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By Taylor Tepper
September 23, 2015
Francesco Corticchia—Getty Images

Money and NerdWallet have picked the best credit cards in five different categories: cash back, borrowing, travel rewards, student, and small business cards. Most of our picks assume you are using cards strategically to maximize rewards, and paying off your bill each month to avoid fees and finance charges. Money also went one step further this year to add an “easy choice”—the best no-muss, no-fuss, no-annual-fee option.

Easy Choice: Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business

  • APR: 0% on purchases for nine months; then 13% to 21%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Sign-up bonus: $200 after spending $3,000
  • Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Why it’s a winner: For stable, successful small businesses, Spark is an all-around winner, with no annual fee and cash back on every dollar spent. If your firm’s outlay is $5,000 a month, for instance, you’ll clear $2,000 back in two years, factoring in the $200 sign-up bonus. Add employee cards for free to boost your rewards.
  • Caveat: If your business maintains revolving balances, find a card with a lower financing rate.

Best for Borrowing: U.S. Bank Business Edge Platinum

  • APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first year; 10% to 18% after that
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Why it’s a winner: The U.S. Bank Business Edge Platinum is ideal for bootstrapping startups, debt-carrying small enterprises, and other small-business owners for whom borrowing costs are paramount. It offers the lowest APR without incurring an annual fee. You also get a year’s worth of runway to pay off big purchases or tide you over until cash flow picks up.
  • Caveat: With no rewards or sign-up bonus, this no-frills card is really only for businesses with ongoing debt.

See all of Money’s picks:

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Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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