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What Are The Best Small Business Credit Cards of 2018?

We evaluated 45 business credit cards to determine the best one for different types of needs. Our analysis concluded that most small business owners will be best off getting the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business. The card provides a solid 2% cash back on all purchases, and saves busy entrepreneurs time in managing different reward categories. We recognize that businesses can have specific needs, so we've named winners that may yield better results in other popular categories.

Recommended Cards

Best ForCredit NeededAnnual Fee
Capital One® Spark® Cash for BusinessOverall Best ChoiceExcellent/Good$95 ($0 first year)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American ExpressTravelExcellent$95 ($0 first year)
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardBalance TransferExcellent$0
Business Secured Credit CardBad CreditPoor/Bad$25

Recommended Cards

Best ForAnnual Fee
Capital One® Spark® Cash for BusinessOverall Best Choice$95 ($0 first year)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American ExpressTravel$95 ($0 first year)
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardBalance Transfer$0
Business Secured Credit CardBad Credit$25

Entrepreneurs wishing to learn about our rationale for picking these cards should check out our detailed reviews below. These write ups will show you how to best use these cards to benefit your business. Additionally, we recommend trying out our business card comparison tool - the only available one online - to quickly see the relative value of different cards based on your expenditures.

Table of Contents

In-Depth Reviews of the Best Business Credit Cards

Our team of researchers spent hours modeling business credit cards, reading their terms and conditions and pouring over user reviews -- all so you don't have to. This section provides an executive summary of why these cards offer superior value, and how you can leverage them for your business.

Best Overall Choice: Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase APR
18.74% (Variable)
Credit Needed Excellent, Good
Details
  • Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend
Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One and is not part of our independent analysis.

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is the best credit card for business owners who want high cash back rewards with a simple structure. This will be the most effective card, as it essentially gives entrepreneurs a 2% discount on all purchases with no limits or restrictions. While there are higher rewards rates that can be achieved using different cards, most of them have spending caps or restrict spending to certain categories. Small business owners who are busy and generally don't want to jump through hoops will appreciate the simplicity of this card.

The card has a $95 annual fee, but small companies with more than $19,000 in expenses every year will earn enough cash back to offset the fee and then some. Businesses that spend below that amount will get better results with the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business. This card offers a less impressive 1.5% cash back rate on all purchases, but at the same time doesn't charge an annual fee.

Runner Up: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Annual Fee
$0
Purchase APR
13.99% - 20.99% Variable
Credit Needed Excellent Credit
Details
  • Special offer: save on interest with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; after that your APR will be a variable rate, currently 13.99% - 20.99%
  • No annual fee
  • Reinvest in your business with automatic cash back in the form of a monthly statement credit. Plus take control by choosing the 3% category that best fits your business
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $50,000 spent at wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores.
  • Earn 3% cash back on the first $50,000 spent in the category of your choice from a list of eight and 1% cash back on other purchases
  • With Expanded Buying Power you can spend beyond your credit limit* to make bigger purchases for your business plus earn cash back on those purchases too
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors
  • Terms apply
  • See Rates & Fees

The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express offers one of the most unique features we've ever seen on a business card: it allows cardholders to choose among a set of categories to earn 3% cash back for on purchases. Not only is it a rare feature, but it can be highly valuable since you can maximize rewards by tailoring the bonus to your most common business expenses. The number of categories you can select from is broad, including airfare, hotel rooms, and advertising. Furthermore, categories small businesses likely already spend money on, like office supplies and wireless phone services, earn 5% cash back.

Another reason that this card is great for owners and managers is that you can make purchases beyond your credit limit. The amount you'll be able to spend above your limit will be based on your payment history, credit record and financial resources. This is a great benefit to small businesses who consistently pay their credit card bill on time and need some financial wiggle room for capital expenditure or to launch a new office.

Best Small Business Credit Card for Travel: Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
Purchase APR
17.49% - 26.49% Variable
Credit Needed Excellent Credit
Details
  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 10/31/2018.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at over 6,500 participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels across 110 countries worldwide.
  • Earn 4 points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping. Earn 2 points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary Silver Elite status with your Card.
  • Plus, spend $35,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and earn an upgrade to Gold Elite status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases and $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees

Small businesses that travel often should opt for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express because it offers an industry leading 5.4% rewards rate on hotel stays at Starwood properties, like the St. Regis, Sheraton and Westin. As a business owner you'll be glad to know that you have the option to use your points to save money on flights to visit clients or hotel nights on the road. That's because points can be converted to over 30 frequent flyer programs typically at a 1:1 rate. You'll earn a great 1.8% rewards rate on all other company expenses too.

