Brex Corporate Card Review 2020
The Brex corporate credit card cuts a unique figure in the world of business credit cards. It’s a credit card designed from the ground up to cater to startup companies. In fact, the card itself was created by a startup company.
Founded in 2018 by Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi, a pair of young Brazilian online payment entrepreneurs, Brex has attracted $57 million in funding from the likes of the Y Combinator Continuity Fund and Peter Thiel.
The idea for the Brex card came from the struggles Dubugras and Franceschi faced when trying to get a credit card to build their startup. Despite having money in the bank, they couldn’t get a credit card that didn’t require a personal guarantee. Accordingly, the Brex card is one of the very few business credit cards out there that doesn’t require a personal guarantee, ensuring that you won’t be held personally liable for any business debt. In fact, Brex doesn’t even check your credit score. So how does Brex go about assessing your credit-worthiness? Here’s what Brex says on the matter:
Brex has disrupted the conventional credit model. By rebuilding the technology from scratch, they’ve reimagined underwriting so it doesn’t require personal guarantees. Brex assesses companies based on factors that matter — like cash in the bank and activity in the business — and can avoid using the outdated, non-transparent, and potentially biased personal guaranteed approach.
The result is a business credit card that avoids putting the personal finances of entrepreneurs at risk at precisely the point at which they have the most to lose. Brex also touts its rapid approval process. Submit information about your company and link your corporate bank account, and you can get approved in minutes for a virtual card as you wait for your physical card to arrive. What’s more, you don’t even need to submit your social security number.
The Brex corporate card is a charge card. This means that your entire balance comes due on your statement date. You can’t carry any of your balance over to the following month. If you’re trying to decide whether or not a charge card is right for your business, read more about choosing between a charge card and a standard credit card.
Brex is not a business credit card for the mom-and-pop hardware store or the burger joint down the street. It was designed with tech startups in mind but can be used by any founder of an early-stage company with cash in the bank, significant cash flow, and high growth potential.
Let’s submit Brex to a closer examination.
Table of Contents
Brex Corporate Card At A Glance
Brex Corporate Card
N/A (this is a charge card)
As I said, Brex doesn’t even check your credit score when you apply for a card. However, your startup must either have at least $50,000 in the bank or make $50,000 per month in sales. According to the company, “Brex considers factors relevant to your business: your investors, your cash balance, and spending patterns, and sets your limit accordingly.”
Rewards For Spending
The key appeal of the Brex card is the extraordinary rewards rate you’ll get in spending categories tailored to appeal to startup founders.
Receive Credits & Discounts For Signing Up
One thing Brex does not offer at the moment is a traditional signup bonus, though Brex does partner with various startup-oriented businesses to offer credits and discounts to new cardholders. Such bonuses include a $5,000 credit with Amazon Web Services and a $150 Google Ads credit. According to Brex, the total value of these credits and discounts is over $25,000.
Earn Rewards If Brex Is Your Exclusive Corporate Card
The Brex card comes with some eye-popping points-earning on several startup-friendly spending categories. However, it’s important to note that you’ll only be eligible to earn points at these rates if you make Brex your exclusive corporate card. On the subject of the Brex Exclusive rewards program, Brex states the following:
A company with a Brex account in good standing that uses and commits to continue to use Brex corporate cards for all of its company-related card purchases may be permitted to participate in the Brex Exclusive rewards program. Companies that make purchases on behalf of third parties (such as purchasing a ride share for your customers) may not qualify for Brex Exclusive. Brex determines eligibility by using the information provided to Brex from the company and third-party providers.
If — and only if — you use Brex as your exclusive corporate card, you’ll get the following points bonuses:
7X Points Per $1 On Rideshare & Taxi Purchases
That’s not a typo. You’ll get 7 rewards points for every dollar spent on rideshare and taxi purchases. This rate exceeds just about any other business card’s maximum point-earning category.
The factor that truly gives Brex an edge in terms of rewards value, however, is the fact that there’s no cap on the number of points you can earn in these bonus categories and your points never expire. As your business grows and you spend more and more on these categories, the volume of points you accumulate will increase proportionately with your spending.
4X Points Per $1 On Travel Booked Through Brex Travel
Brex has its own travel portal, and if you use it to book your travel, you’ll be earning a sweet 4 points for every dollar spent. Travel purchases made outside this portal won’t fall under this points-earning scheme.
3X Points Per $1 On Restaurant Purchases
If your business schedule has you eating out with any frequency, this perk will have you earning points to the tune of three for every dollar spent on restaurant food. Not bad at all!
2X Points Per $1 On Software Subscriptions
Here’s another common startup expense on which you’ll be earning extra points. Earn two points for every dollar spent on software subscriptions when using the Brex corporate card.
Unlimited 1X Point Per $1 If Brex Is Not Your Exclusive Corporate Card
As you would expect, for any and all purchases not covered by the above categories, you’ll earn one point for every dollar spent. If Brex is not your exclusive corporate card, all your purchases will earn you an unlimited one point per dollar spent.
Brex corporate card users have two options when it comes to redeeming points.
Book Travel With Points
You can use your points to pay for flights, hotels, and Airbnb stays, so long as you book through Brex Travel. And if you’re a Brex Exclusive customer, you’ll get a 1:1 ratio when transferring points to travel loyalty program partners. These partners are:
- JetBlue — TrueBlue
- AeroMexico — Club Premier
- Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Star Alliance
- Air France KLM — Flying Blue
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Singapore Airlines — Krisflyer
Earn Rewards As Cash Back
You can also redeem your points as cash back or as a statement credit. Though this is to be expected with a credit card of this nature, this policy does allow you to take advantage of the flexibility provided by cash back if your business doesn’t have you doing a lot of traveling.
Rewards Don’t Expire
When you use the Brex card, your points will never expire, so you won’t have to watch the calendar when considering the most advantageous way to spend your points.
The Brex corporate card doesn’t come with quite the level of benefits of the typical higher-end business credit card, but what you do get is well-tailored to the needs of a startup.
Fraud Coverage & Alerts
You won’t be liable for unauthorized transactions as Brex keeps your account secure with 24/7 fraud monitoring. This kind of protection is to be expected with a corporate credit card, but it’s still good to see.
When traveling, you’ll get 24/7 concierge assistance throughout your entire trip. This is another feature commonly found in high-end business and corporate credit cards.
Account & Business Management
Brex provides expense management software into which your transaction data is automatically transferred. This software integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, NetSuite, and Expensify.
Five Free Employee Cards
When you sign up for a Brex card, you’ll get five employee cards at no additional cost. Each additional card will cost $5 per user per month. Considering the fact that many business credit card issuers offer unlimited free employee cards, this additional expense (which comes out to $60/year per employee card beyond the 5th card) can sneak up on you if you haven’t done your due diligence when applying.
Get Access To A Higher Credit Line
Unlike other business credit cards, Brex determines your credit limit by monitoring your business’s cash flow and spending patterns in real-time and setting your credit limit accordingly. Brex states that this results in credit limits that can be 10 to 20 times higher than the credit limits offered by competing cards. This means that as your business grows, your credit limit automatically increases — you won’t have to apply for a credit increase and wait to hear back from the company.
This also means that if your business depletes its cash reserves, your credit limit will be reduced until your business bank account is replenished. So while the Brex corporate card may not be the card to use for smoothing out cash flow problems, your ability to overspend is constrained.
Account Management Tools
The Brex app allows for easy expense tracking. Upload your receipts and Brex automatically matches them to your statement. You can also submit receipts via text and email.
Cardholders will get discounts on popular business services that, according to Brex, are worth over $25,000 in value and can be redeemed at any time. You’ll get $5,000 in Amazon Web Services credits, $150 in Google Ads credits, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Brex’s rewards page has the full rundown of companies providing discounts and credit vouchers.
Rates & Fees
Again, the Brex corporate card is a charge card. Since you can’t carry a balance from month to month, there is no APR.
No Annual Fee
There is no annual fee associated with the Brex corporate card. You won’t have to weigh your earned rewards against the cost of having the card — it’s all gravy.
Remember, however, that while the first five cards are free, each subsequent card incurs a $5 monthly fee — the equivalent of a $60 annual fee per card. If you have a lot of employees and you give them all cards, the costs will add up quickly.
No Foreign Transaction Fee
The Brex card carries no foreign transaction fee. Combine that with the generous points-earning for travel offered to Brex Exclusive members, and you’ve got the makings of a nifty business travel card.
Is The Brex Corporate Card Right For You?
The fact that the Brex corporate card is a charge card implies that the intended audience does not need a card to smooth out cash flow issues. This card is for ambitious startups with cash in the bank and the ability to pay off the card in full every 30 days. For founders of startups along these lines, the Brex card is an exceptional value. You’ll get rewards tailored to startups with no limits on the amount of spending that earns you a high rate of points, and best of all, you won’t be personally liable for your business debts, so your personal assets will be safe in the event your startup bites the dust.
While “disruption” has become something of a byword for clichéd tech-bro hubris, if ever there were an industry in dire need of shaking up, it’s the credit card industry. Making access to credit dependent on one’s FICO score isn’t simply iniquitous, it’s outdated and inefficient. Brex has come up with a new kind of corporate credit card that dispenses with many of the traditional practices of the industry — and that can only be a good thing. Shouldn’t your ability to get business credit depend on the strength of your business and not some imperious far-off credit bureau?
With scalable rewards that grow with your business and an ultra-quick approval process that can get you a virtual card within minutes without touching a hair on your credit score, the Brex corporate credit card is quite an attractive innovation for the startup founder prepared to take advantage of it. The $60/year charged for each employee card after the fifth card is a somewhat sneaky expense that larger startups will have to consider, though this should be a manageable expense for the sort of startup Brex is targeting.
You might want to apply if…
- You have a tech startup with high growth potential
- You have a great startup but a poor personal credit score
- Your business spending aligns with the card’s high points-earning categories
- You’re prepared to make the Brex card your exclusive corporate card
You might want to look for a different card if…
- You’re not prepared to make the Brex card your exclusive corporate card
- Your startup doesn’t meet the card’s cash balance and monthly profit requirements
- Your business spending doesn’t align with the card’s high points-earning categories
- You want to get free employee cards for more than five employees
Business Credit Card Rating Criteria.