Best Business Credit Card Providers

Compare the 10 best credit cards for small businesses.

As well as giving you access to additional funds, signing up for a business credit card gives you a number of worthwhile corporate benefits. So which business credit card provider is right for you?

Differences between a business credit card and a personal one

Business credit cards and personal credit cards are entirely different products. Although they share similarities (where you’re assigned a credit limit for an agreed interest rate), business credit cards are evidently intended for business use only. This means that business credit cards will offer different features and benefits, as well as having different eligibility criteria.

What’s more, credit card providers will often stipulate that you cannot claim a welcome bonus if you’ve had a credit card from them before. However, if you’ve had a personal credit card and now you’re applying for a business one (or visa versa) then you usually can claim a welcome bonus. The cards are treated as different financial products, with very little relationship between each other.

Here are some of the other key differences between business and personal credit cards:

Eligibility

Business credit cards will require you to be a UK registered business, a stipulation that even sole traders are usually required to meet. As you’d expect, the application process is often slightly more rigorous for business credit cards, with stricter requirements and higher standards of creditworthiness.

Different credit lines

Business and personal credit lines are separate, although don’t be surprised if your personal credit history is checked when applying for a business credit card. Additionally, there tends to be a higher agreed credit limit for business credit cards (usually ranging from £1,000 to £10,000).

Preparation for taxes

Although you don’t exactly need a business credit card for an expense to be tax deductible, it certainly makes life a lot easier. Having to sift through personal bank statements to separate your allowable expenses from your personal ones is a gruelling process, and an unnecessary waste of your time.

Business credit cards not only make it easy for you (by keeping all your allowable expenses in one place), but crucially this extends to employees too. If you issue them a business credit card, you can track the company money they have spent, too. It’s also more accessible to download business credit card statements from across your organisation into specialised accounting software.

Features

The benefits and features of business credit cards will be tailored for business operations. For example, with the sole intention of helping smooth over cash flow issues, many issuers will afford you a certain amount of days free from interest (usually around 50 days).

Other benefits can include partnership promotional programmes, such as a discount on Amazon Business.

A shift in mindset

Those with lifestyle businesses, or who are recently self-employed, may struggle to separate their work from their life. One of the best ways to really step up your business as its own entity is to have complete division between personal and business finances. This way things like unexpectedly large personal bills are not a reflection of a downturn in your business. What’s more, using a business credit card means you aren’t borrowing from your personal finances to pay for office equipment or the resources needed to grow your business.

Who can get a company credit card?

Whilst all business credit card providers differ slightly in their eligibility and application requirements, there tends to be a few shared eligibility rules:

  • To be aged 18 or over.
  • To be a UK resident.
  • To have a UK registered company.
  • To have an appropriate credit history.

Some providers may also have certain criteria around directors, business structure, bankruptcy and County Court judgements, so make sure you read the small-print.

Best 10 Business Credit Card Providers

  • Types offered: Business credit card.
  • Best suited to: SMEs and international businesses (must still be UK-based though).
  • Features:
    • Representative 14.9% APR (variable). One rate across the business including balance transfers.
    • Zero annual fees.
    • Up to 56 days interest free credit on purchases.
    • Minimum credit limit of £500.
    • Maximum credit limit is subject to status.
    • Free card purchases and cash withdrawal in Europe (2.99% outside Europe).
    • Bank the way you want: online, over the phone, mobile app or in store.
    • Make payments via direct debit.
    • Maximum ATM withdrawal is £300 per day.
    • Contactless payment cards.
  • Eligibility:
    • Must already have a Business Current or Commercial Current account with Metro bank.
    • To be 18 or over and to be a UK resident.

Metro Bank is arguably offering the most competitive and compelling small business credit cards of all the major providers. Metro Bank’s clear, easy-to-use website is a reflection of its simple and transparent business credit card. It is obvious that Metro Bank takes pride in innovation and design to help make things clear and easy for the customer.

This is a great business credit card if a company has dealings around Europe, as there are zero cash withdrawal or purchase fees. It is free, with zero annual fees and has a simple, low-cost (14.9%) APR. Metro Bank is not explicit in its credit limits, apart from stating that they start at £500. What is evident however, is that you will be receiving perhaps the most affordable business credit cards on the market, with a generous possibility of getting credit for 56 days interest free.

