Brex Corporate Card For Startups Review
The Brex Corporate Card for Startups 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. 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based on factors that matter — such as cash in the bank and activity in the business — and can avoid using the outdated, non-transparent, and potentially biased personal guaranteed approach.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 when 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.
This Brex corporate card is a charge card. That means 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.
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Brex Corporate Card For Startups At A Glance
Brex Corporate Card for Startups
N/A (this is a charge card)
As I said above, Brex doesn’t even check your credit score when you apply for a card. However, your startup must have at least $100,000 in the bank. 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.
Rewards Option For Remote Work
In response to the remote work economy generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Brex has crafted an opt-in rewards scheme focused on rewarding companies that are having staff work from home. If you opt in to this program, you’ll see hefty bonuses for purchases made on collaboration tools and food delivery.
This new program’s bonus rates cover these categories:
- 7X points on collaboration tools (includes Zoom, Slack, GoToMeeting, Gong, and Monday.com)
- 3X points on food delivery (includes Caviar, DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Seamless)
- 2X points on recurring software
- 1X point on everything else
As Brex’s more traditional rewards scheme is geared toward rewarding travel and dining out, this retooled option could be a welcome sight for some companies. This new program is also one of the first rewards packages focused on remote work we’ve ever seen. Brex should additionally be commended for pivoting with the pandemic so quickly. It’s one of the only companies on the market that has introduced a reworked rewards offering during this unprecedented time.
In addition to the base reward rates for spending, Brex has bundled in some discounts focused on aiding remote workforces:
- 20% off an annual Zoom subscription
- 25% off 12 months of eligible Slack plans
- Three months of DoorDash discounts
- $100,000 in Amazon Web Services credit (if your company has raised at least $1 million at any point)
- 25% off a Monday.com annual subscription
Earn Elevated Rewards If Brex Is Your Exclusive Corporate Card
This 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 qualify for Brex’s exclusive program (and assuming you don’t opt into the above-mentioned remote work rewards program), you’ll get the following points bonuses:
7X Points Per $1 On Rideshare & Taxi Purchases
That’s not a typo. You’ll get seven 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 in 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 four 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.
1X Points Per $1 On Everything Else
You’ll snag the standard one point per dollar on all other purchases outside of the above bonus categories.
A Welcome Offer Worth Over $500
Upon signing up with Brex, you’ll receive 50,000 points and waived card fees for life. Brex values this signup bonus as being worth over $500.
Receive Credits & Discounts For Signing Up
In addition to the 50,000 point signup bonus, Brex cardholders can enjoy exclusive signup offers from various products and tools worth over $50,000 in value. Example bonuses here include discounts on Amazon Web Services, Google Ads, WeWork, and Salesforce.
According to Brex, some of the offers include:
- Amazon Web Services: $5,000 in credit over a year
- Google Ads: Up to $150 in credit
- WeWork: Up to 25% off list price for six months for any new US office space (based on availability)
- Indeed: $500 credit towards sponsoring jobs
- Snapchat: $1,500 in credits for ads
Unlimited 1X Point Per $1 If Brex Is Not Your Exclusive Corporate Card
If you don’t qualify for Brex’s exclusivity program, 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 Card for Startups 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 automatically transfers. 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 extra cost. Each additional card will cost $5 per user per month. Because many business credit card issuers offer unlimited free employee cards, this additional expense (which comes out to $60/year per employee card beyond the fifth 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.
It 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.
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 cards to all of them, 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 For Startups 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 was 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 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 access 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 of your credit score, the Brex corporate 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
The Merchant Maverick Seal of Approval 🏆
Brex Corporate Card for Startups
After hours of in-depth research and evaluation, we can confidently recommend this brand to our readers. Get started today and see Brex Corporate Card for Startups for yourself.