Business Credit Cards for Startups (& How To Pick The Best) [2023]

As a startup, you might have raised a lot of money and have a ton of cash in your bank account. But all the business credit cards for startups you find have the following problems: 

  • Access to credit as a startup is hard. Without a business credit history, banks won’t look at you twice or they’ll charge you high interest rates and ask for personal guarantees. 
  • High costs for small budgets. Annual fees, hidden costs and forex charges all add up to put a huge dent in your startup budget. 
  • No expense management integration. Most cards don’t have built-in systems to track payments and reconcile expenses.
  • Expensive add-ons. You may only need one or two cards now, but when you start hiring and building your team, you’ll need to pay more for employee business credit cards. 
  • Limited rewards. Perks and cashback can increase your cash flow and your margins, but most cards offer limited rewards to new companies. 

Understanding how to get a business credit card for a startup can be daunting. But business credit cards specifically designed for startups exist. In this post we’ll show you:

Note: Looking for a startup credit card to apply to right away? Apply to Jeeves for free now!

Best business credit cards for startups going global: Jeeves

Since we’re writing this article, we thought we’d begin with ourselves.

Jeeves business credit card startup
Jeeves business credit card for startups

Jeeves is a startup business credit card built for founders, by founders. We’ve specifically created a business credit card for startups and currently work with over 4,000 customers in 25+ countries. Here’s why Jeeves is one of the best credit cards for international startups:

‍Get approved and set up in under 24 hours

Whereas other business card providers take a long time, with us you’ll get a response within 24 hours, making us a fast-approval company card.

The sign-up process takes 5 minutes because we just need proof that you’re financially healthy and are in a position to pay the credit back. We don't need to see a long credit history or ask for personal guarantees. We can approve your card in within days and don’t charge any annual fees, interest, or international transaction fees.

Receive multi-currency credit

You might have remote employees, or pay certain bills in different currencies. That can make forecasting difficult, plus you’re exposed to currency hedging fees and risk of currency fluctuations. 

Here at Jeeves, we can help you set up a global company at low cost because you can:

  • Request credit in one or more currencies.
  • Issue cards to staff in the currency you choose.
  • Pay us back in the currency issued or in the currency of your choice.
  • Receive your credit interest-free if you pay us back within 30 days.

Get a tighter control of your spend and enable your employees

With business debit cards or prepaid card, it’s still a hassle to manage business spending. You need to keep adding money yourself, you need to make sure there’s enough money and maybe, by the end of month, you might have some left over.

A credit card fixes that problem, because you are using someone else money. Then, all you need to do is pay off the balance.

With Jeeves, you’ll have free access to credit and a 30-day credit window. Pay back earlier and your credit will automatically renew. 

With Jeeves you also get more spend management tools. You can create an unlimited number of free physical or virtual business credit cards with a click through Jeeve’s centralised spend management platform. 

In seconds, you can issue credit cards to employees via the Jeeves dashboard (available on both desktop and app) to manage and track employee spending in real time and do away with time-consuming expense reimbursements.

Every cardholder will have their own unique access and dashboard where they can monitor and organise their spending data. Employees can upload and attach receipts to their transactions with a click, both via the Jeeves App when they’re on the go or through the website. 

With your free Jeeves spend management software connected to your cards, you’ll have up-to-date spending information always available at a click to manage all your travel expenditures, avoid overspending and stay on top of all your recurring expenses.

Enjoy Jeeves’ perks and benefits wherever you’re located

As a Jeeves client, you’ll enjoy partner perks like free access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.  

Jeeves is one of the best cashback business credit cards with additional rewards to increase your cash flow and margins. You can receive up to 2% cash back on all purchases made by all your cardholders in your first 90 days of using Jeeves. And Jeeves’ cashback means cash that’s automatically added to your credit balance. 

You can also save up to $100,000 with Jeeves benefits. For example, get up to $5,000 in AWS credits, $1,000 off any team plan in Notion and 30% off your first year in HubSpot (and 15% off the following years).

Jeeves partner benefits
Jeeves reward examples

Get access to capital and loans

We’re going through a tough time for startups right now. What you need is a funding partner that can help with all types of funding. 