The card has a $95 annual fee that's waived for the first year, but it's well worth it considering your business will get access to a few perks from American Express. For instance, you'll be able to designate an account manager who can pay your credit card bill and monitor spending. This is a great feature as it allows you to delegate some of your responsibilities as a business owner. Furthermore, you'll be able to order cards for your employees at no additional cost. Anytime your employees use the cards you'll earn points as if you swiped the card yourself.

Best Small Business Card for a 0% Intro APR Offer: Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Annual Fee
$0
Purchase APR
14.99% - 20.99% Variable
Credit Needed Excellent Credit
Details
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Named "Best Rewards Card for Small Business Owners" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2017
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee

The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is our top pick for small companies who want cheap short term financing, or more time to pay off existing debt. It's an excellent card that combines both a long 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers with cash back rewards. Cash back rewards aren't common among even the most attractive low-interest business credit cards. To sweeten the pot, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card offers an excellent 5% cash back on the first $25,000 of combined spending in certain categories, including small business musts like office supply stores and phone services. The card is also ideal for companies that need to wine and dine their clients since it offers 2% cash back on the first $25,000 of purchases at restaurants and gas stations.

Small businesses that are strapped for cash will be glad to hear that the card doesn't carry an annual fee. Furthermore, the spending requirement to receive the sign-up bonus is attainable for most businesses. Your small business will earn $500 cash back as long as you're able to spend $3,000 on the card within 3 months of opening an account. Most other business cards without an annual fee don't have a sign-up bonus.

Best Small Business Credit Card for Bad Credit: Business Secured Credit Card

Business Secured Credit Card
Annual Fee
$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $25
Purchase APR
11.9%
Credit Needed Poor
Details
  • $500 to $25,000 credit line
  • Good for Establishing or rebuilding business credit with Wells Fargo
  • Up to 10 employee cards
  • Spending reports available online
  • $25 annual fee per card
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Zero liability protection

The Business Secured Credit Card is the leading card for businesses with bad credit because it's easy to qualify for and it offers a rare 1.5% cash back. There are very few small business credit cards tailored to companies with bad credit, and of those, only a handful offer rewards - the Business Secured Credit Card has the most lucrative cash back you can earn. In order to get the card your business will have to make a security deposit, which can be as low as $500. The low deposit amount is ideal for businesses who don't want to keep a large amount of money tied up in an illiquid account.

The Business Secured Credit Card has a small $25 annual fee, but it offers various perks that make it worth applying for. For instance, cardholders have the option to opt for points in lieu of cash back. Points translate into a 1% rewards rate, but they can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, and airline tickets that your firm can use. While these aren't massive business rewards, not many secured cards offer rewards at all. The only downside to the card is that you're only able to get up to 10 employee cards.

Credit Card Comparison Tool

Entrepreneurs and small business owners who are looking for small business credit card recommendations or want to compare cards quickly can use our tool below. By clicking edit you'll be able to input the estimated monthly expenses for your business. Then, the tool will calculate the estimated rewards you'll earn over two years based on your custom expenses.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that 1.72%
$0
Earn a $500 bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months
$591
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 686 x $1 = $686
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 591

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
APR 18.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
$0 2.46%
$500
Earn $500 bonus cash back when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
$843
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 343 x $1 = $343
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $500
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 843

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 14.99% - 20.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Named "Best Rewards Card for Small Business Owners" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2017
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business
$0 2.08%
$200
One time bonus of $200 once you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
$715
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 515 x $1 = $515
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $200
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 715

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 14.74% - 22.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earning unlimited 1.5% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Plus, a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 14.74% - 22.74% variable APR after that
  • No annual fee
  • Use Spark Cash Select across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 2.06%
$0
100,000 bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 10/31/2018.
$709
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 89,280 x $0.009 = $804
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 709

