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Business credit card statistics

Business credit cards can be a valuable tool for entrepreneurs trying to build credit, smooth over temporary cash flow issues and keep business and personal expenses separate. Many business cards come with higher credit limits than personal cards, and rewards programs that let you earn extra points for certain business-related purchases, such as office supplies and phone bills.

Below are statistics compiled by on business cards.

Size of the business card market:

  • As of 2015, there were 13.9 million small-business credit card accounts. That's fewer than 4 percent of the number of all general-purpose credit cards in circulation.1

  • Though relatively few in number, business cards do a lot of heavy lifting: Small-business cards account for $430 billion in spending, or about 1 in every 6 dollars spent on general purpose cards.1

How small-business owners obtain, use their cards:

  • Of businesses that apply for credit cards, 80 percent report they were approved. Approval rates are highest for companies with higher revenue and more employees.4

  • Small business cards tend to be used for convenience, not for financing: They represent about $50 billion in outstanding credit card debt, less than 8 percent of the amount owed on general purpose cards.1

  • Users of business cards charge an average of 20 transactions per month, double the average number of charges placed on consumer credit cards.7

  • About 67 percent of small-business owners currently have a business credit card, but only 24 percent use it as the primary method of business spending.8

  • As of December 2015, 31 percent of businesses said they used credit cards to meet their capital needs in the past 12 months.3

  • Just 29 percent of small-business owners who have a credit card use the rewards to pay a business expense. And just 1 in 10 use rewards to help their business' bottom line.8

Features of small-business credit cards:

  • Rates on business credit card offers tend be below the national average for general purpose cards. As of June 2016, APRs offered online for business cards were about 13 percent, 2 percentage points lower than the average for general purpose cards.2

  • Loans and lines of credit are the first choice for small businesses seeking capital, sought by 89 percent of small businesses. Credit cards are in second place, at 30 percent. New companies (2 years old or less) were more likely to seek credit cards, at 44 percent.4

Small-business card regulations:

  • The federal Credit CARD Act of 2009 established new protections for consumer credit cards, but business cards were excluded from the law and do not have the same protections.5

  • As a result of being excluded from the CARD Act, business cards have higher late fees than consumer cards. The maximum late payments fee on consumer cards are capped at $38 in 2016; business card late fees run as high as $49.6


  • Mercator Advisory Group, Small Business Credit Cards: The Key to Richer Customer Relationships, November 2015
  • Weekly Rate Report
  • National Small Business Association 2015 year-end report
  • 2015 Small Business Credit Survey, conducted by the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Boston and Richmond.
  • "10 ways business credit cards are different,"
  • 2015 credit card fee survey,, July 2015
  • 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study, released July 2014
  • Capital One Spark Business Barometer, May 2016
  • Tamara E. Holmes also contributed to this report

    See related: Credit card statistics, Credit card use and availability statistics, Credit card delinquency statistics