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Best Business Charge Cards For 2021: Compare Offers, Rewards, & Rates

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

You may have heard the terms used interchangeably in casual conversation, but charge cards and credit cards aren’t the same things. While small businesses can make great use of both types of cards, charge cards come with a unique set of risks and rewards.

A credit card is a revolving line of credit. A bank extends you a credit line, and you can spend up to your limit, paying interest on any balance you carry beyond the first month. When you pay off your debt, the full line of credit becomes available to you once again.

A charge card, on the other hand, doesn’t come with a credit limit. Instead, it may have a limit that can vary month to month based on various factors ranging from your payment history to prevailing economic conditions. The catch? You need to pay off your entire balance every month. If you don’t, you’ll be hit with fees and interest rates that typically far exceed anything you’d see with a credit card. You will likely forfeit your reward points as well.

In some cases, you may be able to spread out your payment on certain purchases through programs such as American Express’s Pay Over Time option. Because they’re less likely to earn money on carried balances, charge card companies tend to have higher annual fees. What’s more, charge cards aren’t quite as widely accepted as credit cards, so it’s best to have another payment method as a backup. Read our article comparing credit cards and charge cards for a detailed comparison.

Does a charge card make sense for your business? Let’s look at some of our favorite options.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyHighlightsNext StepsHighlights
Brex Card

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  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: Up to 8X per $1 spent
  • Required Credit: No credit requirement
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: Up to 8X per $1 spent
  • Required Credit: No credit requirement

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American Express Platinum Card

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  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Rewards: Up to 10X per $1 spent
  • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Rewards: Up to 10X per $1 spent
  • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)

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American Express® Business Gold Card

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  • Annual Fee: $295
  • Rewards: Up to 4x per $1 spent
  • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)
  • Annual Fee: $295
  • Rewards: Up to 4x per $1 spent
  • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)

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American Express Plum Card

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  • Annual Fee: $250 after the first year
  • Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all spending you pay off within 10 days of your statement closing date
  • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)
  • Annual Fee: $250 after the first year
  • Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all spending you pay off within 10 days of your statement closing date
  • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)

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American Express Business Green Rewards

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  • Annual Fee: $95 after the first year
  • Rewards: 2x points on travel, 1x points on everything else
  • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)
  • Annual Fee: $95 after the first year
  • Rewards: 2x points on travel, 1x points on everything else
  • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Best Charge Cards For Small Businesses

Charge cards can confer many of the same perks and rewards to your business as traditional credit cards. Let’s examine some of the best charge card options available for small businesses.

1. Brex Card

Brex Card



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Brex Card



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Annual Fee:


$0

 

Purchase APR:


N/A (this is a charge card)

The Brex Card is a charge card that defies the credit card industry’s conventions in a number of ways. For one thing, Brex doesn’t even check your credit score when you apply. Instead, the company considers factors such as your cash balance, spending patterns, and investors when assessing your worthiness, making the card a good option for startups with plenty of cash but little or no credit history.

Another cool and unusual feature is that the card does not require a personal guarantee, so you won’t be held personally liable for your business debt. Furthermore, the Brex Card offers an exceptional rewards package geared toward common startup business needs, including a whopping 8x points on rideshare purchases if you make automatic daily card payments. For a charge card with no annual fee, the Brex Card packs quite the value punch.

Pros

  • No credit check
  • No personal guarantee
  • Earn 8x points on rideshare purchases when you make automatic daily payments

Cons

  • Only for businesses with high growth potential and lots of cash in the bank

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Read our in-depth review

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2. American Express Platinum

American Express Platinum Card



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Annual Fee:


 

Purchase APR:


Charge cards are in American Express’s wheelhouse, and its Platinum Card is one of the most well-known and prestigious charge cards around. With extremely generous reward tiers and a laundry list of benefits, it’s quite a powerful little piece of plastic for travelers. Of course, with an annual fee of $550, it had better be!

The Amex Platinum’s rewards program is weighted toward people on the go. The 5x reward tier offers an insane return on travel expenses as long as you can make them through Amex’s first-party system. However, with an astonishing 10x points-earning rate at US gas stations and supermarkets, the card rewards everyday spending handsomely as well. Points can be transferred to participating reward programs at variable rates. They can also be redeemed for statement credit as long as you have at least 1,000 points.