We created Jeeves Capital, fast digital funding to help you scale without the risk of diluting your business, losing ownership, or paying hidden fees. 

With Jeeves Growth Capital, you’ll be able to access 12-months of funding based on your revenue. With Jeeves Working capital, you’ll have a 30, 60, or 90-day credit line to help run your business. 

‍Jeeves’ features:

  • 24-hour approval time
  • Business credit cards and credit line
  • No annual fee, transaction fees, or APRs
  • Up to 2% cash back in the first 90 days, 1.5% cashback on all spend with special merchants (Google, Amazon, Meta), and up to 1% on all other spend thereafter
  • Free expense management software
  • Centralised online dashboard and app with real-time data
  • Free and unlimited employee corporate cards
  • Physical and virtual business credit cards
  • 30-day interest-free cash flow
  • Up to $100,000 in perks and benefits
  • Multi-currency
  • Integration with Xero and QuickBooks
  • Customer support and personal account management
  • Additional features include Jeeves Capital and Jeeves Pay 

Who is Jeeves good for?

Jeeves business credit cards for startups is great for all new businesses but we’re a perfect fit for high-growth companies and equity funded startups and scale-ups.

There are many ways startups can use Jeeves business credit cards. 

You can use Jeeves business credit cards, line of credit and connected spend management software to increase your cash flow, reduce your cash burn and extend your startup runway.

Businesses with a global reach are also a great match for Jeeves business credit cards for startups.

For example, we have an HNW concierge service that uses Jeeves credit cards together with our spend management software to segment their spending across all their global clients. They arrange and pay for flights, holidays, temporary accommodation and the refinishing of high-end apartments by using virtual and physical Jeeves credit cards. 

When our client suddenly needed to increase their credit limit quickly to buy a limited edition designer handbag for one of their customers, they got in touch with their account manager and asked for additional credit. We arranged for an increase in credit fast, enabling them to meet their customer's request. 

They then settled their bill, including their additional credit at the end of the month, when their original credit limit reset.  

Learn more about how to get the most from your Jeeves business credit card and apply today.

Of course, we understand that Jeeves is not the only credit card for new businesses and others might be a better fit depending on your business needs. Here are 12 more business credit cards that you may find suitable for your startup in the U.S., in the U.K. and in Canada:

Best business credit cards for startups in the U.S.

Best business credit cards for startups US comparison chart

American Express Blue Business Cash Card

American Express Blue Business Cash Card for startups US

Features:

  • No annual fee
  • Intro APR for the first 12 months: 0.0%
  • Variable APR (after first 12 months): 16.24% – 24.24%
  • Foreign transaction fee: 2.7%
  • Balance transfer rate: $5 or 3% of each transfer (whichever is greater)
  • $250 statement credit after $5,000 in purchases in your first 6 months of account opening
  • 2% cash back on all eligible purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically and credited to your statement
  • Up to 99 complimentary employee cards
  • Extra benefits like purchase protection, car rental insurance, employee cards and authorised management accounts
  • Credit limit is not unlimited and adjusts according to various factors
  • Special terms and conditions apply

Good for: Startups that spend more domestically and want cash back on all purchases. 

Ramp card

Ramp business credit card for startups in the US

Features:

  • Visa charge card
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • No personal guarantee or credit check
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Card-level spending controls and alerts
  • Monthly balance repayment required, which is automatically debited from connected business bank account
  • Minimum spend requirement: over $10,000 monthly
  • Eligibility: you need to have a minimum of $75,000 in a U.S. business bank account
  • You must be an LLC, corporation, or a limited partnership (Individuals, sole proprietors and unregistered businesses are ineligible)
  • Accounting, collaboration and expense reporting integration

Good for: VC or privately funded startups that spend over $120,000 yearly in credit card purchases domestically and internationally and are looking to increase their cash flow with unlimited cash back. 

