Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Is turning their passion into a money-making venture See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Busy small-business owners who want to earn simple cash back on monthly expenses will get a good value from this card, as long as their budget isn’t huge. The 2% cash-back rate is quite competitive, and applies to all purchases on the card up to $50,000 per calendar year. What’s more, there’s no annual fee, and your rewards are automatically credited to your account each month, so it’s no-fuss. Just be aware that there's no traditional welcome offer nor exotic ways to redeem your rewards.
Good, simple rewards
Decent introductory-rate offer
Automatic rewards redemption
Option to spend above your credit limit
No traditional welcome offer
Not good for big spenders
Foreign transaction fee
- Good, simple rewards: You’ll earn 2% cash back on all of your purchases (up to a limit), which is as good a rate or better than what most competing cards offer. Some of those may offer unlimited rewards (along with an annual fee), but if you spend less than $4,160 a month, it won’t matter. Plus, there are no spending categories or complicated rewards schemes to keep track of.
- Decent introductory-rate offer: A full year of no interest on purchases is a pretty good offer for a business card with no annual fee. Some don’t have any introductory APR offer, and among those that do, some are shorter promotions. This is a good perk if you plan to make large purchases for your business and want (or need) time to pay off the balance.
- Automatic rewards redemption: You don’t have to do anything to redeem your cash back. You’ll get an automatic credit applied to your statements.
- Option to spend above your credit limit: If you need to, you can spend over your credit limit without incurring an overlimit fee or making a special request, which could be helpful in a pinch. This is an unusual benefit among business cards.
American Express will determine how much you can go over your credit limit, based on your history and payment patterns. Anything above your credit limit will be due each month as part of your minimum payment. If you don’t pay at least the minimum on time, the penalty APR will apply to your entire balance.
- No traditional welcome offer: With so many business cards offering bonuses to new cardholders worth hundreds of dollars, it’s pretty disappointing that this card does not.
- Not good for big spenders: If you’re going to charge more than $50,000 in a calendar year (about $4,160 each month,) you’ll max out the 2% cash-back earning potential. Big spenders are better off getting another card that is designed to reward a larger budget.
- Foreign transaction fee: Once you’re off U.S. soil, you’ll have to fork over 2.7% of each purchase in a foreign transaction fee. Some competing cards don’t charge this fee, so this is not the best choice if you take a lot of international business trips.
Get up to $300 in statement credits on purchases of up to $100 each at Dell, FedEx, and DocuSign within the first three months of opening the account. This is a nice perk, especially if you regularly buy products and services from these three firms, but we wouldn't consider it a true Welcome Offer for new cardmembers.
Earning Points & Rewards
This card’s simple rewards structure lets you earn 2% cash back on eligible purchases up to $50,000 per year, or a total of $1,000 in cash back. Once you hit that $50,000 purchase mark, you’ll get 1% back with no cap on what can be earned.
Other similar cards offer 1.5% back or 2%, but without a limit and in some cases, with an annual fee. Still other business cards have tiered rewards, where some categories of spending—like travel, dining, gas, shipping and/or advertising—pay the equivalent of 2%, 3% or even 5%, either as cash back or in points, but also often with earning caps.
It’s worth noting that eligible purchases do not include fees or interest charges, prepaid card or reloading purchases, travelers checks, or other cash-equivalent purchases. And as usual, you won’t earn cash back on returns or statement credits.
You’ll get an automatic credit on your statement for all cash earned each billing period, so redeeming rewards couldn’t be easier. However, you won’t have the vast redemption options that travel rewards cards may offer, so this isn’t the card for those interested in the best travel deals.
Keep in mind, too, that anytime you don’t make the minimum payment, you will forfeit the rewards you earned in that billing cycle. You’ll also lose existing rewards if you or American Express cancel your account before you redeem remaining cash back.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Even if your budget averages more than $4,160 a month, this card may still be worth it your first year, since the rewards limitations are based on a calendar year. If you get the card in June or July, you have a lot more room to breath before you max out your 2% cash back.
In addition, take advantage of that 0% APR on purchases for your first 12 months if your business is investing in new equipment or other irregular expenses that need to be spread out.
Make sure you’re disciplined to pay off your balance within the promotional period so that interest charges don’t erase the benefit of your cash back.
The card comes with the following perks:
- Travel and emergency hotline
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Extended warranties
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
American Express ranked second among 11 credit card companies in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, so you can expect top-notch customer service. Cardholders can call in or connect via the online chat function 24/7 or use the American Express app.
There are also some handy tools for managing business expenses, including the American Express Business App, which lets you:
- Add notes and receipts to your transactions
- Take photos of receipts to categorize expenses and sync with transactions
- Manage complimentary employee cards (set spending limits, freeze/unfreeze cards, etc.)
- Create PDF expense reports
- Transfer account data to QuickBooks
American Express offers standard account alerts for this card to help you track activity. You’ll also have assistance sorting out fraud matters, if necessary.
Fees to Watch Out For
This card doesn’t charge an annual fee—for you or employees who get their own card—or an overlimit fee if you charge beyond your credit limit. Just remember that it does charge a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, so use another card while traveling abroad.