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Business Credit Cards for Startups – and Six Ways to Creatively Fund a Startup Without Using Equity

Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at September 4th, 2017

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Get Business Credit Cards for Startups – and More Creative Funding For New Businesses

As an entrepreneur, raising money for your new startup business can seem hard to execute. You’ve probably seen dozens of competition funds out there, so you have chances to secure funding. Ultimately, you want funding for your startup to come from investors, but getting investors can be impossible for a new startup. Business credit cards for startups can be an option – more on them later.

Using your equity might seem like the best idea to fund your business as you wait for investors to come. Most new startup business owners, fall prey to taking out the equity to fund the business before the revenue starts rolling in. You don’t have to take out equity to fund your startup. It’s not necessary. The success of your business solely comes from the decisions you’ll make as the business owner.

Here are some ways to creatively make money for your new startup without taking out of your equity.

NOTE: This post was updated in 2019 to reflect new offers for business credit cards for startups.

Crowdfunding

Use Kickstarter. There’s a method to the madness in using Kickstart to fund your startup. First, do your research before pitching your idea to Kickstarter. Find out if there’s another project they have approved like your startup. So if they deny your idea, refer to similar projects they have approved. And when you ask for money from Kickstarter, be realistic and ask for money to help you survive for a few months. Don’t forget to spread the word to your friends and family asking them to help fund your start up.business credit cards for startups Credit Suite2 - Business Credit Cards for Startups – and Six Ways to Creatively Fund a Startup Without Using Equity

Bootstrap

Put your Money in First. When you first start out, you’ll have to tap into your own saving accounts, home equity, retirement accounts, etc. This might seem a bit risky, but you’ll have to invest into your own startup venture before you expect other investors to put money into it. Most investors will want to see the owners of the business have invested some of their own cash in the business to show confidence.

But there can be some issues with bootstrapping your business.

Still, here are some ways to bootstrap to build more financial resources.  

Share and Save on Services and Equipment

Share office services and equipment. You’ll probably need to get a co-work space where you can share the office space and equipment with other business owners. This will help you cut the cost of renting an office space and paying the high monthly rent.

Use the computers and servers you have. Don’t go out and buy new equipment when you start your startup. Use the computers, software, and desks, etc., you already have. You don’t want to spend extra money on renting new equipment.

Grants

Pursue non-dilutive capital. Look for government grants to get more money for your startup. Cities and states have grant programs offering low-interest rates on loans. Having access to these resources give startups the ability to qualify for large sums of money.

Try Startup Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards can be a great way to get a startup off the ground.

We looked at a number of business credit cards, and did the research for you. So here are our picks.

Per the SBA, business credit card limits are a whopping 10 – 100 times that of personal cards!

This shows you can get a lot more money with business credit. And it also shows you can have personal credit cards at stores. So you would now have an added card at the same stores for your company.

And you will not need collateral, cash flow, or financials in order to get business credit.

Benefits can vary. So, make certain to choose the benefit you would prefer from this assortment of alternatives.

Business Credit Cards for Startups: Make Your Credit Surge and Build Credit!

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Make sure to take a look at the Discover it® Student Cash Back card. It has no annual fee. The credit card also offers a six-month introductory period of 0% APR on purchases. And there is an APR of 14.99 – 23.99% variable on all purchases after that period.

One distinct feature is that it offers an incentive for students to maintain good grades with a $20 statement credit. If students earn a GPA of 3.0 or higher each school year, the card will award the $20 statement credit each year for up to five years.

Details

Use this card to build personal credit. While this is a personal card versus a company credit card, for new credit users, their FICO scores will be vital. And this card offers an excellent way to raise FICO while also getting rewards.

You can earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum. After that, this credit card offers unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases.

In the initial year, all cash back rewards are matched 100%.

Downsides include a cash advance fee of either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is more. And even though they waive the first late payment fee, a fee of up to $37 applies on all other late payments. There is also a returned payment fee of up to $37.

