This month, in our Best Credit Cards in America series, we are looking at the best business credit cards. When looking for the best business credit cards, cardholders should have different requirements than they would for personal credit cards. Business users need to look for flexible terms, rewards for common business purchases, and in many cases, no annual fee.
Contrary to popular belief, business cards are not necessarily just for business owners. These cards can be used by the proprietors of sole proprietors, those with a home business, or even by employees who want a separate card to track reimbursable expenses.
Fortunately, banks are eager to meet these requirements with a full range of business credit cards. Some are simply re-labeled versions of their personal cards while others offer a clear focus on business needs.
Keep in mind, too, though, that business credit cards are not subject to consumer protections under the CARD Act — only consumer credit cards are. So be sure to pay close attention to the fine print on your business credit card account.
This month, we are looking only at the cards with no annual fee, but in a future installment, we will compare the premium reward cards. Once the field was narrowed to the fee-free cards, we looked at the value of the benefits and rewards, as well as any other business-friendly policies.
The Winner: Ink Classic From Chase
Why it won: Chase offers four versions of its Ink for business cards with extra rewards for business users, and of these cards, the Ink Classic has no annual fee and a host of valuable benefits.
What this card offers: Cardholders earn five points per dollar on their first $25,000 spent each year at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, Internet and cable TV services. Double points are earned at gas stations and at hotels. One point per dollar spent is earned on all other purchases. New applicants earn 20,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of opening an account.
Other features: Chase points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise or cash back worth about one cent per point. But if a cardholder has a Sapphire Preferred card, or later upgrades to an Ink Bold or Ink plus card with an annual fee, their points can be used in those programs where they can be transferred to nine different airline or hotel programs as well as Amtrak Guest Rewards. Finally, cardholders receive a free membership in the Lounge Club program, which offers two free annual visits at any participating airport business lounge, and additional visits are only $27 each.
The Cost: New cardholders receive six months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee). After that, interest will accrue at a 13.24% APR. There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside of the U.S.
1st Runner-Up: The SimplyCash Card From American Express
Why it won: This business American Express card that offers cash-back rewards with plenty of bonus categories.
What this card offers: Cardmembers receive 5% cash back at office supply stores and on wireless telephone services, 3% cash back at gas stations and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Unfortunately, the 3% and 5% bonuses only apply to a cardmember’s first $12,000 of eligible spending each calendar year.
Other features: As an American Express card, customers can expect a full range of travel insurance and purchase protection policies. This includes a baggage insurance plan, extended warranty coverage and a purchase protections program.
The Cost: New account holders receive a 0% introductory APR for 6 months or 12 months, based on their creditworthiness. Then, the standard APR will be 12.24%, 17.24% or 19.24% depending on the applicant’s creditworthiness when the account was opened. There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside of the U.S.
2nd Runner-Up: Spark Cash Select Business Credit Card From Capital One
Why it won: Among no-fee business cards, it offers leading cash-back rates and few fees.
What this card offers: Cardholders receive 1% cash back on all purchases plus an additional 50% points bonus each year, for a total of 1.5%.
Other features: New cardholders also receive six months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, although the latter are subject to a 3% balance transfer fee.
The Cost: The standard interest rate is 12.9%, 16.9% or 20.9%, based on the applicant’s creditworthiness. There is no annual fee for this card and, as with all Capital One cards, there are never any foreign transaction fees.
If you’re interested in learning about other great credit cards, you can research and compare more of them here.
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