Best Startup Credit Card for New Businesses

Finding the best business credit cards for startups and new businesses comes down to the following factors:

  • Welcome offer availability
  • Fees (e.g., APR, transaction fees, annual fees, etc.).
  • Rewards and other benefits
  • Approval rate

Our Best Startup Credit Card for New Businesses review will help you find the right credit card for your unique business.

Recommended: Divvy offers the best credit card for new businesses.

Best Startup Business Credit Cards

Divvy

Divvy is the best credit card for new businesses. Even though Divvy does not have a welcome offer, its low transaction fees, unique rewards-based structure, and exceptionally high approval rate make it a great business card to develop your financial resources and build business credit.

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • Highest number of features
  • Third-party integration accountancy tools
  • Up to 7x points on eligible purchases
  • 1.5x on general business expenses when paid off weekly
  • Rewarding referral scheme (i.e., $100 prepaid Visa gift card per referral.).
  • Special offers and discounts program 
  • No limitations on high-reward categories (e.g., a maximum annual spending limit, etc.). 
  • Low credit approval mandate
  • Employee cards

Cons:

  • No welcome offer following your account opening
  • Situational: Rewards scheme can be a benefit or a disadvantage; not the best for users who settle their dues on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.
  • Situational: 7x and 5x rewards are limited to specific categories (e.g., restaurants and hotels, etc.). These may not be relevant for some businesses. Rewards on general eligible purchases are also quite low when not paid weekly.

Divvy offers more than just a business card, providing a “financial platform” that aims to holistically enhance businesses’ financial profiles. 

This means that Divvy’s credit card membership offers a much more wide-range of features in comparison to other business credit cards in our review - a lot of which make it an ideal card to build business credit.

Such features include:

  • Expense tracking in Xero, Quickbooks, and other accounting software
  • An automatic bill pay feature
  • Two business credit cards: One focused towards credit score building, the other tailored towards already established businesses.
  • Discounts on Google ads

Divvy’s unique reward points system makes it an ideal new business credit card option as long as you are happy to settle your dues on a weekly basis, as this can earn you unrivaled cash back rates (i.e.,, 7x in restaurants, 5x in hotel expenditure, 1.5x in general spending, etc.). 

Welcome offer: None

Annual fee: None

APR: No standardized APR range is provided. Each business is offered different terms based on their payment history and financial status.

Rewards and benefits:

  • Reward points offered on every single purchase
  • Expense tracking in Xero, Quickbooks, and other accounting software
  • Fast credit score building
  • Additional rewards if you pay your bill in full on a weekly basis
  • Free spend management software
  • Special offers: Includes $150 off Google Ads, discounts on Uber Eats, FedEx, Adobe CC, and much more.

Security features:

  • PCI compliance
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Face ID logins
  • SOC2 Type 1 report
  • Fraud protection

Other features:

  • Send ACH and wires for free
  • Automatic bill pay feature
  • Free spend management software
  • Mobile app
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Brex 30

Brex 30 is a unique business credit card option for new businesses and startups because of its favorable terms and high approval rate. 

Pros:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Industry-specific rewards
  • Very high reward point earning potential (i.e., 8x.)
  • Free employee cards
  • No personal guarantee required
  • No security deposit required
  • High credit limit
  • High approval rate
  • No annual fee
  • Ideal for businesses looking to build business credit
  • No personal credit check needed

Cons:

  • 1x offered on general eligible purchases. This is not ideal
  • $50,000 account balance required in order to qualify for monthly business credit card account
  • No welcome offer following your account opening
  • No standardized APR range offered. Users will need to apply and become approved before they see what terms they are offered. 
  • Rewards are great as long as you pay your dues on a daily basis. This can be quite inconvenient

The provider offers two business credit cards to its users, one that is paid on a daily basis, and one that is paid on a monthly basis. Users on the former are privy to a higher number of benefits. 

Business card paid daily:

  • Eligibility: Companies of any size, no minimum balance required
  • Card limit: 100% of your account’s available balance
  • Rewards: Up to 8x rewards points on select spending categories
  • Annual fee: None

Business card paid monthly:

  • Eligibility: Companies need to satisfy certain criteria in order to be approved.
  • Rewards: Up to 7x rewards points on select spending categories
  • Credit limit: 10 to 20x higher credit limit than a “traditional” corporate card according to the company’s website. This is not verified
  • Annual fee: None

Keep in mind that businesses will need a linked bank account with a balance of at least $50,000 in order to be approved for a Brex's corporate card with monthly payments. 

