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Average U.S. Credit Card Debt in 2020

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Credit card balances are at all-time highs, and absent any other relief, the recent rate cuts by the Federal Reserve will do little to slow down growth in total balances that borrowers carry month to month. And while it’s still too early to know for certain, the cash crunch many households are experiencing in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic may mean even greater average monthly balance increases than in recent years.

We’ve updated our statistics on credit card debt in America to illustrate how much consumers are now taking on.

  • Americans paid banks $121 billion in credit card interest in 2019. That’s up 7% from $113 billion in interest paid in 2018, and up 56% since 2014.
  • In February 2020, the average APR on credit card accounts assessed interest was 16.61%. Although the Federal Reserve has cut the key Federal Funds rate by two percentage points since mid-2019, the more recent cuts aren’t yet reflected in lower interest assessed to balances carried from month to month.
  • Total revolving credit balances are $1.05 trillion, as of February 2020. The vast amount of this balance is from spending on credit cards from banks and retailers, while $83 billion comes from revolving balances, such as overdraft lines of credit.
  • Americans carry $687 billion in credit card debt that isn’t paid in full each month. This estimate includes people paying interest, as well as those carrying a balance on a card with a 0% intro rate.
  • 43.2% of credit card accounts aren’t paid in full each month. Those who don’t pay in full tend to have higher balances, which is why the percentage of balances not paid in full (71%) is higher than the percentage of accounts not paid in full (43.2%).
  • The average credit card balance in 2019 was $6,194 for individuals with a credit card. That’s an increase from $6,040 in 2018.

Credit card use

  • Number of Americans who actively use credit cards: 184 million as of 2019, according to TransUnion.
  • Number of Americans who carry credit card debt month to month: 77 million.
    • We estimate 42% of active card users carry debt month to month, based on the Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances.

Credit card debt

  • Total credit card debt in the U.S. (not paid in full each month): $687 billion
  • Average APR: 16.61% (also excludes those with a 0% promotional rate for a balance transfer or purchases). This estimate comes from the Federal Reserve’s monthly reporting of APRs on accounts assessed interest by banks.

The above estimates only include the credit card balances of those who carry credit card debt from month to month — they exclude balances of those who pay in full each month.

Credit card balances

  • Total credit card balances: $1.05 trillion as of February 2020, an increase of 3.3% from February 2019. This includes credit and retail cards, and a small amount of overdraft line of credit balances.
  • Average number of credit cards per consumer: 3.1, according to Experian. This doesn’t include an average of 2.5 retail credit cards.
  • Average credit card balance: $6,194. The average consumer has $1,155 in balances on retail cards.

The above figures include the credit card statement balances of all credit card users, including those who pay their bill in full each month.

Who pays off their credit card bills?

In 2019, fewer accounts were paid in full than accounts with a balance carried from month to month. According to the American Bankers Association:

  • Revolvers (carry debt month to month): 43.2% of credit card accounts
  • Transactors (use card, but pay in full): 31.1% of credit card accounts
  • Dormant (have a card, but don’t use it actively): 25.6% of credit card accounts

Delinquency rates

Delinquency rates peaked in 2009 at nearly 7%, but in 2019 delinquency rates were 2.6%, historically well below the long-term average.

Credit card debt becomes delinquent when a bank reports a missed payment to the major credit reporting bureaus. Banks typically don’t report a missed payment until a person is at least 30 days late in paying. When a consumer doesn’t pay for at least 90 days, the credit card balance becomes seriously delinquent. Banks are very likely to take a total loss on seriously delinquent balances.

Debt burden by income

Those with the highest credit card debts aren’t necessarily the most financially insecure. According to the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances (the most recent data available), the top 10% of income earners who carried credit card debt had nearly twice as much debt than the average borrower.

However, people with lower incomes have more burdensome credit card debt loads. Consumers in the lowest earning quintile had an average credit card debt of $2,100. However, their debt-to-income ratio was 13.9%. On the high end, earners in the top decile had an average of $12,500 in credit card debt, though their debt-to-income ratio was just 4.8%.

