening your account.

Designed with your business in mind

Once you’ve earned your points, it’s time to put them to use. The Business Gold Rewards® Card from American Express OPEN is designed so you put your rewards back into your business, by redeeming points for restaurants or entertainment with clients or gift cards for hard-working employees — as opposed to straight cash in your bank account. You also get access to American Express OPEN’s ReceiptMatch℠ to help you track your many expenses.

The Business Gold Rewards® Card from American Express OPEN
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership§
  • Get 3x points – Choose 1 out of 5 categories
  • Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases
  • 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
  • Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees

Points to consider

$175 Annual fee

Like many cards, the Business Gold Rewards® Card from American Express OPEN has a $175 annual fee. This is waived for first-year cardmembers, but it’s something to consider if you’re considering future use. Also, as previously mentioned, this is a charge card and you will have to pay your entire balance at the end of each month. Because of this, we’d only suggest this credit card for bigger businesses that can handle these terms.

The Business Gold Rewards® Card from American Express OPEN
3x points on your choice of category* 300,000 points ($3,000)
2x points on four remaining categories* 800,000 points ($8,000)
1x points on all other purchases 10 points ($10) per $1,000 spent
Bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first three months 50,000 points ($500)

*for up to $100,000 in purchases per year

Best for Major Office Supply Expenses
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
American Express
5% cash back on office supplies and wireless phone services on up to $50,000, plus 3% back on a category of your choice
Pros
5% cash back on office supplies and services
Choose your own cash back category
No penalties for spending over your credit limit
Cons
2.7% foreign transaction fee

Why we chose it

5% cash back on office supplies and services

If you’re the kind of small-business owner who is always restocking the supply closet, it’s time to look into the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. With this no-annual-fee card, you’ll earn 5% cash back on office supply store purchases and wireless telephone services, up to your first $50,000 in purchases.

Choose your own cash back category

The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express also lets you earn 3% cash back on a category of your choice, up to your first $50,000 in purchases. Categories include:

  • Airfares
  • Hotel rooms
  • Car rentals from select car rental companies
  • U.S. gas station purchases
  • U.S. restaurant purchases
  • U.S.purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. shipping purchases
  • U.S. computer hardware, software and cloud computing purchases from select providers

That choose-your-own 3% category makes this card hugely flexible — it’s able to meet the expenses of lots of different business types. Plus, you earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

No penalties for spending over your credit limit

One extra thing to note: The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express lets you spend over your credit limit with no penalty as long as you pay that overlimit balance off in full before your credit cycle ends, which makes the card a bit more flexible for major purchases. And while you’re making those purchases, don’t forget to use American Express OPEN’s ReceiptMatch℠ to add receipts, notes and tags to each purchase. Keep all of your important business expense info in one place, and you’ll stay organized and be better prepared come tax time.

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Special offer: save on interest with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; after that your APR will be a variable rate, currently 13.99% – 20.99%
  • No annual fee
  • Reinvest in your business with automatic cash back in the form of a monthly statement credit. Plus take control by choosing the 3% category that best fits your business
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $50,000 spent at wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores.
  • Earn 3% cash back on the first $50,000 spent in the category of your choice from a list of eight and 1% cash back on other purchases
  • With Expanded Buying Power you can spend beyond your credit limit* to make bigger purchases for your business plus earn cash back on those purchases too
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors
  • Terms apply
  • See Rates & Fees

Points to consider

2.7% foreign transaction fee

If you’re doing a lot of business overseas, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express might not be the best card for your business. A 2.7% foreign transaction fee might not seem too steep, but this applies with every purchase from a non-US retailer. For example, if you charge $3,000 from a foreign retailer — even if you’re purchasing something online — you’ll see an additional $81 on your credit card statement.

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
5% cash back on office supply store purchases and wireless telephone services* $2,500
3% cash back on a category of your choice* $1,500
1% cash back on all other purchases $10 per $1,000 spent

*for up to $50,000 in purchases per year

How to get a business credit card

Pay attention to bonus offers

One of the benefits of using a credit card is all the points and bonus offers you can rack up. However, not all points programs and bonuses are the same. Some business credit cards — like the Business Gold Rewards® Card from American Express OPEN and the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express — let you choose categories you earn points in, while others might not have this flexibility. Other cards sometimes include a limited-time sign-up bonus where you can earn extra points. When researching your business credit card, read up on which ones have the point and bonus offers that make the most sense for your needs.

Look at business credit cards that help with accounting

If you’re a freelancer, it might be worth considering a business card that offers accounting tools. “Some freelancers don’t use a formal accounting system,” CPA and managing member of MEDOWS CPA, Jonathan Medows explains. “A business credit card can help you track expenses by category.” Both Chase and American Express provide organizational tools to help you manage your business expenses and keep track of your receipts.

Read the fine print

“Business credit cards are not generally covered by the Credit CARD Act,” Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, says. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 protects consumers from certain types of credit card fees and rate increases — such as bumping up your APR after one late payment — but business credit cards do not come with the same protections. “If you make a mistake with a business card,” he adds, “you can get hit very quickly with fee and rate increases.”

In the case of the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, for example, you get a 0% intro APR for 12 months followed by a variable APR of 13.49% – 19.49% — unless you make a late payment, at which point your APR can jump as high as 29.99%. Know what you’re getting into before you sign up for a business credit card, and make sure you follow all of the rules.

Business credit cards FAQs

Can you put business expenses on a dedicated consumer credit card?

While this is technically possible, it’s not advisable. As Medows explains, you want to start preparing for your business’ growth. Both freelancers and small-business owners will want to build up a business credit history with the credit bureaus, especially if they want to increase their lines of credit and extend credit to employees.

What is a small business credit card?

Business credit cards may seem like they’re only meant for larger companies, but you can still benefit from one even if you’re a freelancer or own a small business. With a business credit card you can take advantage of bonus rewards, cash back and points — using them toward future purchases. These perks may even help you save money. A business credit card can also help you manage your expenses, something that can feel challenging if you’re still starting out.

Can I use your business credit card to manage cash flow?

Yes. Sometimes it takes a while for clients to pay you. If you know you’ll be getting a $5,000 check in 30 days, use your business credit card to pay for business expenses until the check arrives — and then use the check to pay down your balance. Think of your business credit card as a way of ensuring you always have cash even if your checks haven’t arrived yet.

The best business credit cards: Summed up

Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
The Business Gold Rewards® Card from American Express OPEN
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
The Best
For small businesses and freelancers
For big businesses
For major office supply expenses
Annual fee
$95
$0 for the first year, then $175
None
Foreign transaction fee
X
X
2.7%
Bonus points/cash back on office supplies
3x points for travel; shipping; internet, phone, & cable; and online advertising
3x points on one of five categories, including travel, shipping purchases and advertising
5% cash back on office supplies and wireless phone services
Point/cash back limit
$150,000 per year
$100,000 per year
$50,000 per year
Card type
Credit
Charge
Credit