Welcome offer: None

Annual fee: $0

APR: No standardized APR range offered. Each business is given different terms based on their credit score and financial history.

Rewards and benefits:

  • 8x on rideshare
  • 5x on Brex Travel
  • 3x on eligible purchases made on Apple products (e.g., iPad, iPhone, etc.).
  • 4x points on restaurants
  • 1.5x on ad-related expenditure
  • 1x on all other purchases (e.g., office supply stores, other purchases, etc.)

Rewards and benefits for Tech and Life Sciences startups:

  • Tech startups: All of the normal rewards and benefits plus 3x points on recurring software subscriptions. 
  • Life sciences startups: 8x points on conference tickets instead of rideshare, plus 2x points on all lab supplies. 

Security features:

  • Member of SIPC: All customers’ securities are protected up to $500,000. 
  • Fraud protection
  • Data privacy scheme
  • Automation and manual security reviews
  • Encryption service

Other features:

  • 10-20x higher credit limit than a traditional business credit card according to the company’s website. This has not been verified.
  • No transaction fees
  • Unlimited cards for team members with custom limits
  • Integrations with Quickbooks, NetSuite, Xero, Expensify, and more.
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Best Credit Cards For Established Businesses

Divvy and Brex 30 are the best business credit cards for startups and new businesses because of their high accessibility and advantageous reward-based structure.

Having said that, after you have already built up your business credit and established yourself in your industry, there are a few other small business credit cards that you may want to consider:

Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Pros:

  • High welcome offer
  • High number of security measures, more than just the “standardized” liability protections
  • Flexible point rewards system
  • Relatively high credit limit
  • Chase ultimate rewards travel bonus
  • High spending limit before point rewards diminishes (i.e., $150,000 per year.). 
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 3x points offered on eligible purchases in essential categories for startups, including SEO and social media advertising.

Cons:

  • Higher transaction and penalty fees than most business credit cards on our review, although still quite low. 
  • Annual fee, although not the highest. 
  • High spending mandate in order to receive welcome offer

Welcome offer: 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of your account opening. This translates to $1000 cash back or $1,250 in travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, etc.). 

Annual fee: $95

APR:

  • Standard APR: 16.24% to 21.24% 
  • My Chase Loan APR: 16.24% to 21.24%
  • Balance Transfer APR:16.24% to 21.24%
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%

Transaction fees: 

  • Balance transfers: $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash advances: $15 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Foreign transaction fees: none 

Penalty fees:

  • Late payment: $40
  • Return payment: $40
  • Return check: None

Rewards and benefits:

  • 3x points: Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in the following categories each account anniversary year:
    • Shipping purchases
    • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
    • Travel expenses made through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other combined purchases. Keep in mind that your points will never expire as long as your account remains open.
  • Free employee cards

Point Redemption:

  • Points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, travel experiences, and much more through Chase Ultimate Rewards.  Keep in mind that your points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel.

Security features:

  • Fraud protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Custom account alerts
  • Cell phone protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Roadside dispatch support
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
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Amazon Business Prime American Express

Pros:

  • No annual fee 
  • Decision made in as little as 30 seconds
  • Highly applicable: Accepted at 99% of places in the US that accept small business credit cards
  • Relationship Care Service: 24/7 call support
  • Global Assist Hotline: Eligible for legal, medical, and coordination assistance any time you travel more than 100 miles from home
  • 90 day APR-free period option.

Cons:

  • Higher APR than most small business credit cards this list, but not the highest
  • Low welcome offer, however at no financial opportunity cost since it is awarded as soon as your account opening is complete.
  • Annual cost can be very cheap or very expensive depending on personal or business prime subscription, as well as on the number of users.
  • High personal credit record required

Welcome offer: $125 Amazon.com gift card upon your account opening.

Annual fee: None

APR:

  • Standard APR: 14.49%-22.49%
  • Cash advances APR: 25.24% 
  • Penalty APR: 29.49%. This is applied if you:
    • Make a payment that is returned
    • Make two or more later payments within a 12 month period
    • Do not make a minimum payment by the closing date of the billing period that it is due

Transaction fees: 

  • Cash advance: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Foreign transaction fees: None

Penalty fees:

  • Late payment: Up to $39 
  • Overlimit: None
  • Returned payment: $39

Rewards and benefits: 

  • 5% cash back or 60 Day Terms on US combined purchases at:
    • Amazon Business
    • AWS
    • Amazon.com
    • Whole Foods Market
  • 2% Cash back at US restaurants, US gas stations, and wireless telephone services — if purchased directly from US providers
  • 1% on all other purchases
  • Can choose for 90-day 0% APR financing on Amazon purchases instead of earning rewards. 