A look at American incomes and credit card debt

Income percentileMedian incomeAverage credit card debtCredit card debt-to-income ratio
0%-20%$15,100$2,10013.9%
20%-40%$31,400$3,80012.1%
40%-60%$52,700$4,4008.3%
60%-80%$86,100$6,8007.9%
80%-90%$136,000$8,7006.4%
90%-100%$260,200$12,5004.8%

Source: 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances data

Although high-income earners have more manageable credit card debt loads on average, they aren’t taking steps to pay off the debt faster than lower-income debt carriers. If an economic recession leads to job losses at all wage levels, we could see high levels of credit card debt in default.

Generational differences in credit card use

In Q2 2019, Generation X cardholders had the highest credit card balances. The average cardholder from this generation had a balance of $8,215, according to Experian. Baby boomers held an average balance of $6,949, comparatively.

At the other end of the spectrum, millennials — who are often characterized as frivolous spenders — held significantly lower credit card balances, at $4,889. They also carry fewer (3.2) of credit cards in their wallets. Generation X carry 4.3 credit cards and baby boomers have 4.8 credit cards, on average.

How does your state compare?

Using data from Experian, as well as data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel and Equifax, you can compare average credit card balances by state.

Differences in credit card debt by generation

In 2019, Generation X had more credit card debt, on average, than baby boomers, as those in their mid-40s typically have the largest amount of expenses relative to both younger and older consumers.

Methodology

In February 2020, MagnifyMoney collected and analyzed credit card data from government and industry sources, including the American Bankers Association, Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, to determine average credit card balances, interest rates, usage and delinquency rates.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Best Cashback Sign-Up Bonus Offers of June 2020

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Searching for the best cashback sign-up bonus deals? Look no further. MagnifyMoney has compiled the best cashback card deals right here.

Take, for example, someone who spends approximately $1,800 per month during a two-year period. That person would earn on average nearly $750 in cashback rewards over the two years after taking into account any annual fees the cards assess.

After looking at the available cashback cards, we found five we felt offered the best sign-up bonuses. All five cards offer a cashback bonus without having to spend large amounts of money to get it. Plus, they all offer ongoing cashback options and benefits once the cashback intro bonus is gone — all with no annual fees.

Cards with the best sign-up bonuses

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The sign-up bonus for the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card lets you earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. It has solid rewards, where cardmembers can earn 4% Cash Back on dining; 4% Cash Back on entertainment; 2% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.

The card comes with broad cash-back earning categories. Dining includes restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries. Entertainment covers tickets for movies, plays, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions, theme parks, aquariums, zoos, dance clubs, pool halls and bowling alleys. It also covers purchases at record and video rental stores. However, the entertainment category does not include digital streaming and subscription services. Cash back won’t expire as long as the card is active and there are no limits on how much cash back you can earn.

Additional card benefits include travel assistance services, a concierge, extended warranty and price protection. As for foreign transaction fees? There are none.

This card is best for those who want to earn more cash back on dining and groceries. Outside of that, there are other cashback cards that offer better rewards in top spending categories. Just know, there is an annual fee after the first year — $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card starts with a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Once you spend $500 in three months to get the cashback bonus, it’s applied to your rewards balance within two billing cycles. Cardmembers get a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day, and you don’t have to register every quarter to get it. You’re also not limited to select categories to get the cash back. And foreign transaction fees? There are none. Let’s say you spend $2,000 a month on the card. At unlimited 1.5% cash back, you’ll get $360 at the end of the year. Your rewards don’t expire during the life of the account, and you can redeem cash back for any amount.

The benefits with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card are pretty good considering it’s a no-fee credit card. There are the usual benefits that come with Visa Signature®, including access to once-in-a-lifetime experiences and food events, free 24-hour concierge service and special offers from retailers. There are also popular benefits like purchase security, roadside dispatch, travel and emergency assistance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage reimbursement and travel accident insurance.

Other cards may offer more bonus points or miles — for a higher spend — than the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. They may also offer more in cashback rewards, especially in targeted categories like travel and dining, than what’s offered with this card.

