Q: Is it possible to apply without a personal guarantee?
A: Unfortunately not if you're a newer business. Advanta was the only major issuer which offered business credit cards without personal guarantee, but they went bankrupt during the recession. At this time all major issuers require your Social Security number as a personal guarantee. In order to qualify under a federal tax ID alone, typically the company must already have a strong credit history, annual cash flow in the millions, and 3+ years in operation.
Best Business Credit Cards With Rewards 2014 (reviews are constantly updated with the best sponsored offers)
Top Pick For Rewards = SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express
The SimplyCash Business Card from American Express is truly a solid business card option, regardless of the size or type of small business operation you may have - primarily for the rewards for office supplies and any other category that you get to choose. And, as a limited time offer if you are approved before April 28, 2014 you can get a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. With no annual membership fee it's a smart choice for your business. You get a full 5% at US office supply stores and on wireless phone services purchased directly from US service providers. Plus a full 3% on the category of your choice. 5% and 3% apply to purchases up to $25,000 per rebate year, then 1% thereafter. 1% on all other purchases.
Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement. The built-in benefits on eligible purchases include Extended Warranty coverage and Purchase Protection along with an impressive array of travel-related insurance coverage. For many this will probably be the best business credit card option in the marketplace among those with no annual fee. And, if you apply right now you can get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months, and an APR of 12.24% - 19.24% Variable. Terms and conditions apply.
The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN
For many years running this has been the most popular business charge card in the market. There's a good reason for that - the rewards add up quickly: 3X points on airfare purchased from airlines and 2X points on US purchases for advertising in select media, shipping and at gas stations. As if that wasn't good enough, something NEW they just added is that you now earn 2X points on US purchases made directly from select computer hardware and software providers, and cloud computing providers. Up to $100,000 spent in each category per year qualifies for the higher rewards, then 1 point after that on all spending. Terms and limitations apply.
But these just aren't your typical card points, they're Membership Rewards® points and those have the potential to be quite valuable. For example, you can transfer points to frequent flyer miles on nearly a dozen airlines, usually on a 1 point = 1 mile conversion. If you're going to apply, now is definitely the time to do it because they're running a promotion at the moment where you can earn 25,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card membership. That's an average spend of $1.667 per month, so it shouldn't be very difficult to achieve. $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175. Apply online to qualify for this offer. See offer terms for details.
Chase Ink Cash
The Chase Ink Cash card is a compelling value and a strong contender for best choice for no annual fee. With the link below you will get a $200 bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.
Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores, cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services on the first $25,000 spent annually at those places. 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on the first $25,000 spent annually at those places. 1% cash back on all other purchases. With this promotion you will also get 0% intro APR for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers and thereafter an APR of 13.24% Variable applies.
Chase Ink Plus
Right now this card has a limited time bonus offer! Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Earn 5X points per $1 spent on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services. Earn 2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and for hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel. You get 1X point per $1 on all other purchases. Redeem for cash back (100 pts = $1) on transfer pints to popular airline and hotel frequent travel programs on a 1:1 basis. This includes United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, British Airways Executive Club, Marriott Rewards, Priority Club Rewards, Amtrak Guest Rewards + more.
There is a $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year, after that $95. No foreign transaction fees. To get this offer use the link below.
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Previously, the AmEx Plum (below) was the top business credit card for cash back because it gave 1.5%. But that crown was lost to Capital One's Spark Cash; it's the king since it gives you an unlimited 2% cash back and has a significantly lower annual fee of only $59 ($0 intro for first year) compared to the $250 for Plum. Best of all with the following promotion, you have the opportunity to get a $250 cash bonus - just spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. Plus get a $50 bonus for adding one or more employee cards (at no additional cost). Combined, that's $300 in bonuses!
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
This card is similar to the Spark Cash mentioned above, except you will be earning travel rewards. Unlike airline frequent flyer miles, with this program your miles have a straight value of 1 cent each (good towards any travel purchase). You earn 2 miles per dollar which essentially means your spending is earning rewards worth 2%. Right now the Spark Miles has a $0 intro annual fee for the 1st year and $59 after that. For spending $5k on purchases in the first 3 months you get 25,000 bonus miles. Add one or more employee cards and get 5,000 bonus miles.