Financial features:

  • Amazon Business Enhanced Data Views
  • Amazon Shop with Points

Management features:

  • Account Manager
  • Employee Card service
  • QuickBooks software integration
  • Account notifications service
  • Year-end summary report
  • Mobile app

Security features:

  • Extended Warranty 
  • Purchase protection
  • Dispute resolution
  • Baggage insurance
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
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American Express Business Gold Card

Pros:

  • American Express travel features
  • 25% airline bonus
  • Quickbooks software integration
  • Mobile app availability
  • Financial flexibility (e.g., pay over time, no preset spending limit, etc.). 
  • Rewarding point rewards scheme
  • Very high spending limit before point rewards diminished (i.e., $150,000 per year.). Ideal for small businesses.

Cons:

  • Very high annual fee terms
  • Point rewards limited to select categories (i.e., no general business expenses category, etc.)
  • 1x on purchases that are not among preset categories (e.g., general business purchases, etc.).
  • High personal credit record required

Welcome offer: 70,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with your corporate card following the first three months of your account opening. This equates to around $920

Annual fee: $295

APR:

  • Standard APR: 14.49% to 22.49%
  • Penalty APR: 29.49%. This will be applied to your account if you:
    • Make 2 or more late payments in any 12-month period
    • Make a payment that is returned
    • Do not pay a minimum payment by the closing date of the billing period that it is due.

Transaction fees:

  • Foreign transactions: None

Penalty fees:

  • Late payment: $39 or 2.99% of any past due, depending on which is greater
  • Returned payment: $39

Rewards and benefits:

  • 4x Membership Rewards points on the top 2 categories where your business spent the most each billing cycle from the list below:
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • US purchases for advertising in select media 
    • US purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware 
    • US purchases at gas stations 
    • US purchases at restaurants, including takeout and delivery 
    • US purchases for shipping
  • Pay Over Time Option: Can choose to pay over time with interest if that is more convenient from a liquidity standpoint
  • No preset spending limit: Flexible spending unlike a traditional card. The amount you will be able to spend over your credit will actively change and depend on many factors (e.g., combined purchases, payment history, creditworthiness, etc.). 

25% Airlines Bonus

  • Expanded buying power when it comes to travel: Book American Express Travel using points, and save money by getting 25% of those points back. 
  • Applicable to first class, business class, or economy as long as it is in a “qualifying” airline. You can get a maximum of 250,000 points back per calendar year per account. 

Management features:

  • Account Manager
  • Employee Card service
  • QuickBooks software integration
  • Account notifications service
  • Year-end summary report
  • Mobile app

Travel and security features:

  • The Hotel Collection
  • Global assist hotline
  • Baggage insurance
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Trip delay insurance

Other features:

  • Extended Warranty 
  • Purchase protection
  • Dispute resolution
  • Amex offers
  • Relationship care
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American Express Blue Business Cash Credit Card

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR for the first 12 months
  • No category restrictions on point earning: Includes all eligible purchases
  • Quickbooks integration
  • 2x on all eligible purchases. These are not restricted by any categories. 
  • Cash back in the form of a statement credit

Cons:

  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee: May be irrelevant depending on your business. 
  • Need to spend a total amount of $15,000 within the first year of your card membership in order to receive both statement credits.
  • Low welcome offer after your account opening
  • Points reduced to 1x after the first $50,000 of expenditure in each calendar year. 
  • No specific category with very high point rewards (e.g., restaurants, travel, etc.).
  • Not too accessible for businesses with low credit scores

Welcome offer: $500 cash back. This is divided in the form of two separate $250 statement credits. You will need to spend a total amount of $15,000 in the first 12 months of your account opening in order to receive both.

Annual fee: None

APR: 

  • Standard APR: 0% APR for the first 12 months, between 13.49% and 21.49% after that
  • Penalty APR: 29.49%. This will be applied to your account if you:
    • Make 2 or more late payments in any 12-month period
    • Make a payment that is returned
    • Do not pay a minimum payment by the closing date of the billing period that it is due.