  • Types offered: Business credit card.
  • Best suited to: Domestic businesses.
  • Features:
    • Representative typical 22.4% APR (variable).
    • First year of banking has no annual fee.
    • £28 annual fee per card issued after the first free year.
    • Up tom the SmartData accountancy tool online.
    • Anti-fraud technology
    • Receive automatic discounts at a variety of retailers with the Mastercard Savings Scheme.
  • Eligibility:
    • No specific eligibility requirements are outlined

Clydesdale Bank is offering a security-focused, low cost business credit card, with a single representative APR of 22.4% along with anti-fraud technology. The first year of banking incurs no annual fee, and there is an impressive 59 days interest free credit on purchases. After the first year, the annual fee per card is £28.

Non-Sterling transactions incur a 2.95% fee, as well as the Mastercard exchange rate (which has a mild exchange markup). This is not ideal if you intend to use the card on overseas business trips.

  • Types offered: Business credit card.
  • Best suited to: SMEs and international businesses (must still be UK-based though).
  • Features:
    • Representative 23.7% APR (variable).
    • £30 annual account fee.
    • Up to 56 days interest free credit (when paying your balance in full each month).
    • Additional cards are available at no additional cost.
    • No foreign transaction fees when purchasing abroad and paying in the local currency.
    • 1% cashback on all business expenditure.
    • Place differing monthly spend limits on each individual card to prevent employees from overspending.
    • Simple payments via online, direct debit or post.
    • Monthly paper statements that details the spending of each cardholder.
  • Eligibility:
    • A UK registered company, with all directors, owners or partners being UK residents and aged 18 or over.
    • You must not have been disqualified as a director (or a director of a failed company within the last 6 years.
    • Have a good credit history and haven’t been bankrupt (or received an Involuntary Arrangement) in the previous 6 years.

Santander is a huge commercial bank, with a Spanish parent company that has a prominent presence around the world (Banco Santander). Santander is currently offering a fantastic corporate credit card for UK businesses, with a ton of great features.

To start, the £30 annual fee doesn’t seem like much of a set back when you’re granted foreign transactions with no fees, up to 56 days interest free credit and 1% cashback on all business spending.. If you have a team you are looking to issue cards to they are well worth considering given that they offer  the ability to have additional cards at no extra cost, as well as the ability to place monthly spending limits for each cardholder (i.e. each employee). The £30 annual fee is great value when divided by any number of additional cards.

The Santander business credit card also seems like a very good choice for businesses who operate abroad a lot. To offer zero foreign transaction fees is rare and could provide significant savings.

  • Types offered: Business credit card and Business Plus credit card.
  • Best suited to: SMEs and established companies.
  • Features:
    • Annual fees: £30 (Business credit card), £70 (Business Plus credit card).
    • 56 days interest-free credit period for purchases.
    • 24.3% representative APR (variable) for the Business credit card.
    • 29% representative APR (variable) for the Business Plus credit card.
    • Earn 2% cash back on eligible business supplier with the Plus card.
    • No charges for purchases made abroad with the Plus card.
    • 25% off your first £200 spend with Amazon Business.
    • Make contactless payments.
    • Credit cards come with the ClearSpend app which can efficiently manage your account.
    • Effectively manage your expenses and cash flow.
  • Eligibility:
    • Must be a UK resident over the age of 18.
    • The business must be registered in the UK.
    • Under £2 million annual turnover is required for the Business credit card, and under £6.5 million annual turnover is required for the Business Plus credit card

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) are offering two seperate business cards, depending on your business’s needs. The Business Plus credit card not only costs more (£70 annual fee as opposed to £30), but it has a higher representative APR too, at 29% (variable). But, in return, your business can benefit from additional benefits, such as 2% cashback on eligible suppliers, 1% on eligible field and accommodation, and 0.5% on everything else. On top of this, the Plus credit card has no charges for purchases abroad, making this the clear choice for companies who deal internationally.

The other key difference is that the standard Business credit card is free for the first year. It can also be free from then on if you spend £6,000+ per year. This makes it a very low cost option for smaller companies, not to mention the lower turnover requirements (under £2 million annually, as opposed to £6.5 million with the Plus account).