Uber Visa Card

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The information related to Uber Visa Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Uber Visa Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.24% - 27.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% back in Uber Cash on Uber, Uber Eats, and JUMP, 3% back in Uber Cash on dining, hotels, and airfare and 1% back in Uber Cash on all other purchases
New Uber Visa Card members can earn $100 in uber cash after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. The cashback bonus is applied to your card as soon as you make the required purchases within the first 90 days after you open your account. As for foreign transaction fees? There are none for this card.If you spend around $800 a month on dining, you’ll earn $384 a year in cash back. The cash back in the travel category includes airfare, hotels and home share services like Airbnb. Spend $1,500 a month with the Uber Visa Card on these categories and get $540 back after a year.

Additionally, music lovers who spend at least $5,000 a year on it can get up to a $50 credit for online digital subscription services. Plus, you get up to $600 for mobile phone damage or theft when you pay your mobile phone bill with your card. The card also gives you access to invitations to exclusive events and offers in select U.S. cities.

You can redeem your Uber Visa Card points for Uber credits, gift cards or cash back, all via the Uber app. As long as the account is active and in good standing, your points never expire. Redemptions for Uber Cash start at 500 points for $5. All other redemptions start at 2,500 points for $25.

There are other cards that offer higher cash back for popular categories like airfares, hotels and dining. Your cash back redemption is capped at $500 a day. And the card doesn’t have an intro balance transfer rate.

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
7.90%-8.90% Variable
Annual fee
$0
With the TruWest Visa® Signature Card, you earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first 90 days after being approved. It’s not the most lucrative bonus out there, but we like it for a different reason: This is by far the lowest spend requirement among the three cards in this review. The best feature of the TruWest Visa® Signature Card is that it starts with a generous 0% introductory APR for 18 months on all purchases and balance transfers. After 18 months, there’s a very reasonable 7.90%-8.90% Variable APR.

Earn up to 1.5% cash back with the TruRewards program, plus get up to 1 point for every $1 spent.

The fine print: You must be a member of TruWest Credit Union, with a minimum deposit of $5 to qualify, before you can apply for the TruWest Visa® Signature Card. To become a member, you must either: live, work or own a business in Maricopa, Pinal, Pima or Yavapai counties in Arizona, or Travis or Williamson counties in Texas; attend school in Travis or Williamson, Texas; or be related to a current member or be the surviving spouse of a deceased member.

How to use points

You can earn 5,000 bonus points when you add a cardholder to your account, which gives you more ways to boost your point totals. You also earn up to 10 extra points per $1 spent when you use them to make qualifying purchases on the TruRewards website.

You can use your points and cash back in the Get Extra Points program, where you can apply your cash back to your credit card account, buy gift cards from TruWest or retailers, book a flight, hotel or cruise, buy more than 300 different items ranging from electronics to jewelry and donate points to your favorite charities. You can choose the split-pay option, where you can redeem points and pay for items using your TruWest Visa® Signature Card. Points that aren’t used within 48 months of the date they were issued will expire annually on Dec. 31.

Like the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, the TruWest Visa® Signature Card gives you access to many of the benefits of the Visa Signature program.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card gives new cardmembers a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, one of the highest in this category. Once you meet the spending requirement, the bonus will be applied to your rewards balance after eight to 10 weeks. This card offers 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, 1% on all other purchases. The choice category is automatically set to gas; however, you can select a new category one tie each calendar month in the Bank of America mobile banking app or via online banking. Also, you aren’t required to select a new category each month – the current category will remain in effect until you decide to update it.

While the ability to choose which categories you earn bonus rewards in is ideal, keep in mind that the 3% and 2% bonuses can only be earned on combined spending of $2,500 per quarter. After that, the rewards drop to 1% cash back per dollar spent. That said, there are competing cards that offer more rewards per dollar spent in popular categories.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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The information related to Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Regular Purchase APR
14.99% to 23.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Intro BT APR
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

$150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. For cardholders who want simplicity, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great option, since you won’t have the hassle of opting into bonus categories that rotate each quarter. Plus, if you transfer your Chase Freedom Unlimited® rewards to a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can get even more value from your card. After transferring your rewards to either card, you’ll get 25% or 50% more value on those rewards (depending on which card you use) when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
If you use this card outside of the country, be prepared to pay a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. Also, despite the convenience that the Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers, there are cards that offer higher rewards rates in popular categories, such as travel or dining. The only benefits that come with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® are purchase protection, zero liability protection, fraud protection and extended warranty.

