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Looking for a new business rewards card? There is a slew of high-value rewards cards available for business owners keen to maximize return on business spending. 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 plenty of credit cards charging a yearly fee and want to keep your costs down or be trying to 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 cards that charge no annual fee.
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, the Blue Business Plus is hands down 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 Ink Cash, which requires a partner card to transfer points to travel partners, points earned on the Blue Business Pluscan 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%. While Amex SimplyCash Plus receives the 5% bonus up to a higher annual spending limit than for example, the Ink Cash.
If you can make your way past the overly long and complicated name, the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Card is an excellent option for gas and when you’ve finished chewing your way through the $25K limit on the Ink Cash at office supply stores. The card earns 3% at gas stations and office supply stores and 2% on restaurant purchases, capped at $250K in combined purchases. You'll make a flat 1% on all purchases after that. In addition to the high return on bonus categories, approved applicants receive a $200 statement credit after spending $500 in the first 60 days of account opening.
The $250K cap is jumbo-size when compared to the $25K on the Ink Cash, or even the $50K on the Amex cards. Another interesting feature of the card is when you enrolled in BoA's Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program. You can earn an additional 25% – 75% bonus on all purchase, allowing you to earn up to 5.25% back on gas and at office supply stores, 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 featuring 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.
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 the first 3 months from account opening.
Spark Miles Select for Business – Earns an unlimited 1.5 miles on all purchases, with no cap on the 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 the first 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.
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)
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