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The 11 Best Credit Cards For Startups & Small Businesses

Find the best credit cards for your startup, even with no credit history and no business history. We compare the top new business credit cards and rewards here.

    Jason Vissers
  • UPDATED

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.
best credit cards for startups

A business credit card can help you access the resources you need to grow and succeed as a startup. Having a business credit card for startups can smooth out your cash flow while your small business gets off the ground. But can you get a business credit card for startups?

The answer to that question is yes. Furthermore, having a business credit card can help you build your credit score and earn rewards for your business spending. Let’s take a look at some of the best business credit cards for startups, new businesses, and entrepreneurs.

11 Best Business Credit Cards For Startups At A Glance

  1. Brex Corporate Card: Best for cash back rewards.
  2. American Express Blue Business Cash: Best for low APR.
  3. Capital One Spark Classic: Best for fair credit.
  4. Chase Ink Business Cash: Best overall card for startups.
  5. Chase Ink Business Preferred: Best for a high bonus offer.
  6. Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card: Best for poor credit or no credit.
  7. SVP Innovators Card: Best for no annual fee.
  8. US Bank Business Platinum Card: Best for 0% interest rate.
  9. Capital On Tap Business Credit Card: Best for flat-rate rewards.
  10. Amazon Business Prime American Express Card: Best for spreading out payments.
  11. Ramp Corporate Card: Best for spend management.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyHighlightsNext StepsHighlights
Ramp

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Best for spend management.
Best for spend management.

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Brex

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Best for cash back rewards.
Best for cash back rewards.

Apply Now

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American Express Blue Business Cash

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Best for low APR.
Best for low APR.

Visit Site

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Spark Classic from Capital One

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Best for fair credit.
Best for fair credit.

Visit Site

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Chase Ink Business Cash

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Best overall card for startups.
Best overall card for startups.

Visit Site

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Chase Ink Business Preferred

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Best for high bonus offer.
Best for high bonus offer.

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Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card

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Best for poor credit or no credit.
Best for poor credit or no credit.

Visit Site

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Silicon Valley Bank

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Best for no annual fee.
Best for no annual fee.

Visit Site

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US Bank Business Credit Cards

Not Yet Rated

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Best for 0% intro rate.
Best for 0% intro rate.

Visit Site

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Capital On Tap

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Best for flat-rate rewards.
Best for flat-rate rewards.

Visit Site

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Amazon Business Prime American Express Card

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Best for spreading out payments.
Best for spreading out payments.

Visit Site

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Show Fewer Options

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

1. Best For Spend Management: Ramp Corporate Card

Ramp



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Pros

  • No annual fee (nor any other fees)
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back
  • A unique algorithm-driven savings program helps you cut costs
  • Free physical and digital cards for employees

Cons

  • No mobile app
  • High cash-on-hand requirements

The Ramp corporate card offers a very straightforward cash back rewards scheme. You’ll get 1.5% cash back for all purchases, which is excellent for a corporate card. Startups and small businesses with varied spending stand to benefit from this rewards program.

Beyond the 1.5% cash back, Ramp offers some generous partner rewards and savings worth over $175K in total. Highlights here include preferred access to AWS credits and $50,000 in Segment Credits.

Ramp’s most unique benefit is its algorithm-driven savings insights. Ramp digs into your company’s spending history and determines areas where you can cut costs and save money. For example, you might have an insight that suggests consolidating duplicate Dropbox subscriptions purchased by different departments within your company.

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2. Best For Cash Back Rewards: Brex Corporate Card

Brex



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Pros

  • Earn up to 8x points
  • Valuable partner discounts
  • Travel rewards
  • No cap on points
  • No personal credit check or guarantee

Cons

  • Not available to all business types
  • High cash-on-hand requirements
  • Points earned depend on your repayment rate

The Brex Corporate Card is the best small business credit card for rewards, with up to 8x points possible.

The rate you’ll earn depends on two factors: the spending category purchases fall into and what payment terms you choose. You can earn up to 8x points for ridesharing apps and taxis, 5x on travel, 4x at restaurants, 3x on recurring software purchases and Apple products, and 1x on everything else. To earn those rates, you’ll need to pay off your card daily, however.

