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4 BEST SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT CARDS FOR FINANCING YOUR BUSINESS

Ask most people what they love about their credit cards, and they’ll probably say rewards for free travel and cash back. Ask them what they hate about their credit cards, and they’ll say the steep interest rates.

Yet many smart small business owners see it differently. While rewards are nice and certainly worth collecting, it’s the promise of interest-free loans that they value the most. A handful of small business credit cards also come with introductory offers featuring 0% APR.

That means a fledgling small business can essentially borrow money and pay nothing for a year or more. Hopefully, by then the business is humming along, and the owner can pay off the charges in full. Otherwise, they’ll face steep interest rates on the balances.

To some, it can be a dangerous game. But for those who play it well, using small business credit cards in this way can help them launch their enterprise on a good course.


1. AMERICAN EXPRESS BLUE BUSINESS PLUS

Ideal for: New business owners, and those with irregular cash flow, who don’t travel overseas.

This card’s 0% intro APR offers lasts 12 months, one of the longest on this list. That makes it an ideal card for brand-new businesses and those whose cash flow is temporarily unpredictable.

What is predictable: If you use this card overseas, you’ll pay an extra 2.7% foreign transaction fee, which assesses a surcharge if your purchase passes through a foreign bank. Unlike, say, annual fees that are often offset with upgraded rewards and benefits, you get nothing but the unnecessary fee for your trouble. If you travel out of the country for business, this isn’t the card you should use.

REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)

  • 0% intro APR for 12 months.
  • 2x points per dollar spent on the first $50,000 for every calendar year.
  • 2x points on business purchases like office supplies and client dinners.
  • 1x point per dollar spent after that.
  • Spend Manager: American Express mobile app. Helps add receipts and notes to transactions.
  • Get up to 99 employee cards for free.

  • Spend beyond your credit limit.
  • Exclusive access to ticket pre-sales and cardmember only events in your city.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: Provides two-day shipping at participating retailers.
  • American Express personal loans: Apply for a pre-approved loan of $3,500 to $25,000.
  • Access to Quickbooks to label and transfer your transaction data from American Express.

FEES

  • No annual fee.
  • No cash advance fee.
  • 3% or $5 balance transfer fee (whichever is greater per transaction).
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

2. US BANK BUSINESS PLATINUM

Ideal for: Business owners who value an interest-free loan during the first year above all else.

You get 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 12 months after opening the account. But this card doesn’t offer rewards. Still, if you need a year of zero APR and want to roll over previous charges to also take advantage of the zero percent, this card is tailor-made for you.

REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)

  • Free employee cards.
  • Zero fraud liability.
  • Earn up to $550 cash back in the first year: $150 bonus after spending $500 in purchases within the first 90 days, and 5% cash back on the first $2,000 in purchases on two categories you choose. $100 per quarter makes $400 cash back per year.

FEES

  • No annual fee
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 5% cash advance fee
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Learn more about the US Bank Business Platinum Card on their website.

3. AMERICAN EXPRESS PLUM

Ideal for: Business owners who seek maximum flexibility, especially if their cash flow toggles between feast and famine. They also have to tolerate a hefty annual fee.

Plum is unlike any other card on this list. First, it’s a charge card, which usually means you must pay off your balance each month—except you can defer payment interest-free for 60 days. This helps small business owners with short-term cash flow issues. The ability to make purchases and pay vendors while not suffering from a late penalty can free up breathing room until the cash comes in.

Second, Plum has a novel way of earning rewards: If you do the opposite of what we just said and pay your bill early, you get a discount. To earn this perk, you must pay off your balance on the card within 10 days of the closing of your billing cycle. Do that, and you automatically earn a 1.5% discount. It shows up as a statement credit that will be applied to your bill the following month.

The downside to this card? A unique annual fee. It’s $250, the only annual fee on this list, and higher than many other small business credit cards that, if they insist on this fee, usually comes in around $95.

REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)

  • Early Pay Discount has no limit on the number of rewards you can earn.
  • Spending limit grows with your business.
  • Free employee cards, which all receive the Early Pay Discount.
  • Purchase protection for 120 days if anything is lost or stolen.
  • Extended warranty up to two years added to a manufacturing one.

FEES

  • Waived annual fee for the first year, then $250.
  • No balance transfer fee.
  • No cash advance fee.
  • No foreign transaction fee.

4. CAPITAL ONE SPARK CASH SELECT FOR BUSINESS

Ideal for: Businesses with a variety of moderate expenses spread over many categories.

With a 0% intro APR for 9 months, no annual fee, and no special bonuses, this might not seem like a desirable card. But this simplicity is its attraction. You earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which means you don’t have to spend time fretting about spending caps or category bonuses.

Sure, you’re trading off a longer 0% intro APR term and some heftier rewards percentages, but you’re getting a solid card without any distractions from your core business.

REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)

  • $200 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months.
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no cap on rewards.
  • Free employee cards.
  • Auto rental damage waiver.

FEES

  • No annual fee.
  • No balance transfer fee.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • 3% or $10 cash advance fee (whichever is greater per transaction).

USING THESE CARDS WISELY

It bears repeating that credit cards can help you launch a small business by offering interest-free loans and helpful rewardsor they can crush you under steep interest rates. They’re not a replacement for sound financial practices and well-capitalized pursuits.

Instead, they’re powerful tools for covering that inevitable gap between marketable concept and bankable profits. Best of all, these cards are configured in slightly different ways, so you can choose the one that will serve you best right now—and swap it out when your needs change later.

 

Editorial disclaimer: The content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All opinions expressed here are the author's alone.

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