Alternatives to these cards

If these cashback bonus offers aren’t quite showing you the money, you may want to consider no annual fee cards that offer double cashback benefits as an alternative.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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The information related to Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer allows you to earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay. There are no caps on the total amount of cash back you can earn. So if you charge $1,000 a month on the card, you’ll earn $120 cash back in a year. However, once you factor in the additional 1% cash back you earn when you pay your bill, that amount doubles to $240.

Once your cash rewards balance hits $25 or more, you can redeem your cash rewards for a check, a statement credit to your account or a credit to a linked Citi savings or checking account or to a checking account where you have paid a Citi credit card bill at least twice.

If your account is closed, you won’t be able to earn or redeem your cash rewards, and you forfeit any accumulated cash rewards. Your cash rewards balance will expire if you have not earned any cash back from purchases or payments for 12 months. Also, if you use this card when traveling outside of the U.S., you’ll be charged a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Discover it® Cash Back

The great thing with the Discover it® Cash Back is that it matches all the cash back new card members earn at the end of their first year. So if you earned $1,200 in cash back in your first year, Discover will match that for a total of $2,400 after your first 12 consecutive billing periods. The cash back is then applied to your account in the following one or two billing periods. You can earn 5% cash back on categories that rotate quarterly on up to $1,500 in purchases. You must activate the bonus categories each quarter to earn the cashback reward. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Although you can only earn the 5% rate on the first $1,500 in purchases each quarter in the bonus categories, there is no limit on the overall amount of cash back you can earn.

The Discover it® Cash Back gives you free access to your FICO® Score on monthly statements, online and on the mobile app, and allows you to use the Freeze it® on/off switch feature that stops purchases, cash advances and balance transfers if you misplace your card.

After the first year, the Discover it® Cash Back’s cashback match rewards goes away. It also does not offer the more robust travel and purchase benefits of some other cards.

The bottom line

The introductory cashback bonuses for these credit cards can seem appealing when you first sign up. But you need to ask which benefits remain once you spend that initial bonus. And you need to balance whether the card is just as appealing once the more attractive intro purchase and balance transfer rates expire.

Since you don’t have to worry about annual fees, focus on a card with benefits that go beyond the initial intro cashback bonus. You want to get unlimited rewards with at least 1% cash back at a bare minimum.

It’s even better if you get a card that goes above the usual 1% on items in selected categories. And you want a card that offers secondary benefits like travel discounts, purchase and travel insurance and car rental collision coverage.

Keep your balances low and pay your card on time because you may end up paying your credit card company for the privilege of getting cashback rewards.

The information related to Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Credit Cards

Best Small Business Credit Cards in June 2020

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Small business credit cards not only make it easier to separate personal and business finances, they offer business owners advantages they may not need or be able to get with a personal credit card. You might find the number of business credit card options overwhelming, so identifying your priorities will help you choose. Do you want rewards? Or do you merely need a card for short-term financing? The best small business credit card for you will depend entirely on your needs and goals.

Best small business credit cards for financing

0% intro APR financing

When to consider business cards with intro 0% financing: A business card with an intro 0% APR period can save you hundreds of dollars on interest compared to cards without 0% APR introductory periods. During the intro period, new purchases won’t accrue interest, and you can take your time paying off large purchases such as laptops and desks for your business.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The information related to The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
Annual fee
No annual fee
Rewards Rate
Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
Credit required
excellent-credit

Average

Why we like it: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express offers small business owners the chance to finance new purchases with an intro period of 0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening; 13.24% - 19.24% variable APR after. Plus, you can earn rewards, receive purchase protection and get extended warranties — all with no annual fee.