Ink Business Cash Credit Card

Ink Business Cash Credit Card for startups in the US

Features:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: 0% for first 12 months
  • Variable APR (after first year): 16.24% - 22.24% 
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer
  • 750 reward points(minimum of $7,500 spent in the first 3 months) 
  • 5% reward points on the first $25,000 of yearly combined purchases in office supply stores and on phone, internet and cable services
  • 2% reward points on the first $25,000 of yearly combined purchases in gas stations and restaurants 
  • 1% rewards points on all other purchases
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel, statement credits, Apple purchases,  and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Free employee cards
  • Creditworthiness required for eligibility 

Good for: Creditworthy business owners and entrepreneurs who want to earn cash back rewards on everyday purchases like supplies and or on substantial spending like inventory. 

Best business credit cards for startups in the U.K.

Best business credit cards for startups UK comparison chart

Amex Business Basic card

amex business basic credit card startups UK

Features:

  • No annual fee
  • No membership fee
  • No points/rewards or sign-up bonus
  • Flexible spending limits based on your purchasing and repayment patterns
  • 42-day maximum payment period
  • Relatively easy to join
  • Up to 99 free supplementary cards
  • Late payment fee, returned payment fee and FX charges apply

Good for: The American Express Business Basic Card is good for startups where only the founder needs a credit card because you don’t earn points or rewards for your purchases.

Amex Express Business Platinum card

amex business platinum card startups UK

Features:

  • £650 annual fee
  • 40,000 welcome bonus reward points (if you spend £6,000 in the first 3 months of card membership)
  • 54-day credit window
  • Premium travel benefits
  • Purchase and refund protection
  • One platinum card and unlimited employee cards
  • No card spend controls
  • Flexible spending limits based on your purchasing and repayment behaviour
  • Earn reward points on purchases, American Express Travel, and referrals
  • Access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide
  • Expense management app 
  • 24/7 worldwide customer service

Good for: The American Express Business Platinum Card is good for startup employees who travel frequently.

Amex Business Gold Card

amex business gold card startups UK

Features:

  • £175 per year (£0 in the first year)
  • 20,000 welcome bonus reward points (if you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months of card membership)
  • 54-day credit window
  • Earn reward points on purchases, American Express Travel, and referrals
  • Purchase and refund protection
  • 99 complimentary employee cards
  • No spending controls
  • Save up to £500 per year on partner services 
  • Flexible spending limits based on your purchasing and repayment behaviour
  • Expense management app 
  • 24/7 worldwide customer service

Good for: The American Express Business Gold Card is good for startups with many employees who travel a lot.

British Airways American Express Accelerating Business card

british airways amex business card for startups

Features:

  • Rewards and points
  • Annual fee: £250
  • 96.2% variable APR
  • 99 free supplementary cards
  • Two reward schemes for flights and travel
  • Up to 30,000 Avios points in a calendar year
  • Travel insurance and protection plans
  • 24/7 worldwide customer service

Good for: Startup employees who do a lot of travelling.

Capital on Tap business rewards credit card

Capital on Tap business rewards credit card for startups in UK

Features:

  • Free transfers to your high street bank account
  • Avios, bonus points, and travel rewards
  • 9.99 – 34.99% APR range
  • 0.79% – 4.99% interest range per month
  • Annual fee: £99 for Business Rewards Card 
  • Uncapped 1% cashback
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • No ATM withdrawal fees
  • 20 free supplementary cards
  • Maximum 50 transactions per day

Good for: The Capital on Tap business credit card is good for startup business owners who don’t want to pay FX fees or fees to transfer money to business bank accounts.

Barclaycard Select Cashback Business Credit card

barclaycard business credit card startups UK

Features:

  • 21.9% representative APR
  • No annual fee
  • Centralised dashboard
  • 1% cashback on all spend
  • 56-day interest-free credit window
  • Insurance & purchase protection
  • Reward scheme
  • No additional cardholder fees
  • 2.99% foreign transaction fee
  • Turnover over £10k per year

Good for: Startups who want visibility on expenses and spending and have high creditworthiness.

Best business credit cards for startups in Canada

Best business credit cards for startups Canada comparison chart

American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card

American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card for startups in Canada

Features:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • APR: 19.99% on purchases, 21.99% on funds advances
  • Foreign transaction fee: 2.5%
  • Free supplementary cards
  • 150 AIR MILES® welcome bonus if you spend a minimum of $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • 1 AIR MILE® for every $15 spent on eligible purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors 
  • 1 AIR MILE® for every $20 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere
  • Access to spend management tools like tracking employee spending online and accessing expense management reports
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Redeem AIR MILES® on car rentals with participating AIR MILES® Partners (special conditions apply).

