Business Credit Cards: What You Need to Know
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Business Credit Cards: What You Need to Know

Reviewed by Tanza Loudenback

A lot of small business owners start off by accident. Maybe it’s a hobby or a new idea that you’ve started pursuing. Or maybe it’s a lifelong passion. Either way, you don’t end up signing up for a business credit card right away. You start putting expenses on your personal credit card. That can work for a while, but, as your business grows, you’ll want to get a business card that grows with you.

Right now, the US has hit a boom of new business owners. The period from March 2020 to June 2021 hit a record high for new business formation, with a total of six million filings for new businesses since March 2020. That means credit card companies are coming out with great new offers for business credit cards.

Here’s what you need to know when you’re signing up:

1. Your Personal Credit Matters

When you’re applying for a business credit card, make sure you already know your own personal credit score and you’ve eliminated any red flags or debts that might make it harder to get one.

You’ll also have to report your salary, so know your business expenses and think about what the business is bringing into your actual income, not just overall.

2. You Can Still Get Rewards

Everyone likes credit cards for the same reason: the rewards. Whether it’s travel miles or cash back, it’s always nice to know that you’re getting something back when you spend.

When you get a business credit card, you’ll be getting those same rewards and maybe even more. Some cards offer great cash back rewards that can help drive down costs for the business. Many will let you carry over your rewards and points from your personal card to your business card, too.

3. APR Matters

If you don’t have a great billing system yet or you’re not sure how much money is going to come in each month, pay attention to the interest rate for your business card. If you’re seriously investing in your business, you’ll still want to make sure you can pay the minimum balance on your card - without getting charged interest for it.

4. You Don’t Have to be a Fancy LLC

Business credit cards are still important for solopreneurs and small business owners with big dreams. That means you can apply without a formal business structure or business registration. Freelance and contract work can benefit from business cards, too, especially if you’re trying to keep expenses separate for easier tax questions down the road.

5. Think About Your Employees

More credit cards mean more expenses - it also means more rewards. If you have employees, consider who would qualify for a business credit card and how they should use it. If you’ve got sales reps, be sure to institute a credit card policy that everyone understands.

Some business credit cards charge annual fees, and some don’t. If you’re going to give employees business credit cards, be sure to add up what those fees could cost the business, too.

Of Research & Rewards

The first step to getting a new business card is understanding what you need as a business. This includes things like how you will use the card, what rewards you want, and how you will track charges and cash flow.

Whatever you do, make sure that the rewards will fit your business plan. And that’s where our experts come in. They have complied their favorite business cards, best business cards for a growing business and the best business cards for a sales team.

No matter your business, you can get the right credit card the first time and focus on what’s really important: running the business.

Thomas Donaldson is's credit card expert. His work has been featured by USA Today, NBC News, Business Insider and many more.

Tanza Loudenback is a CFP® certificant, writer, and editor. From 2015 to 2021, she was a top-read author and editor at Business Insider. Her work focuses on helping people make smart decisions with their money and is published by a variety of online publications. Full Bio

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