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
APR 17.49% - 26.49% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 10/31/2018.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at over 6,500 participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels across 110 countries worldwide.
  • Earn 4 points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping. Earn 2 points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary Silver Elite status with your Card.
  • Plus, spend $35,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and earn an upgrade to Gold Elite status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases and $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
$0 1.29%
$100
Limited Time Offer. Earn 10,000 extra Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 9/26/2018.
$443
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.01 = $343
Bonuses
10,000 x $0.01 = $100
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 443

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 12.99% - 20.99% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Limited Time Offer. Earn 10,000 extra Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 9/26/2018.
  • Get rewarded for business as usual. Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.
  • 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
  • More buying power for your business* means more opportunities to earn points. That's everyday business with the new Blue Business Plus Card.
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
$0 1.00%
$0
$343
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Spent Cash Back Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 343 x $1 = $343
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 343

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 13.99% - 20.99% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Special offer: save on interest with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; after that your APR will be a variable rate, currently 13.99% - 20.99%
  • No annual fee
  • Reinvest in your business with automatic cash back in the form of a monthly statement credit. Plus take control by choosing the 3% category that best fits your business
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $50,000 spent at wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores.
  • Earn 3% cash back on the first $50,000 spent in the category of your choice from a list of eight and 1% cash back on other purchases
  • With Expanded Buying Power you can spend beyond your credit limit* to make bigger purchases for your business plus earn cash back on those purchases too
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors
  • Terms apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Business Secured Credit Card
Image of Business Secured Credit Card $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $25 0.93%
$0
$318
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 343 x $1 = $343
Less Annual Fees -$25
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 318

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $25
APR 11.9%

Card Details

  • $500 to $25,000 credit line
  • Good for Establishing or rebuilding business credit with Wells Fargo
  • Up to 10 employee cards
  • Spending reports available online
  • $25 annual fee per card
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Zero liability protection
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
$95 0.70%
$0
80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
$239
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.013 = $429
Less Annual Fees -$190
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 239

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $95
APR 17.74% - 22.74% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
Business Secured Visa® Credit Card
$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $40 0.88%
$0
$303
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 343 x $1 = $343
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $0
0 x $1 = $0
Less Annual Fees -$40
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 303

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $40
APR 16.49%

Card Details

How to Choose The Best Small Business Credit Card For Your Company

In many ways, finding the best small business credit card is much like finding the top consumer card. This also means businesses which fail to pay off their credit card(s) in full every month should opt for a card with a low or 0% intro APR offer. That's because carrying a balance on your card means your business will have to pay costly interest fees. These interest fees often outweigh any of the benefits offered by other types of small business cards. A card with a low or 0% intro APR will give your company a grace period for interest payments, typically of a few months, on purchases, balance transfers or both.

Small businesses with bad credit or those that just recently launched a venture (and therefore have a limited credit history), should focus on strengthening their credit before applying for a card with rewards. Doing so will help business owners avoid applying for a card only only to be denied. One strategy these business owners can take is to apply for a secured card, which is targeted towards businesses with subpar credit. Keep in mind, that business credit scores are different than a consumer's credit score. However, applying for a small business credit card can result in a hard pull of your personal credit report. Banks may also evaluate your personal credit score when you apply for a small business credit card.

Small businesses with limited spending, generally $1,000 per month or less, should search for a small business credit card without an annual fee. Generally, small businesses that spend less than this amount will not earn enough rewards from a card to justify paying an annual fee for a credit card.

The best small business credit cards will offer at least a 1.5% rewards rate and the rewards rate should offset any annual fees that the card may have. The leading small business credit cards will have a sign-up bonus that's worth more than $200. Since the card is meant to be used for all of your business expenses, you should be able to request cards for your employees at no additional cost. Anyone looking for a card that aligns with (in some cases exceeding) the guidelines mentioned above, should consider applying for the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business.

Other features that may be offered by small business credit cards, like the ability to connect to your account to quickbooks or other expense management tools are nice to have, but not necessary. Of course, the larger your company becomes, the more these types of benefits will come in handy. These should be evaluated carefully, but you shouldn't make your choice based on them since often times there is existing software that could produce the same results.

How We Made Our Choices for the Best Small Business Credit Cards

Our team spent days analyzing 45 small business card on the market. After several long discussions weighing the merits of one card over another, we decided that there isn't a single best business credit card. That's because small businesses are unique and need different perks and features from their credit card. This decision led to us crowning five different small business cards as the 'best' across five different categories. We selected cards that offered the highest rewards rates, have longevity, offer valuable bonuses, offer employee cards, have worthwhile fees and come equipped with other valuable perks.

