What's the Best Credit Card for a Start-up?


I've been using our debit/bank card to make purchases, and I'm not entirely comfortable putting that out there. I'd also like to potentially be earning points for things, although I don't want to pay any annual fees.

What is the best credit card, in your opinion, for a new start-up? No annual fee, low interest rate, etc.

- Josh

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asked Nov 21 '09 at 00:36
Josh Sam Bob
1,578 points
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6 Answers


Try to get them all. Starting with American Express, of course, since that seems to carry the most panache when paying. But really... in this credit market, it's going to be hard to get any card that doesn't cost an arm and a leg (like, fronting your balance) and it really doesn't hurt your company to have multiple cards.

Two years ago, I had four cards: AMEX Credit, Advanta Business, Chase Freedom Business, and Citi Business. I have awesome credit, but when the credit crunch hit... Advanta closed all business cards, AMEX cut my credit limit by 90% (seriously!), and Chase cut it in half. And the whole time, I've always paid on time, not carried a balance, etc.

So, as I see it, the more the merrier. Just make sure they're business cards and that they don't tie to your personal credit report. They will most certainly make you give a personal guarantee though.

answered Nov 23 '09 at 16:24
Alex Papadimoulis
5,901 points
  • Actually, most small business HATE the amex card because they take so much more percentage. I is universally reviled by gas stations around here and my wife stopped accepting amex at her small business. – Tim J 14 years ago
  • AMEX cards may be good for the card owner (tons of reward programs, % back, etc.), but bad for the businesses processing the AMEX. I get charged an extra 2% to run AMEX! Think about it: all of these rewards have to be paid for by someone, which usually ends up being the business accepting AMEX. I've been thinking about passing on the extra 2% charge to AMEX customers; now the 2% back on purchases paid in 10 days doesn't look so hot. This would totally level the playing field. – Clint 14 years ago


Points aren't going to change your business in any substantial way. Spending time messing with credit cards will!

Simple idea: Use PayPal and get the PayPal Mastercard. The former can be used often and it's easy and safe. The latter can be used if a credit card is required. It's easy to stop payments and all your transactions are online.

Finally, PayPal has a halfway-decent money market rate for money you keep there.

answered Nov 21 '09 at 04:15
16,231 points


If you're getting cards for employees most banks that issue MasterCard or Visa will require that you put-up cash to cover the entire line of credit you have. That can easily become a cash drain although it gives you the advantage of having a card you can use absolutely everywhere.

If you go with AMEX they will not require you to post the cash which is a huge benefit. You can also get centralized billing and corporate cards which is nice. The downside is that you'll run into businesses that won't take AMEX.

As in most things there is no perfect solution.

answered Nov 21 '09 at 06:14
1,866 points


I've been an AMEX Gold cardholder for a few years. The rewards program is pretty nice and I'm really happy with the customer service. What I like most is that my points from my personal and business cards are combined, so it often subsidizes travel and entertainment expenses.

Drawbacks are that it's generally a bad idea to carry a balance (which I actually welcome as a benefit - I don't like to rack up debt, whether it's personal or corporate), and that some purveyors don't accept AMEX. Also, there is an annual fee that's pretty tough to get wavied.

answered Nov 21 '09 at 06:57
263 points
  • I presume by "tough" you mean impossible (to get the fee waived) – Tim J 14 years ago
  • not really - it really depends on how much volume you do - it takes some finesse. If you call and make an attempt to get the fee waived you might get lucky. – Danpickett 14 years ago


I really like Billshrink's product for comparing business credit cards. https://www.billshrink.com/?appMode=business&_v_alsf=5&_v_freg=false&noCache=true&tv=true&_v_alss=1 Everyone's needs are different, and Billshrink has a pretty cool tool for sorting through all the options.

answered Mar 8 '11 at 07:08
Sean Harper
31 points


The absolute best credit card for a startup is: None of them.

In a startup, every penny counts. Getting docked some amount every month just for the "priviledge" for paying for something is a bad idea. What makes it worse is that you are very tempted to carry a balance from one month to the next..

Self fund it.

If you have to buy things on credit at this stage then you are probably doing it wrong.

answered Oct 18 '11 at 07:39
Chris Lively
443 points

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