Get it here: https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/cash-back/it-card.html

Business Credit Cards for Startups: Secure Business Credit Cards for Average Credit

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

For average credit, we like the Capital One Spark Classic for Business. It has no yearly fee. There are cash-back rewards. The card earns an unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases. There is an annual fee of $0.

With this card, you will get benefits including an auto rental collision damage waiver, and purchase security. And you also get extended warranty coverage. And you get travel and emergency assistance services.

But BEAR IN MIND: the ongoing APR is 24.74% variable APR. And the penalty APR is even higher, 31.15%. Also, there is no sign-up bonus.

Get it here: https://www.capitalone.com/small-business/credit-cards/spark-classic/

business credit cards for startups Credit Suite3 - Business Credit Cards for Startups – and Six Ways to Creatively Fund a Startup Without Using Equity

Establish business credit fast with our research-backed guide to 12 business credit cards and lines.

Secured Business Credit Cards for Startups

Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card

Have a look at the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card. It charges a $25 yearly fee per credit card (up to 10 employee cards). It also requires a minimum security deposit of $500 (up to $25,000) and it is designed to help cardholders establish or rebuild their credit.

Pick this credit card if you wish to get 1.5% per dollar in purchases with no limits or earn one point for every dollar in purchases. You also earn 1,000 bonus points for every month your company makes $1,000 in purchases on the card.

Details

Also, you get free FICO scores every month. There are no foreign transaction fees. It is possible to upgrade to unsecured credit. Your account is regularly reviewed. And you may become eligible for an upgrade to an unsecured card with responsible use over time. Approval is not guaranteed and depends on factors including how you manage this and your other accounts.

APR is the current prime rate plus 11.90%. There is no introductory APR period and no sign-up bonus. This is not a credit card for balance transfers.

Get it here: https://www.wellsfargo.com/biz/business-credit/credit-cards/secured-card/

Reliable Low APR/Balance Transfers Business Credit Cards for Startups

Discover it® Cash Back

Take a look at the Discover it® Cash Back card. There is a 10.99% introductory APR for six months from date of first transfer. So, this is for transfers under this offer which post to your account by January 10, 2019.

After the introductory APR expires, your APR will be 14.99% to 23.99%. So, this is based on your creditworthiness. Your APR will vary with the market, which is based upon the Prime Rate.

Details

You can get 5% cash back at different places every quarter. So, these are establishments like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs. But this is up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Additionally, automatically earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

You will earn an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you have earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Get it here: https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/cash-back/it-card.html

business credit cards for startups Credit Suite3 - Business Credit Cards for Startups – and Six Ways to Creatively Fund a Startup Without Using Equity

Establish business credit fast with our research-backed guide to 12 business credit cards and lines.

Business Credit Cards for Startups with No Annual Fee

Uber Visa Card

Check out the Uber Visa Card. Uber is the first ride-sharing service to offer a credit card, in a partnership with Visa and Barclays.

The card offers 4% back per dollar spent at restaurants, takeout and bars, including UberEATS. Also, get 3% back on hotel, airfare and vacation home rentals. And earn 2% back on online purchases.

So, this includes retailers and subscription services like Uber and Netflix. And get 1% back on all other purchases. Each percent/point has a value of 1 cent. Redeem points for cash back, gift cards or Uber credits directly in the app.

By spending a minimum of $500 in the initial 90 days, users can earn a $100 sign-up bonus. Cardholders spending a minimum of $5,000 per year are eligible to receive a $50 credit toward online subscription services.

Details

If you pay your cell phone bill with this card, you are insured up to $600 for cellphone damage or theft.

Cardholders are eligible for exclusive access to specific events and offers. Uber expects most of these offers to be available in major cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and DC. There is no foreign transaction fee.

But there is no introductory rate. The APR is a variable 16.99%, 22.74% or 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Cardholders with less than stellar credit will be on the higher end of the range.

