The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers categorized points that may be ideal for certain business owners. This card’s large welcome bonus and high rewards rates for businesses with large ad budgets (with social media sites and search engines) and shipping expenses make this card another option worth considering. Points are valued at $0.01 each when redeemed for cash back, so you’ll earn 3% back on these categories — as well as on internet, cable and phone services, and travel purchases (on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year).
American Express® Business Gold Card
If you travel often for your business, the American Express® Business Gold Card earns you 4x points on the two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle (including categories such as airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. gas station purchases and dining expenses at U.S. restaurants) on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, then 1x. This card is also worth considering if your company spends a decent amount on TV or radio advertising.
What is a business credit card?
Business credit cards are specifically geared toward small business owners. They can help you keep your business finances separate from your personal transactions, distribute and manage employee cards and earn rewards in typical small-business spending categories.
Like consumer credit cards, business credit cards most commonly come in the form of either cash-back rewards or travel rewards. Cash-back cards offer rewards in the form of cash or statement credit. A statement credit is basically a reduction of the amount you owe the issuer. A travel rewards credit card offers rewards in the form of miles or points. You can redeem miles or points either through the issuer’s travel portal for a small bonus or gift cards or you can transfer them to a partner travel affiliate, like a hotel group or airline. And, like a personal credit card, business cards must be managed carefully to ensure that a small business owner doesn’t hurt their business credit score.
What are corporate credit cards?
Corporate credit cards, also known as commercial credit cards, are designed for larger businesses — typically those with 100 or more employees or revenue of at least $10 million.
Should I get a business credit card?
If you spend in concentrated “business” categories — such as office supplies or telecom services — or want to have employee spending on a central credit account, then, yes. You may also appreciate these cards’ business-specific tools like budget trackers and account managers.
If you’re a small business owner, it’s a good idea to keep your business expenses separate from your personal finances — both for tax purposes and to make it simpler to review your spending. But you could just as easily keep your expenses separate, and track them, with a dedicated consumer credit card. As such, the typical rationale for getting a business credit card is to help manage employee cards or earn more rewards from business purchases.
A small-business credit card may not be the best option for a self-employed person, however. Self-employed individuals and sole proprietors may be better served by a consumer-oriented personal credit card from a credit card company — such as a cash-back credit card, travel credit card or student credit card. And a larger business (usually those with hundreds of employees or multiple millions in sales) will typically be able to negotiate more preferential and flexible terms with its card issuer (for example, an employee card system or business credit line not tied to someone’s personal credit) within a “corporate” or “commercial” credit card program.
What is the difference between a cash-back business credit card and a travel rewards credit card?
A cash-back rewards credit card typically offers a cash or statement credit — that is, a reduction of the amount you owe. For example, if you redeem $25 worth of cash rewards as a statement credit, your outstanding balance is reduced by $25.
A travel rewards credit card offers miles or point rewards that can be redeemed directly on an issuer’s travel website for a small bonus (usually around 25%) or with a partner affiliate such as a hotel group or airline. You usually get the best redemption value when strategically transferring points or miles, but it will always depend on the specific flight or hotel stay. Sometimes it requires some research and effort to identify maximum-value redemption opportunities. With American Express, for example, you get around 0.6 cent per point when redeeming Membership Rewards points as statement credits, about 1 cent per point when redeeming through the AmEx travel portal and up to 2 cents per point when you transfer them to a travel partner and then redeem them toward a flight or hotel stay, according to the most recent points valuations from The Points Guy.
We generally prefer cash-back rewards cards, which are often more straightforward. But if you don’t mind some extra work, travel rewards may provide a higher overall reward rate.
How many employee cards can I add to a single account?
It depends on the issuer. Wells Fargo and American Express cap it at 99. Chase doesn’t have an explicit limit. But employee cards are grouped in one central account, which has a cumulative credit limit that is typically spread evenly among the issued cards. That means the more cards on your account, the lower the individual spending limit. A credit limit of $10,000 with 100 employee cards will yield an individual card limit of $100, for example.
Do I need to have good credit to open a business credit card? What if my business doesn’t have an established credit history?
Generally, you need to have a credit rating of around 670 or higher to qualify for a business credit card, unless your business has been around for a while and has demonstrably steady and healthy revenue. As with all credit activities, if you can show that you’re a low-risk borrower, your credit score may have less of an impact.
Different issuers report business credit card activity to credit bureaus in different ways. Some report negative information to both consumer and commercial credit bureaus, some issuers don’t report to either and some report only to commercial credit bureaus. That’s why it’s a good idea to call your card issuer to ask about how it reports business credit card activity, especially if you think you may be maintaining a balance.
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