A credit card is a fast and convenient way to handle your company spending. But not all business credit cards are equal in quality, and you can get a lot more out of some programs than others. If you're wondering, “What is the best credit card for business owners?" you should look for one with these types of perks.
1. Sign-Up Bonuses
One way the top business credit cards stand out is by offering bonuses to new customers. In exchange for signing up and make some initial purchases, you could receive a one-time cash bonus or points worth money in rewards.
To qualify, you usually need to do some amount of spending during the first few months after taking out the card. For example, you may need to spend $6,000 within the first 90 days to earn everything. Make sure that your planned spending will reach this limit so you can max out these business credit card offers.
2. Low-Interest Spending
If you pay off your credit card purchases in full each month, you won't owe any interest. But depending on your cash-flow swings, there could be stretches when you need to carry a balance and that's when the interest can start adding up.
Each credit card should tell you the interest rate and ideally yours should be as low as possible, especially if you plan on carrying a balance. That way you can take some extra time to pay your bill without adding too much extra to your debt.
3. Free Business Tool Subscriptions
A top business credit card should also provide free tools to help you analyze your spending, manage your finances and give you other ways to borrow. Possible subscriptions include:
- Account overview: This subscription breaks down your spending into categories so you can see trends, like if your marketing costs are creeping up.
- Employee monitoring: If you set up cards for your employees, this tool allows you to track what they're spending on and set limits on each account.
- Purchase alerts: These automatically warn you about any unusual spending.
- Automated supplier payments: Instead of manually tracking invoice deadlines, this feature lets you schedule them automatically through the card.
- Working capital financing: Your credit card company may offer additional programs to help with working capital, such as allowing you to borrow beyond your credit limit to restock inventory with approved vendors.
Figuring out what are the best business credit cards for your company can take some research, but the upside is well worth the effort.
4. Insurance Benefits
Many programs also include insurance, which is one reason why business credit cards can be a safe way to spend. Some ways your card could protect you include:
- Car rental: Covers the costs from rental car accidents. That way you don't have to buy extra coverage from the rental counter.
- Checked bags: This pays to replace your belongings if an airline loses your checked luggage.
- Travel accidents: If you get seriously injured or killed during a trip booked on your card, you or your heirs would receive a cash payout.
- Cell phones: Some cards pay to replace your cell phone if it's stolen or damaged, provided you use your card to pay the cell phone bill.
- Extended purchase/return protection: If you buy something with your card and it either doesn't meet your expectations or gets damaged/stolen within a specific time frame, this insurance benefit would refund, repair or replace your purchase.
5. Airline Miles and Other Rewards
The best business credit cards are more than a way to spend and borrow. They should also offer some sort of reward program, where every purchase earns cash back, air miles or points that you can redeem for benefits like gift cards and free nights at a hotel. Finding a generous program will help you get the most out of your credit card spending.
6. Travel Perks for Business Credit Cards
If you frequently take business trips, consider finding a card that also offers travel perks. You can find cards that partner with airlines so you automatically get a free checked bag, early check-in and status that improves your chance for upgrades. You could also find cards that give you free access to airport lounges, or automatic status with hotel chains.
7. No Annual Fees
Some business credit cards will charge an annual fee while others do not. If cash flow is tight, you may prefer to use a free card, but there is a trade-off. The programs with the more generous reward rates and other upscale perks—like airport lounge access and large signup bonuses—typically charge an annual fee. You should try calculating how much you'd earn per year in rewards, based on your expected spending, and see if you come out ahead versus a card's annual fee.
8. Category Rewards
Category rewards are one more way to get more out of your business card. Certain programs offer a higher rate when you spend in specific categories, like triple points for travel and double points for office supplies and marketing expenses.
Others have categories that rotate throughout the year. For example, you get 5% cash back for restaurants in first quarter, 5% on gas in the second quarter, etc. If you spend more in some categories than others, look for a card with the best rate for that type of spending.
Figuring out what are the best business credit cards for your company can take some research, but the upside is well worth the effort. By finding a quality program, you can take care of your regular spending while enjoying perks at the same time.
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