How to Pick the Best Business Credit Card for Your Startup

As a startup, you might have raised a lot of money and have a ton of cash in your bank account — but without credit history, banks won’t look at you twice. The bureaucracy you have to deal with to get a credit card — or any sort of credit — as a startup, can be an absolute nightmare.

So how can you find a business credit card that is specifically designed for your startup? A credit card that works as a partner for your growth, understands your needs and underwrites a credit limit that you can actually use on your day to day? That’s exactly what we’ll be covering in this article:

(Not based in the UK? Not a problem -- we offer business credit cards to the US, Canada, Germany and many other countries. Learn more and apply here!)

What does a credit card for startups absolutely need?

There are many business credit cards out there, but not all of them have the specific features a startup would need. What are those features? Here’s a list of them:

Easy access credit

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

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.

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 spend management. The last thing you want is an unexpectedly high bill at the end of the month.

For this reason, you want to pick a credit card that has integrated expense management. With a spend management tool, you can give your employees each their own credit card, 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

Employee cards

A spend management solution only works well when employees have their own 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 keep track of everything you’re spending.

The large benefit of using employee credit cards rather than prepaid debit cards is that you won't have to top up every person's cards every month. Instead, everyone spends with credit, and you just pay off the total balance at the end of the month. While you usually would be topping up 10+ cards individually, with a credit card, it's just a one-off payment.

Ideally, you also want to pick a credit card that allows you to order extra employee cards — enough for all your employees.

jeeves app and business credit card

Rewards that improve margins

One of the unique benefits of credit cards is that they offer much better rewards 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 is a great bonus. If you spend a lot on Amazon and Google Ads, for example, it’s worth getting a credit card optimised for those business expenses.

With Jeeves, for example, we offer 3% cashback on Google, Facebook Ads and Amazon. If your profit margin is 10% and you spend a lot on Facebook ads, we’ve just helped add another 3%! You’ll also get access to 1,300 lounges globally, as well as up to $100,000 in partner rewards.

jeeves credit card rewards

Read more information about the rewards we offer here: Jeeves Benefits and Rewards

Low fees

Credit cards date back to the 60s, which means you’ll get your fair share of credit cards with clunky dashboards and outdated fee structure.

Many credit cards have a high annual fees, transaction fees, cash balance fees, interest fees and international transaction fees. 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 new business credit card. 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 that doesn’t charge high international fees — like Jeeves. If you know you need credit long term, then make sure to take a 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’re requiring certain features or want to increase your spending limit, you’ll need to get in touch with the team. Make sure to pick a credit card with fast and responsive customer support.

Good dashboard and app

And finally, managing an outdated dashboard and clunky app is incredibly frustrating to manage business spending, especially for something time sensitive like payments. Ensure the credit card has its own app, and whether the card can be connected to your accounting software. 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?

It really 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 thatare not profitable yet, but we do need to see that they are financially healthy. We also need to be assured that the credit card is used for growing the business, instead of maintaining it.

Most credit cards will require some sort of credit history. Some will require that you have been trading for 6 to 12 months. All in all, check the eligibility criteria of the card you want to apply for.

List of business credit cards

Jeeves

Jeeves is a credit card built for founders, by founders. We’ve specifically created a credit card for startups. Some of the features we offer are:

  • Approvals in 24 hours
  • Business credit card
  • Centralised dashboard and app
  • No foreign transaction fees, annual or interest fees
  • No personal guarantee
  • Spend management controls
  • Unlimited employee corporate cards
  • Virtual cards
  • High cash back rewards
  • 30 day interest free credit window
  • Up to $100,000 in rewards and benefits
jeeves credit card cashback

We don’t do a credit check and you don’t need to have a long credit history: we just need proof that you are financially healthy. We approve your card in under 24 hours and don’t charge any annual fees, card fees, international transaction fees.

Learn more about Jeeves here.

Of course, we understand that Jeeves is not the only credit card for startups and that depending on your business needs, others might be a better fit. Here are some other credit cards that might be suitable for startups and high growth companies:

Amex Business Basic card

amex business basic credit card startups

Features:

  • No annual fee
  • No points/rewards
  • No preset limits
  • 42 day cashflow
  • Relatively easy to join
  • No employee cards

Good for: startups where only the founder needs a credit card.

Amex Express Business Platinum card

amex business platinum card startup

Features:

  • £595 annual fee
  • Earn 40,000 bonus membership reward points and flights
  • 54 days cashflow
  • Premium travel benefits
  • Purchase protection and refund protection
  • One platinum card and unlimited employee cards
  • No spending controls

Good for: startup employees who travel a lot

Amex Business Gold Card

amex business gold card startups

Features:

  • £175 per year (£0 in the first year)
  • 20,000 bonus membership rewards
  • 54 day cash flow
  • Earn rewards
  • Purchase protection and refund protection
  • 99 complimentary employee cards
  • No spending controls

Good for: startups with many employees and who travel a lot

British Airways American Express Accelerating Business card

british airways amex business card

Features:

  • Rewards and points
  • Annual fee of £250
  • APR of 96.7%
  • 99 complementary supplementary cards
  • Two reward schemes for flights and travel

Good for: startup employees who do a lot of travelling

Capital on Tap business rewards credit card

  • Free transfers to your high street bank account
  • Avios and travel rewards
  • 22.9% APR
  • Annual fee: £99
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • No ATM withdrawal fees
  • 20 free supplementary cards

Great for: startups who don’t want to pay fees and transfer money in between accounts

Barclaycard Select Cashback Business Credit card

barclaycard business credit card startups
  • 21.9% APR
  • No annual fee
  • Centralised dashboard
  • 1% cashback on all spend
  • 56 days interest free
  • Insurance, purchase protection
  • Reward scheme
  • No additional cardholder fees
  • Turnover over £10k per year

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

Hopefully you have enough information to help you pick the best business credit card for your startup. If you’re looking for a fee-free, high cashback credit card specifically made for startups, sign up 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.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/uk/business/business-charge-cards/basic-business-card