Running a startup is never easy. You’re juggling multiple priorities at any given moment — including, of course, your startups finances.
A business credit card can be your best friend for covering last minutes expenses. There are plenty of cards on the market catering to small businesses, so compare the annual fees, benefits and rewards to find the best card for your spending needs and financial situation.
*How we chose the best business credit cards for startups
We’ve chosen the cards on this page based on the providers available through Finder. These cards are not representative of the entire market. Our top business cards for startups offer a high value of rewards or cash back, added perks particularly beneficial to startups like access to business tools and complimentary insurance, and a signup bonus. We’ve also considered annual fees and any optional balance transfer offers.
No single business card will be the best choice for everyone, so compare your options before picking your new card.
If you’re looking for a $0 annual fee card that still offers great features, the American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card could be right for you. Earn 1 AIR MILE for every $15 spent on eligible purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors, and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere Earn 2x the AIR MILES when you shop at participating AIR MILES Sponsors across Canada and pay with your American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card and show your AIR MILES Collector Card.
Pay $0 to add supplementary cards onto your account for employees. Plus, enjoy a range of free business tools including Management Expense Reports and the ability to track employee spending online. Earn a Welcome Bonus of 150 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months
No annual fee. This card comes with a $0 annual fee.
Free supplementary cards. Need additional cards for employees? Supplementary cards cost $0.
Signup bonus. Earn a Welcome Bonus of 150 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months
Earn Air Miles. Earn 1 AIR MILE for every $15 spent on eligible purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors, and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere Earn 2x the AIR MILES when you shop at participating AIR MILES Sponsors across Canada and pay with your American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card and show your AIR MILES Collector Card.
Business tools. Track employee spending online and take advantage of expense management reports.
Travel Accident Insurance. Charge the cost of travelling by common carrier (plane, train, bus or ship) to your card, and get up to $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance, which covers the primary cardholder, supplementary cardholders, their spouses and any dependent children under 23 years old.
Car rental benefit. Redeem AIR MILES® to book car rentals with participating AIR MILES® Partners*
Few travel benefits. This card doesn’t come with many of the travel insurance perks offered by other business credit cards such as coverage for flight delays, lost baggage, and trip cancellations. You also don’t get rewards points that can be applied to discounted hotel stays or travel tickets.
Foreign currency fee. If you use your card overseas or for online purchases with international retailers, you’ll face a 2.5% foreign currency fee.
High standard balance transfer rate. The ongoing (non-promotional) interest rate charged on balance transfers can be as high as .
Best for cash back: BMO Cashback Business Mastercard
With an appealing signup bonus and a $0 annual fee, the BMO Cashback Business Mastercard can be a great choice if you’re looking to minimize expenses. Get 1.75% cash back at Shell gas stations across Canada, 1.5% cash back on purchases at other gas stations, office supply stores and for cell phone and internet payments and get 0.75% cash back on all other purchases.
New cardholders get 6% cash back on these purchases for 4 months (up to a maximum of $125 in cash back rewards). Offer ends October 31, 2020. Get extra cards for employees, free insurance protection on eligible purchases, discounts on popular shows and more. Plus, this credit card can be used at Costco locations across Canada.
No annual fee. Enjoy a $0 annual fee with this card.
Welcome offer. New cardholders get 6% cash back on these purchases for 4 months (up to a maximum of $125 in cash back rewards). Offer ends October 31, 2020
Cash back. Get 1.75% cash back at Shell gas stations across Canada, 1.5% cash back on purchases at other gas stations, office supply stores and for cell phone and internet payments and get 0.75% cash back on all other purchases.
Mastercard Easy Savings. Receive rebates automatically when you make qualifying travel and business purchases and on transactions at thousands of participating hotels, restaurants, gas stations and more.
Protection on your purchases. Eligible items charged to your card are automatically insured against theft and damage for 90 days from the purchase date. Plus, double the original manufacturer’s warranty on eligible items purchased with your card by up to 1 additional year. Additionally, you’ll be protected against employee card abuse (requires at least 2 employee cards).
