December 31, 2022
Explainer

Looking for a business credit card with no annual fees? Your best options in 2023

Searching for the right business credit card for your business can be complicated and tiresome. Each card has its rewards, fees, and unique benefits, making it overwhelming to find out which is the best fit for your startup.

Here at Ramp, we understand what goes into a stellar corporate card and what new businesses should be on the lookout for during their search.

So if you’re curious about your options for business credit cards with no annual fees, we’ve got you covered. This article will dive into 7 popular business credit cards that don’t come with pesky annual fees. We’ll also review common business credit card rewards systems and what they have to offer growing companies.

What is a business credit card with no annual fee?

A business credit card with no annual fee is a credit card that doesn’t charge you for using the card. While you enjoy similar perks and benefits as cards with annual fees, you won’t have to make an annual payment to continue using it.

While most business credit cards with favorable rewards programs and perks have annual fees, the ones listed in this article don’t. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of cards that offer various benefits, such as points systems or cashback rewards.

Benefits of a business credit card with no annual fee

Businesses of all sizes can enjoy several benefits from business credit cards without an annual fee. It’s much easier for newer businesses to qualify for a no-annual-fee card. Many of these cards are made for companies with recently established credit, making them a great choice for new companies trying to find their footing. 

Since the card doesn’t cost your business anything, getting and keeping a no-annual-fee card open is a great way to build a positive credit profile. You won’t need to worry about finding ways to offset the cost of the card, which could lead you into dire financial straits to get the most bang for your buck. Instead of paying to qualify for future savings, you can earn cash back on purchases immediately.

Rewards and discount options for business credit cards with no annual fees

Business credit cards with no annual fees will usually offer cardholders various rewards and discount options. Each card will come with different rewards you can earn and will allow you, as the cardholder, to redeem rewards based on the structure. 

Don’t rush to spring for a card with a showy rewards system. When choosing a card for your business, take time to explore the type of rewards program from the card issuer. Compare this with your spending habits and the overall structure of the card to determine which card is the best fit for your business. 

With all the different reward options on the market, you’re likely wondering how each credit card reward works. Here’s what you need to know about the types of credit card rewards offered and the benefits and drawbacks of each type. 

‍Points systems

Business credit cards also offer points systems for cardholders to enjoy. These systems accumulate points based on the spend amount or spend percentage. For example, some cards may offer 1 point for every $1 you spend on everyday business purchases but 3 points for streaming services or rideshares. Each issuer's reward rates, conversion rates, and redemption options will vary based on the card. 

Pros
Cons
  • Rewards points can be redeemed for various items
  • Access to partner loyalty programs such as e-commerce sites and retailers
  • Rate of return varies based on rewards
  • Can be difficult to accumulate points if you don’t make purchases in high point groups

With points systems, your business earns points instead of dollars. The value of your points depends on what you redeem them for. Imagine you’ve accumulated 40,000 points, and redeemed these for a $400 flight, then your points are worth one cent each. However, if you manage to search for another flight for $800, the point value has now doubled to two cents each. These points can be redeemed for various items, such as gas gift cards, travel purchases, merchandise, cash back, or even charitable donations.

Some cards give cardholders an additional way to earn bonus points through a welcome offer or sign-up bonus offer. After opening your account, you’ll need to meet a spending requirement in a pre-determined time window. For example, spending $5,000 in 3 months after account opening could get you an additional 50,000 points. 

To redeem your points, your card issuer will typically require you to enter their portal to view your redemption options. When redeeming points, make sure to review all your potential redemptions. Since the value can change based on the rewards, checking with your issuer before making any final purchases is best.

Discount & gift card systems

Many credit cards reward cardholders with discounts or gift cards at account opening. These systems discount either transaction or percentage discounts starting from certain monthly spend amounts. For example, your credit card may reward you with a $50 gift to a popular e-commerce site at account opening and then 5% on each purchase made from the site. Your card may also offer 1-3% on purchases from gas stations, restaurants, or office supply stores. 

Pros
Cons
  • Save money with popular retailers
  • Various options for redeemed rewards
  • Rewards categories may not fit your business spending needs
  • Gift cards could encourage more business spending instead of saving

Cashback 

Cashback rewards systems are fairly straightforward. Each time you use your card to make a purchase, you’ll get a percentage of the purchase back in cash. Let’s say you have a cash back rate of 1.5% on eligible purchases. A purchase of $100 puts $1.50 into your rewards account. Most cards allow you to redeem these rewards through a deposit to your bank account, a credit to your account balance, or pre-paid gift cards. 

