Best Business Credit Cards for Startups and New Businesses

If you run a small business or have recently launched a startup, you know how important it can be to have access to capital, especially while your company is just getting started. The upfront costs of creating and running a business can be difficult to cover when your company is not yet in the black. 

Business credit cards can provide startups with the funds they need to develop and grow successfully. However, not all business credit cards are ideal for startups and newer businesses.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best business credit cards for startups so you can make the smartest financial decision for your new company.

5 Best Business Credit Cards for Startups

No Annual Fee 0% Intro APR Cash Back Rewards Rewards Points Best For
Chase Ink Business Cash® X X X Earning cash back
American Express Blue Business Plus® X X X Smaller businesses with fewer expenses
Chase Ink Business Preferred® X Frequent travelers
Capital One® Spark Classic® for Business X X Building business and personal credit
Brex Card for Startups X X Startups still being established

1. Chase Ink Business Cash®

Best for earning cash back.

This cash back card is one of the best business credit cards for startups and new businesses for several reasons. The Chase Ink Business Cash business credit card offers no annual fee, a $500 bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days of opening your account, and 1% to 5% cash back on all purchases.

Pros:

  • 5% back on office supplies: If you’re using your business credit card to primarily build your office and stock up on supplies, this card will earn you the maximum cash back possible. Covered supplies also include phone services, internet packages, and cable options.
  • 2% back at gas stations and restaurants, 1% everywhere else: If you travel or meet clients for lunches and dinners, you’ll be able to recoup some of these business expenses with 2% cash back earnings. All other purchases receive a 1% cash back percentage.
  • No annual fee: No yearly fee required with this card, which is ideal for startups and small businesses on a budget.
  • 0% introductory APR: This card will allow you to carry a balance interest-free on purchases for the first 12 months after opening your account. After this intro period expires, a variable APR will set in based on the market rate and your creditworthiness.

Cons:

  • 5% balance transfer fee: If you anticipate needing to transfer a balance from another card, this card has a high fee.
  • 3% foreign transaction fee: This card also has a fairly high fee for making transactions outside the U.S.
  • High credit score requirement: Although this card has many benefits, if you do not have strong personal credit (~700+), it could be difficult to qualify.

Ultimately, if earning cash back for everyday purchases is your top criteria, the Chase Ink Business Cash is going to be one of your best options for a startup business credit card.

2. American Express Blue Business Plus® Credit Card 

Best for smaller businesses with fewer expenses.

If you own a small business and anticipate needing to put less than $50,000 on a company card over the course of the year, we recommend looking into the American Express Blue Business Plus Card. That’s because you’ll earn 2x points on all purchases that you make up to $50,000 annually. 

Pros:

  • 2x points: Earn double points on all purchases up to $50,000. After meeting the $50,000 amount, you’ll earn 1x points on all qualifying purchases. You can redeem points for rewards, gift cards, airline miles, hotel vouchers, and much more.
  • $300 in statement credits: One of the benefits of this card is your ability to earn $300 if you happen to be making purchases at Dell, FedEx, or DocuSign—all common stops for office supplies, shipping arrangements, and document management for small businesses.
  • No annual fee: Best of all, you won’t pay an annual fee like you will for most American Express cards.
  • 0% introductory APR: You’ll have a 0% APR introductory period on purchases for 12 months. After 12 months, a variable APR will set in based on the market rate and your creditworthiness.

Cons:

  • High credit score requirement: On the downside, in order to qualify for this card’s membership benefits, you’ll need to have a good to excellent credit score (minimum of 700). 
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee: You’ll be charged a transaction fee when using this card out of the country.

If you’re looking for a quick way to earn double the American Express points, this card is an excellent option.

3. Chase Ink Business Preferred®

Best for frequent travelers.

If you or your employees travel frequently in the course of business, you’ll want to explore the best business credit cards for startups that also offer travel incentives. The Chase Ink Business Preferred Card is one of the best options for business owners that travel often, with a variety of rewards designed to make traveling less expensive.