What to watch out for: You can lose the intro APR if a penalty APR applies to your account for any reason. To avoid this, always pay your minimum amount due.

Low interest rate

When to consider business cards with low interest rates: The Platinum Plus® Mastercard® Business card has an APR range of 10.24% - 21.24% Variable APR. The lower end of that range is a better interest rate than is offered by many competing business cards. If you find your business has to carry a balance from time to time, it can be beneficial to have a low interest credit card that won’t cause you to rack up as much interest as other cards. But as a rule of thumb, try to pay your balance in full every month to avoid interest charges.

Why we like it: If you qualify for the lowest rate on the Platinum Plus® Mastercard® Business card and end up carrying a balance, you’ll be charged substantially less interest than other cards with high APRs. Although there are no rewards, new accounts can earn an $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening.

What to watch out for: You may not qualify for the lowest rate because the APR varies based on your personal or business’ credit worthiness.

Cash flow management

When to consider a business card for cash flow management: Some small businesses may not have a consistent cash flow, and that’s where a card with a flexible payment option comes in handy. You may be allowed to carry a balance interest free until your next statement if you make the minimum payment.

The Plum Card® from American Express

The information related to The Plum Card® from American Express has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

The Plum Card® from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
N/A
Annual fee
$0 introductory annual fee your first year, then $250.
Rewards Rate
Get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: The Plum Card® from American Express has an uncommon payment option where as long as you pay your minimum due, you can pay your balance in up to 60 days without accruing interest (terms apply). This ‘grace period’ is uncharacteristic of business cards (and all cards in general), providing you with twice as much time as other cards do to pay off your statement without incurring interest charges. There are no rewards, but you can get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back.

What to watch out for: To benefit from the extra-days-to-pay feature, make sure you pay your minimum due, or else you’ll miss out on the offer. Also, make sure this card is the best choice for your business because there’s a $0 introductory annual fee your first year, then $250.

Imperfect credit

When to consider a business card for imperfect credit: If you or your business has less-than-good credit, odds are you’ll not only have trouble qualifying for a credit card, but the terms you do qualify for won’t be ideal. However, you’re not out of luck — we found a card that considers small businesses with imperfect credit, and it has decent terms plus the foundation for you to improve your credit with responsible behavior.

Why we like it: The Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business is for business owners with fair/limited credit. Capital One considers fair/limited credit as someone who’s defaulted on a loan in the past five years or has limited credit history (holding credit for less than three years). So, if you or your business has less-than-perfect credit, you may have better odds qualifying for this card compared to the majority of business cards, which require good or excellent credit.

What to watch out for: Although this card states it’s for business owners with fair/limited credit, that does not guarantee you will be approved. As with any credit application, lenders look at a variety of credit factors.

Available for service members

When to consider business cards for service members: The following business credit cards are provided by credit unions for service members and have added perks, such as low interest rates, rewards, special offers and discounts. These cards require credit union membership, but you can typically qualify depending on where you live or work.

Navy Federal Credit Union Visa® Business Card

Navy Federal Credit Union Visa® Business Card

Regular Purchase APR
10.65% - 18.00% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Rewards up to 1% return on each dollar spent
Credit required
excellent-credit
Good/Excellent

Why we like it: The Navy Federal Credit Union Visa® Business Card has a $0 annual fee and provides an up to 15% discount on qualifying business purchases with Visa SavingsEdge®. You can receive discounts at restaurants, travel and shipping services, IT solutions and more at no additional cost. As a member of NFCU, you can also receive a discount on Geico auto insurance and access an Auto Buying Program where you can save on new and used cars — great if your business requires you and your employees to drive. Terms & limitations apply.

What to watch out for: The interest rate you receive depends on your creditworthiness, so you may not receive the lowest APR. Because membership is restricted, you’ll need to check to see if you qualify for membership with Navy Federal Credit Union.