Transaction fees:

  • Balance transfer: $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer depending on which is greater
  • Foreign transactions: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars

Penalty fees: 

  • Late payment: Up to $39
  • Overlimit: None
  • Returned payment: $39

Rewards and benefits:

  • 2 points for every $1 you spend on any category, no restrictions.
  • After spending over $50,000 per calendar year, this changes to 1 point for every 1$ you spend
  • Expanded Buying Power
  • 1 extra point for each dollar spent on travel through eligible purchases made on American Express Travel 
  • Exclusive access to ticket pre-sales and cardmember only events
  • Pre-approved loans ranging from $3,500 to $25,000

Blue Business Cash Card security features:

  • Baggage insurance: Up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage. 
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance: Note that not all vehicle types or rentals are covered.
  • Extended Warranty 
  • Purchase protection
  • Dispute resolution
  • Amex offers

Other features:

  • Account Manager
  • Employee Cards
  • QuickBooks software integration
  • Account notifications service
  • Year-end summary report
  • Mobile app
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Am I Eligible for a Business Credit Card?

You can apply for a business credit card regardless of your business entity. This is the case even if you have no employees, offices, or stores.

Having said that, whether your business will actually be approved or not will depend on several factors, including the business credit card that you apply for, your personal credit history, and your business credit - if applicable.

While some business credit cards require excellent personal and/or business credit scores and offer several financial benefits, others are much more limited. This is particularly the case when they are tailored towards starting business owners with no real payment history.

Generally speaking, the “safer” you seem to most credit card issuers, the more likely you will be eligible for a card that can offer you favorable terms (e.g., higher spending limit, lower APR, no annual fee, etc.). 

Even so, our list of the best business credit cards for startups includes several providers that should be accessible to completely new businesses. 

If you apply for a business credit card with several business credit card issuers and get rejected - or have done so in the past - there are a few notes you should keep in mind:

  • There are several reasons your business credit card application may have been rejected. These include ones that are easily remediable (e.g., your phone number not matching your credit report, etc.). 
  • Always read your denial letter: This will likely include what you will need to change in order to get approved in the future (e.g., you may need to build business credit first, develop a more robust payment history, etc.).
  • Call your credit card issuer and ask what you can do on your side to resolve any complications that have emerged.

Reasons that may lead in business credit card issuers rejecting your application include:

  • Business issues (i.e., lack of revenue, operating at a loss, etc.)
  • Poor creditworthiness (i.e., defaulting on past loans, consecutive late payments, etc.). 

For more information, see our guide on what to do if you are denied a small business credit card.

Should I Get a Business Credit Card for my Small Business?

Even the best business credit cards come with their fair share of advantages and disadvantages.

You should consider these carefully before deciding whether it makes financial sense for your business - and personal credit scores - to apply for a business credit card through a credit card issuer.

Pros

Credit

Having business credit cards can be a great way to build business credit. This will then allow you to qualify for larger business loans with better terms. 

Approval rating

In comparison to opening a business bank account and applying for bank loans, it is much easier to qualify for business credit cards. A business credit card can also be more favorable from a financial resources point of view (e.g., expanded buying power, low APR, ability to build business credit more quickly, etc.).

Safety

A business credit card offers increased protections to consumers (e.g., no liability for theft, free replacement, rental car insurance, travel insurance, etc.). Keep in mind that fewer consumer protections are offered to users with business credit cards in comparison to personal credit cards. 

Financial Rewards

A business credit card often offers additional perks and financial resources for the businesses that use them. This includes automatic payments, cash back opportunities, no transaction fees, legal and medical assistance, etc.). 

Employee Cards

Can distribute a corporate card to your employees in order to benefit from more perks (e.g., reward points, airline miles, etc.). 

Corporate Veil

If you own a formal business structure (e.g., LLC, corporation, etc.), you will benefit indirectly from owning a business credit card because it can act as proof that you are treating your business as a separate entity to yourself. This can help you maintain your LLC’s corporate veil

Bookkeeping

Most credible business credit cards provided users with accountancy and bookkeeping tools that are meant to manage, track, and simplify monthly expenses.

This can be ideal for external audits, taxes, and more.

Cons

Employee Credit Cards

Even though you are entitled to all the perks that arise as a result of your employees’ expenditure, you are also responsible for all of the  charges they make. 

High Interest Rates

This will depend on your credit card, but business credit cards can mandate higher interest rates in comparison to personal credit cards. 

