The Best Credit Cards For The Self-Employed


People with their own businesses, or who largely work as freelancers, face unique challenges when it comes to obtaining credit, whether it’s a small business loan, or the credit cards most businesses need to handle their day-to-day cash flow, and even earn rewards points for things like cash back and airline miles.

American Express May Not Be Just For Rich Guys

Even though the American Express brand has a certain lifestyle cachet, it might be a good fit for those of you who are self-employed. While the American Express Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express Open does offer new clients a signup bonus of 25,000 points (after they spend $5,000 during the first three months of membership), there is the small matter of a $175 dollar annual fee, which may be too rich for some small business owners. That’s still less than the $450 annual fee charged by an Amex Business Platinum Card ®.

Still, using any kind of American Express credit card does lend a certain air of credibility and financial solvency to your company, even if you’re the sole employee. However, it may not be the best choice for your personal bottom line, even though it does carry with certain benefits such as:

  • A 0$ fee for the first year, 3X points for airfares when purchased directly from the airlines themselves, the same amount of points when used to purchase computer hardware and software.
  • The same point value when used to pay shipping costs, among other benefits.

Have You Considered A Chase Ink Plus® Card?

The Chase Ink Plus® Business Credit Card just might be the credit card for anyone who’s self-employed. Consider these benefits offered by this card’s issuer:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. That translates to $625 in travel dollars if you redeem those points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
  • You can earn 5X points for every dollar up to the first $50,000 you spend on office supplies, cell phone charges, office Internet, landline, and TV services.
  • Self-employed cardholders can earn 2X points for every dollar up to the first $50,000 spent on gas station purchases or hotel charges when charged directly to the hotel.
  • Cardholders get 1X points on every other transaction, and there is no limit on how many points you can earn.
  • If your business involves international travel, then there are no foreign transaction fees.
  • Your Chase Ink Plus® card has an embedded chip that allows acceptance all over the planet.
  • Once you’re enrolled, your employees can get their cards for free!
  • 0$ annual fee for the first year, and only $95 per year thereafter.

The Fine Print About The Chase Ink Plus Card

Before you rush off to apply for the Chase Ink Plus Business Card®, you need to know that it’s more in the nature of an old school charge card that has to be paid off every month, just like an AmEx card. The 5X points given for the first $50,000 doesn’t just apply to your office Internet and business phone line. That same benefit applies to your spending on office supplies from stores like Staples or Office Max.

Since office supply stores sell pens, copy paper, office furniture, ink cartridges, and even small appliances, your bonus points can accrue rapidly. That’s especially true if you’re buying items like bottled water, snacks, and coffee for your office, all things that most office supply stores sell these days.

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Another good choice for the self-employed person or small business owner also comes from American Express: the Amex EveryDay Credit Card, which offers a 0$ annual fee for the first year, plus the following benefits:

  • 10,000 points after you spend only $1,000 during the first three months you have the card.
  • A 20% point bonus when you make 20 or more purchases within a given billing period (with some limitations, of course).
  • 2X points at any US supermarket, up to the first $6,000 spent. Those points you accrue can be spent for airfares, hotel charges, and even cruises.
  • A 0% APR for both purchases and balance transfers for the initial 15 months you have the card, going up to a variable rate of 12.99% to 21.99%.

The Discover It® Card

This might not be the first card that comes to mind when you’re considering adding a card to your wallet, but it’s got some interesting features that might benefit anyone who’s self-employed. For example:

  • A 0% APR on balance transfers and any purchases for the initial 12 months after your card is issued. The variable APR that kicks in afterwards is not bad, since it ranges from 10.99% to 22.99%, depending on your credit worthiness.
  • Get double your cash back on every purchase for the first year; this is issued automatically, which is a great benefit, since you don’t have to do anything to get it.
  • A rotating roster of 5% cash back categories that shifts every quarter and includes purchases like gas, restaurants, and the like. You get 1% cash back on any purchases as well.
  • There is no overlimit fee on this card, nor late charges, and, if you do pay late, your APR will not
  • There is no annual fee, either, nor any fees for foreign transactions, which is a real boon to frequent business travelers.
  • If you lose, misplace your card, or it’s stolen during your travels, this card has the Freeze It feature that will prevent new charges, cash advances, or balance transfers. This feature can be implemented from your smart phone, or office computer.

Consider the Citi Simplicity® Card

This card has one benefit that might be a huge boon to self-employed people who are already carrying a huge balance on an existing card with a high interest rate. The Citi Simplicity® Card will allow you to pay 0% interest on any balance transfer for the first 21 months, and that goes for any purchases, too. It’s got some other nice features, as well, including:

  • No late fees
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty rate if you’re late paying your bill.

So, as you can see, there are a range of options for cards that can fit the needs and lifestyle of the self-employed person. The important thing is to shop around and take your time before signing up for any card. For some additional ideas about good credit card deals for parents, military members, or other credit card customers with specific needs, please check out


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