Skip to main content
Small Business & Startups

What’s In Your Wallet? Best Startup Credit Cards for Small Business Owners

By March 24, 2021 No Comments

startup credit cardOne of the questions that small business owners ask us all the time is, what’s the best startup credit card?

We know the credit card mail won’t stop coming, whether it’s emails or physical offers to your mailbox, inviting you to sign up for the next or newest credit card. There’s decision fatigue! Too many options.

And while you can Google ‘best startup credit cards,’ or ‘best credit card for entrepreneurs,’ that’s not very helpful either. There are hundreds of different credit cards that pop up with a search like that. All look great, and all seem to have strong rewards, but you might just want to be told what to do.

You’re in luck! Acuity’s Matthew May, Lisa Gilreath, and Kenji Kuramoto talk about what’s in their wallet and why. The trio talk about their business and personal credit cards, outlining why they chose what they use today. Watch below:

Startup Credit Cards: What’s In Matthew’s Wallet?

Fidelity Investments Visa

“Part of my decision was to go with a Visa – that way I didn’t have to worry about the places that don’t take Amex.”

More perks of Matthew’s Fidelity credit card:

  • Unlimited 2% cash back
  • No restrictive categories
  • No annual fee
  • Contactless technology
  • Link and deposit your rewards into up to 5 Fidelity Investment accounts, such as retirement, HSA, and 529 College Savings.

Startup Credit Cards: What’s In Kenji’s Wallet?

Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

“You get cash back. You can use it toward other Costco purchases…or you can redeem it for cash.”

More perks of Kenji’s Costco Visa business card:

  • 4% on eligible gas, including gas at Costco for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% after that
  • 3% on restaurants and eligible travel purchase worldwide
  • 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Cash rewards are provided as an annual credit, redeemable for cash or merchandise at Costco

Startup Credit Cards: What’s In Lisa’s Wallet?

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

“It does get you free baggage, because when we were traveling, free baggage mattered at $25 a pop.”

More perks of Lisa’s Delta Amex business card:

  • 2X miles on dining, groceries, and Delta purchases
  • 1X miles on other purchases
  • $0 entry annual fee for the first year, $99 after that

Do you have a great startup credit card to add to the list for entrepreneurs? Please share in the comments!

FAQs

How often do you carry a balance on business and personal credit cards?

Preferably never. The interest rates are so much more expensive on credit cards than a line of credit or other sources of business financing once you’re established.

How do I get a business credit card?

Most people don’t need to get a credit card through their business. The important thing is separating business and personal credit cards. There are certain corporate credit cards you can apply for and receive certain rewards or incentives, depending on your personal preferences. Divvy and Brex have corporate cards that are worth looking into – the Divvy credit card and the Brex credit card both have expense reporting management built into their business card offerings.

How do I open a business bank account?

The main thing you need for a business bank account is an employer identification number (EIN). You can Google how to obtain an EIN – it’s a pretty simple process on the IRS website. That’s the biggest roadblock for people trying to open a business bank account. After that, it’s relatively straightforward!

Video Transcript

Matthew:

Who gets to go first? So I think we should put the pressure on Kenji because he has the worst one. He has the most odd taste in credit cards of all of us, I think.

 

Kenji:

True. Okay. So my business cards…I have two of them and I’m between like, I’m supposed to be shutting one of them down, but not for reasons of blog posts. So I’ve had for a long, long time. So it’s the Costco Visa.

 

Matthew:

Okay. So a couple questions. Does it have an annual fee?

 

Kenji:

The Costco one does not.

 

Matthew:

And do you get cash back or points or how does it work?

 

Kenji:

Gets cash back.

 

Matthew:

Okay. And where does it go? Just to a bank account or is it a Costco credit?

 

Kenji:

It gives you a credit. They give you like this, uh, kind of paper check. Well now they do it just through the statements. You have to take it into a Costco to redeem it, so you can use it toward other Costco purchases. Or at one point you could use it, and they give you cash, but you have to wait at the membership counter, and that takes too long.

 

Matthew:

What’s the other one you carry?

 

Kenji:

I switched to this about a year and a half ago. This one, I don’t know that it makes the most sense for most entrepreneurs. I shouldn’t say that, but when I was starting to travel a lot, being here in Atlanta, I moved to a Delta SkyMiles card. Partly because we were traveling so much, I was getting very excited about traveling. I love experiences. I was like, you know what? I’d actually rather have this toward more travel, which I saw on the horizon back in the distant past of more travel, which has not happened now. So, this is probably a terrible card to have now to be earning benefit that you can use right now. But I have a Delta SkyMiles card, and this one does have a fee.

 

Kenji:

Oh, that one is the one that gets you into the international club or the Delta club?

