If you are the owner of a small business, there is a good chance that you, and possibly your team, are using business credit cards (or a business charge card). A business credit card, or charge card, can boost your business’ purchasing power and is a good way to access funds quickly. On top of this, there are various other perks a business credit card, or a business charge card, can provide through the points and rewards programmes on offer. In this guide, we uncover the best business credit cards in Australia and discuss the pros and cons of a business credit card versus other forms of SME finance.
Below you can find the best rated business cards and business charge cards in Australia as per our editorial selection. All promotions mentioned on this article are subject to the cards’ provider T&Cs.
1. American Express Business Explorer® Credit Card 🏆
An introductory low rate of 3.99% within the first 6 months, 19.99% p.a thereafter
Membership Reward Points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
🏆 Best overall business credit card in Australia, 2022
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you apply prior to Oct 5, 2022, and spend $3,000 within 3 months of application. New Amex Card Members only. T&Cs apply.
The American Express Business Explorer® Credit Card is a business credit card that lets you earn Membership Rewards Points. In fact, with 2 points earned for every $1 spent on everyday business purchases, it has the best points-to-spend ratio of any Amex business credit card on the market today (the only card offering higher points is the Amex Business Platinum Card which is a charge card – more on these later). This is what makes it our no.1 choice for business credit cards in Australia.
Other benefits that Card Members can enjoy from the American Express Business Explorer Credit Card include free airline lounge passes, complimentary travel insurance and even using Membership Rewards Points to pay down your business credit card balance.
With an interest rate currently advertised at 19.99% p.a. this comes in at around the industry average. Up to 55 interest-free days also means you have up to 25 days after your statement date to clear your balance before you start to accrue interest.
Here are the key features of the Business Explorer Credit Card that make it stand out from the rest of the pack:
Earn 100,000 bonus points
So long as you apply by 5 October 2022 and spend $3,000 in the first three months after your card is approved, you will receive 100,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points. To put that into perspective, a $3,000 spend would usually see you receive up to 6,000 reward points through the Business Explorer Credit Card, which is already above the industry norm of most credit cards. This impressive offer is only available to new Card Members, including American Express Companion Card holders that are issued by the bank.
Introductory rate of 3.99%
New Card Members can take advantage of more opportunities for growth with a low, introductory interest rate on new purchases for the first 6 months.
One of the best Membership Reward rates on offer
This product allows members to earn 2 Membership Rewards Points for every $1 spent on purchases at everyday merchants and 1 point for every $1 spent on government expenses (think ATO payments and Auspost payments). These points aren’t just redeemable for travelling either – they can be used for a wide variety of expenses, such as paying rent, utility bills and even your card’s annual fee.
In short, Amex Business Explorer Credit Card is the best business cashback card currently in Australia, in addition to its many other benefits.
Complimentary travel insurance
If this business credit card is used to make payment for business travels, Card Members will enjoy complimentary insurance on international and domestic trips. This will cover anything from flight delays, stolen luggage or medical emergency costs.
American Express lounge passes
You will get two complimentary entries every year to the American Express lounge at Melbourne International Airport or Sydney International Airport.
The American Express Business Explorer Credit Card attracts a $149 annual fee. When you consider the Membership Rewards Points on offer, we think this is very reasonable.
1.25 NAB Rewards Points for every $1 spent on everyday business purchases. T&Cs apply.
🏆Runner-Up for Best Overall
Are you a small business owner looking for a simple way to earn reward points on your business purchases? If yes, then the NAB Rewards Business Signature Card is a great all-round option. It’s a particularly good option for international travellers because with this business credit card, you can earn triple the points on purchases made overseas. The 1.25 points that can be earned for every $1 spent on everyday purchases within Australia is a little worse than the points on offer from Amex Business credit card. Uniquely, however, it honours the same 1.25 point return on every $1 of spending, even when using this card on Government services. So if you plan on using a business credit card to pay the ATO or other Government agencies, this could be the one for you.
Interest rates are currently advertised at 18.5% p.a. for card purchases and 21.74% for a cash advance. Pretty average for the industry. But with a plethora of benefits, this card is best suited for businesses who aim to repay their credit card within their statement period. In this sense it’s quite similar to Amex business credit cards.
Check out the following key features of a NAB Rewards Business Signature Card:
Receive 100,000 bonus points
Earn 100,000 NAB Rewards Bonus Points when you spend $4,000 on everyday business purchases within 60 days of your account opening.
Earning point boost
This business credit card uses a Points Booster System to determine the points you earn. Earn 1.25 NAB points per dollar for purchases made using this credit card. You will receive double points or 2.5 NAB points per dollar spent at hardware or department stores and triple your points or receive 3.75 NAB points per dollar spent with Webjet while travelling overseas.
