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

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!

(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!)

Best business credit cards for startups

Jeeves

Jeeves business credit card startup
Jeeves business credit card for startups

Jeeves is a credit card built for founders, by founders. We’ve specifically created a credit card for startups and currently work with over 3,000 customers in 20+ countries

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

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.

The Jeeves business credit card is also ideal to use for business travel. There are no forex charges, you’ll enjoy partner perks like free access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide, and you’ll have up-to-date spending information always available at a click to manage all your travel expenditures.  

Finally, 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 3% cashback on all purchases 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 rewards. 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 rewards
Jeeves reward examples

Jeeves’ features:

  • Approvals in 24 hours
  • Business credit cards 
  • No foreign transaction fees, annual fee, or interest fees
  • Up to 3% cash back
  • 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 rewards and benefits
  • Multi-currency
  • Integration with Xero and QuickBooks
  • Customer support and personal account management

Good for: Jeeves is great for all businesses but we’re a perfect fit for high-growth companies and funded startups. You can also use Jeeves business credit cards and line of credit to help you extend your startup runway.

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 startups and others might be a better fit depending on your business needs. Here are six more business credit cards that you may find suitable for your startup:

Amex Business Basic card

amex business basic credit card startups

Features:

  • No annual fee
  • No membership fee
  • No bonus points/rewards
  • 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: 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 startup

Features:

  • £595 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: 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 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: 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: £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

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

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.

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 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.

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 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 fee-free, high cashback credit card specifically made for startups and new companies, 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.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/