Best Business Credit Cards for Start-Ups

Learn where to go for the credit card that will serve your start-up best. Also, find out what goes into a company's credit score.

Updated: February 12, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

|
Rebecca Goodman

Edited By

Rebecca Goodman

 

If you know what you’re doing, a low-interest credit card can be useful for your small company. Maybe you want to earn points, cashback, or airmiles for your purchases, or you want to spread the cost of a big purchase.

In this guide we look at the best credit cards for start-up businesses, the pros and cons of using one, what you need to be aware of, and our top picks.

ServiceScoreRegister
1. Capital on Tap Business Credit Card★★★★★Click Here
2. American Express Business Gold Card★★★★★Click Here
3. Barclaycard Select Charge Card★★★★★Click Here
4. Juni Business Card with Credit★★★★★Click Here
5. Allstar Plus ‘All-in-one’ Fuel Card★★★★Click Here
6. Metro Bank Business Credit Card★★★★Click Here
7. Santander Business Cashback Credit Card★★★★Click Here

At a Glance: Pros and Cons

This section covers the pros and cons of top business credit cards for start-ups in the UK.

Pros

✅ Can prevent problems with cash flow if you need to make purchases before receiving payments.

✅ Keeping private and business funds separate.

✅ Accounting is quicker with credit card statements are used instead of keeping track of paper receipts.

✅ Giving employees their own corporate cards helps streamline the expense reimbursement process.

✅ As long as the debt is paid on time, it's a low-cost way to borrow money.

✅ Gives new businesses a chance to establish credit so they may qualify for better rates and conditions when borrowing money in the future.

✅ Possible incentives include cashback on purchases or a point system that can be redeemed for future goods and services.

Cons

❌ High rates of interest and other fees may accrue if the amount is not paid in full each month.

❌ Risk of debt: the ease of using a credit card for company expenses might lead to wasteful expenditure.

❌ Personal responsibility: a personal guarantee is often necessary to get a company credit card. This makes the cardholder (often the business owner) personally accountable for the debt.

❌ Credit score effects: responsible use of a business credit card may help your company's credit score rise, but careless use can have the opposite effect. If your company makes a late or missing payment, it might affect your personal credit score as well.

❌ Constraints and complexities in reward schemes: some reward programmes set spending minimums in order to earn points, while others limit when and how those points may be redeemed.

Top Business Cards for Start-Ups

Credit card applications are status-based and the interest rate charged will depend on the business or person and their credit history.

The APR you're given may be greater than average, or you may not be given credit at all, depending on your individual circumstances. Prices and charges can be adjusted at any time. You should always read the fine print before taking out any type of credit.

1. Capital on Tap Business Credit Card

Capital on Tap Business Credit Card

Capital on Tap Business Credit Card
Credit Limit
Up to £250,000
Representative % APR (variable)
35.15% APR
  • Up to 42 days interest-free.
  • Uncapped 1% cashback with no annual fee.
  • Unlimited free company cards.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 35.15% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 35.15% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

The Capital on Tap business card provides access to credit of up to £250k, with no fees for foreign exchange purchases, and a choice of two lucrative rewards programs. 

The credit service debuted in 2012, offering a business credit card with lucrative rewards programmes and no foreign transaction fees. It's not breaking any new ground, but it does what it does really effectively.

Why SMBs choose it

Designed with SMBs in mind, it allows for flexible money transfers to your designated bank account without incurring any fees. In addition, you may get finance for amounts lower than £250,000 and get incentives for the money your company already spends every month. 

Capital on Tap has helped over 200,000 companies in the UK because of its convenient application process and user-friendly layout. The company also has a lot going for it since its qualifying requirements are looser than those of many of its competitors and its decision time is almost instantaneous.

Successful applicants for the Capital on Tap Business Credit Card are instantly enrolled in the card's fee-free, rewards-bearing version, giving them access to 1% cash back on all business spending, no matter how much they charge each month, as well as exclusive business incentives

You can enjoy all the privileges of the free rewards system, plus the ability to redeem points for Avios flying miles and a significant sign-up bonus, by upgrading to the Business Rewards scheme for £99 per year.

What isn’t so great?

When comparing Capital on Tap's rewards scheme to that of American Express, the Amex premium cards come with a more comprehensive package. Capital on Tap, on the other hand, is a Visa card, which is accepted more widely.

Make sure you can afford the monthly payments before racking up any debt, and pay off your card in full every month to prevent interest charges, which will cancel out any rewards you could get.

Overall, Capital on Tap does a terrific job of convincing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that they do not need to settle for a bolt-on credit card from their usual bank.

Pros

✔️ Integrations with Xero, FreshBooks, and FreeAgent.

✔️ You can take up to 42 days to pay off your purchase amount (assuming you do so in full every month).

