When you’re a freelancer, it’s important to choose a credit card offer that suits your business needs. As a self-employed individual, you may find that both business credit cards and consumer cards have attractive features.Many freelancers have relatively low overhead, so paying an annual fee rarely makes sense. Still, you want to get high rewards on your spending and good card benefits.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN carries a lot of prestige and is known as much for its generous rewards as it is for its hefty $450 annual fee.It has an attractive introductory offer, as well as a bevy of other benefits that are sure to make frequent fliers smile, such as bonus points for trip purchases and complimentary airport lounge access. But with such a large annual fee and rewards aimed mostly at travelers, this card is not for every business owner.This card is best for established businesses with a positive cash flow, a strong credit history and two or more years in business.This card is one of our picks for the Best Credit Cards for Freelancers.
As a businessperson, you hope that what you put into your work will come back to you. Here’s a card that can reward you for spending money on your business. The Ink Cash® Business Card gives you cash back on all your purchases, low introductory rates, and free employee cards.
The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is a good card for businesses looking to maximize rewards. It earns users an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. And though there is an annual fee, unlike many business cards, this card does not limit the amount of cash back you can earn and your cash rewards never expire.
- Accepted at over 175,000 locations nationwide with competitive rebates when purchasing fuel at thousands of BP locations nationwide
- Save up to 6 cents per gallon on fuel purchases at BP locations
- Earn rebates up to 6 cents per gallon based on monthly fuel purchases at Chevron and Texaco locations
- Accepted at over 175,000 fueling locations with maximum rebate earnings when your drivers choose Chevron and Texaco
- Designed for businesses
- For a limited time, earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
- Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications, car rental merchants and at gas stations
- Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
- Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint® for all other purchases.
- Redeem Starpoints® for free nights at over 1,300 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries and for free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights. Some hotels and resorts have mandatory service charges.
- Free, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases and $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
- Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
- Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
- Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
- Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend
Smart freelancers seek out every advantage when it comes to taxes, and that process starts with complete separation of business and personal finances. A business credit card is not required but you may find it useful. As far as the IRS is concerned, any credit card can be designated as solely for business purchases.
In fact, business cards are not protected by the CARD act, so many solopreneurs prefer to stick with consumer cards. Both types of cards are secured with the applicant’s personal credit, and a business card does not necessarily create or build business credit.
But if your freelance business really takes off, you can always upgrade to a business credit card, which comes with different sets of rewards, limits, and other features. The point at which you need to upgrade to a business card will vary from person to person, depending on multiple factors. A good rule of thumb is to monitor your credit card spending. If your business expenses exceed your personal expenses, think about making the switch.
Proof of earnings. You’ll typically need to show documents that verify a self-sustained income for at least the last two years. It can be anything from a tax return, paycheck stub, expense report, a profit and loss statement, or anything else that shows you have money coming in. If you have an accountant who can verify your income, you’ll have a much easier time when applying for a card.
Savings. Your ability to save will show lenders that you’re able to manage money and that you will not be a high risk for for missing payments.
Credit history. The better the credit history, the better chances you’ll have of being approved. This seems obvious but is worth repeating because it is what lenders will evaluate when deciding whether or not you’ll be approved for a credit card or loan in the future.
Referrals. This ranks low as a factor will have any serious weight when deciding if you’re approved or not, but anything helps.
If you are applying for a credit card for either business or personal related expenses, be sure you stay within your means and have a budget and repayment plan lined up. This will ensure that you’ll get the most out of your credit card and help you steer clear of debt.
Don’t stress. There are other options that can help get a credit card in your hands.
Secured credit card. Secured credit cards can build credit and are a great way to roll your credit history down the right path. This type of card operates just like a regular credit card, but it is preloaded with funds that will act as security incase you default on payments .
Cosigner. While this option will greatly improve your chances of being improved, it is important to know that when your cosigner signs the dotted line, they become responsible for any debt you acquire if you’re unable to make payments.
Authorized user. This option is only available if someone who is in good credit standing will vouch for you and link a card to their account with your name on it. Only use this option if you’re sure that you’ll be able to use your card responsibly since it is linked to somebody else’s account and could negatively affect their credit.
1. Look at your spending to optimize your rewards.
Information is the most critical tool in your kit when it comes to selecting the right credit card. Take a look at your personal and business spending patterns over the last year and see what stands out. You may already have a rewards card for your personal use, but if your business expenses vary significantly from your personal expenses, you could be losing out. For example, if you drive a lot to gigs or to meet clients, a credit card with cash back to use for gas expenses and car maintenance might be the best fit. On the flipside, if you choose a credit card to optimize your business rewards, you might be missing out on rewards for your personal spending. So if you decide to only use one credit card, make sure that it strikes the right balance for your spending habits.
2. Assess the fees and interest rates.
Some cards come with an annual fee, but since you’ve already examined your spending patterns, you can do the math to determine if an annual fee is actually worth it. Another fee to watch out for is the foreign transaction fee, which can add up quickly if you’re frequently on assignment out of the country. And don’t forget the interest rate. While you always want to pay off your card every month, sometimes it’s just not possible—especially in those lean months. If you plan to take advantage of a zero percent balance transfer offer to move a balance from a high-interest card, look for a credit card with no balance transfer fees.
3. Other considerations
Here are just a few other questions to ask when looking at your credit card options. Does the credit card offer a personal finance tool that allows you to categorize expenses? Is it compatible with the accounting software you use? Is there a signup bonus? Are there reward tiers or other hoops you have to jump through to get your cash back? What about other perks and bonuses, such as concierge service or free checked bags?
Whether you’re a long-time freelancer or just starting out, having a credit card that you can use for your freelancing expenses is extremely helpful when it comes to keeping your books in order, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t also be earning rewards at the same time. So consider which of these cards best fits your needs and make sure you put one of them in your wallet today.