Running a company is made significantly easier with the assistance of strong financial backing and its accompanying tools, like credit cards designed specifically for business purposes. When choosing a business credit card, it is important to go with an issuer that understands the needs of any growing company and aids owners by providing an array of powerful and flexible bonuses.
No matter how you run your business, the best business credit card grants the benefits you will find most valuable – whether in the form of rental car and airport lounge access for frequent travelers, cash back for those with large expenses, or low interest rates for protecting the bottom line. Take a glance at the list below to discover which of Canada’s best business credit cards can contribute the most to your livelihood.
For Small Businesses
Small businesses are particularly sensitive to fluctuating markets, and small business owners need a card they can rely on during challenging times. While a small business is usually an on-site endeavor, flexible travel benefits are much appreciated for time spent on the road, and the ability to accrue points for use on business expenses is an absolute must. Accordingly, there is one clear winner among the best small business credit cards in Canada.
- Winner: American Express® Business Gold Rewards Card
The American Express Business Gold credit card awards an impressive 30,000 points as a welcome bonus to those who spend $5,000 within the first three months of ownership – an easy hurdle to jump for most businesses that have expenses and overhead. The generous
welcome bonus is worth $300, but the best part is that it can be used to pay the same costs that generated the points in the first place.
Additionally, the beneficial ‘Your 3 Suppliers’ program awards points at double the standard rate of 1 per $1 spent when buying from any of the three suppliers specified to American Express beforehand. This powerful bonus allows business owners to accrue points at a boosted rate when paying for the vital supplies that keep the company afloat, and to pay off those purchases with the points themselves.
For no annual fee, the American Express® Business Gold card also comes with some useful travel benefits as well. The ability to transfer points to some of the most popular frequent flier programs helps reduce travel costs, and the many protections afforded to travelers make it a worthy companion on the road.
- No annual fee
- 30,000-point welcome bonus
- Use points to pay business expenses
- Double bonus rate at your key suppliers
- Travel insurance on baggage and flight delays, stolen items, accidents and emergencies, etc.
- Use points with loyalty programs and frequent flier clubs
- 55 interest-free days
- Quarterly and annual reporting simplify financial reporting
- Runner Up: BMO Commercial MasterCard
- Consolidate business expenses from purchasing, travel, entertainment and more into one program
- Choose your reward: 1% cash back, air miles, low annual fee, US dollar compatibility, or nonprofit benefits
- Purchase protection and extended warranty
- Centralized data and reporting on expenditures in all areas of a business
Not all businesses are brick and mortar. Many high-flying businessmen and women are just that: flying – or traveling in general. Whether it is a big discount on a rental car, access to an exclusive airport lounge, or use of bonus points on frequent flier programs, travel-centric credit cards save money and pamper their owners at the same time.
While traveler bonuses are one of the more common rewards systems in place over a wide array of issuers and cards, it’s easy to spot the best of the bunch.
- Winner: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express®
With a strong focus on the convenience necessary for a smooth trip, the American Express Platinum Business card lets those who hold it travel in comfort and style. One of the main draws is free access to airport lounges in over 600 destinations around the world, as well as service from a personal concierge team that can arrange delivery and pickup of packages for you on the go.
Additionally, members who spend at least $5,000 within the first three months of ownership get a massive 40,000-point bonus automatically. These points can be spent on business expenses, travel, gifts from the lofty first tier of the Membership Rewards program, and other eligible purchases with no limit. Points accrue at a favorable 1.25 point-per-dollar rate and can be transferred to many popular frequent flier and hotel groups.
The benefits covered by the Gold AmEx card like flight, travel, and baggage insurance are doubled, and Premium cardholders also get emergency medical coverage, phone access to an emergency physician 24/7, trip interruption and cancellation insurance, and the option to deduct the annual fee from your tax bill.
