Business credit cards can provide an essential source of funding, giving businesses owners a source of quick capital to help manage and build businesses. They’re not just for large companies: Sole proprietors, independent contractors and small businesses with only a handful of employees can use business credit cards to make purchases, withdraw cash and take advantage of any benefits the card offers.

There are dozens of business credit cards. Each offers a variety of incentives, which may include:

  • Low or zero introductory interest rates

  • Balance transfer offers

  • No annual fee or waiver of the first year’s fee

  • One-time cash or miles bonus after the first purchase

  • Cash bonus for signing up for employee cards

  • Cash back and travel rewards programs

  • Discounts on certain goods and services

  • No foreign transaction fees

When shopping for a card, it’s important to match how your business operates with a card that will provide the most benefit. For example, if you plan on carrying a balance from one month to the next, it may be best to find the card that offers the lowest interest rate. Conversely, if you expect to pay off your balance in full each month, cash back or travel rewards will likely be a bigger focus than a low interest rate.

If you’re already carrying a balance on a card, you might want to find a card with a favorable balance transfer offer, which could help you pay down your balance faster. See Shuffle Away Your Debt With Balance Transfers.

The key is to find a card that offers something you can really benefit from, whether that’s airline miles for fliers, gas rebates for drivers, or low interest rates to keep you afloat during the slow periods. For more tips, check out Using Business Cards Strategically.

Here, we list eight credit cards from four companies that offer some of the best deals for small businesses.

CAPITAL ONE

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

  • Pay in full or over time

  • Earn $250 bonus cash back when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months

  • Earn $50 bonus cash back when you sign up for one or more employee cards within the first 60 days

  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $59/year

  • 13.9% to 20.9% APR, depending on your credit rating

  • Earn 2% cash back on every purchase with no limit on the amount of cash you can earn

  • Redeem your cash awards anytime – or automatically receive a check each year on the anniversary of your rewards membership

  • No foreign transaction fees

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

  • Pay in full or over time

  • Earn 25,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months

  • Earn 5,000 bonus miles when you sign up for one or more employee cards within the first 60 days

  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $59/year

  • 13.9% to 20.9% APR, depending on your credit rating

  • Earn 2X miles per $1 on every purchase with no limit on the number of miles you can earn

  • Redeem miles for travel, cash, merchandise and gift cards

  • Fly any airline with no blackout dates or seat restrictions

  • Book travel with any agency or Web site and add two zeros to the price of your ticket to determine the number of miles you need (e.g., if the ticket costs $200, you’ll need 20,000 miles)

  • No foreign transaction fees

CHASE

Chase Ink Cash® Business Card

  • Named “Best for cash back” by Money Magazine in October 2013

  • Pay in full or over time

  • Earn $200 bonus cash back when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months

  • No annual fee

  • 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months, then 13.24% variable

  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend combined each year at office-supply stores and on your cell phone, landline, internet and cable TV services

  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend combined each year at gas stations and restaurants

  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases with no limit on the amount you can earn

  • Redeem for cash back, gift cards or travel

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Chase Ink Plus® Business Card

  • Named “Best for travel rewards for small business” by Money Magazine in October 2013

  • Pay in full or over time

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months

  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95/year

  • 15.24% variable APR

  • Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 you spend combined each year at office-supply stores and on your cell phone, landline, internet and cable TV services

  • Earn 2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 you spend combined each year at gas stations and hotels

  • Earn 1X point per $1 on all other purchases with no limit on the amount you can earn

  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs

  • 20% discount off airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises when you redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • No foreign transaction fees

CITIBANK

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®

  • Pay in full or over time

  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles and two Admirals Club One-Day Passes when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months

  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95/year

  • 15.24% APR

  • Earn 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and at certain office-supply, telecommunications and car-rental merchants

  • Earn 1X miles on all other purchases

  • Earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate each year you spend $30,000 or more in purchases

  • Renew your card and earn a 5% AAdvantage mileage bonus based upon eligible purchases made during the year

  • Save 25% on eligible in-flight food and beverage purchases

  • Your first checked bag is free for you and up to four traveling companions

  • Group 1 boarding

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

CitiBusiness ThankYou® Card

  • Pay in full or over time

  • Earn 15,000 bonus ThankYou Points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months – redeemable for $150 in gift cards

  • No annual fee

  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for six months, then 13.24%

  • Earn 3X ThankYou Points per $1 you spend on eligible purchases in quarterly rotating business categories

  • Earn 1X ThankYou Points per $1 you spend on all other purchases

  • Earn an Anniversary Bonus each membership year

  • Redeem ThankYou Points for business supplies, travel, merchandise, gift cards and cash

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

AMERICAN EXPRESS

SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express

  • Pay in full or over time

  • No annual fee

  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 9 months; then a variable rate between 12.24% and 19.24%, depending on your credit rating

  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend combined at U.S. office-supply stores and on cell phone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers

  • Earn 3% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend combined on the category of your choice (from a list of categories that includes airfare, hotels, car rentals, gas stations and restaurants)

  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases with no limit on the amount you can earn

  • Receive your cash back as a statement credit each month

  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express

  • Pay in full or over time

  • Earn 10,000 bonus Starpoints after your first purchase and an additional 15,000 Starpoints when you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first six months

  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65/year

  • 15.24% to 19.24% APR, depending on your credit rating

  • Earn 2X Starpoints per $1 on eligible purchases charged directly with participating hotels and resorts

  • Earn 1X Starpoints per $1 you spend on all other purchases

  • Receive credit for 5 nights and 2 stays towards SPG elite status each year

  • Redeem Starpoints for free night awards at participating hotels and resorts (free nights range from 2,000 – 35,000 Starpoints, depending on the property, day of the week and season)

  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee

The Bottom Line

Many business owners prefer to carry more than one card in order to access different incentives. For example, you could put certain purchases that you don’t expect to pay in full that month on a low-interest card, while using a miles-earning card for all other purchases.

As with all things in business, it pays to research your options. Look for the card (or cards) with the maximum benefit in relation to how your business operates. Be sure to review each card’s terms and conditions before making any decisions. For more, read The Pros And Cons Of Using Small Business Credit Cards.

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