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Looking for a new business credit card with no annual fee? The market is full of high-value rewards cards for small business owners keen to maximize return on business expenses. The lion's share of these cards come with annual fees ranging from $95 for crowd favorite, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, to $595 for The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees) with its feature-rich list of benefits. But what if you’re looking to pay no annual fee?
There could be any number of reasons why you’d prefer not to pay an annual fee. You could already hold multiple credit cards charging a yearly fee and want to keep your costs down, or avoid the tightened application rules on consumer cards such as Chase’s 5/24 or Bank of America’s 2/3/4 policies, or you simply run a lean operation and want to avoid additional costs. Thankfully, there's a stack of quality business rewards cards that charge no annual fee.
No Annual Fee Business Rewards Cards at a Glance
|Credit Card||Welcome Offer||Rewards Earning Rate||Annual Fee|
|Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||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|
|Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card||Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business||$0|
|The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express||N/A - Terms Apply||Earn 2X Membership Rewards® 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.||No annual fee - Rates & Fees|
|SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express||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 14.49% - 21.49% - Rates & Fees - Terms Apply||5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores. 3% on the category of your choice from a list of eight and 1% cash back on other purchases.||No annual fee - Rates & Fees|
|Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card||Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening.||Earn 3% cash back on your choice of gas stations, office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services; 2% cash back on dining; 1% on all other purchases up to $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, then 1%.||$0|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business||$200 Cash Back once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||1.5 % Cash Back on every purchase.||$0|
|Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business||20,000 Miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||1.5 Miles per $1 on every purchase.|
|U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard®||Earn $200 in bonus cash when you spend $1,000 in within the first 90 days.||3% cash back on eligible gas station, office supply store and cell phone/service provider purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases.||$0|
Featuring a signup bonus of $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening., the Ink Cash is one of the most lucrative cards in Chase’s stable of rewards cards. The bonus is awarded as 50,000 points, which can either be redeemed as cash back at 1¢ per point, or, if you hold a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Preferred, you can combine them for potentially much higher returns.
In addition to the sweet signup bonus, the Ink Cash earns 5% cash back at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services, and 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year, then 1% on all other purchases.
You're effectively earning 5x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent in the top bonus tier, which, if maxed out, would net you 125,000 UR points or $1,250 cash back. Massive returns from a card charging $0 annual fee.
Another Chase card featuring a high-value signup bonus and the lastest card to join the Ink business lineup of cards. New cardmembers can earn $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. on the Ink Business Unlimited, equivalent to 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points if you hold one of the premium UR earning cards above that allows you to transfer to travel partners.
The Ink Business Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with no category restrictions or spending caps, making it the perfect Ultimate Rewards companion card for your business. Get 1.5% cash back on all non-bonus expenses, and combine those points with other UR earning cards so you can redeem for a higher fixed-value or transfer to travel partners.
Simply put, we consider the Blue Business Plus the best business card on the market for everyday expenses, the cream of the crop. The card earns 2x Membership Rewards points on all business expenses, all day every day, with no category restrictions, on the first $50,000 each year. Unlike the Chase Ink cards mentioned above, which require a partner card to transfer points to travel partners, points earned on the Blue Business Plus can be transferred to the full list of Membership Rewards airline and hotel partners without holding another card. For more details check out our full review.
The Amex SimplyCash Plus earns 5% cash back at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and 3% back on one of the following categories:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
- Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
- U.S. gas stations
- U.S. restaurants
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
You can earn the 5% and 3% bonus cash back on the first $50,000 per year; then all purchases earn 1%.
The Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Card has recently undergone a revamp and now features a higher welcome offer, and you can choose the 3% category from a selection of six bonus categories.
The card earns 3% cash back on your choice of gas stations, office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services, 2% cash back on dining, and 1% on all other purchases. Bonus categories are capped at $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, after that, all purchases earn 1%. This card is an excellent option for gas purchases or when you’ve finished chewing your way through the $25K limit on the Ink Cash at office supply stores.
In addition to the high return on bonus categories, approved applicants receive a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.
Another interesting feature of the card is when you enroll in BoA's Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program. You can earn an additional 25% – 75% bonus on all purchases, allowing you to earn up to 5.25% back on your category of choice, 3.5% at restaurants, and an unlimited 1.75% cash back on all other purchases.
Capital One Spark Cash Select and Spark Miles Select
Both Capital One business cards with almost identical features, these two cards don’t receive the same return on spending as some of the cards listed above, but neither do they cap your earnings. Ideal for when you hit the spending caps on other cards or non-bonus expenses, and the cards cost you nothing to hold for the long-term.
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Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business– Earns an unlimited 1.5% on all purchases, with no cap on how much cash back you can earn. New cardholders can also earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business – Earns an unlimited 1.5 miles on all purchases, with no cap on how many miles you can earn. New cardholders can also earn a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles – equal to $200 in travel – once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Miles are worth 1¢ each toward tickets on any airline, any hotel stay, vacation packages, or any other travel. You can book through any website or travel agent, and wipe the cost using your miles as a purchase eraser, perfect for low-cost carriers, cheap domestic fares, seasonal sales, or error fares.
Off the radar for a lot of points and miles fans, the U.S. Bank Business Edge Cash Rewards Card is a solid choice for business owners looking for a no annual fee rewards card. New cardmembers receive a $200 cash bonus when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days, and the card earns 3% cash back on eligible gas station, office supply store and cell phone/service provider purchases, and 1% cash back on everything else.
You can accumulate unlimited rewards over a 12 month period, and cardholders receive an annual bonus equal to 25% of your prior year’s rewards, up to a maximum of $250, awarded after your account anniversary. That means you're effectively earning 3.75% cash back on bonus categories, and 1.25% on other purchases up to the maximum $250 additional cash back each year. One of the drawbacks to the U.S. Bank Business Edge Cash Rewards Card is redeeming rewards is subject to a $25 minimum and you can only redeem in increments of $25.
Who Can Apply for a Business Credit Card?
Consultants, resellers, service providers, and even freelancers can qualify for small business cards. As the nature of employment changes and more of the workforce move to freelance, remote, or consulting roles, it makes sense to separate your work expenses from your personal expenses. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to utilize a business credit card. Plus, you can earn rewards on an entire range of categories not available with consumer cards such as shipping fees, internet, phone expenses, or advertising costs.
Fortunately, most small business cards don’t require a Federal EIN or Tax ID to have an application approved. Sole Proprietorship’s that rely on an SSN are routinely accepted, as are those without any employees or shiny offices. Working a few hours a week from home as a consultant or selling products on eBay is often reason enough to justify applying for a business card, provided you can supply the paperwork to back up your claim.
Low or no annual fee credit cards can help business owners gain access to much-needed funds to help grow their business. With any of the cards above, you can also maximize the rewards earned from every dollar spent on business expenses! In fact, some of the cards listed offer the highest returns on their categories of any credit card, consumer or business, and all without charging a single dollar in annual fees.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees)
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