Points can be redeemed for statement credit, gift cards, or travel. Additionally, the Brex card is available only to businesses classified as C-Corps, S-Corps, LLCs, and LLPs, and to qualify you must have $50,000 in managed accounts or $100,000 cash on hand.

Brex also offers exclusive signups on various products and tools that should appeal to small business startups, including QuickBooks, Amazon Web Services, Apple, Gusto, Slack, and more. Brex users also gain access to spend management tools that let you issue employee cards, match receipts, and track spending. A companion product to this business credit card for startups, Brex Cash, offers business banking services in the form of an FDIC-insured business checking account with free ACH and wire transfers and no minimum balance requirements.

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3. Best For Low APR: American Express Blue Business Cash

American Express Blue Business Cash



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American Express Blue Business Cash



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Annual Fee:


$0

 

Purchase APR:


14.24% - 20.24% (variable)

Pros

  • 0% APR on purchases
  • $250 welcome offer
  • No annual fee
  • 2% cash back on first $50K in purchases

Cons

  • APR jumps after 12 months
  • No travel rewards

The best credit cards for startups allow users to carry a balance as they grow their business, and the American Express Blue Business Cash Card is the best business credit card for a low APR. For the first 12 months, you’ll pay no interest on purchases. After that time, the APR climbs to a variable rate between 13.49% and 21.49%. If circumstances force you to carry a balance while your business gets on its feet, this credit card can deliver significant savings with its 0% introductory rate.

The savings continue with an impressive welcome offer of $250 cash back in the form of a statement credit when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. And that’s not all. You’ll earn ongoing rewards of 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in eligible purchases in travel and shopping categories each year. After that cap, your earnings rate drops to a still-respectable 1%.

Cash back is automatically credited to your account. And you’ll pay $0 in annual fees to use this card.

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4. Best For Fair Credit: Capital One Spark Classic

Spark Classic from Capital One



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Capital One Spark 1% Classic



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Annual Fee:


$0

 

Purchase APR:


26.99% (variable)

Pros

  • Available to users with less-than-perfect credit
  • Unlimited 1% cash back
  • $0 annual fee
  • Free employee cards with customizable spend limits

Cons

  • Limited rewards
  • High APR

Capital One Spark Classic is the best business credit card for startups and entrepreneurs trying to meet their goals while dealing with average credit. And although the Spark Classic For Business Card doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles, there’s a lot to like here, including a $0 annual fee, unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase, with no limits or restrictions, and a chance to build and strengthen your business credit rating.

While the rewards rate is not the best we’ve seen, it’s reasonable and better than you might expect with only a fair credit rating. Redeem your card rewards in the form of a statement credit or a check. There’s no minimum to redeem, and your points won’t expire as long as your account is active. Keep in mind that this card carries a high APR, currently at 27.24%, so this is not a card you want to use to carry a balance.

Get Started With Spark Classic from Capital One

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5. Best Overall Card For Startups: Chase Ink Business Cash

Chase Ink Business Cash



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Chase Ink Business Cash



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Annual Fee:


$0

 

Purchase APR:


13.24% - 19.24% (variable)

Pros

  • $750 welcome bonus
  • 5% cash back in select categories
  • 0% introductory APR
  • $0 annual fee

Cons

  • APR jumps after 12 months
  • Top cash-back offer applies to limited categories

We consider Chase Ink Business Cash the best overall business credit card for startups because it offers the best combination of key factors: a generous welcome offer, an introductory 0% APR, a good rate of rewards, and no annual fee. All in all, it’s hard to find a card that’s better tailored to the needs of startups better than Ink Business Cash.

Startup businesses building up a young company will benefit from this card’s offer of 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services each year. No other business card offers such a high level of cash back for the spending necessary to build your office.

You’ll also earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants and 1% cash back on everything else. You can redeem your cash back for statement credits, travel, and more via Chase Ultimate Rewards. To earn the $750 cash back bonus, you’ll need to spend $7,500 on purchases in the first three months of using the card. And if your startup needs to carry a balance for a time, while you work to bring your business into the black, you’ll especially appreciate the 12 months of 0% APR.