  • Types offered: Standard, Rewards and Self-Employed.
  • Best suited to: Sole Traders and freelancers.
  • Features
    • Application for credit cards can take as little as 2 minutes.
    • Receive your decision within minutes.
    • Unlimited free Foreign Exchange and ATM withdrawals.
    • Credit limit up to £50,000.
    • Up to 56 days interest free.
    • Rates as low as 9.99%.
    • Avios and cashback rewards.
    • Standard cards are free, whilst the two Rewards cards are £99 and £249 per year respectively.
    • Between 10 and 20 free supplementary cards.
    • Applying for any of the cards will not affect your credit score.
    • 5-star rating on Trustpilot.
  • Eligibility
    • Not set requirements other than being UK based. 
    • The decision will be based on: the business finances and credit usage.

Capital On Tap is currently offering some extremely competitive business credit cards. Generally, the credit cards seem to be aimed towards sole traders and freelancers, with a quick application process and a website design that’s marketed towards this demographic.

Unlike most of the other providers, Capital On Tap does not specify a representative APR, instead claiming it could be as low as 9.99%. Bear this in mind as you go through the application process, and look out for what you’ll actually be offered. Up to £50,000 can also be attained in credit, which puts this card very high up the list of best cards available.

Besides this, Capital On Tap is tremendously transparent. With an upfront ETA of its application process (2 minutes), visible cashback rewards and promise of no ATM, FX or hidden feest. Then there’s 10 free supplementary cards, with the ability to control and limit each one — this is a really useful addition and something many other providers charge for. 

Add into the mix the fact that Capital On Tap specifically aims a card towards those who are self-employed, and with no foregin exchange fees, and Capital On Tap can be considered a fiercely competitive challenger bank.

  • Types offered: Commercial card.
  • Best suited to: All types of companies (tailored credit limits).
  • Features:
    • 22% APR representative (variable).
    • £32 annual fee.
    • 56 days interest free to help smooth over cash flow.
    • Tailored credit limits based on your needs.
    • Extra cards for employees.
    • Accepted around the world.
    • Make contactless payments.
    • Safe with no liability for fraudulent transactions.
    • Payments can be made over the phone.
    • Direct debits can be set up.
  • Eligibility:
    • Must be a UK resident over the age of 18.
    • The business must be registered in the UK.
    • The decision will be based on the business finances and credit usage.

HSBC’s is a very solid business credit card — nothing less than what you would expect from a successful, reliable commercial bank. With a very middle-of-the-road £32 annual fee, you can gain access to a tailored credit limit with a representative 22% APR.

Disappointingly, there is nothing glamorous about the HSBC business credit card, as it somewhat lacks in benefits. You will however benefit greatly from the 56 days interest free credit to help smooth over any short-term cash flow issues.

Another thing you gain when dealing with HSBC is that it’s a very large, successful multinational corporation. You won’t be hard pressed to find a branch, or someone to speak to when contacting them through customer service. Overall, the company offers security, reliability and a solid credit card.

  • Types offered: British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card, Platinum Card, Gold Card and Basic Card.
  • Best suited to: Larger, more established businesses.
  • Features:
    • Annual fees: £210 (Accelerating Card), £0 (Basic Card), £123 but £0 in year 1 (Gold Card), £595 (Platinum Card).
    • All cards have a cash flow management between 42 and 56 days.
    • All cards (other than Basic) offer membership reward points.
    • 0 supplementary cards for Basic, but 99+ for the other cards.
    • Representative APR: 81.6% for the Accelerating Card.
    • 24/7 customer service.
    • Online business account management.
    • Emergency card replacement.
    • Dedicated concierge and travel team for Platinum Card members.
  • Eligibility:
    • Must have a UK bank account.
    • No County Court judgements for non-payment of debt.
    • Must be 18 years or older.
    • Must have a permanent UK address.

American Express, known as Amex, is a colossal US financial service corporation that operates around the world. Its operations in the UK are offering businesses 4 variations of an Amex business credit card. The Basic card is free, but somewhat lacks in features with no welcome offer, bonus or additional benefit. There is however still up to 42 days payment period on purchases.

You may think of Amex as being for really high-fliers, and the products seem to reflect this reputation. At the top end, Amex’s credit cards cost up to £595 in annual fees! So is this worth it? The British Airways Amex Accelerating Business Card for example, costs £210 annually, and has a representative APR of 81.6% (variable). You are however benefited with a longer 56 days interest free, along with an extensive rewards system, emergency replacement card service, travel insurance and 24/7 global assistance.