 

Kenji:

It gets you into the Delta club. It also covers I think your TSA pre-check and/or…What’s the international one?

 

Lisa:

Global entry.

 

Kenji:

This one really is for someone who’s traveling and flying a lot, which, in the beginning of 2020, actually when the pandemic hit, I had the most flights I’ve ever had booked. So, I was on my way to utilizing this pretty heavily, but…Those are my two business cards.

 

Matthew:

That’s cool. Lisa, what do you got there?

 

Lisa:

So, my Acuity business card is the Delta Amex, but it’s not the pretty purple one with all the benefits. It’s whatever the lowest fee one is, but it does get you free baggage, because when we were traveling, free baggage mattered at 25 bucks a pop. So, that’s what I’m using for the Acuity card. On the other side, I have the Delta Amex as well, but I have the purple one for that for Kevin’s travel. Because yes, the companion pass, which is a very big deal, as well as the entry into the SkyClub, and not just one baggage free, but multiple baggage is free. So, it works out for family travel and points gathering for us.

 

Matthew:

That’s fun.

 

Lisa:

And then I have, you know, just a regular Visa for all the places that don’t take American Express. Like Costco.

 

Matthew:

It’s funny you should mention that. Part of my decision was to go with a Visa because that way, I didn’t have to worry about the places that didn’t take Amex. So, I went with the Fidelity Investments Visa. This is the 529 plan for work. So, what you do is you link it up. It’s a free card, so no annual fee because I’m cheap, right? I’m the cheapest of everybody here, probably…Plus, it does the cash back straight to whichever Fidelity account you fund, and so, it just deposits on a basis. It could be a 529 plan, or it doesn’t have to be. It could be any Fidelity plan.

 

Kenji:

So, Lisa and I care about traveling and seeing the world. Matthew cares about his children’s education.

 

Lisa:

Right. That’s what I got out of that.

 

Kenji:

Actually. Do you have 529 plans for your kids?

 

Matthew:

No.

 

Kenji:

See, exactly.

 

Lisa:

A little disconnect on that benefit there.

 

Matthew:

No, it just goes to a Fidelity Investment account. You can link it to any Fidelity account, like a money market. So my kids should have – I mean, theoretically, I could have paid for college for my kids with this, with the points or the dollars that came back, but I didn’t. So, instead we’re getting living room furniture.

 

Kenji:

I would also say, I wonder how many people who are Atlanta entrepreneurs, like near a Delta hub. I don’t know. If you live somewhere else kind of remote, would you really use…I guess if you traveled a lot?

 

Matthew:

Well, I think the key on the airline cards is, if you’re in the hub city – like if you’re in a United hub, you do United. If you’re in DFW, you do American Airlines. If you’re in Atlanta, you do Delta. I think that’s the trigger. So, if you live in one of those hub cities, I think those cards are legit, you know, from that perspective.

 

Kenji:

And if you travel quite a bit.

 

Matthew:

Well, you have to travel quite a bit, too. Laura has the Delta…I don’t know which color card. I thought it was silver.

 

Kenji:

It’s cool, though, because it’s made out of metal now.

 

Lisa:

The new American express cards are, yes.

 

Matthew:

Wait, did she give me one? I thought I might have one. Nope. Well, that’s what’s in our wallet.

 

Kenji:

Just one more question for you guys. I mean…I find that personally, though…except when I’ve had to use a credit card, I just always use a debit card. My debit card gets points back, too.

 

Matthew:

So which debit card do you use?

 

Kenji:

They’re both USAA. One’s credit card, one’s debit. They’re both Visa, but I only use the credit card if some places –like it used to be car rentals wouldn’t let you use debit cards. Otherwise I just use debit.

 

Matthew:

Nope. You’re very European then. I get the float. I’m all about the float.

 

Lisa:

Yeah, the Gilreath strategy is everything goes on the purple Delta Amex, and then we try not to be disappointed when we see the bill come through, but yeah. That’s just how it has to work with the way Kevin gets paid.

 

Matthew:

That makes sense.

 

Mary Margaret:

So, my only question I think is for Kenji, because he is the one that wrote those now kind of dated blog posts about best credit cards for entrepreneurs. In both of those, you said, if someone is just kind of a general startup company that they should look for a credit card that doesn’t have any annual fees and gives you cash back directly, because it’s pretty much just straight up. You’re not paying anything for it, and you can use that cash anywhere. Do you still agree with that?

 

Kenji:

I still agree with that in most cases. That is the most frugal, economic way. No fees and getting you cash back.

 

Matthew:

Fidelity. Fidelity.

 

Kenji:

Like we said, you know, the other ones are for if you really get a travel bug, kind of thing like Lisa and I have.