Annual Fee

This can be quite expensive for small and starting businesses, although options with no annual fee can be found for the vast majority of small businesses with a reasonable credit history. 

Personal Guarantee Requirement

In order to qualify for most reputable business credit cards, you will be required to issue a personal guarantee. A personal guarantee means that you will need to submit your Social Security number and past credit history to your provider. This means that any missed or late payments will harm your personal credit score in conjunction with your business’s. 

Less Stability

A business credit card's interest rates can be subject to a higher number of changes in comparison to a fixed line of credit or a traditional business loan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best credit cards for startups?

If you are looking to get a business credit card as a startup, there are several choices you should consider:

  • Divvy (Annual Fee: None)
  • Brex 30 (Annual Fee: None)
  • Business Preferred® Credit Card from Chase Ink (Annual Fee: $95)
  • Amazon Business Prime Card from American Express (Annual Fee: None)
  • American Express Business Gold Card (Annual Fee: $295)

We recommend Divvy and Brex 30 for small business owners for the following reasons:

  • High credit limit
  • Great to get a business credit score that can support future business loans
  • No annual fee
  • Low credit scores required
  • High cash back
  • Flexible rewards point program: Includes very high rewards for eligible purchases on select categories while also providing a general business expenses rewards-scheme (e.g., office supplies, ads, any other purchases, etc.).

How can I check my credit score?

You can check your credit score through one of the three primary creditors’ websites, or through a website that shares your scores from all three agencies. 

Did you know? You are legally entitled to one free personal credit report every year.

If you want to check your business credit record, you can purchase a report from Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, or Equifax. These usually range between $30 and $150.

Do I need a business credit card as an LLC?

No. Even though you are required to set up a separate bank account for your LLC business, you are in no way required to get a business credit card.

Having said that, it is often a good practice — particularly when replacing the use of your personal credit card — because it acts as proof that you and your business are operating as separate legal entities. 

This can ensure that you do not lose your limited personal liability by piercing your LLC’s corporate veil.

Note: Interested in applying for a business credit card? See our guide on how to establish business credit.

What is the best business credit card for building credit?

One of the best business credit cards for building credit is Divvy. This is because Divvy approves almost every business and interest rates are set based on individual credit profiles.  It's a great card for everyday business purchases.

For more information, see our article on the 4 Best Credit Cards for Building Business Credit.

What are the benefits of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Business Credit Card?

There are several benefits and drawbacks to using the Southwest Rapid Rewards business credit card, including:

Pros:

  • Annual fee redeem rewards
  • Very generous reward points program
  • High welcome offer, at a very reasonable spending mandate
  • No foreign transactions
  • Account anniversary year bonus

Cons:

  • High annual fee
  • Areas where most points can be gained may be irrelevant for some businesses (e.g., travel, hotels, etc.). 
  • Higher transaction and penalty fees

Is American Express Blue Business Cash Card a good small business credit card?

American express blue business cash card is a top-tier small business credit card choice assuming your personal credit history and/or business credit is good enough to get your business approved. 

Its card membership provides the following benefits for small businesses:

  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR for the first 12 months
  • No category restrictions on point earning
  • Quickbooks integration
  • 2x points are not restricted by categories

If your personal credit history and/or business credit history supports it, you may also want to consider the Chase Ink Business Unlimited credit card. This provides the following benefits:

  • Chase ultimate rewards
  • $750 cashback after the first three months of your account opening
  • No annual fee
  • Relatively low APR when applicable
  • Very high number of security features, more than the “standard” that is expected
  • Referral scheme 

Having said that, the Ink business unlimited credit card may not be ideal for you for the following reasons:

  • The Chase Ink Business Unlimited credit card has relatively high transaction rates and fees
  • The card has high foreign transaction fees.

Is Capital One Spark Classic a good small business credit card?

Yes, but only for businesses with excellent credit scores.

When it comes to small business owners who are merely looking to start building business credit, this card may be neither accessible nor ideal for them.

Having said that, Capital One Spark Classic offers the following benefits to users on its card membership:

  • Ability to set individual spending limits on employee business cards
  • No annual fee
  • Relatively low spending mandate in order to get welcome offer after your account opening
  • No transfer or international transaction fees
  • Cash back offered regardless of category of purchase

Do I need an employer identification number to get a business credit card?

You do not necessarily need an employer identification number (EIN) in order to apply for a business credit card.

In most cases, you should be able to use your Social Security number, although this can depend on both your business structure and business credit card provider.