In the era of the gig economy, more and more Canadians are operating their own businesses or acting as independent contractors — either as a supplement to a full-time job, or as their sole source of income.
By 2020, Intuit predicts that 40% of American workers could be subject to the gig economy. For the self-employed, the line between business and personal finances can become blurred — especially if you don’t have a business chequing account or a business credit card.
A business credit card is a great way to keep your personal and business finances separate, but it works a little differently than a personal credit card. For example, you may need to sign a personal guarantee for your business credit card, and the credit limit will probably be much higher. The rewards you’ll earn will also be slightly different, as will the insurance protections offered and the payment terms.
If you’re considering adding a business credit card to your business’s financial arsenal, we’ve reviewed four of BMO’s top credit cards for small businesses.
Best cash back business credit card
If you’re looking for a business credit card that lets you earn cash back, the BMO CashBack Business Mastercard is the credit card for you. This no annual fee credit card allows you to earn cash back specifically targeted for business spending.
With this credit card, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on gas, office supplies and cell phone and internet bills. As a welcome offer, you’ll earn 6% cash back in these categories for the first four months of cardmembership.
BMO CashBack® Business Mastercard®*
Welcome Offer: Get 6% cash back on gas, office supplies and cell phone/internet bills for 4 months*
- No annual fee
- Welcome offer: get 6% cash back on gas, office supplies, and cell phone/internet bills
- After welcome offer ends: earn 1.25% cash back on gas, office supplies, and cell phone/internet bills
- Earn 1.75% cash back at Shell
- Earn 0.75% cash back on all other purchases
This credit card also offers 1.75% cash back on purchases at Shell gas stations, and 0.75% cash back on all other purchases. The grace period for this credit card is longer than the typical 21 days offered by most personal credit cards, clocking in at 25 days. The longer grace period is ideal if you are using your credit card for purchases that you will then invoice a client for since it reduces the likelihood of paying interest on those purchases.
The BMO Cashback Business Mastercard allows you to issue employee credit cards, further bolstering your cash back earning power, and their built-in liability waiver program protects you against employee card abuse. Finally, as a Mastercard, this credit card can be used at Costco locations across Canada — perfect for the bulk buying that is so common in small businesses.
Best BMO rewards points business credit card
If cash back isn’t your preferred type of reward, you should consider the BMO Rewards Business Mastercard. This business credit card allows you to earn BMO Rewards points which you can redeem for electronics, gift cards, travel and more. The card’s annual fee is $120, and is waived in the first year.
BMO Rewards® Business Mastercard®*
Get up to $370 in value in your first year*!
- Annual fee: $120 (waived for first year)
- Earn 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent on gas, office supplies, and cell phone/internet
- Earn 1.5 points per dollar on everything else
- Welcome offer: get 35,000 bonus points if you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
With the BMO Rewards Business Mastercard, you’ll earn 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend on gas, office supplies and bills like cell phones and internet. You’ll also earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything else, and you’ll enjoy a 50,000 point bonus if you spend $5,000 in the first three months of credit card ownership.
This credit card has the same perks as the cash back credit card above, namely that you can issue extra cards to employees (and the Liability Waiver Program protects you against card abuse), the grace period is 25 days instead of the usual 21, and you can use this credit card at Costco locations.
Best no-fee Air Miles business credit card
If you prefer to earn Air Miles over BMO Rewards points, then we’ve got not one but two business credit card options for you. The first option is the BMO Air Miles No-Fee Business Mastercard. As the title suggests, this credit card has no fees and lets you earn Air Miles at a rate of 1 point per $20 spent on all purchases, and 1.25 points per $20 spent on gas at participating Shell stations. You’ll also earn 500 Air Miles after your first purchase.
BMO AIR MILES®† No-Fee Business® Mastercard®*
Get up to 1,000 Bonus Miles*
- No annual fee
- Earn 1 Air Miles reward mile for every $20 in purchases
- Earn 1.25 Air Miles for every $20 spent at participating Shell gas stations
- Welcome offer: get 5,000 bonus Air Miles after your first purchase
The grace period for this credit card is 25 days, and as with all Mastercards, the BMO Air Miles No-Fee Business Mastercard is accepted at Costco.
Best fee-based Air Miles business credit card
The rewards scheme offered by the BMO Air Miles No-Fee Business Mastercard is a little slim, so if you’d like a more robust rewards offering, consider the second option: The BMO Air Miles Business Mastercard. This credit card has an annual fee of $120, and that annual fee allows you to earn more substantial Air Miles rewards. For every $10 you spend on this credit card, you’ll earn 1 reward mile. At participating Shell stations you’ll earn 1.25 rewards miles on purchases, up to a maximum of $2,500 in purchases in every monthly billing period.
BMO AIR MILES®† Business® Mastercard®*
Welcome offer: Get 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles*
- Annual fee: $120 (waived for first year)
- Earn 1 Air Miles reward mile for every $10 in purchases
- Earn 1.25 Air Miles at participating Shell gas stations
- Welcome offer: get up to 3,000 bonus Air Miles (conditions apply)
You’ll also earn up to 3,000 bonus miles when you sign up for this credit card, and the annual fee is waived in the first year. This credit card has a grace period of 25 days, and you can use it at Costco locations across Canada.
The final word
As a business owner and die-hard cash back lover, my favourite credit card in this lineup is the BMO CashBack Business Mastercard, but each credit card has their unique benefits. Depending on your business needs, any of the four credit cards above could be an excellent choice.
Photo:Matthew Henry via Burst