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6. Best For High Bonus Offer: Chase Ink Business Preferred

Chase Ink Business Preferred



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Chase Ink Business Preferred



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Annual Fee:


$95

 

Purchase APR:


15.99% – 20.99% (variable)

Pros

  • Earn 1x-3x points on purchases
  • 100,000 bonus points welcome offer
  • Points do not expire
  • Employee cards available

Cons

  • 3x points limited to $150K in purchases
  • $95 annual fee

Chase Ink Business Preferred is one of the best credit cards for startups because of its high bonus offer. You’ll start with 100,000 bonus points when you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months, and you’ll continue to earn up to 3x bonus points on the first $150,000 you spend on shipping and other business expenses like social media advertising; internet, cable, and phone services; and travel. All other purchases earn one point per $1 you spend, and they never expire as long as your account stays open.

Because your points will be worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards if your startup requires travel this card piles on added benefits. Redeem points at a 1:1 value with multiple airlines and hotel partners or redeem them for cash back or gift cards.

This card does carry a $95 annual fee, which you should be able to account for with points earned.

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7. Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card: Best Secured Card For Bad Credit

Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card



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Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card



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Annual Fee:


$25 per card

 

Purchase APR:


Prime + 11.90%

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Bonus offer of $300 cash or 30,000 points
  • 1.5% cash back on qualifying purchases
  • 0% APR for 9 months

Cons

  • Security deposit required
  • Credit line max of $25K

As hard as it is to access startup capital when you’ve got average credit, it’s even worse when you’ve got bad credit or no credit history at all. That’s where secured business cards come in, and the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card is one of the best credit cards for startups with poor credit or no credit.

With its flexible rewards scheme that lets you choose miles or cash back, you can get the most from your spending while also building a solid credit history for your startup.

Use your purchases to earn 1.5% for every dollar you spend with the Wells Fargo Business Secured Card or choose to earn one point per dollar spent, with a 1,000-point bonus each billing period you spend $1,000 or more. You can start using the card after you make a security deposit of between $500 and $25,000. That deposit becomes your credit limit.

It’s not ideal, but if you’re building a business when you don’t have a dependable credit history, this gives you a chance to get your business up and running while you build the credit you’ll need down the line.

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8. Best For No Annual Fee: SVB Innovators Card

Silicon Valley Bank



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Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Free employee cards
  • Credit limit scales with your business growth
  • Earn 2x points

Cons

  • Cannot carry balance
  • High fee for late payments

If you’re ready to save money by avoiding recurring payments, Silicon Valley Bank’s Innovators Card is one of the best credit cards for startups, with no annual fee to worry about. And, because it’s aimed squarely at startups, you won’t need to worry about demonstrating a long and detailed credit history.

The Innovators Card is not a true credit card, because you won’t be allowed to carry a balance, and you can expect a late fee of up to 2.5% of your balance if you don’t pay on time. You’ll probably start with a low credit limit, but you can reasonably expect to see your credit limit grow with your business over time.

You won’t face any additional fees as your business grows and you want to add cards for your employees. No matter how many cards you use, they’ll accrue two bonus points into a common pool for every dollar spent. Redeem those points for statement credit, gift cards, travel, and merchandise. Because the rewards have a limited selection, you’ll probably want to choose the statement credit for now.

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9. Best For 0% Intro Rate: US Bank Business Platinum Card

US Bank Business Credit Cards



Not Yet Rated

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US Bank Business Credit Cards



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Not Yet Rated

Annual Fee:


 

Purchase APR:


Pros

  • 0% intro APR for 20 months
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • No rewards

As one of the best credit cards for startups with 0% intro rates, US Bank’s Business Platinum Card is hard to beat. You’ll enjoy a full 20 billing cycles of 0% interest with this card, on new purchases and on balance transfers. That’s 20 months of no interest, something that should appeal to new business owners who may be seeing more money going out of their bank accounts than coming in while they develop products, refind their business model, and build their customer base.

