What Should I Look for When Choosing a Business Card?

If you’re a small business owner looking to streamline your expenses, opening a business card can give you benefits and spending flexibility.

Many business credit card companies offer rewards, special financing, and free employee cards that can make them crucial for your enterprise.

Since every business is unique, there are no one-size-fits-all cards. With the variety of cashback, points, miles, and other benefits to choose from, it can be challenging to know what to look for when choosing a business card. Yet, there are specific features you should consider when picking a card best suited for your needs.

Consider Added Benefits When Choosing a Business Card

When shopping around for a new business card, make sure you know the added benefits they carry beyond streamlining expenses and earning rewards.

Today’s business credit card companies are more competitive than ever. To gain you as a customer, they offer special financing offers, extended warranties, welcome bonuses, rewards, and more. 

Look Out for Special Financing Offers 

Many business credit card companies will offer a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) to get you in the door. The 0% rate generally lasts for the first six to 12 months but could be as long as 15 months. It typically only applies to purchases, not balance transfers.

Carrying a balance without incurring interest charges can allow you to make costly purchases like updated laptops, office furniture, or printers.

Examine the Card’s Insurance and Protection Options

Many business cards offer insurance and warranty coverage, including auto rental collision insurance, cell phone protection, travel insurance, and extended warranties. 

Compare Luxury Perks

High-end business cards can come with $400 annual fees or higher. Yet, they often offer perks that more than balance out that fee, including elite status at hotels or airlines, yearly airline fee credits, and lounge access.

Consider Your Costs When Choosing a Business Card

Card companies list their rates and fees and the terms for each on their websites. The following are the chief costs you should be aware of as you choose your business card.

Interest Rates

The business card issuer typically references your personal and business credit profiles to establish your interest rates. This means if your credit score is poor, you will pay a higher interest rate and may need to secure your card with collateral. Conversely, if you have excellent credit, your firm will be eligible for low interest rates. 

When checking a business card’s interest rates, look for:

  • Standard rates — This percentage rate is the typical amount you will pay while you have the card and are usually based on the prime rate
  • Cash advance rates — Business credit card companies often charge more for cash advances; therefore, these APRs will be higher than balance transfer and purchase rates. 
  • Balance transfer rates — A balance transfer happens when you move your debt from one card to another, typically one with lower interest rates. Your balance transfer APR is usually the same as your purchase APR, though it may come with an introductory 0% rate.
  • Penalty rates — This rate is crucial to take note of when choosing a business card. If you are late paying your bill, your standard APR may reset to the penalty rate. This APR is usually around 30% but can be higher.

Business Credit Card Fees

Returned payment and late fees are typically standard on business cards. Other card fees will vary depending on the company. Thoroughly examine the credit card’s terms prior to becoming a member so that you know which of the following fees apply in your case:

  • Returned payment fees — A returned payment fee occurs when you bounce a remittance due to an account closure, insufficient funds, or account freezes. Your card issuer could charge $25-$35 in fees for each return. The rate could be higher based on the number of times you have had returned payments.
  • Late fee — When your credit card payment is received by the card issuer after your due date or paid less than the minimum amount required, you may get hit with a late fee. The law limits the amount the late fee amount credit issuers can ask for, though it is usually the same as a returned payment fee. It can hit about $29 after the first-time offense and $40 repeat offenders.
  • Annual fee — Typical annual fees are usually about $100; however, high-end travel rewards cards can cost as much as $450 annually. A lot of issuers drop this fee the first year you have your card, and other companies may not charge it at all. If you have workers, some companies charge for each employee card, others charge for a fee for your firm and per card, and others only collect a single fee per business.
  • Foreign transaction fee — The foreign transaction fee charged for using your card in another country often costs about 3%. However, not all cards charge this fee.
  • Cash advance fee — A cash advance fee can be a percentage of the transaction, often 3-5%, or a flat fee per advance ranging from $5-$15, whichever amount is greater.
  • Balance transfer fee — A balance transfer fee usually costs about 3-5% of the total transfer amount, often with a minimum amount (about $5-$10).

Analyze Your Company’s Expenditures and Spending Habits

Review your business’s expenditures to assess your spending habits. Check your books from the last year to identify categories where you spend the most significant amount of money — for example, travel, dining, or marketing. 

After doing this, you can choose a business card that will furnish you with the most rewards for those purchases.


We're working on some pretty cool new pieces of content, including tools that will give you insight into your business finances.

Want to be the first to know when they launch?

Should You, or Should You Not? Review of PayPal Working Capital

PayPal Working Capital offers an alternative to other small business credit and loan options. Introduced to all PayPal users in 2014, this service has been developing traction among business owners in recent years — but is it a route worth exploring for your company’s financing needs?

The Best Small Business Loans for Women

According to a report commissioned last year by American Express, women own roughly 11.6 million U.S.-based businesses, amounting to nearly 9 million employees and more than $1.7 trillion in revenue.

Why is Working Capital Important?

  Working capital is a barometer of your firm’s short-term financial health and can affect inventory, funding, and business longevity. It is vital to keep track of your business’s working capital to ensure you or your financial team sustain operational efficiency and company health. You may not discuss working capital every day, but this financial […]

What You Need to Know About Business Loans

  Securing a loan to finance your small business can be a formidable task—especially if you are running a relatively new venture. It’s not as straightforward as preparing a business plan and walking into your neighborhood bank. Business loan complexity can be attributed to most lenders’ risk aversion. It’s easier for a banker to say […]