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Compare the best startup business credit cards

Many business credit cards offer helpful benefits for startups.

A business credit card can be your best friend when it comes to covering your business expenses. But because there are so many cards on the market catering to small businesses, we’ve created this guide to help you compare features of the best startup business credit cards for your needs and financial situation.

Best for no annual fee:
American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card

American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 1x
Miles
150
Miles welcome offer
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 a Welcome Bonus of 150 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months.
  • This card has an annual fee of $0.
  • Free supplementary cards.
  • Earn a Welcome Bonus of 150 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months.
  • 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.
  • Access to business tools such as the ability to track employee spending online and access to expense management reports.
  • Travel Accident Insurance.
  • Redeem AIR MILES® to book car rentals with participating AIR MILES® Partners (conditions apply).
  • 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.
  • If you use your card overseas or for online purchases with international retailers, you'll face a 2.5% foreign transaction fee.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 19.99% fixed
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Earn a Welcome Bonus of 150 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months
Rewards 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

Best for cash back:
BMO Cashback Business Mastercard

BMO Cashback Business Mastercard logo
Credit recommended (650-)
Apply now
on BMO's secure site
650
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 1.75%
Cash back
10%
Welcome offer
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. Earn 1.5% cash back on eligible gas purchases, office supplies and on cell phone and internet recurring payments, earn 1.75% cash back at participating Shell stations, and earn 0.75% on all other eligible card purchases. Get 10% cash back on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills for 3 months. Plus, this credit card can be used at Costco locations across Canada.
  • This card's annual fee is $0.
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on eligible gas purchases, office supplies and on cell phone and internet recurring payments, earn 1.75% cash back at participating Shell stations, and earn 0.75% on all other eligible card purchases.
  • Enjoy 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada and 20% off resident shows in Las Vegas.
  • Get 10% cash back on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills for 3 months.
  • Eligible items charged to your card can receive purchase protection and an extended manufacturer's warranty.
  • You can use your BMO card at Costco locations across Canada.
  • 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.
  • You'll have to pay a 22.99% interest rate on any cash advances.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 19.99% fixed
Balance transfer APR 22.99% fixed
Welcome offer Get 10% cash back on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills for 3 months.
Rewards Earn 1.5% cash back on eligible gas purchases, office supplies and on cell phone and internet recurring payments, earn 1.75% cash back at participating Shell stations, and earn 0.75% on all other eligible card purchases.

Best for limiting debt:
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card logo
Credit recommended (700-)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
700
Min. credit score
$250
Annual fee
Up to 2x
Membership Rewards
50,000
Welcome offer
Although the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card has an annual fee of $250 it comes with a range of benefits for businesses. 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.
  • 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.
  • Earn a Welcome Bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months..
  • 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).
  • Enjoy an interest-free period of up to 55 days.
  • Redeem your points for statement credit, merchandise, gift cards, flights and more. You can also transfer points to other eligible frequent flyer programs.
  • 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.
  • This card has an annual fee of $250.
  • Any additional cards will cost $50 annually.
Annual Fee $250
Purchase APR
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer Earn a Welcome Bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months.
Rewards 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

Best for intro APR and accelerated rewards:
BMO Rewards Business Mastercard

BMO Rewards Business Mastercard logo
Credit recommended (650-)
Apply now
on BMO's secure site
650
Min. credit score
$120 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 3x
Points
50,000
Points welcome offer
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 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills, and earn 1.5 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend elsewhere.
  • This card comes with a a low purchase interest rate of just 14.99% (22.99% for cash advances).
  • Get 50,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.
  • Charge travel costs to your card, and get a waiver on rental car collision damage (MSRP of no more than, $65,000).
  • Earn 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills, and earn 1.5 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend elsewhere.
  • Unlike many credit cards, you can use the BMO Rewards Business Mastercard at Costco locations across Canada.
  • Eligible items that are fully charged to your card are automatically covered against theft and damage, and the original manufacturer's warranty on eligible items can be extended for up to 1 year. Plus, enjoy peace of mind with the BMO Liability Waiver Program, which protects your business from wrongful charges made by cardholders. Terms and conditions apply.
  • Pay for travel arrangements with your card, and get up to $500,000 Common Carrier Accidental Death and Dismemberment Benefits, Flight Delay and Baggage Delay Insurance, Baggage and Personal Effects Insurance and coverage for trip cancellations or interruptions.
  • This card has an annual fee of $120.
  • 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.
  • 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).
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Purchase APR 14.99% fixed
Balance transfer APR 22.99% fixed
Welcome offer Get 50,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.
Rewards Earn 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills, and earn 1.5 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend elsewhere.

