The top 16 business credit cards in the UK

A straightforward way to access cash and improve cash flow, business credit cards allow you to spend up to a set credit limit whenever and wherever you want.

By Sooraj Shah on 26/11/2018

Blog Image | Business Credit Cards | Headline image

Are you doing research into a business credit card for your business? If so, search no further – we’ve written up the essential details on how they work, the costs involved, and the level of protection they can offer. In the second section of this article, we look at who the UK's main business credit card providers are and the top cards they're currently offering.

Jump down to see our list of the best business credit cards in the UK for 2019

Plus, we look into the alternative forms of financing that could be worth bearing in mind when you want to grow your business.

Quick-fire facts

  • Business credit cards help you to access funds via a bank card, up to your credit limit.
  • Interest tends to be be charged monthly on the outstanding balance of the card.
  • Annual fees and other fixed costs are often charged for the on-tap access to credit.

How do business credit cards work?

A simple and straightforward way to access credit and improve cash flow, business credit cards allow you to spend up to a set limit. That limit is determined by how much you're approved for by the card provider, and is dependent upon a variety of factors such as your personal and business' credit history.

It’s sometimes tough for young businesses to get access to large amounts of credit, so credit cards can be a useful tool for bridging small cash flow gaps, buying office supplies or for basic employee spending. It's worth bearing in mind that start-ups and sole traders can find it difficult to get approved for business credit cards, so be sure to shop around if you fall into one of those categories, or if you have a credit history.

How much do business credit cards cost?

When you make a purchase using a credit card for business, the value of the purchase will be added to your account balance. At the end of your billing cycle (normally a month) your provider will charge interest on any balance on the card that’s carried forward from one month to the next. The amount you pay each month is linked to how much credit you have outstanding on the card and the interest that's applied to it.

The smallest amount you can repay is the minimum payment. This is typically 1% of the balance or £5 – whichever is higher – plus the interest payment. But interest rates on business credit cards can vary dramatically, so it's good to check the terms and conditions before committing.

Example

John runs a bike shop with a monthly turnover of around £10,000. He's looking to fund his monthly stock purchase, so he gets a business credit card from his bank with a credit limit of £2,000 at an interest rate of about 1% per month. The first month, John spends £600 on brake pads.

At the end of the month, he can choose how much he repays. He can pay the entire balance on the card, meaning he'll only be charged for the interest accrued that month. Alternatively, he can repay a lower amount – anything from the minimum payment up to the statement balance. What he doesn't repay will be carried over to next month's statement.

Will I get the same protection from a business card as I do with my personal credit card?

Unfortunately, for most business credit cards this isn’t the case. Your personal card usually comes with some automatic protections against fraudulent purchases, damaged goods or billing errors, but most business cards don’t offer the same services. That's why it's a good idea to closely check the benefits your card offers before you sign up.

Do business credit cards require a personal guarantee?

Credit cards represent an unsecured line of credit, meaning that the money you borrow is not secured against an asset (like property, for example). Instead, the card agreement requires the business owner to sign a personal guarantee. This means that she or he is personally and legally liable for repaying the money borrowed.

What are the alternatives to a business credit card?

If you’re planning to apply for a business credit card, it’s worth considering which other finance options might also be available for your business. First off, the below list includes both charge cards and credit cards. The difference is that charge cards don’t extend credit – so you'll need to pay the full balance each month. Credit cards, however, let you to pay off expenditure over time, though you will likely be charged interest on any balance you carry forward.

Credit cards with a high limit can be very difficult to obtain from a bank, so other types of borrowing – such as a business loan or credit facility – could give you more funding options.

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What are some of the best business credit cards to choose from in 2019?

Now that you know the basics about business credit cards, it’s time to weight up which card could work best for you. Business credit card providers in the UK include American Express, Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Capital On Tap, Cashplus, Clydesdale Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Metro Bank, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Yorkshire Bank. Each card has its own slightly different set of terms and features, and depending on your situation, there will be one card that suits you.