The variety of outlets to spend your points with this business credit card is second to none. There are thousands of options you have to redeem your points, including travel, gift cards, technology, and homeware. The best part is that you can choose to reward your employees, business or yourself. You can convert your NAB reward points to the following airline programs: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Velocity Frequent Flyer, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, or Air New Zealand Airpoints.
This card has an annual fee of $175 which means that you will pay $350 if you have two credit cards. What we like about this business credit card is the fraud protection feature which protects cardholders against fraudulent transactions.
3. American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card
2 Qantas Points for every $1 spent on Qantas products & services. 1.25 Qantas Points for each $1 spent on everyday business purchases and 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on government charges. T&Cs apply.
🏆Best business charge card for frequent flyers in Australia, 2022
Receive 120,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply by 2 November 2022 and spend $3,000 within 2 months of your approval date. Available for new American Express Card Members only. T&Cs apply.
The American Express® Qantas Business Rewards charge card ranks third on our list for its specific benefits to frequent Qantas flyers. Rather than earning business card points (which typically translate to less flyer points), Card Members of the Amex Qantas Business Reward Card specifically earn Qantas Points when making purchases with the card (and by purchases we mean everyday business purchases).
As of September 2022, with 2 Qantas Points for every $1 spent on Qantas products & services and 1.25 Qantas Points for every $1 spent on everyday purchases, and 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on government charges, we think this is a better return than the 1.6 Qantas Points (Qantas products) and 0.6 points (everyday spend) available through the Bendigo Bank Qantas Business Credit Card.
Remember, as a charge card, the idea is that the card balance is paid in full each month. American Express does offer a convenient Flexible Payment Option (FPO) which acts as a line of credit and does allow Card Members to pay off a portion of their balance over time. Speak to American Express in order to understand if you would be eligible for an FPO and what your limit would be if you think you may not be able to pay your balance in full each month.
Features of the Amex Qantas Business Rewards Card include the following:
120,00 Qantas Points Promotion
If you apply by November 2, 2022, and spend $3,000 within 2 months of your day of approval (for New American Express Card Members only) you will receive 120,000 bonus Qantas points. T&Cs apply.
No pre-set spending limit
Unlike a traditional credit card, there is no pre-set spending limit as your Amex Qantas Business Rewards Charge Card is designed to be paid in full each month. So as your spending and repayment patterns evolve, so do your purchase approvals.
American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card provides customers with the potential to access to up to $1.5M in a line of unsecured funding across a 12 month period.
Complimentary access to Qantas Club lounges
Two complimentary domestic Qantas Club lounge passes are available each year.
No annual employee card fees
No fee for up to 99 Employee Cards.
Up to 51 days to pay for purchases
Up to 51 days to pay for purchases – give your business the financial breathing room to take greater control of your cash flow.
$200 back with Dell Technologies
Get $100 credit with Dell Technoloigies (dell.com.au) per 6 months, twice a year (once per redemption period, for a total of $200 per card).
Digital subscription to The Australian
Receive a complimentary 12 months subscription to The Australian digital (including access to WSJ, The Economist and Harvard Business Review).
🏆Best interest for a business credit card in Australia
For some small business owners, it can be expensive to use a credit card because of the high annual fee and interest rate costs associated with the card. If you want to save money on these credit card costs, the NAB Low Rate Business Credit Card may come in handy. This credit card attracts zero annual fees during the first year of the application before changing to a smaller annual fee of $60 per annum from the second year onwards. In addition, the NAB Low Rate Business Credit Card offers a 0% interest rate during the first 12 months. That means you can pay your business debts with no interest accrued in your first 12 months of being approved.
Even after the first 12 months the NAB Low Rate Business Credit card proves a great low-interest option. Currently advertised at 13.25% p.a this is below the industry average of around 18-20%. What’s more is that cash advances, whilst not eligible for an interest free period, are also charged at 13.25%. If you think your business will require longer than your statement period to pay off the balance on a business credit card then this represents a great option.
The following are the benefits of using this business credit card.
$0 annual fee in your first year
If your application for the NAB Low Rate Business Credit Card is approved, you will have a $0 annual fee during the first year. From there, a standard annual fee of $60 will be charged on this business credit card.
Zero percent interest rate
During the first 12 months of using this credit card, you will not pay a dime on interest. That means you can repay your business debts sooner without the added burden of additional costs weighing you down in the first 12 months of having your card approved. In case the purchase balance is not paid during the first promotion year, it will attract a standard interest rate.
Unauthorised transaction insurance
Cardholders can have the peace of mind knowing they are protected from any unauthorised transactions made using their card. You can check their insurance policy document to see what is covered and how to make a claim.