Pros
Cons
  • Unlimited reward earning potential on most cards
  • Most come with no annual fee
  • Some cards have high foreign transaction fees
  • Cashback credit cards tend to have high APR after the introductory period

Many cashback credit cards may offer you benefits to enjoy additional savings. The card might offer you extended warranties, return guarantees, purchase protection, or the lowest-advertised price match. These extra perks vary between issuers, so check your card’s benefits guide for its terms.

While some credit cards offer a flat cashback rate on all purchases, others offer bonus categories with higher cashback rates. For instance, you might enjoy a cashback rate of 1% on all purchases but get 5% cashback on all travel purchases booked through their online portal. 

Miles rewards 

Miles rewards are similar to points systems, due to the similar nature of redemption. For each dollar you spend, you earn miles that work as travel currency. Miles-earning business credit cards allow companies to redeem miles for travel purchases like discounted flights, access to airport lounges, seat upgrades, hotel stays, and other travel expenses. 

Frequent flyers often choose cards that offer additional miles in travel categories to get the most miles. When using miles to book a flight or hotel stay, you’ll need to sign in to your card issuer’s online portal. If you need to book with a different airline, some travel cards give cardholders the option to transfer their points to travel partners. 

Pros
Cons
  • Unlimited reward earning potential on most cards
  • Most come with no annual fee
  • Mileage rate of return can be low
  • Must redeem miles for travel to get full value

0% intro APR

Many cards with no annual fee also offer cardholders a low introductory APR rate, typically 0%. This introductory period can range from six to twenty-one months, but the most common period is 12 months from account opening. During this time, you won’t pay interest on any purchases or transactions you make. 

Some no-annual-fee credit cards may also apply the 0% intro apr rate to balance transfers. Once the 0% intro APR period is over, you’ll be subject to a variable apr percentage from your card issuer. 

Pros
Cons
  • Helps businesses save money on interest
  • Lowers monthly payments for the initial period
  • Balance transfers may not be subject to introductory rate
  • Late payments can cause you to forfeit 0% APR

Insurance coverage 

Certain credit cards provide insurance coverage to car rentals if you use your credit card to book the rental. Instead of the basic insurance offered by the rental company, your card could give you access to more thorough coverage. They may also provide rideshare protection or reimbursements for delayed flights if they offer this coverage. 

Pros
Cons
  • Gain extra coverage on vehicles/flights when traveling overseas
  • Get access to cheaper/free insurance coverage instead of relying on the rental company
  • Coverage only offered in covered locations, not worldwide
  • Rental insurance may be limited (ex. a maximum of 15 days)

 

Top 7 business credit card options with no annual fees

Card
Annual fee
Intro APR/Variable APR
Rewards
Benefits
Welcome offer
Ramp
$0
N/A, balance is paid in full every month
1.5% cashback
5-in-1 platform offering fully integrated finance automation software
$250 upon approval, no minimum spend amount
U.S Bank Business Triple Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard
$0
0% for 15 mos, then 16.99%-25.99% variable
1-5% cashback on eligible business purchases, depending on category
Annual $100 statement credit for software subscriptions expenses like QuickBooks or Freshbooks
$500 cashback after spending $4,500 in the first 150 days of account opening
Chase Ink Business Unlimited
$0
0% for 12 mos, then 16.24% - 22.24% variable
1.5% cashback
Free employee cards with spending limit controls. Integrate Ink card with your bookeeping software.
$750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
American Express Blue Business Cash
$0
0% for 12 mos then 16.24%-24.24% variable
1-2% cashback on purchases, depends on category and subject to caps
Ability to spend beyond card limit with Expanded Buying Power. Employee cards to earn rewards on eligible employee purchases.
$250 statement credit after making $3,000 in purchases within first 3 months of account opening
Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard
$0
0% for 9 mos, then 15.24%-25.24% variable
1-3% cashback on purchases, depending on category and subject to caps
Card rewards never expire. Access to Business Advantage 360 to monitor business spending.
$300 statement credit online after making $3,000 in net purchases during the first 90 days
Chase Ink Business Cash Card
$0
0% for 12 mos, then 16.24%-22.24% variable
1-5% cashback on purchases depending on category and subject to caps
Get access to employee cards at no additional cost. Account management to track expenses and integration with bookkeeping software.
$750 bonus cash back after spending $7,500 in purchases within 3 months of account opening
PNC Cash Rewards Visa Signature
$0
0% for 12 mos, then 16.24%-27.24% variable
1-4% cashback on purchases depending on category and subject to caps
Cashback never expires during the length of your account
None

There are several options for no-annual-fee business credit cards. We’ll dive into the top 7 cards and what they offer small businesses looking to secure working capital.