Discounts on performances. Enjoy 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada and 20% off resident shows in Las Vegas.
Use at Costco. You can use your BMO card at Costco locations across Canada.
Limited business perks. You won’t get many of the benefits that come with other business credit cards on the market such as travel insurance, expense management tools and rewards points that can be redeemed for free flights and hotel stays.
Foreign currency fee. If you use your card overseas or for online purchases with international retailers, you’ll face a 2.5% foreign currency fee.
Although the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card has an annual fee of $250, it comes with a range of valuable benefits for business owners including purchase protection, travel benefits, Employee Card Misuse Protection and rewards points on all business purchases. Be aware that this is a charge card not a regular credit card, which means you must repay the balance in full each month or a 30% interest rate will apply.
Earn 2 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases at select American Express merchant suppliers in Canada (choose 3 suppliers), and earn 1 Membership Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere Your credit limit grows if you make payments on time and maintain a good credit history.
Signup bonus. Earn a Welcome Bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months
Earn rewards points on every purchase. Earn 2 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases at select American Express merchant suppliers in Canada (choose 3 suppliers), and earn 1 Membership Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere
Potentially long interest-free period. Enjoy an interest-free period of up to 55 days. The exact amount of time varies based on the closing date of your statement, the number of days in the calendar month in which the closing date occurs, when charges are posted to your account and whether your account is in good standing.
Variety of redemption options. Redeem your points for statement credit, merchandise, gift cards, flights and more. You can also transfer points to other eligible frequent flyer programs.
Travel insurance coverage. Receive up to $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance, Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance, Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance, Flight Delay, Lost and Stolen Baggage and Baggage Delay Insurance. Travel Emergency Assistance is also provided through round the clock customer service.
Additional insurance benefits. This card comes with Employee Card Misuse Protection, which covers you if employees misuse their employee cards for unauthorized charges. Get coverage for accidental physical damage and theft of items charged to your card for up to 90 days after the purchase date. Plus, extend the original manufacturer's warranty on eligible items for up to one additional year. Terms and conditions apply.
Car rental perks. Get a one class car upgrade, additional driver fee waiver and up to 10% discount on car rental rates for Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® members at participating Hertz locations (T&C's apply). Plus, get complimentary Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance (MSRP of up to $85,000).
Business tools. Manage your cash flow better with a generous interest-free repayment period, and take advantage of Expense Management Reports that make it simpler to track expenses and prepare your taxes.
Charge card not a regular credit card. Because this is a charge card, it’s meant to be paid off in full within the interest free repayment period or an interest rate of 30% will apply.
Annual fee. This card has an annual fee of $250.
Supplementary card fees. Any additional cards will cost $50 annually.
Foreign currency conversion fee. Pay 2.5% for transactions conducted in a foreign currency.
Best for intro APR and accelerated rewards: BMO Rewards Business Mastercard
The BMO Rewards Business Mastercard lets you save money and pay down credit card debt faster with a low purchase interest rate of just 14.99% (22.99% for cash advances).
This card also lets you earn BMO Rewards points on everyday purchases – points can be redeemed for travel and merchandise. Earn 1.5 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend, plus earn an additional 1.5 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills (for a total of 3 BMO Rewards points in these categories).
Interest rate. This card has a low purchase interest rate of 14.99% (22.99% for cash advances).
Signup bonus. Get 35,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months as a cardholder (worth one short haul flight in economy class). Plus, the primary cardholder will get the first year $120 annual fee waived. Offer valid until May 3, 2020.
Earn BMO Rewards points. Earn 1.5 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend, plus earn an additional 1.5 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills (for a total of 3 BMO Rewards points in these categories).
Mastercard Easy Savings. Get automatic rebates on qualified purchases at participating merchants.