✔️ Capital on Tap is an app for Android and iPhone that provides the same convenient access to your online portal. The primary cardholder and any authorised users may use it, but only the primary cardholder will have full access to the card's capabilities.

✔️ Additional cards may be issued to staff and business partners at no extra cost.

✔️ The lowest rate for new customers can be as low as 15.5%.

Cons

❌ The interest rate on cash advances (ATM withdrawals) is 39.3%.

❌ You can only make free withdrawals from your Capital on Tap account to the business current account.

❌ Withdrawals and deposits of cash into your business bank account will accrue interest from the date of the transaction (the interest-free period of up to 42 days will not apply).

2. American Express Business Gold Card

American Express Business Gold Card

American Express Business Gold Card
Credit Limit
None
Representative % APR (variable)
None
  • Annual fee £175 (£0 in the first year).
  • Membership Rewards® points.
  • Up to 99 complimentary Employee Cards.

Turn business purchases into rewards and keep your cashflow flowing.

If your small or medium-sized company (SME) has a cash flow pattern similar to that of most others, the American Express Gold Card business credit card can increase your spending capacity and provide some stability.

But, you must pay off your monthly bill in full. If you do, you'll be able to enjoy up to 54 days with zero per cent interest on purchases each billing cycle (though you'll have to pay penalties if you don't pay off your debt in full by then). 

Charge cards are generally useful for delayed payment of purchases made at the beginning of the billing cycle (the balance is due at the billing cycle’s close).

What you get

One of the key perks of this card is the ability to earn reward points with every purchase (together with a substantial sign-up bonus) and travel accident insurance of up to £250,000 (subject to conditions and provided that you use your card to buy your trip tickets).

The availability of extra cards makes it simple to maintain tabs on corporate expenditures and provide perks to coworkers and employees. Furthermore, unlike its rivals, American Express does not impose additional fees for multiple cards.

Pros

✔️ Grace period of up to 54 days to pay off your monthly bill.

✔️ American Express's customer service has been praised.

✔️ Accumulate points with regular purchases.

✔️ New member bonus of up to 20,000 points.

Cons

❌ The first year is free, and then there is a £175 yearly charge after that.

❌ If an applicant's credit score is poor, they probably won't be approved.

❌ Foreign exchange fees of 2.99%.

3. Barclaycard Select Charge Card

Barclaycard Select Charge Card

Barclaycard Select Charge Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £1,000
Representative % APR (variable)
3.6% APR
  • Up to 38 days interest free on purchases.
  • Total annual fee £42 per account with no additional cardholder fees.
  • Purchase protection and cardholder misuse insurance.

The approval of your application depends on your financial circumstances and borrowing history, so do the terms you may be offered. The interest rates may differ from those shown.

Access to the Business Rewards programme is included with this card, as it is with other business Barclaycards. That includes exclusive perks like early access to ticket sales and reduced prices at hotels, restaurants, and car rental agencies.

The card has a maximum limit of £50k and a minimum limit of £1,000. If you've been using your Barclaycard Business responsibly for some time, you may be eligible for a higher credit limit.

You can also control employee cards through the MyControls website. All cards may download a companion app with limited functionality to monitor their spending.

Pros

✔️ Allows you to spread out your payments over up to 38 days.

✔️ Get free extra cards when you order more for your group.

✔️ Insurance for fraudulent charges and protected purchases.

✔️ Barclaycard Business Rewards gives you access to exclusive discounts and perks.

✔️ Barclaycard Business has a stellar reputation for customer service.

Cons

❌ It's not possible to roll over debt from one billing cycle to the next using a charge card.

❌ Annual account maintenance of £42.

❌ This card only provides you 38 days to pay off your monthly balance without incurring any interest charges, whereas the average credit card gives you up to 55 days.

4. Juni Business Card with Credit

Juni Business Card with Credit

Juni Business Card with Credit
Credit Limit
Minimum 10k
Representative % APR (variable)
None
  • Credit lines from £10k up to £2M upon eligibility.
  • 37 to 60-day payment terms.
  • 1% cashback on all eligible spend.

Fees and interests apply in case of late payment only.

With issuer PayrNet's help, financial platform Juni has introduced a virtual business charge card in the UK, with benefits including 1% cash back on all purchases and individualised credit limits. 

Juni is a “financial companion” designed specifically for online retailers to help them track their day-to-day cash flow.

The best aspects 

With its new virtual cashback business charge card, Juni is competing head-on with industry leaders Capital on Tap and American Express.

This custom charge card is designed to assist firms in the digital advertising industry make the most of their day-to-day business expenses, therefore increasing their income. There aren't many fees associated with this card, and you may get cashback of up to 1% on all purchases.

If you want to use your credit card to pay for internet advertisements, the Juni card has several neat features. If you have the option of daily scaling credit limitations (up to £250,000), you can use this to “boost your ROAS” by increasing ad spending. Juni also provides quick credit “based on your balances with networks, processors, and accounts you've integrated” with your Juni account.

Drawbacks

After a year of testing, the Juni Business Card is now available to the public, although there may be some kinks to work out. 

Although the card is accessible to all UK-based firms (subject to eligibility), alternative business credit cards, including the Capital on Tap Business Rewards credit card, may be more useful for enterprises that do not employ digital marketing.

Pros

✔️ All regular company expenses are eligible for a 1% cashback.

✔️ There is no yearly charge.

✔️ A maximum of £2 million in credit is available.

✔️ Monitor your advertising budget.

✔️ Your Juni card may be linked to Google Ads.

Cons

❌ Since the Juni card is a charge card, you must pay it off in full every month.

❌ Companies with a lower advertising budget may not qualify.

5. Allstar Plus ‘All-in-one’ Fuel Card

Allstar Plus ‘All-in-one’ Fuel Card

Allstar Plus ‘All-in-one’ Fuel Card
Credit Line
£1k-£100k+
Representative % APR (variable)
N/A
  • Fuel & business payments made simple.
  • Up to 44 days interest-free credit on all your business purchases.
  • 7,700 fuel sites.

Fees and interest may apply.

The Allstar Plus Card combines a corporate credit card with a fuel discount card to help your company save time and money. 

This business card is designed to reduce the burden of business travel expenses by offering up to 44 days without interest on purchases (depending on your creditworthiness) and discounts on fuel at chosen locations.

Why SMEs use this

The Allstar Plus business card is a superb “all-in-one” card that combines the benefits of a conventional business charge card with those of a fuel card, allowing cardholders to reduce administrative burdens and save money on business travel and transport.

Over 7,700 fuel locations throughout the UK (including all major businesses and brands) accept this card, and it has usual features like customizable spending limits and extra cards that users have come to expect from Allstar.

You can make purchases with this business charge card interest-free for up to 44 days, but you should be aware of the card's other penalties, such as its late payment fee and its convenience fee of up to 1.5 pence per litre.

The Allstar Plus business card is designed to alleviate some of the administrative burdens that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have by providing a convenient way to pay for business travel. 

Businesses that spend a significant amount of time or money on business travel and driving might benefit from a hybrid of a traditional business charge card and an Allstar fuel card. Plus, at any of the more than 1,600 Discount Diesel locations, you might save money on every litre of fuel you buy with this card.

Why not to use

If you're not going to use the savings from this card on petrol and car maintenance, you can probably find a better business card offer elsewhere. In addition, a “risk-based fee” may be applied if you incur a late payment or don't pay your balance in full every billing cycle.

Pros

✔️ Extensive breakdown of costs.

✔️ Pay no interest for up to 44 days.

✔️ The card is accepted at more than 7,700 UK petrol stations.

Cons

❌ A charge per card every month.

❌ The replacement card charge and late payment fee are examples of these additional costs.

6. Metro Bank Business Credit Card

Metro Bank Business Credit Card

Metro Bank Business Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £500
Representative % APR (variable)
14.9% APR
  • Free transactions in Europe.
  • Interest-free period up to 56 days on purchases (when you pay your balance in full and on time).
  • No annual fee.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 14.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 14.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

If a new business is seeking a credit card with a low annual fee and interest rate, this card from Metro Bank might be a good option. You will need a business or commercial current account to open one, but no minimum monthly transactions are required.

All approved applicants will be charged a fixed annual percentage rate of 14.9%. There is also no yearly charge and a maximum stay of 56 days. 

In addition, there are no foreign transaction fees assessed while using the card in the majority of European nations, making it a cost-effective choice for frequent business travellers.

Key start-up features

If you're a startup seeking a low-cost way to finance your operations, Metro Bank's card is a great choice.

The card stands out above other similar products since it does not have minimum revenue criteria. This implies that all firms, regardless of size or financial stability, are encouraged to apply.

The card's financial rewards are substantial, but it lacks other bonuses, such as cashback. The credit card offers a low-cost, easily-managed line of credit with a fixed annual percentage rate (APR) of 14.9% (although the exact amount you pay will depend on factors including your credit history).

In addition, the card offers a grace period of up to 56 days after purchase, during which no interest will be charged as long as the amount is paid in full each month. This perk is great since it helps with managing cashflow in the early stages of a firm.

Last but not least, there are no hidden costs for using the card in the majority of European nations. If you or your employees travel often, this may add up to a significant discount, making it a true low-cost choice that helps your company expand internationally.

Pros 

✔️ Fixed flat 14.90% APR.

✔️ No annual fee, no foreign exchange fees in Europe.

✔️ No turnover minimum.

Cons 

❌ No cashback.

❌ No point system for rewards.

❌ You’ll need to open a Metro Bank business checking account.

