I would like to be able to say that I have a well-researched list of the five very best business credit cards but that would be nearly impossible. The problem is that there are so many variables, that no matter what, I would be recommending the wrong card for you.
What I CAN offer are five guidelines to help you select the card(s) that provide you with what is actually important for you. Unfortunately, some of these pointers are because of some unexpected and expensive surprises.
1. Pay your balance in full, on time.
If you are using the credit card for business, you are not going to be that concerned about the interest rate or annual fees. Used properly you will be paying the balance monthly, making the interest irrelevant as most cards do not charge fees if paid within the “grace period”.
A word of warning here, if you miss your payment date by even one day, not only will you pay interest for the entire month, some cards will charge you interest for the entire month., even if you pay on time the following month. They call it “trailing interest”. I call it a punitive fee. One day late and we had to pay 2 months interest. If you intend on carrying a balance, the fees and interest may (or may not) be deductible. Speak with your accountant.
2. For travel rewards, use the airlines’ card.
If you travel frequently, the best travel rewards are typically with your favourite, well, most frequently used airline. The travel benefits are typically much better. Third-party travel reward cards are a waste of time as anyone that has tried to book a flight using points can tell you. Third-party cards a good for other kinds of savings and merchandise, just not travel.
3. Do you care if the card gets you lounge access at the airport?
This is a big deal to us, but may or may not be that important to you, a Priority Pass Card might be a better deal in some cases.
4. Look carefully at travel insurance benefits.
If you are ever going to use the card for personal travel look very carefully at the travel insurance benefits.
We recently changed from one level of card to a higher one and some of the travel health benefits did not apply to the higher status card. Travel health insurance is an insignificant thing until you need it.
I recently found myself in the ICU overnight in the US (I’m Canadian) and the bill was, well, breathtaking. I assumed the credit card I booked the travel with would cover at least some of the cost. Nope. Good thing I left the hospital “against medical advice” and flew home (a very bad idea).
Had I stayed in the US for treatment, by the time I recovered the bill would have been over $200,000 USD!
5. You may need more than one card.
One card for travel and another for supplies, inventory, and expenses.
In conclusion, credit card companies are like any other business, they are in the business of making money, and any benefits are always going to be at the expense of other benefits.