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: