The 6 Best Business Credit Cards for New Businesses & Start-Ups [2021]

Start-up

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If you’re starting a new business or a start-up, you’re probably juggling a ton of different tasks and wearing quite a few hats.

One thing you should absolutely not compromise on is optimizing your company’s finances.

In addition to separating your business expenses from your personal finances, getting access to quick funding, and starting to build your business credit, there are tons of benefits to opening a new credit card for your start-up.

Business credit cards are offered by many different financial institutions with so many dizzying benefits that it can seem overwhelming.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the best credit cards for new businesses and start-ups that you can apply for.

We’ll go in-depth about the pros and cons of each credit card, so let’s get started!

What To Look for in a Business Credit Card for New Businesses and Start-Ups

When researching the best business credit card candidates, we put ourselves in the shoes of a new business owner or start-up and tried to think deeply about the benefits we were looking for.

We looked for a card that rewards you for the most common new business expenses, like technology.

We also looked for a card that offers business tools, like expense management, employee cards, and purchase protection.

And of course, one of the best parts about a new card is the welcome bonus that can immediately get you on the right track to accelerating your rewards.

Other crucial benefits of a credit card include quick access to business credit and travel benefits for any business trips you may be taking.

Best Overall Business Cards for New Businesses and Start-Ups

1. American Express® Business Gold Card

As a new business, no single day will ever be the same, but the Amex Business Gold card can consistently be the most rewarding card you can get.

First of all, the Amex Business Gold card offers 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the 2 categories where your business spends the most each month (up to $150,000 in combined purchases per year):

This card has the most bonus categories you can earn points from, which means that those unexpected, seemingly random expenses could easily earn up to 4x points.

With these 6 categories, you’ll be able to earn bonus rewards on purchases that may change from month to month. Whether you’re spending on advertising, office supplies like computer hardware, or on gas, the Amex Business Gold card has got you covered.

This card also comes with purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip delay insurance, car rental insurance, and no preset spending limit.

And the key is that the Membership Rewards points you earn from this card are incredibly valuable, and they can be used to book first class flights!

At the end of the day, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a business card that offers a more diverse list of bonus categories where you can earn a whopping 4x points, which is why we love this option.

Why We Like Earning Amex Membership Rewards Points

Amex Membership Rewards are the most valuable points, according to our points and miles valuations.

By transferring them to airline and hotel partners, you can book some incredible first and business class travel.

You can also redeem your Amex points via Amex Travel, or for gift cards, charitable donations, Amazon, statement credits, and so much more.

2. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Credit CardKey Benefits & Info
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Apply Now
(at Chase's secure site)
  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • $2,000
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 25% more value when redeeming points through Ultimate Rewards® travel
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $95

Must Reads: For more info on the Ink Business Preferred, see our guides on its benefits, 7 things to do as a new cardholder, and our full review. This is our favorite Chase business credit card.

The Ink Business Preferred card is similar to the Amex Business Gold card in a few ways, but unique in a couple of other ways! 

Arguably Chase’s best credit card for business spending, Ink Business Preferred cardholders are able to earn 3x points per $1 spent on up to $150,000 per year in numerous bonus categories:

As you can see, the Ink Business Preferred card offers the ability to earn bonus points on very common new business and start-up expenses like marketing (advertising), website/IT costs (internet, cable, and phone), and even logistics (shipping).

And if you have business trips here and there, you can get rewarded with 3x points on travel.

The points that you earn are Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are incredibly useful thanks to the ability to transfer to airline and hotel partners.

This card also offers some awesome cell phone insurance, offering $600 per claim with a $100 deductible for up to 3 claims per rolling 12-month period.

Other useful benefits include purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip interruption and cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance, and no foreign transaction fees!

Why We Like Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

We love earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points because you can redeem them for award travel by transferring Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners (maximum value).

You can also redeem your points for travel booked via the Chase travel portal for 25% more in value (1.25 cents per point).

Lastly, you can redeem your points for cash-back, gift cards, merchandise, and services.

3. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Maybe your new business or start-up will have large expenses or require you to travel a lot. If you’re looking for a business card that offers the best travel benefits, look no further than the prestigious Amex Business Platinum card.

This card is arguably the best travel partner out there, thanks to the incredible travel perks you receive.

For your travel bookings, you can earn 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel.

You’ll also enjoy these perks:

We’ve really only scratched the surface of all the Amex Business Platinum’s benefits, but it truly is one of the best cards out there.