The same interest rate is applied to a cash advance
The fact you can take a cash advance at the same interest rate as standard purchases definitely makes this card unique. Typically, a cash advance is charged at an even higher interest rate starting at 21% p.a. so at 13.25% the NAB Low Rate Business Credit Card presents a pretty sound option
The major drawback is that there are absolutely no reward points on offer and the perks simply aren’t as good as those offered by Amex or even the NAB Rewards Card.
5. American Express® Gold Business Card
Membership Rewards Points
Earn 1.5 points per $1 on everyday spend, and 1 point per $1 on all ATO and government spend – Membership Rewards enrollment required (an annual fee may apply).
🏆Best cashback on ATO and government spend in Australia
Receive 100,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you apply by 5 October 2022 and spend $1,000 in the first 2 months of your approval date. Available to new American Express Card Members only. T&Cs apply.
Arguably the most iconic look of any business card, the Amex Gold Business Card is a well-rounded business card, offering a variety of perks to suit most business owners. With its Membership Rewards Points you can earn 1.5 points per $1 on everyday spend, and 1 point per $1 on all ATO and government spend. Crucially, the Amex Gold Business Card has no limit or expiry on the points you earn. Points can be transferred to nine airlines, so if Qantas isn’t your preferred carrier this credit card could be for you.
Like the Amex Qantas Business Rewards Card, the Amex Gold Business Card is a charge card so the idea is to repay balances in full each month or establish a Flexible Payment Option with American Express.
If you are a small business owner, you may be impressed by the following advantages of this business charge card:
Receive 100,000 bonus points
Apply by 5 October 2022 and spend $1,000 in the first 2 months of your approval date to be eligible for 100,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points. New Amex Card Members only, T&Cs apply.
Travel benefits with multiple airlines and hotels
Transfer your points to nine leading airlines, including Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand. From the airline points, you can then transfer these to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and Avis Preferred – two leading hotel partners for your accommodation needs.
No pre-set spending limit
The Amex Gold Business Card has no pre-set spending limit. As you establish a spending and payment history, the amount you are able to charge on the card can increase. Also, because it is paid in full each month, you won’t be charged interest on the balance.
Complimentary travel insurance
You are covered with complimentary domestic and international travel insurance for you, your spouse, and your employee Card Members when you pay for a return trip with your American Express Gold Business Card.
Up to 51 cash flow days
Free up your cash flow with up to 51 days to pay for purchases.
Annual Employee Card Fee: $119 per Card
Up to 99 Employee Cards, charged at $119 per card.
After reviewing the top 5 best business credit cards Australia, make sure you have all bases covered as for alternative sources of funding*. Small business loan providers can offer a business line of credit – a convenient and flexible access to funds from a pre-agreed credit facility.
* Alternative to a Credit Card Business Loan:
Lend will help you compare the leading business credit card alternatives for SMEs in Australia. All through a simple and easy application form and a sophisticated algorithm in the back-end which matches applicants with the lenders that are best suited to their business profile and borrowing requirements. Lend covers all types of secured and unsecured loans including the best alternative for a credit card – a business line of credit.
A business credit card is a short-term, unsecured facility that is issued by a bank or financial lender and is used to make business purchases. The flexibility and convenience that business credit cards afford cardholders are what makes them appealing to small business owners. However, this benefit comes at a cost to cardholders as they attract a higher interest rate compared to secured business loans, and, generally, unsecured business loans too. With that said, business credit cards can provide business owners with a much needed financial cushion if their sales are below expectations.
Business Credit Cards vs. Personal Credit Cards in Australia – 2022 Account Usage
Personal credit cards remain by far the most popular form of credit for individuals residing in Australia and the number of personal credit cards in use continues to outstrip that of business credit cards by some way. According to data by the Reserve Bank of Australia, there were 12.3 million personal credit card accounts in April 2022, making just shy of 248 million purchases. In contrast, there were 776,000 business credit card accounts making just over 14 million purchases.
It gets interesting when we look at the value of purchases made – the value of goods and services bought on personal credit cards amounted to $22,152 million, whilst the value of goods and services bought on business credit cards amounted to $5,709 million. So whilst there were roughly 15x as many private accounts to commercial accounts, the value of spending was only 4x higher on private accounts vs commercial accounts.
This demonstrates why there is such a fiercely competitive market for business credit cards – despite a lower number in circulation, the usage per account and average transaction value of purchases is significantly higher. As an SME If you’re looking to make higher value purchases, with a correspondingly higher credit limit, a business credit card is most likely going to be the better option for you.
Business Credit Cards vs. Personal Credit Cards in Australia – Pros & Cons
Business credit card
Personal credit card
Easier for bookkeeping
Build business credit
Build personal credit
Better benefits, oriented for businesses
No business-oriented benefits
Often higher limits
Often lower limits
Different balance payments
There seems to be a fine line between the top business credit cards and personal credit cards. However, there are some differences between the two credit cards which you should know. The first difference is that business credit cards tend to have a higher credit limit compared to personal credit cards.
