When you're self-employed, opening a business credit card lets you separate your personal and professional business expenses — one of the best strategies for staying on top of your finances.
And when your side hustle, freelance business or brick-and-mortar store requires you to send large quantities of products and goods across the U.S. or around the world, a business credit card can help offset high shipping costs.
Business credit cards come with all kinds of perks, including interest-free financing on purchases, top-of-class travel rewards, extended retail warranties, insurance and more. Below, CNBC Select reviewed our list of best small business credit cards and chose four that are most beneficial for all those trips to the post office, UPS and FedEx.
Note that you usually need to have excellent credit (a credit score of 670+ according to Experian) to qualify for the best small business cards. However, there are a few options for business owners with average credit, and we include one on our list below.
Here are CNBC Select's picks for the best business credit cards for big shipping budgets:
Check out our full comparison of best business credit cards.
Get more rewards with 4X Membership Rewards® points on two select categories where you spend the most each month; Get 25% points back, after you book a flight using Pay with Points
Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first three months of Card Membership
14.24% to 22.24%
How to earn on shipping purchases: The American Express® Business Gold Card is an all-around beneficial business card that offers flexible ways to earn and redeem rewards. The card stands out because you can customize the rewards program to choose spending categories based on the way you run your business. You select two categories where you spend the most each month, then earn unlimited 4X Membership Rewards® points on up to $150,000 in combined spending. You'll earn 1X points on all other spending.
Here are the bonus categories you can choose from:
Amex defines U.S. shipping as purchases made in the U.S. for courier, postal, and freight shipping services. FedEx, UPS and the United States Postal Service (USPS) all accept Amex as payment. You won't earn additional rewards on shipping costs added to retail purchases (online or catalog purchases). You also can't earn additional rewards for moving services, local trucking and trash removal.
Cardholders can also take advantage of the 25% airline bonus that lets you get some of your points back when you use Pay with Points to book your flights. Business owners can also take advantage of expense management tools like the American Express® Business App, year-end summaries and Vendor Pay by Bill.com
While this card offers the best rewards for business shipping, it does have the highest fee on this list, at $295. If you plan on adding employee cards, Amex charges a $50 annual fee for the first card and then no annual fee for additional cards (up to 99).
Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in select categories each account anniversary year (travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines), 1X point per $1 on all other purchases
New Offer! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
15.99% to 20.99% variable
5%, $5 minimum
See our methodology, terms apply.
How to earn on shipping purchases: The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a great pick for business owners who love to travel, as you can earn 3X travel rewards points on the first $150,000 spent in some of the most common small business expenses, including:
Cardholder earn 1X point per $1 spend on all other purchases. You can redeem your points for travel, cash back, gift cards, experiences and more. You'll receive the most value when redeeming points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
This card comes with a generous welcome bonus of 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. When you redeem the points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, the 100,000 point bonus is worth $1,250 towards travel.
When it's time to redeem your rewards to book your next trip, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card comes with helpful travel benefits, such as zero foreign transaction fees, auto rental collision damage waiver and trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance.
You'll also be eligible to enroll in cell phone protection to cover damage or theft for both you and your employees listed on your monthly cell phone bill (it must be paid by your card). The protection covers up to $600 per claim and a maximum of three claims in a 12-month period. There is a $100 deductible per claim.
This card does come with a $95 annual fee, but if you travel for either business or pleasure, this cost can easily be offset by taking full advantage of the travel rewards and welcome bonus. And any additional employee cards are free.
To learn more, read CNBC Select's Ink Business Preferred Credit Card review.
Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases up to $50,000 per year, then 1X point per dollar
0% for the first 12 months on purchases
13.24% to 19.24% variable
3%, $5 minimum; N/A for new applicants
How to earn on shipping purchases: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a no-fee alternative to the Amex Business Gold card that lets business owners earn on everyday spending without any restrictions. Instead of choosing two bonus categories, you'll earn unlimited 2X Membership Rewards® points on up to $50,000 in spending every year. After that, you earn 1X points on all spending.
Business owners looking to invest in their business and finance new big purchases without incurring interest should consider the Amex Blue Business Card Plus for its 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months on purchases (after 13.24% to 19.24% variable APR).
If you plan to spend on top-dollar manufacturing equipment, office furniture, professional certifications, electronics or other business items, this special financing period can provide you with an interest-free period for up to one year.
This card has no annual fee and employee cards are also free.
1% cash back on every purchase
See our methodology, terms apply.
Who's this for? The Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business is for business owners with average credit who want to qualify for a more robust business card in the future without giving up on cash back now. This card has no annual fee and no fee for employee cards.
Though it doesn't offer special bonus rewards for shipping purchases, this card does have a straight-forward flat-rate cash-back program: Earn 1% cash back on every purchase and redeem cash back at any time and for any amount as statement credit or check. There's also the option to set up automatic redemption at a set time each calendar year or when you reach a particular dollar amount in cash-back rewards.
The Spark® Classic for Business also gives business owners access to Capital One business benefits. These account management tools help you streamline accounting by letting you choose your due date, view recurring transactions and download purchase records to Quicken®, QuickBooks® and Excel®. The card also comes with extended warranty and price protection and auto rental damage waiver.
To learn more, read CNBC Select's Capital One Spark Classic for Business review.
To determine which business cards offer the best value, CNBC Select analyzed 21 of the most popular credit cards available to U.S. business owners. We compared each card on a range of features, including annual fee, employee card fee, rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is to redeem points.
The main criteria in our ranking were the rewards rates and added benefits, such as redemption bonuses, insurance coverage and expense management features. The more perks a card had, the higher it ranked on our list.
Co-branded business cards, such as airline or hotel-specific cards, did not make our final list due to their often complex reward systems and potential to limit your travel options to a specific brand.
For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.