- 40,000-point welcome bonus
- 25 points per $1 spent
- Worldwide airport lounge access
- Dedicated concierge assistance
- Points transferable to frequent flier and hotel programs
- 55 interest-free days
- Thorough travel protection features
- Runner Up: BMO Gold AIR MILES MasterCard for Business
- 1,000 bonus miles after initial purchase
- 1 mile per $10 spent in the first three months
- 1 mile per $15 spent after introductory rate
- Easily and inexpensively add employee cards
- Automatic rebates when purchasing from eligible merchants
For Low Interest Rates
At the end of the day, the bottom line is critical to any business’s health. Protect the longevity of your company by receiving a discount on the amount you pay in interest on the business credit card. Owners who carry a balance from month to month will gravitate toward cards that grant the lowest interest rates possible. After all, saving money is a simple, yet powerful proposition.
When searching for the best card that has low interest rates, look not only at the rate you can attain, but also the extra bonuses that can make an appearance in certain cases.
- Winner: RBC Visa CreditLine for Small Business
With an interest rate of prime plus anywhere from 0.9% to 6.9%, customers who want to bring cut-and-dry financial benefits to their business are in luck. As of April 2017, the prime rate in Canada is just 2.7%, meaning rates with the RBC CreditLine Visa card run from 3.6% to 9.6% maximum.
The card provides a valuable line of credit, doesn’t punish business for taking advantage of it, and comes with a rewards program as well. Employers can use the points that accrue – 1 point per $2 spent – on gift cards, merchandise and other gifts from the RBC catalog to incentivize employees.
Besides a competitive interest rate, rewards points can be spent on travel using the handy booking tool right from the RBC rewards site. While other cards can offer similarly low interest rates to business owners, RBC goes above and beyond with their extra features.
- Rates as low as prime + 0.9% (3.6%)
- Flexible line of credit for your business
- Accrue rewards points at a rate of 1 per $2 spent
- Use points on gifts, travel rewards, and other incentives
- Runner Up: BMO Preferred Rate MasterCard for Business
- 5% interest rate
- $0 annual fee
- Pay $25 and enjoy a 12.9% yearly rate instead
- Add employee cards for just $5
For Cash Back
- Winner: BMO Premium Cash Back MasterCard for Business
The exemption from an annual fee provides customers an immediate cash savings of $69, and for 6 months after activation, BMO Premium Cash Back MasterCard cardholders get an impressive 2% cash back on all their purchases. Additionally, 3% cash back on all purchases made at Shell stations, National Car Rental or Alamo Rent a Car branches across the country is a hefty bonus on what is sure to be one of the biggest monthly expenses.
Though it is aimed for business travelers who find themselves on the road often, the BMO Premium Cash Back Business card can benefit anyone with free coverage from the BMO Roadside Assistance program.
Another noteworthy bonus is access to up to 25% off at the same National and Alamo car rental agencies that customers already get 3% cash back from. These well-thought-out features and solid terms make the BMO Premium Cash Back MasterCard for Business the clear choice for those who want the most worthwhile cash back credit card in Canada.
- $0 annual fee
- 2% cash back for the first 6 months
- 1% cash back afterwards
- 3% cash back at Shell stations, Alamo or National rental car agencies
- Free BMO roadside assistance
Runner Up: National Bank Platinum MasterCard Business Card
- 5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases
- Up to 2.5% off purchases made at any Ultramar location
- Link a commercial account and enjoy overdraft protection
- Platinum business insurance from Blue Cross
- Enjoy zero liability with MasterCard
The best Canadian business credit card is not a single elusive option – there are several choices available for customers of varying needs. Before settling on a business credit card, decide which bonuses are most relevant to how your business operates.
Is frequent travel a necessity? If so, a card that awards flier miles, hotel stays or airport lounge access may be best. Is the bottom line your most important consideration? Then perhaps you should go with whichever card offers the lowest rates or awards the biggest cash back bonus. The decision is ultimately subjective, but any of the winning cards on the list above present very strong options.