Top Small Business Credit Cards for Project Management Consultants
Depending on your business’s expenses and cash flow, you should be able to use the different reward systems strategically to maximize the benefit to your bottom line.
Note: In most cases, small business credit card applications are based on your personal credit score. Be sure to know if you qualify before you apply for a new card.
These are the top three cards available right now for project management consultants. If you know your credit isn't stellar, check out our Top 4 Cards For Building Credit.
Office Supply Rewards
Your consulting business likely requires a lot of office supplies — especially if you serve a large number of clients. An office supply rewards card can help you offset some of those costs because these cards offer a higher rate of cash back for office supply purchases than standard cash back cards. The more office supplies you buy with the card, the more rewards you can earn.
Some of these specialized business credit cards also offer cash back on other types of purchases beyond office supplies, depending on the lender. However, you can expect a lower rate of cash back than the rate offered for office supply purchases.
CHASE INK BUSINESS CASH
Ideal for: Businesses that don’t need a high spending limit and are looking for a robust rewards program.
You can earn 5% cash back, with a limit of $25,000 each membership year—not just on purchases at office supply stores, but also on internet, cable, and phone services.
Also note that you can redeem earnings for cash back, gift cards, and other rewards through Chase Ultimate Rewards. This program is an incredible value because it allows you to transfer points to a wide range of partners—so many, in fact, that it can become overwhelming to figure out the best way to redeem your points. But what a problem to have.
REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)
- Sign-up bonus of $500 cash after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months after opening your account
- 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months
- 5% cash back on office supplies, internet, cable, and phone service up to $25,000 per year, then 1%
- 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants up to $25,000 per year, then 1%
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Employee cards at no additional charge
- No annual fee
- 3% foreign transaction fee
- 5% or $5 balance transfer fee (whichever is greater per transaction)
- 5% or $15 cash advance fee (whichever is greater per transaction)
Airline Miles & Benefits
Project management consulting work often involves extensive travel. If you spend a lot of your annual budget on airline tickets and other travel-related expenses, you might benefit from airline miles and benefits cards. These cards offer airline miles for every purchase you make — and often extra miles for specific types of purchases — to help you offset some of your ongoing travel costs.
Many airline miles cards offer other travel benefits beyond miles, such as discounts on ticket purchases from specific airlines and discounts on hotel rooms. Choose your airline miles card carefully to ensure you can maximize your benefits based on your expected travel needs.
CAPITAL ONE SPARK MILES FOR BUSINESS
Ideal for: Business owners who don’t travel regularly and have a steady cash flow to pay their full balance each month.
Capital One offers an attractive package of rewards and benefits that helps you earn miles quickly and protects your business purchases. It also provides extremely flexible rules for redeeming miles across multiple travel categories, and your miles won’t expire while your account remains active. However, with high cash advance and penalty rates, you’ll need to be able to pay down your balance every month or risk incurring steep additional charges.
REWARDS AND BENEFITS (TERMS APPLY)
- One-time bonus of 50,000 miles—equal to $500 in travel—once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account
- Unlimited 2x miles per dollar spent on all purchases with no blackouts, seat restrictions, or minimum to redeem
- Zero fraud liability and automated fraud alerts via text, email, or phone
- Free employee cards
- Redeem miles on flights, hotels, and vacation packages—or transfer miles to one of Capital One’s 10+ travel partners
- Purchase protection for eligible items in the event of theft or damage within 90 days of purchase
- Free additional warranty protection on eligible purchases, up to one year past the manufacturer's warranty
- Visa SavingsEdge: Allows you to save up to 15% on eligible purchases at participating merchants (e.g., 12 percent off HyperOffice, a cloud collaboration service; 10% off Standard Legal, a do-it-yourself legal document service; and 5% off hotel rooms at La Quinta Inns & Suites)
- Downloadable purchase records
- Auto rental damage waiver
- Travel and emergency assistance services
- Waived annual fee for the first year, then $95
- No balance transfer fee
- No foreign transaction fee
- 3% or $10 cash advance fee (whichever is greater per transaction)
0% Introductory Rate
Credit cards that offer a zero annual percentage rate (APR) for an initial period of time can help you finance important purchases for your consulting business. You can use this type of card to make a major purchase and then wait to pay off the balance until you generate more revenue.
As long as you pay your balance before the end of your 0% introductory APR period, you’ll avoid paying interest on your purchases. Most of these cards feature a 12-month introductory period, but some offer a shorter or longer timeframe so pay attention to your card’s terms.
