The 5 Best Credit Cards for Newly Minted Entrepreneurs

May 01, 2012 -
You just opened your new business. Your profit margins look good, your growth model is sound, and now the only thing left to do is to get a brand new business credit card in your name to show everyone that you’re legitimate. Well hold your horses there, boss, because picking out a credit card for your business is a little trickier than ordering a new case of ink for the office printer. While there are plenty of credit cards on the market designed to help startups grow and prosper, there are just as many business credit cards dedicated to squeezing unwitting entrepreneurs for every dime they’ve got. As a finance journalist, I’ve spent years pointing out how hidden fees and misleading contract stipulations attached to these insidious pieces of plastic can turn a profitable company into a poisonous one in a matter of months. But as a professional freelancer, I also know how important it is to find financing to cover your overhead when you’re trying to get your business off the ground. So if you’re about to apply for your first business line of credit, you should make sure to get one that will nurse your fledgling business rather than kill, cook and devour it. To help speed up your search, here are five business credit cards that are just perfect for newly minted entrepreneurs:

1. The Chase Ink Cash

With no annual fee and a $250 signing bonus, the Ink Cash by Chase would be an awesome credit card for anyone. But when you factor in the 5 percent cash-back rate on office supplies and telecom/cable services and the 2 percent cash-back rate on gas and lodging, you’ve got a very useful financial tool on your hands. Even if you don’t really need a business credit card, those rewards rates are worth it – especially when you consider that the card doesn’t cost anything to own.

2. The SimplyCash Business from American Express

The SimplyCash by American Express is another great no-fee credit card for small businesses. Like the Ink, it offers cash back on the purchases you’ll most often make as a business owner: 5 percent cash back on wireless services and office supplies, 3 percent back on gas and 1 percent on everything else. Additionally, you get a 3-10 percent discount on purchases you make with affiliates of AmEx’s OPEN Program, which includes Hertz, FedEx and OfficeMax.

3. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Though the Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t explicitly a business credit card, it offers travel benefits that dedicated business cards just can’t compete with. You get 50,000 bonus miles – or two free flights – when you spend $3,000 during your first three months of ownership. Then you’ll get 10 points per mile for purchases you make through Chase’s online mall and one point per mile for everything else. While the card charges a $95 annual fee, the fact that you’ll be able to use your bonus miles to fly on any airline makes the investment more than worthwhile.

4. Capital One Spark Cash for Business

If you’re going to be doling out multiple cards to your employees, then you really need to check out Capitol One's business cards. For instance, the Capital One Spark Cash for Business lets you earn $100 in bonus cash and gives you 2 percent on all purchases made with the card. Most importantly, it gives you an additional $50 bonus for every supplemental employee account you open. It even waives the $60 annual fee for the first year that you keep an account open.

5. True Earnings Business Card from Costco and American Express

The only thing better than a business credit card is a business credit card that also counts as a membership pass to Costco. In addition to the dual functionality, the True Earnings Business Card also gives you 4 percent cash back on gasoline, 2 percent back on restaurants and travel, and 1 percent back on everything else. Those are some serious savings for such a little piece of plastic. Not every business card is created equally, but you’ll be putting your company in good hands with these cards. Featuring excellent rewards programs, low fees and good APRs, they give fresh-faced entrepreneurs the leg up you need for startup success. Ben DeMeter is a professional freelancer, a featured finance writer at Business Insider and the proud owner of a bulldog named Google. He also blogs about the best small business credit cards and where to get them at Credit Card Assist.