For example, for those that need help managing their cash flow, some credit card providers offer longer periods of interest-free credit on purchases, while for those who find it difficult to track their spend, there are business credit cards that provide detailed monthly spend reports. There are some cards better suited to start-ups, and others that are tailored towards small to medium enterprises or larger businesses.

Here are some of the most popular, listed in alphabetic order. You can quick-jump to the business credit card in question by clicking on the provider's name in the table below.

Every care has been taken to provide accurate info on each business loan provider. They are ranked in alphabetic order. All facts and stats are correct (according to the credit card providers’ websites) as of 8th August 2019.

Business credit card providerAPR (variable)Fee?
American Express (Gold)N/A£125
American Express (Platinum)N/A£595
Bank of Scotland22.40%£32
Barclaycard Business (Flex)24.90%£0
Barclaycard Business (Select)26.40%£32
Barclaycard Business (Premium)36.20%£100
Capital On Tap39.90%£0
Cashplus24.90%£0
Clydesdale Bank22.40%£28
HSBC22%£32
Lloyds Bank22.40%£32
Metro Bank14.90%£0
NatWest24.30%£30
Royal Bank of Scotland24.30%£30
Santander23.70%£30
Yorkshire Bank22.40%£28

1. American Express

Gold Business Card

Maximum credit: N/A – this is a charge card
Minimum APR: N/A – this is a charge card
Fees: Free for the first year, then £125 a year after that
Good for: This is a charge card, so it's a good option for business owners that know they will be able to pay in full when their statement is issued. Great for those wanting to trial the perks, while also picking up Membership Rewards points for a year, before deciding if it is worth the £125 fee.

Features

  • 20,000 bonus points when £3,000 spent in the first three months of use.
  • Thereafter, one point is earned for every £1 spent.
  • One additional point for every £1 spent through American Express Travel.
  • 99 supplementary cards for employees.
  • Purchase protection for up to £2,500 on items purchased on card, and stolen or damaged within 90 days.
  • No pre-set spending limit.

2. American Express

Platinum Business Card

Maximum credit: N/A – this is a charge card
Minimum APR: N/A – this is a charge card
Fees: £595 a year
Good for: Business owners that know they will be able to pay in full when their statement is issued, as this is a charge card rather than a credit card. This card is also great for previous American Express cardholders (or those with Airmiles or Avios) who are looking to rack up more Membership Rewards points, as well as business owners that want a number of good perks.

Features

  • 40,000 bonus points when £6,000 spent in the first three months of membership.
  • Thereafter, one point for every £1 spent.
  • Access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world.
  • No pre-set spending limit – the amount you can spend is dependent on your circumstances and credit history.
  • One complimentary Platinum Card and 99 free business Gold Cards.
  • One additional point for every £1 spent through American Express Travel.
  • Travel accident and inconvenience insurance.
  • Purchase protection for up to £2,500 on items purchased on card, and stolen or damaged within 90 days, as well as refund protection up to £300.

3. Bank of Scotland

Business Credit Card Mastercard

Maximum credit: £10,000
Minimum APR: 22.4%
Fees: £32 a year
Good for: Business owners looking for detailed monthly statements, 45 days of interest-free credit, and flexible repayment options. Great for small businesses that want their employees to also have business cards, as each card can have different card limits.

Features

  • Credit limit up to £10,000.
  • Issue up to 20 cards to employees – each additional card costs £32 a year.
  • Internet banking.
  • Can be used abroad.
  • 45 days interest-free credit on purchases.

4. Barclaycard Business

Flex Credit Card Mastercard

Maximum credit: Not stated (likely variable)
Minimum APR: Three-month interest free, then 24.9% variable APR
Fees: None
Good for: Start-up owners that may need to invest heavily in their first few months as a cardmember, without having to pay interest on top.

Features

  • Three-month interest-free purchase period.
  • No annual fee.
  • Ideal for start-ups or businesses with occasional cashflow needs.