Travel insurance coverage. Pay for travel arrangements with your card, and get a waiver on rental car collision damage as well as Common Carrier Insurance, Flight Delay and Baggage Delay Insurance, Baggage and Personal Effects Insurance and coverage for trip cancellations/delays/interruptions.
Can be used at Costco. Unlike many credit cards, you can use the BMO Rewards Business Mastercard at Costco locations across Canada.
Protection against employee card abuse. Enjoy peace of mind with the BMO Liability Waiver Program, which protects your business from wrongful charges made by cardholders.
Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty coverage. Eligible items that are fully charged to your card are automatically covered against theft and damage for 90 days from the date of purchase. Additionally, the original manufacturer’s warranty on such items can be extended for up to 1 year. Terms and conditions apply.
Annual fee. This card has an annual fee of $120.
Limited business perks. This card doesn’t come with many of the benefits you can get with other business credit cards such as discounted flights, hotel perks and business management tools.
Limit on bonus Rewards points. There is a yearly limit of $50,000 on purchases that qualify for an extra 1.5 BMO Rewards points (gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills).
How to compare business credit cards for startups
To choose the best business credit card for your startup, compare these features:
Charge card vs credit card. You’ll need to decide whether a credit card or a charge card is right for your business. A charge card can be a handy way to keep out of debt, since you’ll need to pay off the balance in full each month, but a credit card can be helpful when you need extra time to cover the balance in full.
Unsecured, secured or prepaid card. There are plenty of unsecured business credit cards on the market that offer strong perks and rewards. If you have no or low credit however, a secured or prepaid card may be all that you’re eligible for. These two types of business cards aren’t typically listed online, so you’ll need to contact a provider to find out if they offer secured and prepaid business cards.
Annual fee. When cash is tight, you might not want the expense of an annual fee. There are a couple of no annual fee business cards on the market, though you’ll earn more powerful rewards with cards that charge an annual fee.
APRs. Interest rates are important, especially if you think you’ll be carrying a balance from month to month. Few business credit cards have low APRs, so your choices may be limited.
Rewards. A card with strong rewards can pay for itself. If your card has tiered rewards, check that your startup has significant expenses in the right categories. If your expenses are spread evenly throughout many categories, you might get more out of a flat-rate rewards card.
Interest-free period. Planning on carrying a balance between billing cycles? A longer interest-free period can come in handy and help you hold onto your money for a little bit longer.
Your startup business faces unique challenges, which some credit cards can address more effectively than others. Before applying for a small business credit card, compare your options to find the best credit card for your needs. Consider rewards points, cash back, purchase and cash advance APRs and an annual fee you can afford when comparing cards. Plus, don’t forget to compare both charge cards and credit cards – this can be a great way to narrow down cards and find the right one for your business’ cash flow needs.
If you have no or poor credit, you may prefer to apply for a secured or prepaid business card. Your choices are limited, but a couple of providers offer these types of business cards if you reach out directly to them and inquire.
Most small business credit card providers require you to personally guarantee the debt you accrue on your business card. It’s often listed in your cards terms and conditions as “Joint and Several Liability.” For that reason, it’s a good idea to only spend as much as you can personally pay off.
With a charge card, you must pay off your balance in full each month. That differs from a credit card, which allows you to carry a balance from month to month.
Yes, your APR will be stated in the terms and conditions before you apply for the card.
If you have no or low credit and are not eligible for an unsecured business card, you may be interested in applying for a prepaid or secured business card. Providers may not advertise either of these types of cards online, which means you’ll need to contact the provider directly and ask if these cards are offered. Learn more about secured business credit cards in our guide.
Emma Balmforth is a producer at Finder. She is passionate about helping people make financial decisions that will benefit them now and in the future. She has written for a variety of publications including World Nomads, Trek Effect and Uncharted. Emma has a degree in Business and Psychology from the University of Waterloo. She enjoys backpacking, reading and taking long hikes and road trips with her adventurous dog.
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