Small Business Credit Cards vs. Corporate Credit Cards

design element including a women handing a card to pay at the register

Drazen_/GettyImages; Illustration by Hunter Newton/Bankrate

Key takeaways

  • Small-business playing cards are usually designed to fulfill the wants of small companies, whereas company bank cards are higher suited to the wants of corporates with hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in annual income.
  • You’ll usually be personally responsible for cost on a small-business bank card, whereas there may be often no private legal responsibility with a company card.
  • Staff will be made collectively responsible for purchases they make with a company bank card, whereas that’s not often the case with small-business bank cards.

Whether or not you’re a freelancer otherwise you personal a enterprise with a whole bunch of staff, having a devoted bank card for your corporation could make a whole lot of sense.

For example, holding a enterprise bank card makes it significantly simpler to maintain all of your private and enterprise spending separate for tax functions and bookkeeping. It may additionally present precious protections and cardholder advantages, like money again or factors.

However not all bank cards are created equal, and there are vital variations in debt legal responsibility, eligibility and perks between small-business bank cards and company bank cards. Learn on to study which possibility is greatest for your corporation.

What’s the distinction between a enterprise bank card and a company bank card?

Many of the variations between small enterprise and company bank cards stem from one key distinction: legal responsibility. With small-business bank cards, the debt legal responsibility falls on the enterprise proprietor, usually. The enterprise proprietor is personally answerable for paying any debt acquired on the enterprise bank card, and their credit score can be impacted by the account exercise, whether or not good or dangerous.

With company playing cards, the debt legal responsibility often falls on the enterprise itself. That signifies that the enterprise proprietor is often not personally answerable for the debt. This elementary distinction is why company bank cards are inclined to have stricter approval necessities than small-business bank cards. Let’s dig into a few of these distinctions.

Small-business bank cards

Enterprise bank cards are designed for small-business house owners, however they often work the identical as conventional bank cards for shoppers. Companies of all sorts and sizes — from aspect gigs to multi-million-dollar empires — are eligible for enterprise bank cards. To be authorized for a small-business bank card, you’ll often want:

Small-business bank cards are typically simpler to qualify for than company bank cards. Nonetheless, there are execs and cons to this feature.


  • Enterprise bank cards permit you to earn rewards in your spending and your staff’ spending
  • They’ll present a useful funding supply for early enterprise startup bills
  • It’s simple to match enterprise bank card choices on-line
  • Relying on the cardboard you select, you might be able to pool rewards on private and enterprise playing cards throughout the identical program
  • It’s simpler to get authorized for them with out an in depth enterprise credit score historical past, making them a greater possibility for startups


  • Enterprise proprietor could also be personally responsible for enterprise money owed acquired on the cardboard
  • Staff can’t be made collectively responsible for purchases made with worker playing cards
  • Enterprise bank cards could not include as many expense-tracking instruments as company playing cards

Company bank cards

Company bank cards, then again, are designed for bigger, extra established companies. To be authorized for a company bank card, you’ll often want:

  • A number of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in annual income
  • And established enterprise credit score historical past
  • Company standing — C-Corp, S-Corp or some LLCs

Even when that seems like your corporation, know that company playing cards include their share of benefits and downsides.


  • Company playing cards make it simpler to handle and monitor bills for a whole bunch of staff
  • You might be able to earn money again with a company card
  • You can also make your staff collectively responsible for purchases they make on the company card


  • Company playing cards usually are not as simple to use for on-line
  • They have a tendency to come back with fewer protections on purchases
  • You want a longtime enterprise credit score historical past and vital income to be authorized

Key variations between enterprise and company playing cards

Enterprise bank cards Company bank cards
Who’s liable? The enterprise proprietor often indicators a private assure, making themself responsible for all debt (together with any debt charged by worker cardholders). The enterprise proprietor is often not required to imagine legal responsibility for the debt (legal responsibility as a substitute rests with the enterprise entity). Worker cardholders could also be partially responsible for debt.
Who’s eligible? All enterprise sorts, together with casual and unregistered companies. There may be often no required enterprise dimension, enterprise credit score rating or income. Established firms with multi-million greenback annual income, good enterprise credit score and the flexibility to fulfill a excessive spending threshold. Particular necessities will range by issuer.

Easy methods to determine between a company and a enterprise bank card

Listed here are among the points you need to think about as you determine between company playing cards and small-business playing cards:

  • Would you like staff to be collectively liable for purchases made with their playing cards? If you need staff to be collectively responsible for any purchases they make with their card (together with private bills they cost), then a company card is your greatest guess. Should you simply need your staff to have a approach to cost purchases, and also you don’t thoughts taking over all of the legal responsibility, nonetheless, a small-business card account could also be simply fantastic.
  • Do you wish to earn conventional bank card rewards? Small-business bank cards have a tendency to supply higher rewards packages than company playing cards, and chances are you’ll even have the ability to earn the identical sort of rewards you earn in your common spending. You probably have a private bank card that earns Chase Final Rewards factors, for instance, you could possibly join a Chase enterprise bank card that provides the identical rewards and pool all of your factors in a single account.
  • What sort of cardholder perks are you hoping for? Perks provided by each kinds of playing cards range. Should you’re hoping for a enterprise card with a 0 p.c intro APR provide or shopper protections like journey insurance coverage, a small-business bank card might be a greater guess.

Making the change: Transferring from a small-business card to a company card

If your corporation has grown to the purpose the place you could have a whole bunch of staff to handle, chances are you’ll wish to think about a company bank card as a substitute of the small-business playing cards you’ve used previously. It may additionally make sense to change if you’d like entry to the detailed spending reviews some company playing cards provide or if you wish to have staff be collectively responsible for purchases they cost to their accounts.

That mentioned, company bank cards are typically greatest for companies that usher in hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in income annually, in addition to these with giant numbers of staff who’re making purchases on behalf of the enterprise. Your corporation will even want a longtime credit score historical past earlier than you apply, which can be reviewed as a part of your company bank card utility.

The underside line

Getting a bank card for your corporation is a vital a part of being a enterprise proprietor, and that’s true whether or not you use a whole bunch of individuals or simply your self. Simply be sure to’re getting the suitable sort of enterprise bank card for your corporation and that you’ve got entry to the instruments and sources you need essentially the most.

Additionally, keep in mind that the very best enterprise bank cards ought to allow you to earn money again or journey rewards, which may add up rapidly if your corporation spends loads on miscellaneous purchases or stock every month.

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