5. Barclaycard Business

Select credit card

Maximum credit: Not stated (likely variable)
Minimum APR: Six-month interest free, then 26.4% variable APR
Fees: No annual fee for first year, then £32 a year
Good for: Start-up owners that may need to invest heavily within a six-month period as a cardmember, without wanting to pay interest on top. Also good for businesses with regular cash flow needs, who want a card with added protection and insurance.

Features

  • Six-month interest-free period.
  • No annual fee for 12 months.
  • Purchase protection and cardholder misuse insurance.
  • £32 a year fee from second year is waived if your business spends £6,000 or more every 12 months.
  • Discounts from suppliers and retailers, plus pre-sale tickets.

6. Barclaycard Business

Premium Plus credit card

Maximum credit: Not stated (likely variable)
Minimum APR: Six-month initial interest free purchase period, then 36.2% (variable)
Fees: £100 fee, £75 for each extra card
Good for: Those trading overseas, as there is cashback on travel and trade, and enhanced travel insurance, access to airport lounges and FX savings. Also good for those wanting access to collaborative work spaces in the UK from time to time.

Features

  • 0.5% cashback on purchases (£400 a year maximum).
  • Six-month initial interest-free period.
  • Up to 56 days interest free on purchases thereafter, when you pay in full.
  • Save 2% on foreign exchange fees.
  • Two free visits to airport lounge, as a member of Priority Pass VIP Airport lounge, additional visits at £15 each.
  • Business travel insurance.
  • Purchase protection and cardholder misuse insurance.
  • Five days free access to Eagle Labs and work spaces in nine locations across the UK.
  • Discounts from suppliers and retailers, plus pre-sale tickets.

7. Capital On Tap

Business MasterCard

Maximum credit: Up to £50,000
Minimum APR: 39.9% APR (variable)
Fees: No annual fee, but can opt-in to the On Tap Club for £249 a year.
Good for: Businesses that expect to to have a high expenditure on the card.

Features

  • 56 days of 0% interest on purchases each billing cycle, if you clear balance in full each month.
  • No annual fee.
  • No foreign exchange or ATM fee.
  • Up to £50,000 limit.
  • If opting-in to the £99 a year On Tap Club, users can earn one point for every £1 spent, plus get 20,000 bonus points if they spend £5k in first 3 months. Point are redeemable as Avios or as 1p per point cashback.

8. Cashplus

Business Credit Card Mastercard

Maximum credit: Up to £3,000 (reviewed after 6 months)
Minimum APR: 24.9% APR (variable)
Fees: No fees
Good for: Businesses that are looking for no frills, low-limit credit card, a simple online application and a product with no hidden fees.

Features

  • 56 days of 0% interest on purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • Up to £3,000 limit initially but this can be reviewed after six months.
  • Itemised billing to track spending better.
  • Instant decision online.
  • Flexible repayment options.
  • Contactless payments.

9. Clydesdale Bank

Business credit card

Maximum credit: Not stated (likely variable)
Minimum APR: 22.4% APR (variable)
Fees: Each card is free for the first year and £28 per year thereafter Good for: Businesses looking for additional features such as a savings scheme and an online accountancy tool to track expenditure.

Features

  • Up to 59 days of 0% interest on purchases.
  • £28 annual fee after the first year, which is free.
  • Includes Mastercard Business Savings scheme for discounts on specific retailers.
  • SmartData online accountancy tool free to use, helping you to track and report expenditure.

10. HSBC

Commercial Credit Card Visa

Maximum credit: Not stated (likely variable)
Minimum APR: 22% APR (variable)
Fees: First year free, then £32
Good for: Businesses looking for a low-cost card that comes with additional features, such as financial reports and account reconciliation.

Features

  • No annual fee for a year, £32 thereafter.
  • Protected against fraudulent transactions.
  • Up to 56 days interest free credit.
  • Financial reports and account reconciliation.
  • Additional cards available for employees (number unspecified).