Pros

  • Earn 10x points at US gas stations and supermarkets and 5x points on travel
  • Get $200 in Uber credits annually
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • $550 annual fee
  • A low points-earning rate outside the main bonus categories

Jump back to comparison chart

3. American Express Business Gold Card

American Express® Business Gold Card



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American Express® Business Gold Card



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Annual Fee:


$295

 

Purchase APR:


15.24% - 23.24% (variable)

If the Platinum Card sounds too expensive and travel-focused, Amex also offers more general-purpose charge cards. The American Express Business Gold card may not come with the Platinum Card’s incredible 10x reward tier, but it’s cheaper and extends a 4x reward tier that fits your business spending profile. The 4x rewards apply to the two categories from the list below where your business spends the most each billing cycle:

  • Airfare purchases made directly with airlines
  • US advertising purchases made online, on TV, and on the radio
  • US computer hardware, software, and cloud system purchases from select tech providers
  • US gas station purchases
  • US restaurant purchases
  • US shipping purchases

Of course, the $295 annual price tag is still rather steep, so you’ll need to do quite a bit of business spending to realize the true value of the card.

Pros

  • 4x rewards that fit your business spending profile
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Book your flight with Amex Travel and get a 25% point refund

Cons

  • $295 annual fee
  • Lots of spending required to recoup the value of the annual fee

Read our in-depth review

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4. American Express Plum Card

American Express Plum Card



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American Express Plum Card



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Annual Fee:


$250 ($0 the first year)

 

Purchase APR:


N/A (this is a charge card)

The American Express Plum Card is a business charge card devoted to helping your business manage its cash flow rather than lavish rewards. The card’s pitch is simple: You get 60 days to pay off your balance with no interest. You’ll also earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on the portion of your balance that you pay within 10 days of your statement closing date.

With a $250 annual fee (waived for the first year) and a relatively low rewards rate, this Amex charge card isn’t for most businesses. However, the business that spends a lot and has to deal with an irregular cash flow may find the Plum Card to be a good tool for smoothing out its cash flow issues.

Pros

  • Carry a balance for 60 days with no interest
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on the portion of your balance you pay off within 10 days of your statement closing date

Cons

  • $250 annual fee after the first year
  • Low rewards rate compared to other Amex charge cards

Read our in-depth review

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5. American Express Business Green Rewards Card

American Express Business Green Rewards



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American Express Business Green Rewards



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Annual Fee:


$95 ($0 the first year)

 

Purchase APR:


18.24% (variable)

With a $95 annual fee that kicks in the second year, the American Express Business Green Rewards card is Amex’s low-cost business charge card. The Business Green Rewards card offers a simple rewards scheme: You’ll earn an unlimited 2x points on travel purchases made through Amex’s travel portal and 1x points on everything else.

The Business Green Rewards card is a decent option for business owners who make frequent domestic trips. However, the card’s 2.7% foreign transaction fee makes the card a poor fit for international travelers. And even though the card sports a competitive APR on purchases if you use the Pay Over Time program (making the card more of a traditional credit card than a charge card), most businesses should be able to find a charge card that has a better rewards program.

Pros

  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year
  • 2x points on travel booked through amextravel.com

Cons

  • The foreign transaction fee makes the card a poor fit for international travel
  • Other charge cards offer more lucrative rewards

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

Business Charge Cards: FAQs

Is a charge card worth it for small businesses?

If you’re able to pay off your card’s balance in full each month, your small business may benefit from the relaxed credit limits that are generally attached to business charge cards.

How do I pick a business charge card?

Before choosing a business charge card, analyze your business’s spending patterns so that you can pick the charge card with the rewards program that best fits your business. Make sure you spend enough money in the high points/cash back earning categories to more than offset the annual fee that most charge cards carry.

What qualifications do I have to meet to get a business charge card?

The credit qualifications you’ll have to meet to get a business charge card are similar to those of most business credit cards. You’ll need a credit score of at least 690 to qualify for most of them. One exception is the Brex Card, a business charge card with no credit score requirements whatsoever.

In Summary: Best Charge Cards For Small Businesses

  1. Brex Card:
    • Annual Fee: $0
    • Rewards: Up to 8X per $1 spent
    • Required Credit: No credit requirement
  2. American Express Platinum Card:
    • Annual Fee: $550
    • Rewards: Up to 10X per $1 spent
    • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)
  3. American Express® Business Gold Card:
    • Annual Fee: $295
    • Rewards: Up to 4x per $1 spent
    • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)
  4. American Express Plum Card:
    • Annual Fee: $250 after the first year
    • Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all spending you pay off within 10 days of your statement closing date
    • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)
  5. American Express Business Green Rewards:
    • Annual Fee: $95 after the first year
    • Rewards: 2x points on travel, 1x points on everything else
    • Required Credit: Good/Excellent (690-850)
Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer and cereal chef from San Diego. He graduated with a Political Science degree from San Diego State University in 2001. He's been writing about website builders, crowdfunding sites, online lenders, and credit cards for Merchant Maverick since 2015. Additionally, Jason can't eat raisins.
Jason Vissers
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