At least one in five businesses (21%) use a credit card to supplement working capital or make purchases, according to Square. It’s a popular short-term credit facility that comes with perks and pitfalls. If you’re going to use one as part of your financial strategy, you need to understand when and how to use it.
Key points about business credit cards
- Interest rates on business credit cards range from around 10-25% p.a.
- You can use a business credit card for most business expenses
- You’ll incur interest charges if you don’t repay your balance in full each month
- A low-rate business credit card is the most basic type of card, with low rates and fees
- Rewards credit cards provide the most perks but at a higher cost
What is a business credit card?
A business credit card is a revolving line of credit for all your business
expenses (up to your credit limit). You'll always have access to this limit if
you pay the minimum repayment amount by the due date each month.
A business credit card can be issued to any business entity with an Australian Business Number (ABN), and multiple cards can be issued to different business employees using a single account. Business credit cards can be used to make purchases, pay bills or manage cashflow. You can also use a business credit card to track your expenses and build your company’s credit profile for future borrowing.
How does a business credit card work?
A business credit card works just like a personal credit card, but is intended
exclusively for business expenses. This means there are higher spending limits
available and perks suited to businesses, like discounts on office supplies or
You must repay your credit balance in full each month to avoid interest and extra charges, or you’ll lose your interest-free period and interest will be charged on your unpaid balance. Business credit cards have higher interest rates compared to small business loans.
Common types of business credit cards in Australia
There are three main types of business credit cards, each with its own
features and benefits tailored to different business needs and spending
1. Low-rate business credit card: This everyday business credit card features a combination of low annual fees (or no annual fee) and lower interest, but no perks or rewards. A 'no frills' low-rate card with no extras will likely be cheaper and more suited to startup businesses with limited resources.
3. Frequent flyer business credit card: Is linked to an airline program such as Qantas and Velocity frequent flyer and allows you to earn travel points on eligible purchases. This suits businesses with multiple interstate or international locations or who undertake a lot of work-related travel.
Who’s eligible for a business credit card?
The standard qualifying criteria for a business credit card include:
- Australian citizenship or permanent residency
- A valid ABN or ACN registered for GST
- An annual turnover of between $30,000 - $75,000
- Trading history of at least six to 12 months
A good credit score with no payment defaults — the minimum
credit score for business lending is around 400.
Best low-rate business credit cards (2023)
|St.George Business Vantage Credit Card
||Up to 99 additional cards with individual card limits
|ANZ Business Low Rate Card
||No annual card fee for the first year
|NAB Low Rate Business Card
||13.25 % p.a.
||No annual card fee for the first year
|Westpac BusinessChoice Everyday Mastercard
Annual fee waived when you spend $15,000 or more on a specific
|CommBank Business Low Rate Credit Card
||Cashback with CommBank Rewards
||No annual fee
Best rewards business credit cards (2023)
|Credit card||Purchase rate
|American Express Platinum Business Card
Earn up to 2.25 points per $1 spent, excluding government spend, where
you’ll earn 1 point per $1 spent
|American Express Business Explorer Card
||Earn up to 2 points per $1 spent
|ANZ Business Black Card
Earn up to 1.5 points per $1 spent, up to $10,000 per statement
||$300 (no annual fee in the first year)
|NAB Rewards Business Signature Card
Earn up to 1.25 points per $1 spent on everyday business purchases,
including payments to the ATO
|Suncorp Clear Options Business Credit Card
Earn 1 point for every dollar spent on eligible transactions (up to
80,000 points per card per year)
Best frequent flyer business credit cards (2023)
||Rewards||Annual fee||Interest-free days
|American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
Earn up to 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on Qantas products and
services & up to 1.25 points per $1 spent on everyday spend
|American Express Velocity Business Card
Earn up to 2 Velocity Points per $1 spent on business expenses
|American Express Platinum Business Card
||Earn up to 2.25 points per $1 spent on everyday expenses
|Westpac Altitude Business Platinum Mastercard
Earn 1 Altitude Point per $1 spent on eligible business purchases, and
up to 2 Altitude Points with any overseas merchants
||$200 (no annual fee in the first year)
|NAB Qantas Business Signature Card
Earn 1 Qantas Point for every $1.50 you spend on everyday business
Business credit card features explained
Low or zero annual fees: You’ll pay little or no fees for your facility. The lender makes all its money from your interest payments and any additional charges you incur, such as late payment fees.
Low-interest rate: You’ll pay a lower interest rate on your spending balance. Low-interest business credit cards can be classified as cards with an interest rate below 15%. Credit cards with lower rates don’t usually offer rewards.