Navy Federal Credit Union Mastercard® Business Card

Navy Federal Credit Union Mastercard® Business Card

Regular Purchase APR
10.65% - 18.00% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Rewards up to 1% return on each dollar spent
Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

Why we like it: The Navy Federal Credit Union Mastercard® Business Card has the Mastercard Easy Savings® Program, which provides you with an up to 10% discount on a wide range of purchases including car rentals, gas purchases, products and services like Bing Ads and Monster, and more. This can simply save your business money on everyday purchases and the program is free. NFCU members have access to perks that suit businesses that require driving for work, like the ability to save on Geico auto insurance and access to an Auto Buying Program where you can receive savings on new and used vehicles. Terms & limitations apply.

What to watch out for: The APR varies based on your creditworthiness, so you may not qualify for the lowest rate. Because membership is restricted, you’ll need to check to see if you qualify for membership with Navy Federal Credit Union.

RBFCU Business Select Mastercard® credit card

RBFCU Business Select Mastercard® credit card

Regular Purchase APR
11.65% - 18.00% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
2% cash back on all purchases
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: The RBFCU Business Select Mastercard® credit card has a great cashback program with unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. This flat rate is rare among business cards that tend to favor high rates only on select purchase categories. In addition to a cashback program, members of RBFCU can benefit from members-only pricing at select merchants like TurboTax® and Sprint® to save your business additional money. Terms apply.

What to watch out for: Not everyone will qualify for membership with RBFCU, so fill out this online form to check.

Best small business rewards credit cards

Travel perks

When to consider travel business cards: If you or your employees travel often, a travel card can be more valuable than typical credit cards because many offer travel insurance, airline fee credits, free Wi-Fi access and other travel-related perks.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The information related to The Business Platinum® Card from American Express has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
N/A
Annual fee
$595
Rewards Rate
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

Why we like it: We looked at business cards that offered travel perks, and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express emerged as the best overall business travel card because of its extensive benefits for business owners, including rewards potential, welcome offer, and added benefits. You can take advantage of standout benefits like access to over 1,200 airport lounges, credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck and an airline fee credit of up to $200. Terms apply. These benefits can save your business a substantial amount of money and make travel less of a hassle.

What to watch out for: There is a steep $595 annual fee for this card. However, considering the value you receive with this card, the annual fee may be worth it. For example, the airline fee credit and Global Entry fee credit are valued at $300, decreasing the effective annual fee for this card in the year you use those credits.

Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card

The information related to Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.49% - 22.49% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

Why we like it: The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card allows you to increase the value of your points by 25% when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This is a great way to increase the effective value of your points. Additional travel benefits include trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance and travel and emergency assistance services.

What to watch out for: The higher rewards rate only applies to select categories, so if you primarily spend outside the select categories, you’ll earn a subpar cashback rate. Consider other travel business cards that suit your spending more.

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Why we like it: The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business offers a hard-to-find flat-rate rewards program at 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere. This rate allows you and your employees to earn the same amount of miles on any purchase with no bonus categories or caps. You can easily redeem miles for travel, and there is no minimum redemption amount.

What to watch out for: This card comes with an annual fee at $0 intro for first year; $95 after that, and although it’s lower than most travel business cards, it may not be ideal for everyone. Keep in mind you will need to spend $4,750 a year (after year one) to recoup the fee.

Big intro bonuses

When to consider business cards with big intro bonuses: A large intro bonus can be a simple way for business owners to earn extra rewards within the first few months of account opening — as long as you fulfill the requirements. You can use the rewards you earn in a variety of ways, from travel to statement credits that can lower your business’ expenses. Many cards that have big intro bonuses also have good rewards and benefits, providing long-term value in addition to the short-term reward.

Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card

The information related to Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Ink Business PreferredSM Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.49% - 22.49% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

Intro bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

What to watch out for: There are requirements that you need to follow in order to receive the intro bonus, so make sure you spend the required amount in the stated time period. Also, you miss out on added value by redeeming points outside of Chase Ultimate Rewards, so try to use the portal to receive the 25% more value on travel.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The information related to The Business Platinum® Card from American Express has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
N/A
Annual fee
$595
Rewards Rate
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Welcome Offer: Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

What to watch out for: You need to satisfy a fairly high spending requirement to earn the welcome offer.

CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

The information related to CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Regular Purchase APR
15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Annual fee
$99, waived for first 12 months
Rewards Rate
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations

Sign-up Bonus: Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

Why we like it: The CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is one of few airline-specific business cards. This card has the largest limited-time offer that we’re aware of compared to competitors and a typical spending requirement. In addition, there are great benefits when you fly on American Airlines, such as in-flight discounts, first checked bag free and preferred boarding.

What to watch out for: This is an airline-specific card — if you don’t fly with American Airlines, you’ll miss out on some of the best benefits.

Cashback rewards

When to consider cashback business cards: Cash back is a simple and straightforward way for your business to be rewarded for purchases. You can easily redeem your cash back as a statement credit, which is a great way to reduce your bill (just remember that redemptions can’t be applied to minimum payments).

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Why we like it: We looked at business credit cards offering cashback rewards and analyzed their rewards rates, fees and APRs, and among the group, The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business rose to the top. It has a standout cashback program earning you 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere. There are no bonus categories or caps — you’ll earn the same rate on every purchase. You can even make redeeming your rewards simple by setting up automatic redemption, great for businesses that don’t want to fuss with rewards.

What to watch out for: The annual fee is $0 intro for first year; $95 after that — so after year one, you will need to spend $4,750 a year to break even.

Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

Why we like it: The Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business has a decent rewards rate for business owners who want to avoid an annual fee at 1.5% cash back on every purchase. This card is a good alternative to the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, offering all the same benefits plus a $0 annual fee.

What to watch out for: The cash back rate is below the ideal 2%, and you can do better with a higher flat-rate card or with bonus category cards. But be aware they may have an annual fee.

Hotel rewards

When to consider business cards with hotel rewards: Traveling for business can get costly, but hotel rewards cards can help you save money on hotel stays and other expenses you may incur like meals. Whether you favor a specific hotel or often choose the best priced hotel, there are business cards for you that can earn you rewards and other money-saving discounts. In this section we’re highlighting a card with exceptional hotel rewards.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

The information related to The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases, 3X Everywhere Else. Terms & Limitations Apply.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Why we like it: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card offers great benefits for business travelers who frequent hotels in the Hilton portfolio with a wide range of benefits including complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status. This gives you an 80% bonus on Base Points, space-available room upgrades and more benefits that may make your stays more comfortable. Other Hilton perks include a rewards program that allows you to earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points at a fast rate and Weekend Night Rewards (terms apply). In addition, you receive baggage and travel accident insurance, 10 free visits to over 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges every year and the ability to connect your credit card transactions to Quickbooks®, among other things.

What to watch out for: You don’t want to carry a balance with this card because there is a 15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR. Although this is a typical range, it’s still high and can lead to large interest charges if you don’t pay your bill in full. But, if you pay in full and on time, this won’t be an issue.

Best category bonuses

When to consider business cards with category bonuses: If you spent a lot in particular categories, credit cards with category bonuses may be a great way for you to earn rewards for that spending. For example, if you drive a lot for business, a card with gas rewards may be ideal. Below we list the business cards that offer the highest reward rates on dining, gas and office-supply spending

Dining & gas

Why we like it: The Sam's Club® Business Mastercard® offers a high 5% worldwide, including gas at Sam’s Club (on first $6,000 per year, then 1% after), 3% on dining and travel, 1% on other purchases at Sam’s Club® and wherever Mastercard®  is accepted. This rate is ideal for businesses that primarily spend on gas because you earn the highest rate on those purchases compared to other cards. Business owners who often take out clients for meals may want to consider this card because of its cashback rate on dining purchases.

What to watch out for: You need to be a member of Sam’s Club to open this card, and as a business owner you may not have a need for a Sam’s Club membership. However, membership starts as low as $45 a year, and considering there’s no annual fee for this credit card, that’s a small amount.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

The information related to Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

Regular Purchase APR
15.49 (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
4% cash back on gas, 3% on restaurants & travel, 2% at Costco & Costco.com, 1% on all other purchases

Why we like it: The Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi offers a tiered cashback program with 4% cash back on gas, 3% on restaurants & travel, 2% at Costco & Costco.com, 1% on all other purchases. This is a good rewards program for business owners with Costco memberships if you want to earn cash back in a wide range of categories.