Good for: Startups that invest heavily in domestic travel expenses. 

BMO CashBack Business Mastercard 

BMO CashBack Business Mastercard for startups in Canada

Features:

  • No annual fee
  • APR: 19.99% on purchases,  22.99% on advances
  • Foreign transaction fee: 2.5%
  • 10% cashback in the first 3 months for purchases on office supplies, gas, or mobile phone and internet bills. Then 0.75 - 1.75% thereafter on select purchases.
  • Supports a maximum of 22 additional cards
  • 1% – 25% rebates at select merchants with Mastercard® Easy Savings 
  • Instant payments with contactless tap & go® 
  • Protected and insured against employee card abuse
  • 90-day purchase protection and up to 1-year warranty protection
  • No points or air miles rewards

Good for: SME startups that want to offset utility and office supply costs with cashback.

American Express® Business Edge™ Card

American Express® Business Edge™ Card for startups in Canada

Features:

  • Annual fee: $99
  • APR: 19.99% on purchases, 21.99% on funds advances
  • Foreign transaction fee: 2.5%
  • Up to 67,000 welcome bonus Membership Rewards® points
  • 45,000 welcome bonus points if you make $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening
  • 1,000-point monthly spend welcome bonus 
  • Up to 99 supplementary cards
  • Up to $100,000 in employee-misuse coverage
  • Redeem points to offset business expenses, to reserve flights, hotels, and car rentals and for statement credits
  • 10x the points for every $1 spent on eligible business purchase (i.e.: office supplies, electronic devices, rides & gas, dining) spent within first 6 months. Maximum of 10,000 points. 3x the points thereafter
  • Extra 1,000 Membership Rewards points each month when you spend $3,000 in purchases on your Card. Possibility of earning 12,000 extra points per year
  • 1x the points on all other purchases
  • Transfer points to frequent flyer and hotel programs, including one-to-one to Aeroplan®* and Avios
  • Possibility of carrying a balance or paying in full monthly
  • Additional insurance coverage included

Good for: Startups that want to maximise their cashflow by accumulating points via a special welcome offer and spending that can be redeemed on common business purchases and travel expenses. 

How to pick the best credit card for startups

There are many business charge cards out there, but not all of them have the specific features a startup would need. Whereas the majority of them can help you build business credit, here’s what you really want to look for in a business credit card for new companies:

Easy access to credit

The most important aspect of getting a credit card as a startup is making sure you can actually get the credit. If credit lenders require 1 - 3 years of statements, a high business credit score, a personal credit score, personal credit history and other conditions you can’t meet, then it’s not a credit card for you. That’s why looking for a credit card happy to work with startups is important.

Make sure the credit cycle is at least 30 days and that you’ll be able to get a credit limit that matches your current monthly spending.

You’ll also want to ensure you can apply online easily and receive a quick application response so you can either get started right away or try another credit card provider.

Spend management tool

When you’re working in a fast environment and cash is a precious resource, you need a tool that makes it easy to control business spend. The last thing you want is an unexpectedly high bill at the end of the month or to overspend your budget.

For this reason, you want to pick a charge card with integrated expense management. With a spend management tool, you can track each employee’s expenses, set spending limits, as well as track receipts and transactions. It also means you can get rid of paper receipts and be 100% digital.

Jeeves spend management best business credit card

Looking for a spend management platform. Read our comparison piece to find the right one for your startup: Payhawk vs Spendesk vs Soldo vs Jeeves: Which One's Best For You?

Employee cards

A spend management solution only works well when staff have their own employee business credit cards. Giving employees their own business credit card not only empowers them to pay for items (and remove expense bottlenecks such as dealing with expense reimbursements), but it helps you track all spending by employees, whether they’re onsite, traveling, or working remotely.