Pros:

  • Potential to earn a welcome bonus equal to $1,250 in travel rewards: One of the top incentives to take advantage of right now is this card’s $1,250 travel reward offer. You’ll earn up to this amount in travel rewards when you spend $15,000 within 90 days of opening your account and redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 1x to 3x points per $1 on purchases: This card lets you earn between 1x and 3x points per $1 spent on everyday purchases up to your first $150,000 spent. Chase also offers points bonuses throughout the year. You’ll earn the highest number of points through traveling, shipping, cable/internet, and social media advertising purchases. You can then redeem these points for travel miles, hotel rooms, and more.
  • 25% increase in point value for travel redemptions: Your points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel expenses, such as airline miles, hotel costs, and transportation expenses.
  • No foreign transaction fee: Although many cards (including other Chase cards) charge for transactions conducted outside of the country, this Chase card does not, making it ideal for frequent travelers.

Cons:

  • $95 annual fee: You will have to pay an annual fee if you select this card; however, your initial potential signup bonus will more than cover this cost.
  • High cash advance and balance transfer fees: The cash advance fees on this card are $15 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater, and the balance transfer fees are $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Excellent credit score requirement: To qualify for the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card, you’ll need an excellent credit score of 700 to 740 or higher.

If your company and employees travel often, the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card could be an ideal way to save money on travel expenses for your new business.

4. Capital One® Spark Classic® for Business

Best for building business and personal credit.

Building business credit is essential for overall growth and access to capital. If focusing on building your company’s credit is most important to you, we recommend the Capital One Spark Classic for Business Credit Card

Although most business credit cards require good to excellent credit scores, this Capital One card is more accessible to those working on improving their personal credit.

Pros:

  • 1% cash back on all purchases: Although this might be a slightly lower return than most other business credit cards, you’ll always know exactly what you’re earning on purchases, rather than struggling to justify purchases for qualifying items.
  • Flexible credit approval process: You can qualify for this business credit card with a personal credit score as low as 580—which makes it easier to grow your business credit while also repairing your personal credit. Unlike many credit card issuers, Capital One reports to both the consumer and business credit bureaus, which allows you to build both types of credit at once.
  • No annual fee: There’s no annual fee to budget for, making this an ideal choice for small businesses and startups.

Cons:

  • Fewer benefits than other business credit cards: While you won’t be raking in rewards with this business card, as we’ve mentioned, it can help you establish your company’s credit and qualify for better rewards cards in the future.

When it comes down to it, if you need to build your credit before you can focus on earning rewards, there’s no better business credit card for your startup than the Capital One Spark Classic for Business.

5. Brex Card for Startups

Best for startups still being established.

If you’re in the process of launching your startup and are not yet profitable, the Brex Card for Startups could be a good match. This business card is great for startups with high-growth potential that have already funded, but haven’t yet generated a profit.

Pros:

  • No personal guarantee: This is a benefit most business credit cards don’t offer. Brex allows you to fully separate your personal and business finances by not putting you personally on the line for paying your corporate credit card bills. 
  • Discounted offers on popular business tools: As a Brex customer, you’ll also gain access to free trials and discounted offers for popular business tools like Salesforce, Google Ads, WeWork, AWS, and more.
  • Different rewards tiers: Earn up to 7x points on rideshare purchases, 4x points on travel expenses, 3x points at restaurants, 2x points on computer and software subscriptions, and 1x points on all other purchases.
  • No fees: Brex has no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no interest charges. It is, however, a 30-day charge card—meaning you’re required to pay your entire balance at the end of every 30-day period.
  • Integrates with business platforms: Seamlessly integrate with Xero, QuickBooks, and other accounting tools.

Cons:

  • High company bank balance required: In order to be approved for this card, you’ll need a high bank balance of $100,000 in your account through funding or other sources.
  • Charge card: As mentioned above, Brex is actually a charge card, as opposed to a traditional credit card. This means that you cannot carry a balance from month to month and must pay your entire statement in full at the end of each 30-day period. Although this might be doable for some startups, in general, this requires having significant cash on-hand, especially as Brex requires automatic payments from your bank account.

With all of this in mind, however, for startups with financial backing, the Brex Card for Startups can be a great way to separate your finances and begin building business credit.

The Bottom Line

When searching for the best business credit cards for startups, it’s important to assess what needs your business has. In order to narrow down your options, ask yourself:

  • How much capital do I need access to?
  • What are my immediate business goals and financial needs?
  • Which projects are a top priority and what kind of funding do they require?
  • What credit card benefits are most important to my company?
  • In what categories do I spend the most?
  • What does my credit history look like?

Knowing what you need and what is most realistic for your startup will help you as you move forward through your credit card search. Deciding what benefits will best assist your new business is also helpful.