That enticing APR is certainly appealing, and you can use this card with no annual fee. If you’re transferring any existing balances, you can expect to pay 3% of the balance as a transfer fee, though you likely will make that amount back with the 0% interest.

After 20 months, the ARP will to 12.24%-21.24%, depending on your creditworthiness when you opened your account. If you make payments late, exceed your credit limit, or earn other penalties, you can expect an APR of 29.99% if you carry a balance after the introductory period. What you can’t expect with this card: any cash back or rewards points you can use for statement credit, gift cards, or travel benefits.

Get Started With US Bank Business Credit Cards

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10. Best For Flat-Rate Rewards: Capital On Tap Business Credit Card

Capital On Tap



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Pros

  • Quick application
  • No hard pull on your credit for applying
  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back
  • $200 welcome offer

Cons

  • Requires $30K in annual revenue for approval
  • APR as high as 34.99%

One of the best credit cards for startups is also the best for flat-rate rewards: Capital on Tap Business credit card offers a straight 1.5% cash back on every purchase made with the card. While it’s not the highest rewards rate we’ve seen, it’s definitely one of the easiest to keep track of.

And if you’re busy getting your business off the ground, you might not have time to think about which spending categories deliver the highest rate so you can maximize your rewards. This card takes the guesswork out and delivers a respectable rewards rate as you fund your growing business.

The Capital on Tap credit card comes with free cards for everyone in your company to use, spend management tools, integrations with accounting software, and a $200 bonus if you spend $15K in your first three months. While there’s no annual fee to worry about, you will need to consider your creditworthiness as you apply for this card.

If you plan to carry a balance, you’ll face an APR ranging from 9.99% to 34.99%. In other words, you’ll probably not want to carry a balance for long.

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11. Best For Spreading Out Payments: Amazon Business Prime American Express Card

Amazon Business Prime American Express Card



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Amazon Business Prime American Express Card



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Annual Fee:


$0

 

Purchase APR:


14.49% - 22.49% (variable)

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Cash back rewards of 1%-5%
  • $125 welcome offer
  • Free cards for employees

Cons

  • Amazon Prime membership required
  • Rewards are Amazon specific

Amazon Business Prime American Express Card is one of the best credit cards for business owners who don’t intend to carry a balance but just want a little extra time to pay off purchases. The catch, as you might guess from the name, is that you can only do that with purchases from Amazon.com, Amazon Web Services, or Whole Foods Market.

If you choose this option, you can take 90 days to pay off those purchases. Or, if you prefer, you can choose to earn 5% cash back on those purchases instead of the extra time to pay. Whichever you choose, you’ll also earn cash back on non-Amazon purchases, with unlimited 2% cash back on what you buy from restaurants, gas stations, and wireless phone services. All your other purchases will earn unlimited 1% cash back. Points never expire and can be redeemed for statement credit.

When you sign up for this business credit card, you’ll receive a $125 Amazon gift card. Keep in mind that you’ll need to maintain an Amazon Prime membership ($60-$139/year) to be eligible for this card. If you’re someone who already shops at Amazon frequently or uses Amazon Business or Amazon Web Services, this card could be a cost-effective choice for your small business. And, with the option of taking 90 days to pay off purchases, with no interest charges to worry about, this card could deliver the financial flexibility your growing business needs.

Get Started With Amazon Business Prime American Express Card

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How Do You Get Business Credit Cards For Startups?

Now you’ve learned a bit about the best small business credit cards. If you’re ready to apply for a startup business credit card, you may be asking, “How do you get business credit cards for startups?” Without a long credit history, you could feel hesitant to apply for a business credit card. But you don’t necessarily need a lengthy business history and sterling credit. Let’s take a look at what you do need.