Also, there are restrictions on Uber credits. To redeem points as credits within the Uber app, accumulate at least 500 points, or $5. Cardholders can convert a maximum of 50,000 points, or $500, in a given day.

Get it here: https://www.uber.com/c/uber-credit-card/

Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

Not taking Uber? Then you’ll want to fill your gas tank in some way. Why not do so with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi?

This credit card earns cash back with every purchase. Earn 4% cash back on the first $7,000 spent on eligible gas purchases annually (1% after that). Get 3% cash back at restaurants and on eligible travel purchases. Also, get 2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com. And earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Note: the $0 yearly fee is only for Costco members. And an active Costco membership is required. Cardholders will get access to damage and theft purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and travel accident insurance.

Also, there is no sign-up bonus offered with this card.

Get it here: https://www.citi.com/credit-cards/credit-card-details/citi.action?ID=Citi-costco-anywhere-visa-business-credit-card

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Take a look at the Ink Business Cash ℠ Credit Card. Companies can earn cash back with every purchase. Spend $3,000 in the initial three months from account opening. And you’ll get a $500 bonus cash back.

There is a $0 yearly fee with a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers. Afterwards, the APR is a 15.24 – 21.24% variable.

The card features travel and purchase coverage benefits. So, this includes an auto rental collision damage waiver and extended warranty protection.

Details

Earn additional cash back on business categories. So, these include office supply stores, telecommunications, gas stations and restaurants.

Note: this credit card has a balance transfer fee. Pay 5% of the amount transferred or $5, whichever is more. Also, there is a foreign transaction fee of 3%.

Get it here: https://creditcards.chase.com/small-business-credit-cards/ink-cash

United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card

Get a good look at the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card.

Earn 2 miles/dollar with United and at restaurants, filling stations and office supply stores. All other purchases get 1 mile/dollar. Earn a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months from account opening.

Benefits include priority boarding, a free first checked bag for you and a companion on the same reservation.

Details

Also, get two United Club passes annually. And get hotel and resort perks including upgrades. Additionally, get early check-in and late checkout. And get an auto rental collision damage waiver.

Also, get baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Finally, get trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection, price protection and concierge service.

After the first year, the card has an annual fee of $95. APR of 17.99% – 24.99%, based on creditworthiness.

Get it here: https://creditcards.chase.com/small-business-credit-cards/united-mileageplus-explorer-business

business credit cards for startups Credit Suite3 - Business Credit Cards for Startups – and Six Ways to Creatively Fund a Startup Without Using Equity

Establish business credit fast with our research-backed guide to 12 business credit cards and lines.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Another possibility is the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express.

This card is for those who stay at Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott hotels often. Get six points per dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels.

And earn four points per dollar at American restaurants, US filling stations, and on American purchases for shipping.

Also, earn four points to the dollar on wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers. For all other eligible purchases, get two points per dollar.

Details

Get 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening. Benefits include free in-room premium internet access, Sheraton Club lounge access, and purchase protection.

Plus you get car rental loss and damage insurance. And you get baggage insurance. There is also a global assistance hotline. And there is a roadside assistance hotline. And get travel accident insurance and extended warranty coverage.

The biggest issue is the yearly fee. There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then it’s $95 thereafter. Plus there is no 0% introductory APR. Instead, there is a 17.74 – 26.74% variable APR

Get it here: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/business/business-credit-cards/spg-amex-starwood-credit-card

Business Credit Cards for Startups with 0% APR – Pay Zero!

Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® Credit Card

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card has no yearly fee and comes with a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first nine months. After that, the card has a 13.24 – 23.24% variable APR

Earn 3 points/dollar spent when you book travel through the Bank of America Travel Center and 1.5 points/dollar on all other purchases. You can earn unlimited points and points never expire.

Details

There is a 25,000-point sign-up bonus when you spend $1,000 within the initial 60 days of opening up the account. Cardholders get travel accident insurance, and lost luggage reimbursement.