 

Lisa:

For the cost of the annual fee, it’s basically a plane ticket. So, if you can earn it back in points, or frankly you get stranded in the airport once and need to drink your weight in the SkyClub, it covers itself. Right?

 

Matthew:

If you’re going to use the SkyClub that’s true. And that companion pass also – if you’re gonna use the companion pass.

 

Lisa:

Yeah. If we travel, we never eat in an airport restaurant. We go to the SkyClub, because by the time you order a drink in the airport, you’ve paid for any additional entry fee.

 

Kenji:

Even worse, Lisa, when I’m there traveling with the family, I go sneak in. I don’t bring them in the SkyClub with me because that costs money to bring additional people. I will go sneak in with my backpack and load it up with the free stuff inside the SkyClub and bring it out. That’s how cheap I am. Like, no, no, we’re not going to buy that stuff. It’s overpriced. I’m going to bring a bunch of bagels and bananas inside my backpack outside. But yeah, I do that.

 

Matthew:

The only time I do a SkyClub is if one of you guys lets me in with you.

 

Kenji:

You know, Mary Margaret, I would say that I think that’s still the practical wisdom, except if you’re traveling a lot, to your point, you can make up the cost. Also, I’ve heard people use justification around…time. If you value your time and you spend lots of time and traveling, if you can make that time productive, via eliminating hassles while traveling, having access to a SkyClub and getting work done, things like that. I think that still holds true. In fact, I was with a bunch of entrepreneurs last week on a trip. We were split because a lot of us are in Atlanta, so a lot of Delta folks, but a bunch of the others were all still the Capital One Spark Card, which I think was still a recommendation, but those guys are raving that it is a no fee, very high cashback. None of us used it, but a bunch of entrepreneurs I know still rock out that Capital One Spark Card.

 

Lisa:

And if you’re looking for rewards programs, you’ve got to look at Divvy and Brex now. They both have offerings for corporate credit cards. They have points back.

 

Kenji:

Technically, they’re a tech stack partner.

 

Lisa:

Yeah. Divvy and Brex both are, but some of them do really aggressive points on Amazon web services.

 

Matthew:

That’s a good one. They also spin up the virtual card numbers for you, right?

 

Kenji:

Yes.

 

Matthew:

So, you’re not giving your card number out to every employee. You can see who charged your card.

 

Kenji:

And one more – here’s a bonus one to share on the blog. All those young, budding child entrepreneurs should probably be using the Greenlight card. Right, Matthew?

 

Matthew:

Yes, the Greenlight card. Use that for your kids. That’s a bonus.

 

Kenji:

Greenlight card for your kids.

 

Matthew:

Yeah. We like to pimp out our old clients, so the Greenlight card for kids. So everybody should look into that.

 

Kenji:

Well, one thing I also realized in my wallet. I’ve got cash in here, and I cannot for the life of me remember the last time I actually used it. I’m looking at it and I’m like, I wonder how long I’ve had this in here. It’s almost like it sits there as a little bit of a buffer in my wallet to get my cards.

 

Matthew:

I have mine, too – my clip. I haven’t had to go to the ATM since COVID.

 

Lisa:

Nobody takes cash.

 

Matthew:

Where would I have been? I have not been to the ATM in a year.

 

Kenji:

Where would we have been?

 

Mary Margaret:

Also for a while, with the coin shortage, they weren’t taking cash anyway.

 

Matthew:

I needed cash for poker games because we settled in cash usually. Now because we’re online, we do Venmo and PayPal. It ruined it for everybody. It just makes it automatic.

 

Kenji:

Have you guys ever looked at what the value of credit card rewards programs are? This became a little bit public when, last year, the airlines were getting bailed out by the government. Like, talk about your question earlier, like go do these rewards things matter? I was just looking. Delta is expected to earn $7 billion a year from Amex directly, just for that card. $7 billion.

 

Matthew:

So, they’re doing OK.

 

Kenji:

American Airlines – their overall market cap was something like $24 billion, and an analysis has been done saying that $21 billion was the loyalty program.

 

Matthew:

That’s crazy. The one thing I will say though – not one thing – another thing I’ll say is that the worst we’ve ever had on the cleanup projects was a client that used credit cards for only specific things. So, he had like 10 credit cards. For groceries, he maximized the grocery ones, for airlines, the airlines, for gas, the gas – for all things. But he mixed business and personal on all of them. So, unwinding that for five years when he came to us…Now that guy’s fine. He’s done pretty well. That business took off and did fine and had enough air cover for him. But don’t be too cute with it – with the credit card. Pick one and go. That’s the one. If it starts creating more hassle on the back end in your life than it’s supposed to, you did it wrong.

 

Lisa:

Dedicated card for business.