11. Lloyds Bank

Business Credit Card

Maximum credit: £10,000
Minimum APR: 22.4% APR (variable)
Fees: £32 per card
Good for: Existing Lloyds Bank business current account holders who will be spending up to £10,000 within a 12 month period. Also available to sole traders, partners and directors.

Features

  • Only available for existing Lloyds Business Current Account customers.
  • £32 annual fee.
  • 45 days interest-free credit.
  • You can offer up to 20 cards for your employees.
  • Available to sole traders, partners and directors.

12. Metro Bank

Business Credit Card

Maximum credit: Not stated (likely variable)
Minimum APR: 14.9% APR (variable)
Fees: No fee
Good for: Those looking for a low interest rate credit card and free transactions in Europe

Features

  • Must be an existing Metro Bank business or commercial current account customer.
  • No annual fee.
  • Free transactions in most of Europe.
  • Low rate of 14.9% variable APR.
  • Branches open seven days a week.
  • 56 days interest-free credit when you pay balance in full.

13. NatWest

Business Credit Card

Maximum credit: Not stated (likely variable)
Minimum APR: 24.3% APR (variable)
Fees: No fee for first year, £30 a year thereafter, unless you spend £6,000 or more every year
Good for: Sole traders, limited companies, limited liability partnerships, partnerships, charities, clubs and societies that will spend more than £6,000 per year.

Features

  • Turnover of business must not exceed £2 million.
  • No annual fee after first year if £6,000 per year is spent.
  • Free transactions in most of Europe.
  • 56 days interest-free credit when you pay balance in full.
  • £30 per additional card holders.
  • ClearSpend app to manage account.
  • Business Plus credit card is £70 per year and is eligible for cashback up to 2% on trade/business suppliers, 1% on fuel and accommodation and 0.5% on everything else. £400 cashback limit per customer.

14. Royal Bank of Scotland

Business Credit Card

Maximum credit: Not stated (likely variable)
Minimum APR: 24.3% APR (variable)
Fees: No fee for first year, £30 a year thereafter unless you spend £6,000 or more every year
Good for: Sole traders, limited companies, limited liability partnerships, partnerships, charities, clubs and societies that will spend more than £6,000 per year.

Features

  • Turnover of business must not exceed £2 million.
  • No annual fee after first year if £6,000 per year is spent.
  • Free transactions in most of Europe.
  • 56 days interest-free credit when you pay balance in full.
  • £30 per additional card holders.
  • ClearSpend app to manage account.
  • Business Plus credit card is £70 per year and is eligible for cashback up to 2% on trade/business suppliers, 1% on fuel and accommodation and 0.5% on everything else. £400 cashback limit per customer.

15. Santander

Business Credit Card

Maximum credit: Not stated (likely variable)
Minimum APR: 23.7% APR (variable)
Fees: £30 per year, additional cards free
Good for: Businesses looking for some cashback on their purchases, as well no foreign transaction fees.

Features

  • £30 account fee.
  • Additional cards for no cost.
  • 1% cashback on all business spend.
  • 56 days interest-free credit when you pay balance in full.
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases abroad when paying in the local currency.
  • Optional service to control amount each cardholder can spend, as well as monthly spend limits.

16. Yorkshire Bank

Business card

Maximum credit: Not stated (likely variable)
Minimum APR: 22.4% APR (variable)
Fees: Free for first year, £28 a year thereafter
Good for: Businesses that prefer to use Mastercard credit cards and are looking for free accounting tools and flexible repayment options.

Features

  • Must hold a Business Current Account with Yorkshire Bank to be eligible.
  • Up to 59 days interest free credit on purchases, if balance is paid in full by due date on your previous and latest statements.
  • No annual fee for the first year.
  • Access to SmartData online accounting system.
  • Includes Mastercard Business Savings scheme where you can receive special discounts at participating retailers.

For more information and impartial financial advice on the subject, visit the Citizens Advice website.

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