They likewise get trip cancellation coverage, trip delay reimbursement and other advantages.

There is no introductory rate for balance transfers. Also, bonus categories are limited.

Get it here: https://www.bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness/credit-cards/products/travel-rewards-business-credit-card/

JetBlue Plus Card

Take a look at the JetBlue Plus Card for another offer of a 0% introductory APR

Get six points/dollar on JetBlue purchases, two points/dollar at eateries and grocery stores. And get one point/dollar on all other purchases.

Details

Spend $1,000 in the initial 90 days and pay the annual fee, and earn 40,000 bonus points. New cardholders get a 12 month, 0% introductory APR on balance transfers made in 45 days of account opening.

Afterwards, the variable APR on purchases and balance transfers is 17.99%, 21.99% or 26.99%, based on creditworthiness. Benefits include a free first checked bag and 50% savings on in-flight purchases.

There is a $99 annual fee for this card.

Get it here: https://cards.barclaycardus.com/cards/jetblue-card/

Business Credit Cards for Startups for Cash Back

SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Check out the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. There is a $0 yearly fee. And there is a 0% APR on purchases So this is for the initial 15 months an account is open.

But when the introductory period runs out, the APR for purchases is 14.24 to 21.24%. So, this is variable and based on creditworthiness.

Details

This card has several benefits. These include purchase protection, car rental loss and damage insurance. And they also include a baggage insurance plan, extended warranty coverage and a global assist hotline.

Also, earn 5% cash back at US office supply stores and on wireless telephone services. So, these must be bought from United States service providers. But this pertains to the initial $50,000 of yearly spending. Then, you earn 1% cash back.

You also earn 3% cash back on spending category of your choice. So, this is from eight distinct categories. They include airfare, gas, advertising and computer purchases. But it applies to the first $50,000 of annual spending. Then, you earn 1% cash back.

Cash-back bonuses are automatically credited to the customer’s billing statement.

Note: you cannot use this card for balance transfers. There is a foreign transaction fee of 2.7%. The credit card charges up to $38 in late fees. And the returned check fee is also $38. The penalty APR is 29.99%.

And, it applies if you have two or more late payments within 12 months. It can also apply if you fail to make the minimum payment on time or have a returned payment.

Get it here: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/credit-cards/simply-cash-plus-business-credit-card/44279

Capital One® Quicksilver® Card

Take a look at the Capital One® Quicksilver® Card. It offers flat-rate rewards of 1.5% on all purchases. There are no limits to the amount of cash back rewards which cardholders can earn. Also, the card has a $0 annual fee.

New cardholders have a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months after opening the account. And then they have a 14.74 – 24.74% (variable) APR after that.

A cash bonus of $150 is on offer for those who make at least $500 in purchases within 3 months of account opening.

Details

Also, cash back rewards do not expire for the life of the account. And there is no limit to how much you can earn.

This credit card also offers travel accident insurance. And you get an auto rental collision damage waiver. There are no foreign transaction fees. And there is extended warranty coverage.

Downsides are the flat reward rate, not allowing for any more than that. And the higher APR after the first 15 months.

Get it here: https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/quicksilver/

The Best Business Credit Cards for Startups for You

Your absolute best business credit cards hinge on your credit history and scores.

Only you can pick which features you want and need. So be sure to do your homework. What is outstanding for you could be catastrophic for somebody else.

And, as always, make sure to establish credit in the recommended order for the best, fastest benefits.

Business Credit Cards for Startups: Takeaways

Raising money for your startup or new business venture might feel a little overwhelming. It takes time to build up funds to start a new business. But you don’t have to feel you have to use your equity to fund your new business. There are so many other ways you can find money to help your business grow. Don’t get focused on making quick money, think about the long-term growth of your company, and how your decisions today will affect your company’s finances in the future. Develop a plan to find money from different resources before using your company’s equity.

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