7. Santander Business Cashback Credit Card

Santander Business Cashback Credit Card

Santander Business Cashback Credit Card
Credit Limit
Subject to status
Representative % APR (variable)
23.7% APR
  • 1% cashback on all business spend with no cap.
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases abroad when paying in the local currency.
  • No interest charged if balance paid off in full and on time each month.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 23.7% APR (variable). Annual fee £30. Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

If you run a small company, are just starting out, the Santander company card is a great option. There are several ways in which it might help these firms expand while cutting expenses.

Main benefits

The card's cheap annual cost is one of its main selling points. For only £30, businesses have access to a wide range of financial incentives, such as 1% cashback on all transactions.

In addition, the Santander card allows interest-free purchasing for up to 56 days giving companies more time to pay off their balances.

There is no minimum turnover required but you will need a Santander business current account to apply for the credit card.

Up to three extra cardholders are allowed, at no cost, and there are no foreign currency fees on purchases.

Pros

✔️ No foreign transaction fees on purchases.

✔️ Up to 3 free extra cards.

✔️ No minimum sales volume.

Cons

❌ £30 fee yearly.

❌ No point system for rewards.

❌ Requires a Santander current account for your company.

Top Business Credit Cards for Start-Ups: Buying Guide

Let’s explore these services further as a topic. 

What is a business credit card for start-ups?

Credit cards for companies, sometimes known as ‘company' cards, are accessible to firms of all sizes.

Business credit cards provide the same flexibility as personal credit cards and may be used for any transactions. Examples include spending on things like office supplies, bills, travel, and entertaining clients. They help distinguish between private and commercial spending.

A business credit card allows the holder to make purchases up to the card's credit limit. The minimum payment is due every month, just as with a personal credit card. Based on your current balance and APR, this is the minimum payment required to avoid late penalties and charges.

Interest is charged on the unpaid amount of a corporate credit card just as it would on a personal credit card if the balance were not paid in full at the end of each billing cycle. Some corporate credit cards have an annual fee and a higher interest rate than personal credit cards. However, corporate credit cards often have larger spending limitations.

Employees get additional cards to use for company purposes, however, restrictions on acceptable purchases and overall spending should be made clear.

What’s the best way to grow business credit?

Making timely payments and staying under your credit limit are two of the greatest strategies to develop business credit after being approved for a credit card. After a few months, this will show credit reference bureaus that you are a responsible borrower, which will help your business's credit score.

If you've been turned down for a business credit card, there are alternative ways to get funding for your company. If you have poor credit or no credit history at all, you may have more luck securing a loan, for example.

Should I be using my personal credit card?

If you’re a sole trader, you may find it more convenient to use your personal credit card for business spending.

Although not all lenders would accept single traders for their business cards, it may still be prudent to apply for a separate card in order to keep your company and personal funds distinct.

It is especially crucial for a limited liability company to apply for a business credit card since doing so will assist the firm establish a credit history. You might also expect to get a larger credit line and extra cards for use by staff.

The Verdict

Although it may be difficult to get a company credit card when first getting started, it is not impossible. If your personal credit is strong and you have a business bank account, you have a better chance of being approved. 

You can find a credit card that works for you and your company if you look around and compare eligibility requirements, just remember to also look at the terms and conditions.

⭐ Capital on Tap: The best overall start-up credit card

Capital on Tap's business credit card has quickly gained popularity among companies of all sizes due to its enviably low APR and lack of an annual fee.

There are also no additional costs for using ATMs or making international currency exchanges.

The card has a relatively low APR of 15.22%, although this does vary. With the option to acquire an endless supply of replacement cards, this card is scalable to meet the needs of enterprises of any size. They also provide generous credit limits, which will make running your company much simpler.

  • Low costs
  • Low APR
  • 1.5% cashback
  • As many cards as you want 

For more, see our top business loan accounts.

Related Guides:

Top-rated business credit cards for start-ups — FAQs

How about a credit card for a new limited company?

Is it wise to have a credit card with rewards for my new business?

Which business credit card is ideal for a new company?

When is the best time to apply for a credit card for my business?

Related Articles

Best Instant Approval Credit Cards for Businesses
As a small business owner, you may need to make frequent purchases or handle unexpected...
Can You Get a Starling Credit Card? (With Alternatives)
Generally speaking, the type of credit card that you're using every day, regardless...
Most Exclusive Credit Cards In The World
If you've ever wondered what it's like to experience luxury when you're out shopping,...
Best Business Cashback Credit Cards
Whether you're a freelancer or a business owner in the UK, you may need to manage...

Mentioned Banks

About Metro Bank Metro Bank is a retail bank based in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2010 by Vernon Hill and Anthony Thomson, it is the first new high street bank to open in the...
Learn More
About Santander Santander UK is a British bank. Though it is a British company and autonomously managed, it is entirely owned by the Spanish Santander Group. Santander is one...
Learn More