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What to look for when getting a business credit card

Business credit cards can do just about everything a personal credit card can do, and more. Your business can use a credit card to make purchases, earn rewards, manage spending, and even get insights on expenses. Here’s what you need to know when getting a business credit card.

Key takeaways

1. A business credit card can help your small business by managing spending and earning great rewards. 

2. Using a separate credit card for your business from your personal credit card is best practice and will help make bookkeeping easier. 

3. Most major banks and credit unions offer business credit cards, find out our favourite providers and cards.

Our Best Business Credit Card Picks

What is a business credit card?

A business credit card is a useful tool for making small business purchases. Just like a personal credit card, you can use a business credit card online and in stores to pay for goods and services and pay off the balance in a way that makes sense for your business.

Business credit cards are issued not to the cardholder, but to the business itself. This helps your business build credit history that can be useful for future credit applications. And separating your business and personal spending makes it easier to manage finances on both sides.

While the rewards aren’t as strong as with personal credit cards, you can earn points or cash back with a business credit card. Many small businesses use credit card rewards to help pay for perks like employee lunches. 

If you have partners or employees, a business credit card can make it easier to control spending. Some cards, like the TD Cash Back Visa Card, allow you to set spending limits, block certain categories, and even make rules by geographic location. You can also get detailed reports giving you a better view of how your business is spending money.

How to get a business credit card in Canada 

Whether you’re running a small corporation or a sole proprietorship, your business may qualify for a credit card.

To apply, you’ll need to show proof of your business such as a license or articles of incorporation. You’ll also need to give information on your company’s financials which could include bank statements, prepared statements, and notices of assessment.

Can I get a business credit card with bad credit?

If your business doesn’t qualify for a credit card on its own, you may be able to get one by providing a personal guarantee. While the credit card will still belong to the business, it will affect your credit as well. And you’ll be responsible for making the payments if the business isn’t able to. 

To get a business credit card without making a personal guarantee, your business will need to meet criteria similar to those a self-employed person would need to meet when applying for a personal credit card. The business will need to have met a minimum income threshold for at least a few years as well as an appropriate credit history or the ability to provide security funds.

You can get a business credit card if your company is a sole proprietorship, but you don’t have to. Because your personal and business finances are considered to be one and the same, you can use a personal credit card for your business expenses. A good practice is to use one credit card only for business expenses and a separate one only for personal expenses to make bookkeeping easier.

Who are the main providers of business credit cards?

Just like your personal finances, there’s little benefit to keeping all your financial products with the same bank. It’s best to compare business credit cards to find the one with the right features for your company’s needs.

Most major banks and credit unions offer business credit cards. Some of the largest providers include:

American Express business credit cards

American Express is the leader in corporate spending cards, but also offers a variety of business credit cards for companies of all sizes. The American Express Business Edge Card rewards cardholders with up to 10 points per dollar spent and offers rental car insurance coverage.

BMO business credit cards

BMO offers a full suite of business credit cards that offer a range of rewards including cash back, BMO Rewards, and Air Miles. The BMO Rewards World Elite Business Mastercard pays up to 4 points per dollar spent and has a favourable 17.99% interest rate on purchases.

TD business credit cards

If you travel for business, the TD Business Travel Visa Card and TD Aeroplan Visa Business Card both offer travel insurance coverage including travel medical insurance. And if you’re likely to carry a balance, TD offers one of the best low-interest business credit cards in Canada with an interest rate of 11.99% on purchases and cash advances.

Scotiabank business credit cards

Scotiabank offers one of the best business credit cards in Canada for balance transfers. The Scotia Momentum for business Visa Card offers an introductory rate of 2.99% on balance transfers for the first 6 months and a reasonable annual fee of $79.

CIBC business credit cards

CIBC’s business credit cards allow cardholders to earn Aventura points or Aeroplan miles. The CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Business and CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business Card both offer travel rewards, travel insurance coverage, and purchase interest rates as low as 12.99%. 

RBC business credit cards

RBC’s business credit cards include the RBC Business Cash Back Mastercard, which has no annual fee and pays 1% cash back on all purchases, and the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Business card which provides excellent travel insurance coverage. 

What types of rewards do business credit cards offer?

Like personal credit cards, many business credit cards offer rewards to cardholders.

The most popular travel rewards programs are available for business credit cards including Aeroplan, Air Miles, Aventura, Membership Rewards, Avion, and more. Some premium business cards like the BMO World Elite Business Mastercard offer additional travel perks including travel insurance coverage and airport lounge access.

Many other business credit cards offer cash back rewards. For example, the BMO CashBack Business Mastercard pays up to 1.5% in cash back on eligible purchases.

Other business credit cards may not have rewards but offer other valuable features like lower interest rates or no annual fees.

The Bottom Line

A business credit card is a useful way for your company to manage spending and earn rewards. Compare business credit cards online to find the card with the right combination of features and rewards for your business. 

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