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Best Small Business Credit Cards

by Mike Abelson   June 17, 2016
We help you figure out which type of company credit card will offer the top perks to your small business.
Best Practices

“Credit card” was first coined in 1887 when writer Edward Bellamy used it in a utopian novel called Looking Backward to describe a card that you could buy stuff with. Soon after that, merchants started giving their patrons a “charge coin,” which was basically a coin with a unique number on it. The customer could use the charge coin in place of money, letting the cashier make an imprint of the coin on a piece of paper so as to keep a record of what the customer owed the store.

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A hundred years later and charge coins have evolved into the credit cards we use today. There are many different types of credit cards to choose from, and since the card companies want your loyalty, they are willing to offer you special perks to choose their product.

What to Look for First

When you first start looking for a small business credit card, you should consider what kind of rewards you want. Here are few of the major reward categories that are out there:

  • Travel Rewards: If your company goes to a lot of conferences, it might make the most sense to get a travel rewards card. These can get you extra points when you pay for travel, and many times you can redeem these points for plane tickets, hotel rooms, and other travel essentials.
  • Cash Back Rewards: This is the simplest type of reward. It doesn’t require you to redeem points, which can be a confusing process. You just get a set amount back depending on how much you spend.
  • Point Rewards: Some cards have an elaborate point system where you earn a certain number of points based on what type of product you’re buying. For small businesses, this can mean getting more points for products related to your company, such as office supplies. After you earn a set number of points, you can redeem them for rewards like gift cards, statement credits, and more.

Experts say that you’ll get the most bang for your buck with a travel rewards card, but that’s only if you travel. A rewards card is great if you’re willing to study out the point categories (sometimes they rotate) to make sure you’re earning as many points as possible. Cash back is perfect for those who don’t want to jump through a lot of hoops.

Best Brands for Your Wallet

We’re not going to recommend any specific brands or cards here. It’s not because we don’t have our favorites – it’s just that too many credit card reviews are just trying to sell you a specific card. We don’t want this article to be confused for one of those. So instead of showing you a specific card, we recommend using the tips outlined in this article to find the one that suits you best.

This method might actually end up getting you better rewards, because …

Better Rewards for Direct Traffic

Many credit card sites will offer bigger bonuses to direct customers. If you go to an affiliate site first and follow a link to the credit card company’s site, the landing page might show a lower bonus reward. This is because the affiliate has either put a cookie in your browser or sent you to a specific landing page with a less valuable offer.

Why does this happen? One reason is because when you go through an affiliate, the credit card company isn’t making as much off your business. So they might make the reward worth less to make up for what they have to pay the affiliate. But if you show up on the credit card site first, you may see better rewards. So clear those cookies and check out the sites directly.

Is the Annual Fee Worth It?

There are a few reasons why a credit card requires an annual fee:

  • The card may give you access to greater rewards than you would get without an annual fee.
  • You might be able to access special perks with the card (like airport lounges).
  • You may have an annual fee if the card company thinks it will be risky to lend to you.

When deciding whether or not the annual fee is worth it, you should factor in how much the rewards are worth. If it’s as simple as getting more cash back for each purchase, look at last quarter’s numbers and figure out how much more you would have made with the card. If that number is more than the annual fee, then the card might be a good decision. If the card grants you special perks, it can be a little trickier to determine the value of having the card. If you’re on the fence, then you should probably go with a card that doesn’t have an annual fee.

Worthwhile Warnings

We definitely recommend using a small business credit card. You should even make sure your employees are outfitted with a card that’s tied to the company so you’re earning points on their business related expenses. But you should take a moment to consider some of the dangers that are associated with this type of credit:

  • Some cards aren’t worth the plastic they’re printed on. We won’t name any names, but there are companies out there that charge a lot more than their cards are worth. Before you pay an annual fee, monthly fee, foreign transaction fee, cash advance fee, credit limit increase fee, or any other type of fee, make sure you’re getting the best rate out there.
  • You’ll need to monitor your new card to make sure there isn’t any fraudulent spending. Crooks like to target small business cards because they can skim a little more off the top without being noticed. Before you sign up for a card, make sure you won’t have to pay for any of these charges after you notice them.
  • Many small business credit cards report to consumer credit bureaus. That means your personal credit score can be affected by these cards. If you want to limit this risk, you should look for a company that only reports to the commercial credit bureaus (or to neither).

Like any type of credit, it goes without saying that you should be responsible with it. Always pay your bills on time, try to pay your balance off in full each month, and don’t get too close to your limit if you don’t have to.

Final Thoughts

A small business credit card can help you earn rewards on the purchases you are already making. Just be sure to get the right one for your company.

Mike Abelson   Lendza Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing
Mike enjoys helping entrepreneurs and startups succeed through smart and innovative marketing strategies. He’s partnered with CEOs and executives to grow businesses from the ground up. Mike believes that the customer is a company’s most valuable asset. When he’s not traveling for work, he enjoys reading adventure and science fiction novels.