Chase Ink Bold®
This version is identical to the Ink Plus featured above, except this one is a charge card. That means you are required to pay your balance in full every month. Except for that, it's the same card as above. You get the same great 5x points in select business categories, 1:1 transfer of points to hotel and frequent flyer programs, and the same ridiculously generous signup offer of 50,000 bonus points for spending $5k within the first 3 months. $0 intro annual fee for the first year, after that it's $95. If you want the Ink Plus and/or Ink Bold, I would strongly urge you to apply now (just as I have) because historically the bonus hasn't always been this big. To get the offer use the link below.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
Would you describe yourself as a true small business road warrior? If so, this card could be an excellent business and travel companion! But even if you aren't a hardcore traveler, there are a myriad of cardmember benefits for small business owners. So, whether you're entertaining clients or adeptly managing your business' cash flow, membership has its privileges.
What sort of benefits? Well for starters, you can choose your favorite qualifying airline and get up to $200 annually in statement credits to reimburse you for incidental fees, such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments. Before flights, enjoy complimentary access to 600+ participating airport lounges through Priority Pass™ Select. When flying internationally, you can enjoy complimentary companion airfare when using your card to purchase a qualifying Business or First Class ticket through AmEx's International Airline Program (on over 20 participating airlines). The Business Platinum card charges no foreign transaction fees and provides a long list of features, including concierge service and purchasing power that adjusts as your business evolves. Membership Rewards® points can be converted to frequent flyer miles with nearly a dozen partner airlines, usually on a 1:1 basis. And, there is a 20% travel bonus when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points.
Apply now for this Limited Time Offer: Get 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months of cardmembership. The annual fee is $450. Terms and restrictions apply.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express
The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card offers the benefit of transferring points to almost 30 partner airlines, usually on a 1-to-1 basis. This is made possible through the Star Alliance and only the Starwood card can do this. Right now you can also earn a bonus of up to 25,000 Starpoints: Receive 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase, and another 15,000 when you spend $5,000 in 6 months -- enough for up to 6 free nights at a Category 1 or 2 hotel. Plus, the $65 annual fee is waived for the first year.
The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN
If you always pay your balance in full and are looking for a card that will give you a straightforward cash rebate, then the Plum Card is for you. It gives you trade terms on virtually everything (pay your bill within 10 days and get a 1.5% discount or pay it off over 60 days with zero interest). The annual fee is $250, but it's waived for the first year.
What is the best choice for you?
There is no "one size" fits all answer. Which of these qualities are most important to you?
- Rewards: Did you know that the rewards offered on business cards are actually more generous than regular cards? They typically give you more cash back, points, and miles.
- Low Interest: If you anticipate carrying a balance, then of course low interest cards are what you want. Unfortunately, low rates disappeared during "The Great Recession" and have yet to return. However, some still offer good introductory rates.
- Annual Fee: There are plenty of no annual fee cards to apply for. However those which are affiliated with an airline or hotel, as well as the premium charge cards, usually have an annual fee.
- Benefits: Many business credit cards include perks such as extra travel benefits, discounts programs, and detailed billing (which can be a lifesaver for accounting and taxes).
- Customer Service: Being a business owner is stressful enough as it is, so the last thing you want is the stress of a customer service rep in India! Issuers like AmEx and Chase almost always use American based call centers for their business cardholders.
A: Assuming you have qualifying personal credit, any of the above can be candidates for you. However it's important to remember that you will be personally responsible for any debts incurred (just like you would with a normal credit card). So please keep that in mind.
Q: How about newer small business with more than one employee?
A:Unfortunately a personal guarantee will still be required, so your options remain the same. However, you will probably want one that offers additional cards for free (to give to authorized users). Most include this as a free option, with the exception of the premium cards that have annual fees.
Q: What kind of information will the application ask for?
A: If you've never filled out a business credit card application before, you may be surprised to see the information they ask is not much different than a personal card. In addition to your personal information, you will be asked for your business name and phone number. If you are a well-established, profitable company applying under the business federal tax ID alone, then you will need to supply that on the application.
Q: How long do the applications take to process?
A: If applying normally under your Social Security number, the time it takes to process your application is similar to what it would be for a normal credit card. When you submit application using only a business tax ID, the processing time will likely be longer (with how conservative banks are these days, expect them to go over everything with a fine-tooth comb).
Q: Which business credit cards have the best customer service?
A: The offers listed in the sponsored rankings and reviews above are known for delivering exceptional customer service (and if your experience differs, please let us know on our message board). That being said, American Express and Chase are two which are known to especially stand out from the crowd.