Interest-free period: A period when you can spend money on your card without paying any interest (up to 55 days). This only applies if you pay off the full balance on your credit card when it falls due at the end of the period.
0% balance transfer: Allows you to transfer your balance (what you owe) to another credit card with an introductory period of zero interest or a low initial interest rate.
Rewards: Just like personal credit cards, many business credit cards offer rewards programs allowing you to earn points for each dollar you spend on the card. Rewards include discounts on eligible purchases, vouchers, VIP access to airport facilities, or free services like concierge service, fraud cover and free insurance.
Cashback offer: Some cards offer cashback on eligible purchases like fuel, office supplies, etc. This gives you a percentage of credit card spending back as a rebate. Be aware that you may need to apply for each cash refund.
Low cash advance rate: Low cash advance rates can make it cheaper to take cash out of your credit card or transfer it to another account.
Frequent flyer points: Like personal credit cards, many business credit cards can be linked to a frequent flyer account which allows you to earn airline points and other travel perks like lounge access, extra checked bags, priority boarding, or discounts on hotels and car rentals. This can be useful if your business spends a lot on travel — or as an incentive for individual employees if you decide to let them credit the points to their personal frequent flyer accounts.
How to apply for a business credit card
The application process for a business credit is similar to other types of business finance. You’ll need to submit some documents and information about your business.
1. Financial paperwork
Lenders will ask for financial documents to ensure your business meets all eligibility obligations. They will ask for:
- Bank statements from the last six to 12 months
- Business financial and tax information (e.g. BAS statements, tax returns)
- Financial data supplied through your accounting software
2. Business information
Lenders will also look at your business profile and trading history. They may ask for:
- Business registration documents
- Proof of business ownership documents (e.g. certificates of incorporation)
- Identification documents (e.g. driver’s licence, passport)
How to compare business credit cards
- Minimum & maximum credit limit
- Number of interest-free days
- Interest rate on purchases
- Interest rate on balance transfers
- Interest rate on cash advances
- Rewards points per $1 spent
- Balance transfer
- Annual fees Monthly fees
- Late payment penalties
- Accounting integration
- Additional cards
What can you use a business credit card for?
Business expenses like office supplies, employee meals/entertainment,
Travel expenses like flights, hotels, and rental cars for business
||Capital expenditure (e.g. machinery, vehicles)
Utility bills including electricity, internet, and phone bills for
your business premises
|Advertising and marketing
|Vendor payments||Personal charitable donations
Business subscriptions (e.g. software subscriptions, industry
||Personal medical expenses
|Taxes to the ATO
||Taxes for personal income
FAQs about business credit cards
What’s the difference between a business credit card and a personal credit card?
A business credit card is issued to your business, not to you as an individual, and must be used for business expenses. This enables you to separate your business spending from your personal spending for accounting and tax purposes. Business credit cards also offer business-focused reward programs and additional features, such as the ability to apply different spending restrictions to other cards linked to the same facility (so you can control and monitor how your employees use them). They may also offer detailed reporting and analytics tools to help you track spending.
What’s the difference between a business credit card and a charge card?
A business credit card has a preset spending limit and charges interest on any owing balance at the end of the statement period. With a charge card, there's no credit limit, but you must pay off the full balance every month, or you'll be charged a fee.
Will I have to provide a personal guarantee for my business credit card?
Some business credit cards require a personal guarantee, which makes you or any business directors liable for the debt and puts your assets at risk. This is often the case if a business fails to meet the lender's criteria for business facilities like sole traders or startups. However, if you have an established business operated by a partnership, trust or incorporated company, you can apply for that business to have liability for the credit card facility. If a facility is offered on this basis, the responsibility for repayments will lie with the business, not you personally.
How long does it take to get approved for a business credit card?
Getting approved for a business credit card only takes a few minutes once you complete your online application and submit copies of all your supporting documents. If you apply in person at a bank, it may take a day or two to approve your application.
Can I get rewards points for paying tax with my business credit card?
Yes, some business credit cards allow you to earn some reward points per dollar spent on government payments, including when you pay taxes to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
How many credit cards can my business have?
You can request additional cards for the same account for your employees or other directors, although this may come at an additional cost. Most credit card providers will have a maximum number of cardholders allowed per account. For example, St.George Bank allows up to 99 additional cards with a $55 annual card fee per card.
Can I get a business credit card if I have bad credit?
Yes, you can still qualify for a business credit card if you have an adverse credit rating, as long as your business has the minimum turnover and trading history required by the lender. You may be required to provide a personal guarantee or could alternatively apply for a bad credit business loan.