Whilst Amex offers a free, Basic Card, it is mostly a provider that is suited to large, established businesses who can afford the large fees and therefore reap the rewards. Just be sure to pay off the balance each month to avoid those sky high interest rates.

  • Types offered: Barclaycard Platinum (4 variations), Barclaycard Forward, Barclaycard Rewards card.
  • Best suited to: Startups and established businesses.
  • Features:
    • Between 19.9% and 34.9% representative APR (variable) depending on card.
    • 0% interest on purchases for 3 to 20 months depending on card (Forward and Platinum).
    • Make contactless payments.
    • Card fees starting at no charge.
    • Cashback is available with the Rewards card.
    • Online card selector comparison tool.
    • Extras available such as travel insurance.
  • Eligibility
    • Eligibility differs across the cards, with the Barclay’s Forward Card being the most accessible in most circumstances. 
    • Credit checks will be completed, along with basic finance questions.

Barclay’s presents a substantial amount of choice regarding its business credit cards. Representative APR is between 19.9% and 34.9% (variable) depending on the card, and you can expect differences in the level of rewards, such as cashback.

What is important to note is that all cards are free of annual fees. And although there are many options, Barclays have an online comparison tool to make it easier to find what’s best for you.

Like with some other commercial banks, your credit rating can be affected if Barclays reject your application for a credit card. However, with its online eligibility checker, this shouldn’t happen as you can be sure before you actually send the application. Great!

  • Types offered: Business Credit Card for both £0-3m turnover and £3-25m turnover.
  • Best suited to: SMEs and large businesses.
  • Features:
    • Manage your credit card online.
    • Credit limit up to £10,000.
    • Representative APR of 22.4% (variable).
    • Make contactless payments.
    • Make payments online or over the phone, including direct debits.
    • £32 annual fee per card.
    • Withdraw up to £500 per day.
  • Eligibility:
    • Must have had a business current account with Lloyds for more than 12 months (for the credit card that is offered to £3 million+ turnover businesses)
    • Must be a UK resident.
    • Must be 18 or over and be one of the following: a sole trader, partner or director with authority to borrow.
Lloyds has made things simple by separating its business credit cards into two distinct categories: for businesses with under £3 million in annual turnover, and for businesses with a turnover between £3 million and £25 million. Up to a £10,000 credit limit can be attained along with the possibility of withdrawing £500 per day. Again, to keep things simple, representative APR is the same across both cards (a very reasonable 22.4%, variable). A key difference between the two cards is that you need to have had a business current account with Lloyds for 12 or more months when applying for a £3 million+ turnover credit card. Lloyds are a very established, long-serving UK commercial bank with a strong track record; it is one of the Big Four and is the fifth oldest bank in the UK. The credit cards on offer are equally as reliable, with a flat £32 annual fee and several ways to manage your dealings (online, telephone and mobile app).
  • Types offered: Business credit card.
  • Best suited to: SMEs, businesses located in or near Scotland.
  • Features:
    • Apply for up to £10,000 credit limit.
    • 22.4% APR (variable) representative example.
    • Up to 20 cards can be issued, with individual spending limits on each.
    • Flexible repayment options.
    • Up to 45 days interest free credit when balances are paid on time on previous statements.
    • Withdraw up to £500 per cardholder each day.
    • Give your staff members easy-to-manage daily expenses, with bespoke limits.
    • Use the card in outlets around the world (where there’s a Mastercard sign).
  • Eligibility
    • If your business turns over £2 million+ per year, you must contact the relationship manager before making an application. 
    • Must be 18 or over.
    • Must be a UK resident and be a sole trader, partner or director with authority to borrow.

Bank of Scotland (not to be confused with RBS), offers a very steady business credit card. There is a £32 annual charge per card that is issued, making it expensive for businesses with many employees (not to mention the 20 card limit). Nevertheless, the individualised card spending limits per issue does arguably make up for this, where you can better control employees’ spending — although companies like Capital On Tap offer this service for free!

A credit limit of up to £10,000 is available, with a manageable representative APR of 22.4% (variable). However, it’s clear that this credit card isn’t intended for very large businesses, as you must contact a special relationship manager when applying if your annual turnover exceeds £2 million.

With up to a 45 day interest free period, this is certainly a good business credit card option. Although, if you’re looking among the large traditional banks for a reliable credit card, it may be worth checking out ones with more branches as the Bank of Scotland only has 290, and are very limited to Scotland.

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