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 offer 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 is 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 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 of 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
- No annual fee
- No cash advance fee
- 3% or $5 balance transfer fee (whichever is greater per transaction)
- 2.7% foreign transaction fee
Cards For Multiple Uses
Most businesses start with one card that fits their largest need and transfer most or all of their expenses to that card. Once you get to a certain size, however, it may make sense to have different cards with specific rewards programs catering to the different types of expenses you have. Most larger businesses use multiple cards to optimize for rewards.
Remember, you aren't limited to just one credit card, just be careful not to overextend yourself for unnecessary purposes.
How to Qualify for Small Business Credit Cards
Unless your business has a positive credit history of its own, your eligibility will be based on your personal credit rating. If you have a new or existing business that has never had a credit card or loan before, it’s likely that your business has no credit history.
Since your personal credit will be measured when you apply for a business credit card, it’s wise to have a good idea of what your credit score is.
If you don’t know your credit score, check out our article: How To Find Your Credit Score.
Once you have your score you can make a decision on which card to apply for. If you have good, great, or excellent credit, then go for one of the cards at the top of this article! If your credit isn’t quite there yet, check out our article: What Business Credit Card Can I Get With My Credit Score?
The great thing about credit scores is that they can be improved over time! We have a great article on the Best Business Credit Cards To Build Credit.
A rejected credit application can have a negative effect on your credit score, so act with responsibility and make careful decisions when deciding to apply.
Recommended: Learn How to Build Business Credit to help establish your business's fundability, get lower interest rates on loans, higher lines of credit, and sign up for all of this in your business's name, instead of yours.
Why You Should Get A Small Business Credit Card
There are many reasons why a company would want to have a business credit card. Depending on the type of business you operate, the strategies you employ may be different than one another, but we will describe the basic benefits of small business credit cards.
Separates Personal And Business Expenses
No matter the size of your company, you should keep all of your business finances separate from your personal finances. This means paying any bills you have in the business from a business account and paying for all personal expenses from a personal account.
This separation accomplishes two main tasks:
- Simplified Accounting - Keeping your accounts separate will allow you to fully understand the numbers of your business. If you have personal dollars in a business bank account or vice versa, it will be more difficult to understand how much you are spending, how much your revenue is, and therefore, your bottom line.
- Prevents Commingling - Commingling funds is one of the most basic and damaging errors a small business can make. Separating your funds, along with operating your business in a structure such as an LLC, will create your corporate veil. A corporate veil works to keep your personal assets safe if your business is ever sued.
There should never be a reason to mix your business and personal money, even if you run a small sole-proprietorship. The risks are too great, and there are no benefits.
Before you get a small business credit card, if you haven’t opened a business checking account for your company, you should do that right now.
Smooths Inconsistent Cash Flow
Some businesses, such as those with long sales cycles, can often go a few months without revenue, then see a large spike when a sale is finalized.
While it’s exciting to see large numbers come in all at once, it can be stressful in the meantime to pay bills, salaries, and other expenses with little to no income.
Credit cards offer business owners the ability to spend money that they haven’t made yet, capitalizing on future sales right now.
While you absolutely need to be careful about spending money you don’t have, this is a method that businesses can use to keep the doors open between sales cycles.
Credit Card Rewards
There are two main types of business credit card rewards: cash back and travel rewards.
Cash Back Rewards
There are multiple ways a small business can get the most out of cash back rewards programs.
For each dollar that your small business spends with these credit cards, you can get some money back. Some cards even have higher rates for specific purchases.
For example, businesses that do a lot of road travel can maximize their driving costs with a card that offers cash back on gas purchases.
Other businesses may require a lot of office supplies and can find a cash back or points program that rewards them for these costs or others like telecommunications, advertising, shipping, and more.
Finally, most cash back cards offer a flat percentage rate back on general purchases.
On the other hand, businesses that fly to visit conferences, do on-site visits with clients, or any other activities that usually involve airline trips or hotel stays can benefit from general or brand-specific travel rewards.
These usually come in the form of points or mileage rewards, where for every dollar you spend, miles you fly, nights you stay, or any other qualifying action you take, you’ll get rewarded. These build up and can be spent on upgrades, free nights and flights, and more.
Finally, there are typically premium versions of these cards that cost more in terms of annual fees but have more luxurious rewards such as access to airport lounges, events, and activities most people wouldn’t have access to.