If you find yourself making expensive purchases every month, a business credit card may be ideal for you. Compared to personal credit cards, business credit cards come with different types of rewards such as travel points and cash back. The other difference is that personal credit cards have their interest rates and fees capped while business credit cards don’t. This means that you may have to pay higher interest rates with business credit cards. However, in practice, you will see that some business credit cards – such as the NAB low rate business credit card – actually begin at lower interest rates than private credit cards.
Types of Business Credit Cards
1. Low rate business credit cards
This type of business credit card is ideal for businesses looking for a credit card with a low-interest rate and no/low annual fee. Low rate cards are usually more appealing to new or start-up businesses with low income or funds. Although it has no rewards or perks, this type of credit card comes with a lower interest rate, a low annual fee and, sometimes, increased interest-free days.
2. Rewards business credit cards
The rewards business credit cards are good for businesses that want to be rewarded for spending on their credit cards. If your business has a higher spending power, you can take this credit card and enjoy rewards such as discounts, cashback offers, and free travel bookings.
Business Credit Cards vs Business Charge Cards
Business credit cards give you the option to either pay your balance in full each billing period or carry a balance and pay interest charges. That’s the crucial difference – the ability to pay off your balance over time. A Credit Card comes with a fixed limit on how much your business can spend.
Business charge cards tend to have no fixed limit, allowing for larger purchases to be made. That doesn’t mean you have ‘unlimited spending power’ and, generally, your purchasing power grows over time as your business establishes a good spending and payment history. You must pay the card’s full balance each billing period, which does tend to extend to around 55 days. Some provider’s like Amex will grant businesses a ‘Flexible Payment Option’ on charge cards which acts as a line of credit and allows a portion of the balance to be paid after the statement period.
Using Your Business Credit Card for a Cash Advance
If you’re looking to take a cash advance through your business credit card then you should expect to pay higher fees. A cash advance should only be used as a last resort if you can’t use a credit card to pay your debts directly. Unfortunately, this situation is not uncommon for SMEs but we could encourage these businesses to consider a small business loan instead. You can use a business loan to pay ATO debt, pay suppliers and much more. In fact, multi-purpose business loans can be used for virtually any business expense.
The most common form of a cash advance is by using your credit card to withdraw funds at an ATM. However, there are other types of transfers that credit card issuers will regard as a cash advance too. Buying foreign currency, using your credit card for a money transfer to a bank account and loading gift cards are all likely to be treated as a cash advance.
Unlike purchases with your business credit card, there is generally no interest-free period for a cash advance, meaning interest will begin to accrue from the day you take the cash advance.
The interest rate on a cash advance is typically higher than it is with usual transactions. SMEs should expect to pay upwards of a 21% interest rate on a cash advance with a business credit card. In addition to a cash advance fee of around 3% of the value of the cash advance. This can start as low as 1.5% on some business credit cards but 3% is the norm.
Final Take – Should Your SME Use Business Credit Cards?
In contrast to a bank loan, it is easier for SMEs to qualify for a business credit card even when their credit history is not well established. Business credit cards are actually one of the best ways to build business credit – you may only get a small limit at first but by regularly meeting your repayments you will start to boost your business credit score.
Today’s digital era has seen a huge shift in businesses going online to compete for customers and the number of businesses accepting credit cards has increased drastically. Business credit cards make it possible for business owners to go online and do business with vendors and suppliers from all over Australia and indeed the world.
Our guide to the best business credit cards Australia is designed to provide a variety of options for SMEs of all shapes and sizes. The best business credit card for you will depend on what it is you’re looking to achieve. There are some particularly good rewards available through charge cards but remember these are designed to be repaid in full within each statement period. There are still a number of benefits available through credit cards, as well as some low-rate business credit cards too.
Businesses are able to receive similar finance to a business credit card with a line of credit – a facility where you will only pay interest when you are required to draw on the facility – working in much the same way as an overdraft. A line of credit is available from many of the top rated online lenders in Australia, such as Prospa.
Are there alternatives to quick financing in Australia?
Yes! Small business loan lenders can provide much necessary financing as fast as 24 hours from the moment of application. Unlike banks they do not require you to draft an elaborate business plan and provide years of financial statements. It’s as easy as synchronising your bank accounts online or giving the lender reports from your Paypal or Point of Sale Software so they can make a risk-assessment on this basis.
Did you enjoy our best credit card comparison? What’s your favourite business credit card? Which credit cards have your business used in the past?? Share it with us and let others know how they can save and push forward their business by using a business credit card.