We understand that not every feature made available through small business credit cards can be quantified. For instance, how would you measure the value of being able to connect your credit card account to quickbooks? You could account for the time savings and then compare that to the cost of labor. Of course, we'd have to account for how the cost of labor differs from region to region. You can quickly see why we decided to measure some of these features on a qualitative basis. Regardless, you can rest easy, as these decisions were not easy to make. Each card's features was debated by our in-house group of credit card experts and heavily scrutinized. In fact, several of our credit card experts own a business themselves.

To make sure that our analysis was comprehensive, we scoured our competitor's recommendations, popular online forums, and our site's own comments. We wanted to make sure that we caught the most significant concerns and details for business owners and managers. Our goal was to avoid any recommendations that might seem good on paper, but ultimately failed to live up to expectations. As a result of our diligence, we're positive we have put forth a great guide on selecting the best small business credit card of 2018.

Our Selection Criteria

Rewards Rate: Our search was centered around finding small business cards that provide the greatest value. Within the universe of small business credit cards this means having a minimum rewards rate of 1.5%. We feel that most small businesses would be able to meet the minimum eligibility requirements set forth by credit card issuers to get a card with this rewards rate.

Staying Power: A great small business card should provide value for as long as it's being used. We selected the best in-class cards under the assumption that most business owners will want to keep their account open for several years. By making this a set of our criteria, we were able to eliminate cards that provided great value through a sign-up bonus, but little redeeming value in their ongoing rewards.

Sign-Up Bonus: While we consider a card's long-term value to be more important than a sign-up bonus, bonuses are still critical as they can provide hundreds of dollars of value. While we didn't disqualify small business cards that didn't offer a sign-up bonus, we did dock them given the great offers that are available.

Employee Cards: Given a small business credit card can accrue rewards for employee spending, we searched for cards that allowed business owners to order cards for their employees. There were two main considerations taken into account when it comes to employee cards: the number of additional cards that could be ordered and how much each card cost. The more cards that could be ordered and the less it costs, the better the card.

Fees: Annual fees are fair play when it comes to small business cards. However, that's only the case if a card offers enough rewards to offset the annual fee. We also considered other fees, such as foreign transaction fees, which grant cardholders the ability to spend freely when they're outside of the U.S. Under our scoring system, we penalized cards that carried a foreign transaction fee since we understand that certain small businesses have international travel needs.

Other Business Perks: Tracking and organizing expenses is important for any small-business. While determining the best small business cards, we took such features into account, but they weren't the primary scoring factor. We believe that these kinds of features are important and they add value, but they shouldn't be the determining factor when choosing a card.

Small Business Credit Cards That Were Strong Contenders

On our quest to find the best small business credit cards, we came across a few noteworthy cards that just missed our 'best' list. The cards listed below were strongly considered, but failed to make our list for the following reasons:

Business Secured Visa® Credit Card: This card's features are comparable with those offered by the Business Secured Credit Card, but it falls short due to its limited availability. While this card is seemingly a good alternative, it's only available to business owners in seven states. It does offer free employee cards, however, its rewards rate is below that offered by the Business Secured Credit Card. That combined with its restricted availability tipped the scale towards the Business Secured Credit Card as the better choice.

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express: It's true that the The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express comes with a longer 0% intro APR period than that offered by the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. However, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card has a 5% rewards rate on certain categories that are likely to be huge expense for business owners, like office supplies and phone services. Ultimately, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card's outstanding 5% rewards rate on those purchases was too high to disregard. Regardless, The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express makes for an excellent small business card for those who care more about the short term intro period.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card: The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has an excellent 3.75% rewards rate, but it's limited to travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases. Furthermore, that rewards rate only applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases. In stark contrast, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express doesn't have a cap on the points you can earn under the travel category, making it the better card for businesses with large travel expenses. Furthermore, Starwood points are some of the most valuable around. Lastly, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express has a longer list of airline frequent flyer programs you can transfer your points to, which gives businesses more options when booking flights. The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has the potential to be an outstanding card, but for travel, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is the better choice.

Robert Harrow

Robert is a Product Manager at ValuePenguin, covering credit cards and credit card processing. He graduated from Hunter College with a B.A. in Physics and a minor in Mathematics.

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Info about the following cards: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

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