The large benefit of using employee credit cards versus prepaid debit cards is that you won't have to top up every person's card each month. While you usually would be topping up 10+ prepaid cards individually, with credit cards, you just make a one-off payment at the end your billing cycle.

Ideally, you also want to pick a credit card that allows you to order extra employee cards — enough for all your current employees and your future hires as your company grows. The best business credit card issuers for startups will give you extra cards free

Jeeves app and business credit card

Rewards that improve margins

One of the unique benefits of credit cards is that they offer much better benefits and perks than other payment methods like debit cards and balance transfers. 

If you’re travelling a lot, for example, getting a credit card that helps you earn Avios and air miles on eligible purchases is a great bonus. If you spend a lot on AWS, for example, it’s worth getting a credit card optimised for those business expenses. Make sure you match the rewards program offer that best suits your type of business spending.

Low fees

Credit cards date back to the 1960s, which means you’ll get your fair share of credit cards with clunky dashboards and outdated fee structures.

Many credit cards have high annual fees, transaction costs, cash balance fees, interest fees and international transaction charges. If you’re not careful, all the rewards you’re earning will disappear with the fees you’re paying.

Make sure you’re aware of all the fees before signing up for a business credit card offer for new companies. Sometimes, the fees are worth it if you’re getting good rewards. But it does depend on your use case: if you do many international transactions, you want to pick a credit card like Jeeves that doesn’t charge high international fees. If you know you need long-term credit, then make sure to pick a business credit card with low interest rates.

Responsive team

As a startup, you’re probably growing quickly and your spending isn’t as predictable as it would be for other types of businesses. If you require certain features or want to increase your spending limit, you’ll want easy access to your credit card provider. Make sure to pick a credit card with fast and responsive customer support.

If they offer personal account management, even better. 

Good dashboard and app

And finally, managing an outdated dashboard and clunky app can make it incredibly frustrating to track your card spending, especially for time sensitive transactions like payments. 

Ensure the credit card provider has its own app, and see if they have additional features like accounting software integration to make expense reconciliation easier. If you’re able to do a demo or a free trial before signing up, do it.

When is the right time to apply for a credit card?

Most credit cards will require some sort of credit history. Some will require six to 12 months of trading. Others will hold you personally responsible for the credit card debt.

Check the eligibility criteria of the card you want to apply for because they all differ. 

However, it only makes sense to apply for a credit card when you’re in a financially healthy position. For startups and small businesses, that either means having a healthy amount of revenue and being profitable, or having recently raised a large amount of money.

At Jeeves, we can underwrite startups that are not profitable yet, but we do need to see your new business is financially healthy. We’ll also need to know that you’ll use the credit card for growing your business, instead of maintaining it.

Get more startup insights in our post: What VCs are recommending to startups

Pick the best business credit card for your new business

We hope we provided you with enough information on business credit cards for startups so you can find the best card for you. Remember to find one that’s easy to access, provides rewards, and doesn’t have high costs or hidden fees. 

And if you’re looking for a high cashback business credit card specifically made for startups and new companies, apply now to Jeeves below for free.

Sources:

  • https://www.barclaycard.co.uk/business/cards/credit-cards/select-cashback
  • https://www.capitalontap.com/en/business-credit-cards/
  • https://www.capitalontap.com/us/
  • https://www.capitalontap.com/en/faq/
  • https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/business/credit-cards/british-airways-accelerating-card/
  • https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/business/business-charge-cards/gold-business-card
  • https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/business/business-charge-cards/platinum-business-card
  • https://www.americanexpress.com/en-gb/business/charge-cards/basic-business-card/
  • https://creditcards.chase.com/business-credit-cards/ink/cash
  • https://www.bmo.com/main/business/credit-cards/bmo-cashback-no-fee-business-mastercard/
  • https://www.americanexpress.com/ca/en/credit-cards/small-business-air-miles-gold-card/
  • https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/business/credit-cards/blue-business-cash/
  • https://compare.rates.ca/en/credit/cards/511/profile?preference=perks&rewardPreference=both
  • https://ramp.com/
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  • https://www.americanexpress.com/content/dam/amex/uk/legal/business/BA-AcceleratingBusiness-TermsandConditions.pdf