The easiest credit cards to get for small businesses are business credit cards, and most are offered by major credit card companies. A 2010 study performed by the National Small Business Association (NSBA) found that 36 percent of small business owners use credit cards to finance their business. Because of the financial crisis, credit is more difficult for small business owners to obtain in 2011.
Bank of America
Bank of America lent $18 billion of credit to small businesses in 2010, according to a press release on its website. NSBA ranks Bank of America as the top credit card issuer that provides CARD Act protections. The CARD Act protects consumers from banks overcharging consumers for services and currently does not apply to small business owners.
Bank of America offers several cards for small business in 2011, such as Business Preferred World MasterCard and Business Charge, that have no finance charges or annual fee, but the cards must be paid off in full each month. For those businesses that cannot pay in full every month, Bank of America offers several WorldPoints cards with an annual percentage rate (APR) of 11 to 22 percent with a variable APR of 24 percent.
Capital One was rated the second-best issuer by the NSBA. The lender owns over 60 percent of the cumulative market share in the entire credit industry, according to CardHub.
Capital One offers several options for credit cards for small business owners, including its No Hassle Miles Card, Business Platinum, Venture Business and No Hassle Cash. All have limited time zero APR rates and no annual fee, except for Venture, which has a variable APR of 14 percent, according to the website. All credit card options offer reward programs to customers.
Citigroup's Citibank unit made around $4.5 billion in loans to small businesses in 2010, according to an article by Bloomberg. The bank was rated the third-best issuer by the NSBA and CardHub. Citigroup offers CitiBusiness AAdvantage Visa or MasterCard, which is geared for small businesses that fly a lot. Consumers earn miles for every dollar they spend on purchases. The APR is 15.24 percent and the annual fee of $75 is waived after the first year. The AT&T Business Rewards Card is for business owners with a lot of communication expenses. Every dollar a small business owner spends earns it five points toward AT&T services. There is no annual fee or APR for the fist six months, according to the bank's website.
American Express has a 35 percent cumulative market share of the credit card industry as of 2011, according to CardHub, and was ranked the fourth-best issuer by the NSBA and CardHub. American Express offers several credit cards for small business owners that must be paid in full by the end of each month. The American Express Open Business Credit card has an annual fee of $450, a $200 airline credit for airline charges and a points rewards program. The American Express Open Gold Card fee is $125 a year and has a points rewards system. The American Express OPEN Plum Card has an $185 annual fee, but allows a business owner a 1.5 percent discount if he pays his balance up front or allows the business owner to pay the full balance without interest in two months, according to its website.