If you’re going to be traveling a lot for business or if you’re routinely making purchases of $5,000 or more, you’ll love this card.

Alternative Business Credit Cards for New Businesses and Start-Ups

If you happen to be following different spending patterns than what is shown above, don’t worry!

Let’s take a look at our favorite alternative credit cards for new businesses and start-ups.

4. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

We’re big fans of the Amex Blue Business Plus card that allows you to earn 2x Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on everyday business purchases, regardless of category!

Whether you’re buying advertising, subscribing to software, or paying contractors, you’ll earn 2x points on up to $50,000 in purchases every year.

So if you max out the $50,000 limit on 2x points, you’d earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points before reverting to the 1 point per dollar structure.

Additionally, this card has no annual fee, and it also comes with some awesome perks like purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and employee cards at no additional cost.

5. Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

The Ink Business Unlimited card is a remarkably simple but exceptionally rewarding business credit card to hold.

If you don’t want to have to worry about bonus categories or an annual fee, this Chase credit card is a top-notch choice.

You’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash-back on all your purchases with no caps. Plus, if you hold a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, your 1.5% cash-back is equivalent to 1.5x points.

So, this card gives you the ability to earn flexible points with no annual fee as long as you have an Ultimate Rewards credit card.

6. Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

The Ink Business Cash card is the sister card of the Ink Business Unlimited card.

Whereas the Ink Business Unlimited card offers straightforward 1.5% cash-back, the Ink Business Cash card gives you the ability to earn up to 5% cash-back on select business categories.

You can earn 5% cash-back on up to $25,000 spent in combined purchases on the following categories each account anniversary year:

You can also earn 2% cash-back on up to $25,000 spent in combined purchases on the following categories each account anniversary year:

  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants

If you have an Ultimate Rewards card, 5% cash-back and 2% cash-back is equivalent to 5x and 2x points, respectively.

Lastly, you’ll also be impressed with the travel insurance, purchase protection, and primary rental car coverage you get from this card.

It’s hard to think of another $0 annual fee card that gives you up to 5x points, but the Ink Business Cash card accomplishes just that!

Final Thoughts

With tons of different business credit cards out there competing for a spot in your wallet, learning about all the ins-and-outs can be overwhelming.

That’s why we boiled down the best business cards to just 6 choices in this guide. The card option you end up choosing should fit well with your spending habits, your credit card needs, and your rewards goals.

With any of these cards, you will rapidly be on your way to enjoying credit card benefits, building credit for your business, and setting up your business for success!


For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.


Frequently asked questions

How do I get a business credit card for a new business?

For the most part, the bank will check your personal credit report when you apply for a business card.

To have the best chances of getting approved, you should try to have a perfect payment history, show strong personal income to fund your business, and avoid maxing out your existing credit cards.

Small businesses can qualify for these credit cards, so you don’t need to have a corporation, an LLC, or employees to apply for these cards. All it takes to get started is a sole proprietorship and a Social Security number!

What is the best credit card for a new small business?

We think the best credit cards for new small businesses are the Amex Business Gold card, the Ink Business Preferred card, and the Amex Business Platinum card. You’ll earn rewards so much faster, which you can either reinvest in your business or redeem for luxury travel and cash-back!

Other options include the Amex Blue Business Plus card, the Ink Business Unlimited card, and the Ink Business Cash card.

How do I build credit for my LLC?

The first thing you should do is open a business credit card under your LLC. Once you’ve activated the card, you should use your credit responsibly, make payments on-time, and avoid maxing out your cards.

If you continuously do that, you’ll build excellent credit for your business.

What credit score is needed for a business credit card?

In general, the business credit cards that allow you to get the best rewards possible require a credit score of 700 to 720.

While there’s no hard and fast rule, this is a solid rule of thumb to follow.

How many credit cards should a small business have?

It depends. In an ideal world, you’d just have 1 business credit card that allows you to earn all the perks and rewards you want.

In practice, though, you might need to have 2 or 3 open to make the most of the rewards and benefits.

Can I get a business credit card with bad credit?

Yes, but you probably won’t qualify for the best rewards credit cards out there. If you have bad credit, you should focus on rebuilding or repairing your credit first.

To do this, you should apply for a secured or low-limit card, use it responsibly, and slowly increase your credit score.

When you’ve built up your creditworthiness, you can then apply for some great business credit cards.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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