What to watch out for: You need to be a Costco member to open this card, and membership starts at $60 per year. This is higher than Sam’s Club and definitely something to consider if you’re deciding between the two cards.

Gas & office supply stores

Why we like it: The Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards credit card doesn’t require membership with a warehouse club like other gas cards and has a $0 annual fee. Business owners can earn a decent cash back rate at both gas stations and office supply stores, making this card ideal if you often spend in these categories.

Earn 3% cash back on your choice of one of the following six categories: gas stations, office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services, and 2% cash back on dining (on the first $50,000 each calendar year, then 1%. Earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

What to watch out for: The gas cashback rate is lower than other business cards with gas as a category bonus.

Risks of using small business credit cards

While small business credit cards can provide a wide range of benefits for your company, they have drawbacks.

Here are some of the major risks:

Personal liability. As a business owner, you are solely responsible for all charges made on your account. That means if there are any unpaid balances on your account, whether from your spending or employee spending, you are liable.

Negative impact on you credit. If your account is in poor standing as a result of late payments, overdue balances, bankruptcy or other issues, the credit card issuer may report this information to the credit bureaus. As a result, your personal credit score may take a hit.

Not protected by the CARD Act. Business cards don’t receive the same consumer protections that personal credit cards receive with the CARD Act. The CARD Act requires credit card issuers to provide transparent terms as well as lower fees and interest rates for consumers. But, issuers of business cards don’t have to comply with those requirements. Therefore, a business card may have higher interest rates, more fees and confusing terms.

How to minimize the risks of business credit cards

Monitor employee spending. The ability to open employee cards is a great feature, but if you don’t stay on top of their charges, it can become risky. Some good practices include keeping records of all employees with card access, setting employee spending limits when available and monitoring your credit card statements. This way you can keep track of all spending made on your account and add limits when needed.

Avoid charging personal expenses. Use your business card the way it is intended to be used — exclusively for business purchases. Charging personal expenses makes managing your finances harder and complicates the use of your card.

Do not take out a cash advance. Cash advances are one of the most costly features of credit cards and are rarely a good choice because you’ll be hit with higher than normal interest rates and can rack up debt fast. As an alternative, check out small business loans.

Look at loans for long-term financing. Your business may need to borrow money for purchases like cars or other big-ticket items, and small business loans can be a great way to finance those purchases. Often with straightforward terms, loans can be a good alternative to charging purchases on your credit card. Compare small business loans here.

Do not try to bail out a failing business. If your business isn’t doing well, don’t take out a small business credit card with the hopes of bailing it out. Odds are you’ll only get into more debt and make the situation worse.

Best way to use credit cards for your business

Earn rewards. Almost all of the cards mentioned in this roundup provide rewards, allowing business owners to be benefit from typical business spending. You can use the rewards you earn in a variety of ways, like booking travel, applying cash back as statement credit to cover bills or redeeming them for gift cards for business expenses or employee incentives.

Manage cash flow. Business cards may provide expense-management tools so you can monitor spending and simplify everyday business transactions. You can use your card to automate business expenses like monthly phone bills or regular office-supply purchases.

Build business credit. Opening a small business credit card has the potential to build and improve your business credit. If you make on-time payments and use a relatively small amount of your available credit, your business’ credit can benefit greatly. Having a good business credit score can help you down the line if you plan on taking out a loan or other credit products.

Short-term borrowing. If your business plans on making purchases that can’t be paid immediately, some business credit cards offer 0% intro periods that are ideal for short-term borrowing and can be a better choice than a personal loan — when used responsibly. During the 0% intro period, you can carry a balance without incurring interest, and if you pay it off before the intro period ends, you can save on the interest that you would’ve incurred if you had taken out a loan.

The information related to Platinum Plus® Mastercard® Business card and Business Advantage Cash Rewards credit card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

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