1. Ramp

Ramp’s Visa charge card is in a category of its own. Instead of a card created to help businesses manage their debt, this card comes with tools to help small businesses manage their debt and increase their savings. Ramp’s smart charge card offers impressive real-time expense management to help you manage cash flow effectively. Small businesses, startups, and growing companies can all benefit from the streamlined processes Ramp offers. 

Pros
Cons
  • Generous welcome fee upon approval
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 1.5% cashback on all purchases with no spending cap
  • No revolving balance (but is this really a con?)
  • Not available for sole proprietors

Annual fee: $0

APR: N/A

Rewards: 1.5% cashback on everything 

Benefits: Ramp’s 5-in-1 platform comes with corporate cards, expense management, bill payments, accounting integrations, and real-time reporting in one free and easy-to-use solution. 

Additional features:

  • Welcome offer of $250 upon approval, no minimum spend amount 
  • AI-powered savings insights identify where your money is going and how to save more 
  • Real-time expense management dashboard to control and analyze expenses
  • Empower employees with pre-approved expenses and spend limits 
  • Streamline business workflows with Ramp’s seamless integration to over 100 popular applications 
  • Simplify bill pay by eliminating data entry with Ramp’s detail extraction tool  
  • Digitalize expense policies and leave Ramp’s software to enforce them automatically 

2. U.S. Bank Business Triple Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard

The Business Triple Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard from U.S Bank initially seems impressive. The card offers generous cash back opportunities ranging from 1%-5% on purchases like hotels and car rentals, gas stations and EV charging stations, and cell phone service providers. While the 0% APR and $0 annual fee are nice, the rewards categories are limited and may not offer much for how your business spends money. Foreign transaction and balance transfer fees also leave much desired for small businesses looking to scale internationally. 

Pros
Cons
  • Offers introductory APR on balance transfers
  • Unlimited cashback earning potential
  • Bonus cashback rewards categories
  • Balance transaction fees can eat into business savings
  • Limited cashback rewards categories
  • High foreign transaction fees

Annual fee: $0

APR: 0% Intro APR on purchases, transactions and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles, then a variable APR of 16.99%-25.99%

Rewards: 

  • 5% cashback on car rentals and prepaid hotels booked in the U.S Bank Travel Rewards Center 
  • 3% cashback on eligible purchases at gas/EV charging stations, office supply stores, cell phone service providers and restaurants 
  • 1% cashback on all other eligible business purchases 

Other benefits: Annual $100 statement credit for software subscriptions expenses like QuickBooks or Freshbooks

Additional features:

  • Welcome offer of $500 cashback after spending $4,500 in the first 150 days of account opening 
  • Contactless payments with Apple Pay. Google Pay, or Samsung Pay 
  • Divide large purchases into fixed payments with U.S Bank Extend Pay plan 
  • Track business spending with online tools 
  • Access rewards instantly with Real Time Rewards 

3. Chase Ink Business Unlimited

The Chase Ink Business Unlimited credit card is popular among small businesses searching for a straightforward credit card to handle business expenses.  Companies enjoy its 0 APR introductory period,$0 annual fee, and unlimited cashback rewards of 1.5%. However, the lack of cashback bonus categories and high foreign transaction fees may cause problems down the line. In addition, the seemingly “generous” welcome offer may have small companies spending more rather than saving in the early days of this card. 

Pros
Cons
  • 0% APR introductory period of 12 months
  • Unlimited cashback rewards for purchases
  • Generous welcome bonus of $750
  • No bonus categories for cashback opportunities
  • Steep foreign transaction fees
  • Lower overall value in rewards compared to other cards

Annual fee: $0

APR: 0% Intro APR offer on purchases for 12 months, then variable APR ranging from 16.24% - 22.24%

Rewards:

  • Unlimited 1.5% cashback on all business purchases, with 1.5 points earned for each dollar spent 
  • Redeem rewards for gift cards, cash deposits, or travel rewards in Chase Ultimate Rewards center 

Other benefits:

  • Free employee cards with spending limit controls 
  • Integrate Ink card with your bookeeping software 

Additional features:

  • Welcome offer of $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening 
  • Fraud Protection with real time fraud monitoring 
  • Zero liability protection for unauthorized charges made to your account
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver 
  • Extended warranty protection for U.S products 
  • Roadside Dispatch that covers lockout service, gas delivery, tire changes, etc 
  • Purchase Protection on new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft 

4. American Express Blue Business Cash

The American Express Blue Business Cash card is an appealing card for early-stage small businesses looking to grow. The 0% APR introductory period is a bonus for businesses with little capital planning to gain funding down the road. However, high APR and foreign transaction fees could put a massive dent in business savings after the initial period of 0 APR. In addition, the 2% cashback cap may be a downfall for some businesses. However, companies who don’t plan on exceeding $50,000 in a calendar year may feel that additional benefits make this card worthwhile. 

Pros
Cons
  • Flexible flat rate cash rewards
  • Benefits like account management and Expanded Buying Power may attract growing businesses
  • 12 month 0% Introductory APR period
  • 2% cashback capped after $50K in yearly spending
  • Low introductory APR doesn’t apply to balance transfers
  • High foreign transaction fees

Annual fee: $0

APR: 0.0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening, then variable APR of 16.24% - 24.24%

Rewards:

  • 2% cashback on everyday eligible business purchases up to $50,000 per calender year
  • 1% cashback after the initial $50K spent on your card 

Other benefits:

  • Ability to spend beyond card limit with Expanded Buying Power
  • Employee cards to earn rewards on eligible employee purchases 
  • Quickbooks integration 
  • Account management for managing spend 

Additional features:

  • Welcome bonus of $250 statement credit after making $3,000 in purchases with your AmEx card within your first 3 months of account opening  
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance that covers damage or theft to a rental vehicle in a covered area
  • Access to Global Assist Hotline for assistance with lost passport assistance, translation services, missing luggage or emergency and legal services 
  • Extended Warranty 
  • Purchase Protection 
  • Dispute Resolution 

5. Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard

Bank of America is proud of the various cashback options that come with the Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard. Still, not everyone has the opportunity to get the most out of this card. Cardholders who don’t have an existing account with Bank of America will earn less than those who do. The capped spending of bonus rewards will likely have big spenders looking to other cards with more cashback opportunities. 

Pros
Cons
  • Bank of America account holders can qualify to earn 25-75% in cashback rewards
  • High rewards rate
  • Ample welcome bonus
  • Capped spending for bonus rewards
  • Minimal options for rewards redemption
  • Lacks intro APR for balance transfers

Annual fee: $0 

APR: 0% introductory APR for your first 9 billing cycles, then variable APR of 15.24% - 25.24% will apply 

Rewards:

  • 3% cashback in the category of your choice (choose from gas stations, office supply stores, travel, TV, telecom, wireless, computer services and business consulting services) default category is gas stations 
  • 2% cashback on dining purchases (capped at $50,000 with category of your choice and dining purchases) 
  • 1% cashback on all other qualifying purchases 

Other benefits:

  • Card rewards never expire 
  • Contactless cards to pay by tapping
  • Access to Business Advantage 360 to monitor business spending 

Additional features: Welcome bonus of $300 statement credit online after making $3,000 in net purchases during the first 90 days after account opening 

6. Chase Ink Business Cash

Chase’s Ink Business Cash credit card offers generous cashback options for its cardholders. Its lucrative rewards and bonus rewards categories offer small businesses several ways to save money. Although the card has potential, its welcome offer encourages businesses to spend more without offering savings insights. 

Pros
Cons
  • Free employee cards for additional cashback opportunities
  • Bonus categories offer high rewards rates
  • Welcome offer for new cardholders
  • Intro APR only applies to purchases
  • Spending caps on bonus rewards categories
  • Requires good/excellent credit to qualify

Annual fee: $0

APR: 0% introductory APR period of 12 months for purchases , then variable APR of 16.24% - 22.24% 

Rewards:

  • 5% cashback on your first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at office supply stores and internet, cable, and phone services 
  • 2% cashback on on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants 
  • 1% cashback on all other business purchases 

Other benefits:

  • Get access to employee cards at no additional cost 
  • Account management to track expenses and integration with bookkeeping software 

Additional features:

  • Welcome offer of $750 bonus cash back after spending $7,500 in purchases within 3 months of account opening
  • Fraud Protection with real-time fraud monitoring 
  • Zero liability protection for unauthorized charges made to your account
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver 
  • Extended warranty protection for U.S products 
  • Roadside Dispatch that covers lockout service, gas delivery, tire changes, etc. 
  • Purchase Protection on new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft

7. PNC Cash Rewards Visa Signature

The Cash Rewards Visa Signature card by PNC seems like a standout card when looking at its points structure and bonus rewards categories. While the card is a decent choice for low spenders, businesses that spend more than $8,000 a month may find the remaining 1% cashback rewards unimpressive. 

