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The best business credit cards for startups and new businesses

Don't just choose the first credit card you can find for your new business. Choose the one that matches your company's exact needs.
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Written by Lauren Ward, Contributing Writer on

As a new business owner, it's good to invest time into finding the perfect credit for your business because there are certainly a lot of options on the market. To help, we've outlined the credit cards we believe have the most to offer for startups and new businesses. 

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

100,000 bonus points if you spend $15,000 in the first three months

Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn 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®
APR16.24% to 21.24% Variable
Recommended CreditGood, Excellent
Reward Rates
  • 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
Annual Fee$95
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Additional Details
Rewards & Redemption Details

Chase's Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is a solid card to have for your business if you're looking to stock up on points. And if you need employees to have their own card, you can receive as many as you need at zero cost. Last but not least, the Ink Business Preferred card comes with free fraud protection, personalized account alerts, and purchase protection.

Pros:

  • 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months

  • Free fraud and purchase protection

  • Free employee cards

  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons:

  • Charges a $95 annual fee

  • Does not offer a 0% intro APR period

  • APR between 16.24% and 21.24% depending on your creditworthiness

The Plum Card® from American Express

Flexible payments and early payment bonuses

See Rates and Fees | Terms Apply
Card Highlights
Intro BonusN/A
APRN/A
Recommended CreditGood, Excellent
Reward Rates
  • Get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back.
Annual Fee$250
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Rewards & Redemption Details

If your company has sporadic cash flow, then The Plum Card by American Express may help. With the Plum Card, you can take up to 60 days to make a payment interest-free, or you can pay 10 days early and get a 1.5% early bonus applied to your next statement. The catch is that there is no interest rate because your entire balance is due by the bill due date. 

Pros:

  • No caps on points

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • 1.5% early-pay discount if you pay your bill 10 days before it's due

  • Have up to 60 days to pay without interest accruing

Cons:

  • $250 annual fee

  • Zero introductory rewards

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

U.S. Bank Business Platinum Card

0% APR for the first 18 months

Card Highlights
Intro BonusN/A
APR12.74% - 21.74% (Variable)
Recommended CreditGood/Excellent
Reward Rates N/A
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 20 billing cycles
Additional Details

The U.S. Bank Business Platinum credit card gives new card members 0% APR for the first 20 billing cycles. If you have a large balance on another card, the U.S. Bank Business Platinum card is a great option to get you out of debt and start saving money. Unfortunately, the card doesn't offer any bonuses. However, 20 billing cycles of 0% APR should be enough of a reason to put this card on your radar, then variable APR 12.74% - 21.74%.

Pros:

  • $0 annual fee

  • 0% intro APR for the first 20 billing cycles

Cons:

  • Zero rewards

  • 3% balance transfer fee

  • $0 intro bonus

American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

2% cashback on qualifying purchases

See Rates and Fees | Terms Apply
Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months.
APR13.99% - 21.99% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
  • 1% cash back on all eligible purchases after spending $50,000 per calendar year.
Annual FeeNo annual fee
Intro Purchase APR0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
Rewards & Redemption Details

The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card is almost the best of two worlds. It comes with a 0% APR period for 12 months (then, 13.99% - 21.99% variable) and 2% cashback on eligible purchases up to $50,000. A unique thing about this card is that it comes with what American Express calls "Expanded Buying Power." With Expanded Buying Power, you can make purchases beyond your credit limit. All card members get car rental loss and damage insurance as an added bonus.

Pros:

  • $0 annual fee

  • 0% intro APR for the first 12 months

  • Spend beyond your credit limit

Cons:

  • Cashback is capped at $50,000

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

How did we choose these cards?

We looked for cards that had the best advantages for card members. From extended 0% introductory APR periods to no annual fees to strong rewards programs, we kept an eye on the cards that would give business owners a unique advantage in running their companies. 

Which card is the right one for your business?

Identify what trait would best suit your business. Would 0% APR help you get out of debt sooner? Or are you looking to rack up some points to pay for your next flight to meet a client? Both are great regardless of what you need, but the key is to identify which one your company needs the most to gain a competitive edge. 

Once you have narrowed that down, compare similar cards. Does one have a longer 0% APR period? Are the rewards greater with one card but don't actually match up with your company's spending needs? It may be to your advantage to settle for unlimited 1% cashback, for example, if you never spend money on traditional cashback items.  

Finally, compare APRs and fees. Don't assume you'll be able to pay off the balance each month; there may be a month where you're awaiting payment for a large order. Also, don't assume two cards come with the same set of fees. Cards that appear quite similar often have different fees. 

Do you have to be an LLC to get a business credit card?

No, you don't. You can qualify for a business credit card as a sole proprietor if you want. 

If I am a sole proprietor, what do I do when asked for an employer identification number?

When asked for an employer identification number, you can use your social security number if you are the sole proprietor.

If my business doesn't have a credit score, how will I get approved for a business credit card?

It's fairly common for new businesses not to have an established credit history. When this is the case, credit card companies will often use the owner's credit score to approve or decline a credit request.  

Are there alternative cards worth considering?

There are a few cards worth considering that didn't make our list:

  • Brex Business Credit Card
  • Business Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card


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