Pros and cons of startup business credit cards

Pros

  • Access to funds
  • Earn rewards on purchases
  • Get low intro APR period on purchases
  • Build business credit
  • Track employee spending

Cons

  • Could damage your personal credit in case of delinquency
  • You may be personally liable for the company debt
  • Credit limit may not be enough
  • Could pay an annual fee

How to compare startup business credit cards

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 startup 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’re a startup business with 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 a credit card annual fee. There are a couple of no annual fee startup business cards on the market, though you’ll earn more powerful rewards with cards that charge an annual fee.
  • Signup bonus. If you anticipate lots of purchases in the next few months, you could breeze past the spending requirement for a card’s signup bonus.
  • 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.

Should I get a startup business credit card or use my personal card?

There are plenty of benefits to using a business card instead of a personal card. A business card can help you separate your personal spending from your business spending. While it may be tempting to rely on your personal credit card for business expenses — especially when you’re just starting out — this can have several unintended consequences. For example, separating your personal spending from your business spending can help you easily differentiate expenses and sort deductions come tax season.

Plus, a separate credit card for your business helps protect your personal assets if your business is incorporated and you find yourself facing a lawsuit. And even if your business isn’t entirely official, a business card offers other perks too:

Can I get a business card before my company is official?

Yes. In fact, freelancers and private contractors are eligible for business credit cards as long as they can prove their income. While different card providers have different eligibility criteria, you should be prepared to offer the following information when you apply for a business credit card:

  • Name of your business
  • Industry type
  • Business ID number
  • Time in business
  • Number of employees
  • Annual revenue
  • Estimated monthly expenses
  • Total annual income
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Personal credit history

When should startups upgrade their credit cards?

What’s suitable for your business in its infancy may not work long-term — especially if your business experiences rapid growth or a sudden change in trajectory. One reason you may want to consider swapping card providers is if your business has outgrown your current card’s credit limit. Or perhaps your business chequing account is at another bank and there are perks or incentives for combining your accounts.

A practical way to evaluate whether your current card serves the needs of your company is by reviewing your business expenses and spending habits. Does your current card offer perks and rewards that benefit your business? Would it be possible to snag a lower APR by switching providers?

Just because a particular card worked for your startup doesn’t mean it will continue to work for your business two, three, five or ten years down the road – so don’t be afraid to switch it up.

Compare business credit cards

If you’d like to compare a wider range of small business cards check out the table below. You can also visit our comprehensive guide to business credit cards.

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Welcome Offer
American Express Business Edge Card
19.99%
21.99%
$99
N/A
Earn up to 57,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 45,000 Welcome Bonus points when you charge $5,000 in purchases to your Card in your first three months, and earn 1,000 Membership Rewards points each month (a total of 12,000 annually) when you spend a minimum of $3,000 on eligible purchases.
American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
16.99%
21.99%
$599
N/A
Earn up to 90,000 Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass. Plus, apply for an American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card by October 1, 2021 and spend at least $10,000 in qualifying net purchases by November 30, 2021 and you’ll earn, step up, or jump start your Aeroplan Elite Status.
BMO Rewards Business Mastercard
14.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
N/A
Get 50,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.
BMO Air Miles Business Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$120
N/A
Get up to 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles ($310 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
BMO Cashback Business Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
N/A
Get 10% cash back on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills for 3 months.
BMO Air Miles No-Fee Business Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
N/A
Get 1,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (over $100 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
American Express AIR MILES for Business Card
N/A
N/A
$180
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months
Business Platinum Card from American Express
N/A
N/A
$499
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 75,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $7,000 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership.
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card
19.99%
21.99%
$150
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of up to 105,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Plus, get 5X the points on eligible gas, dining & travel for the first 6 months. Apply by September 20, 2021.
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
N/A
N/A
$250
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months.
American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card
19.99%
21.99%
$0
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 150 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months
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