Pros
Cons
  • 0% introductory APR on balance transfers
  • Bonus rewards categories
  • Higher rewards rate than other no annual fee cards
  • Limited ways to redeem cashback rewards
  • Lacks welcome bonus for new cardholders
  • Spending cap on rewards may be low for some businesses

Annual fee: $0

APR: 0% intro APR only on balance transfers for 12 months, variable APR of 16.24% - 27.24% for all purchases 

Rewards: 

  • 4% on gas station purchases
  • 3% on dining purchases at restaurants and fast food locations
  • 2% on grocery store purchases (Cashback capped at $8,000 for all of the above categories)
  • 1% cashback on all other purchases 
  • PNC will match cashback rewards earned under the PNC Rewards Cashback program during the first year of account opening. (Ex. If you earn $150 during your first year, PNC will match it, bringing your cashback total to $300.)

Other benefits:

  • Cashback never expires during the length of your account
  • Manage credit online with PNC Mobile Banking/Mobile App 

Additional features 

  • Zero Liability Fraud Protection protects you from unauthorized transactions
  • PNC Easy Lock allows cardholders to lock lost/stolen credit cards in real-time 

Get card smart

Business owners shouldn’t get distracted by seemingly impressive rewards structures or lucrative cash back opportunities. Your business needs a card that promotes employee empowerment with the freedom to make purchases as needed. A corporate rewards card with a clear cashback structure will improve the financial stability of your company and contribute towards future growth. 

Picking the right business credit card involves taking a detailed look at your business needs. Ramp helps businesses through spend management software and real-time insights that show your business's pain points. 

Learn more about how Ramp can help you scale your business.

Learn how Ramp strengthens your finances

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FAQs
What is APR?

APR is the annual percentage rate or the yearly interest charged on loans. You pay this rate if you carry a balance on your credit card. If you fully pay your monthly credit card statement, you avoid paying this rate. 

What percentage of interest do banks charge annually on business credit cards?

Business credit cards generally see lower interest rates than consumer credit cards. The interest rates range from 15.97 to 23.27 percent. Banks charge businesses various interest rates based on the creditworthiness of your business. 

What credit score is needed for a business credit card?

Business credit cards generally favor businesses with either good or excellent credit scores. The best business credit cards will require a score of 670-700 or higher. 

What is the best credit card for a small business?

Each small business owner will need to consider several factors to decide what the best credit card is for their business. For example, they should think about the kind of business purchases they make, the annual fee of the card, introductory and variable APR,  rewards structure,  their business’ credit history, whether the card issuer offers free cards for employees,, and if the card offers expense management tools. 

Is it better to have no annual fee?

Opting for a business credit card with no annual fee may be better for your business if the rewards align your business needs. However, there are time when you may choose a card with an annual fee if it gets your business better rewards, such as a higher cashback percentage. 

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Learn more about Ramp

Streamline approvals.
Review requests, pre-approve expenses, and issue general expense cards in a few clicks – or directly in Slack. Delegate approvals and empower your team leads to spend on the things they need and control their team’s expenses.
Learn more
Issue instant cards.
Unlimited virtual and physical cards with built-in spend limits, instantly available for everyone in your team. Define spend rules and let your smart cards enforce your policies automatically. No more surprises or under-the-radar spending.
Learn more
See spend as it happens.
Stop waiting on monthly statements or manual spreadsheets. Find, browse, and download real-time transactions from any employee, department, or merchant – on any device.
Learn more
Close your books 5x faster.
An accounting experience by finance teams, built for speed and efficiency. Automate manual processes and start enjoying instant reconciliation – Ramp does all the heavy lifting.
Learn more
Trim wasteful spend.
Ramp analyses every transaction and identifies hundreds of actionable ways your company can cut expenses and alerts your team via email, SMS, or Slack. It’s like having a second finance team, laser-focused on cutting costs.
Learn more
Consolidate reimbursements.
Ramp makes it easy to reimburse your employees for any incidental out-of-pocket expenses. Review, approve, and pay employees back for anything that didn’t make it onto a card with the rest of your Ramp transactions.
Learn more

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