What You Need To Apply For A Business Credit Card

Here are some of the things you’ll need to have when you’re ready to apply for a business credit card:

  • Business Name
  • Tax Identification Number: If you’re a freelancer or the sole proprietor of your small business, this could be your Social Security number. If your business structure is more complex or developed, you may have an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  • Business Type: Is your business a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation, or an LLC? You may need to be prepared to show the legal documents related to your business structure.
  • Business Type: What are you selling? You’ll most likely be asked to share at least a broad category for your business, such as designing apps, retail clothing sales, or landscaping, for example.
  • Your Role: Are you the owner or a partner? Who else is involved in running the business? Be prepared to show personal identification and to prove your status as a decisionmaker for the business.
  • Business Information: You’ll need to provide your business’s physical address and a phone number. 
  • Business Size: Be prepared to discuss the number of employees working at your business and your annual business revenue and expenses. Don’t worry if you’re the only employee or if your business is brand new, with $0 in sales so far. Be honest. Your answers may affect how your application is processed and how much credit you’ll be given.
  • Your Personal Credit Score: If your business doesn’t have an established credit history of its own, your personal credit score may be all that credit card companies have to evaluate your application.

Remember, even though you’re applying for a business credit card: if your business is brand new your chances of getting approved will depend to a significant degree on your personal credit. Most of the cards on this list will expect your application to include a personal guarantee that makes you legally responsible for the debt your business may incur.

FAQs: Business Credit Cards For Startups

Can you get a business credit card at startup?

You can get a business credit card for a startup business, even if you don’t have an established business credit history or established sales revenue. Credit card companies will most likely evaluate your application based on your personal credit history. Card options are available for applicants with credit ratings from fair to excellent, and if your credit is poor or nonexistent you should be able to get a secured business credit card that will allow you to improve your credit score.

What is the fastest way to get business credit for an LLC?

The fastest way to get business credit for a startup is to research the business credit card options available to you and then apply for one. You can improve your odds of success by knowing your personal credit score and applying for cards that accept applicants with scores in your range. Applying for cards you’re unlikely to be approved for can negatively impact your credit score, so be sure you know the application requirements before you apply.

Can you get a business credit card with bad personal credit?

You can get a business credit card with bad personal credit if you apply for the right kind of card. There are cards available with no credit check, and cards aimed at applicants with poor or no credit record. You can also look into a secured business credit card, like the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card.

What credit score is needed for a small-business credit card?

Small business credit cards are available to applicants with the full range of credit scores, from Excellent to nonexistent. The key is to know the requirements for any particular card before you apply. You don’t have to let your own poor credit history or your lack of credit limit your business options.

Before Choosing A Business Credit Card

Having a business credit card for your new business can help smooth your startup operations. While access to credit can be a bad thing if you rely on it too much, or use credit to overextend financially, it can also help your new small business. If you’re careful, though, a business credit card for startups can help you manage your business expenses and set you up for greater success.

It’s hard to know which business credit card will be the right choice for your startup. If your business doesn’t have a history or credit record of its own, you may want to choose from the best no credit check credit cards. Because your personal credit history will be a factor, if you’ve got a good credit score you may be able to find a better card for your business among these best credit cards for business owners with good credit.

Don’t overlook the rewards you can gain by using a business credit card. We’ve put together a list of the best rewards business credit cards. From cash back to travel rewards, you stand to gain valuable benefits for your startup when you use one of these cards. If you don’t see a card that looks right for you, you can reset your search by browsing our list of the best overall business credit cards.

In Summary: Best Business Credit Cards For Startups

  1. Ramp: Best for spend management.
  2. Brex : Best for cash back rewards.
  3. American Express Blue Business Cash: Best for low APR.
  4. Spark Classic from Capital One: Best for fair credit.
  5. Chase Ink Business Cash: Best overall card for startups.
  6. Chase Ink Business Preferred: Best for high bonus offer.
  7. Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card: Best for poor credit or no credit.
  8. Silicon Valley Bank: Best for no annual fee.
  9. US Bank Business Credit Cards: Best for 0% intro rate.
  10. Capital On Tap: Best for flat-rate rewards.
  11. Amazon Business Prime American Express Card: Best for spreading out payments.
Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
Jason Vissers has been researching, analyzing, and writing about small business software and finance since 2015. His financial expertise has been cited in numerous publications, including The Ladders. Jason graduated with a Political Science degree from San Diego State University in 2001.
Jason Vissers
View Jason Vissers's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

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