When I worked at an office job, the business credit cards that we used were pretty basic. The cards offered interest free payments for almost two months, a high spending limit and reporting tools. I suppose this made sense because I worked for a big corporation, but the business cards they used didn’t seem like a good fit.

You see, we always paid our bills in full and on time. Employees had to do expenses when we used the business cards so the reporting tools didn’t matter. At the same time, travelling was always an issue as the company didn’t want to spend money. However, had we just used travel business credit cards in Canada, we would have earned enough points to cover fights and hotels whenever we needed it.

What’s I’m getting at is that choosing the right business credit card is a lot like choosing the best travel credit cards in Canada or the best cash back credit card in Canada, you need to choose the one that makes sense for you. To help you figure out what’s the right fit, I’ve rounded up the best business credit cards in Canada.

The best business credit cards in Canada

Credit cardBest forAnnual fee
American Express Business PlatinumSign up bonus$499
Marriott Bonvoy Business American ExpressTravel$150
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite BusinessNo foreign transaction fees$199
American Express Business EdgeFreelancers$99
BMO CashBack Business MastercardNo annaul fee$0

American Express Business Platinum 

  • $499 Annual fee
  • 45,000 Membership Rewards points welcome bonus when using a referral link
  • Earn 1.25 points for every $1 spent
  • 55 interest free days
  • Unlimited airport lounge access
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package
  • Buyer’s assurance
  • Purchase protection

The American Express Business Platinum Card has an incredible sign up bonus when you use a referral link. You do need to charge $7,000 to your card in the first three months of opening an account to get it, but it’s well worth it since you’ll be earning American Express Membership Rewards points.

Those points are valuable since you can transfer them to Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy. You can also use them on flights booked through the American Express Fixed Points Travel Program or on any travel booked on your own.

Honestly, not only is this card one of the best business credit cards in Canada, but it’s also one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. Many people often debate between the American Express Platinum card vs. the Business Platinum Card, but I can tell you that if you do most of your spending on things that aren’t travel or dining related, then the American Express Business Platinum Card is the way to go. 

As for your business benefits, you get 55 interest-free days which should help you manage your cash flow better if you’re often making purchases. The expense management reports will show you where you’re spending your money and help you prepare your taxes quickly. Even if you use your Amex Business Platinum Card for personal reasons a few times, you can easily separate those expenses. There’s also employee card misuse protection up to $100,000 which I hope you never have to use.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

  • $150 annual fee
  • 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points welcome bonus or 51,000 with a referral link
  • Earn 5 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 on eligible card purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties
  • Earn 3 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 on gas, dining and travel purchases
  • Earn 2 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 on all other purchases
  • Free annual night award that can be redeemed at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties worldwide, with a redemption value up to 35,000 points
  • 15 Elite Night credits each calendar year
  • Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status when you spend $30,000 on your card each year
  • Complimentary in-room, premium internet access while staying at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Some travel insurance

For people who frequently travel for business, you’ll want to take a hard look at the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card. Marriott has 29 brands, and 6700+ properties in more than 115 countries. What that means is that you’ll likely find a Marriott property no matter where you end up. This is important because if you always stay at Marriott hotels, you can quickly increase your tier status with Marriott Bonvoy.

Marriott Bonvoy is one of the best travel rewards programs out there. With this card, you instantly get silver status and 15 elite night credits each calendar year. That means you only need 10 nights to reach Gold, 35 to reach Platinum and 60 for Titanium. Those tiers earn you an additional 10%, 25%, 50%, and 75% in points respectively on stays.

Since you also earn 5 Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 on card purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties, you can earn a lot of points fast. Don’t forget, increased status also means better benefits such as late check out, free breakfast, lounge access, suite upgrades and more. If that wasn’t enough of an incentive, you can earn 51,000 Marriott Bonvoy points as a sign up bonus when using a referral link. Plus, you get a free annual night certificate for a room worth up to 35,000 points.

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Business Card  

  • $199 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 35,000 Scotia Rewards points ($350 value) when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • Additional welcome bonus of 15,000 points ($150 value) if you spend a minimum of $60K in the first year
  • Priority Pass Standard Membership + 6 free visits per year
  • Earn 1.5 Scotia Rewards point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Comprehensive travel insurance package included
  • Avis Preferred Plus membership
  • Business reporting tools
  • Payment control tools
  • Purchase Security & Extended Warranty

One of the best business credit cards in Canada is the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Business Card since it’s a credit card without foreign transaction fees. In case you didn’t know, most credit cards charge a fee of 2.5% when you make a purchase in any currency besides Canadian dollars. If you’re a business who works with a lot of merchants outside of Canada, this fee can add up to a huge amount which is why the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Business Card should be the card you apply for.

As an added bonus, this card is a great all-in-one travel card since it also gives you a great travel insurance package, a Priority Pass Standard Membership with six free annual passes and a sign up bonus of up to 50,000 Scotia Rewards points.

Scotia Rewards ranks number three in my ranking of Canada’s bank travel rewards programs since you have a bit of flexibility with your points. You can essentially use your points via the Scotiabank travel portal or you can simply charge any travel purchase to your Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Business Card and then redeem your points after.

American Express Business Edge Card 

  • $99 annual fee
  • 3 MR-S points per $1 spent on office supplies & electronics, rides & gas, and eats & drinks (this caps on your first 75K  points)
  • 1 MR-S point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 40,000 MR-S points welcome bonus when you charge $5,000 to your card in the first three months of cardmembership when using a referral link
  • 1,000 MR-S points when you charge $3,000 to your card each month (this is ongoing)
  • Car rental theft & damage insurance
  • Purchase protection, buyer’s assurance
  • Business and expense management tools
  • Free supplementary card

I like to think of the American Express Business Edge Card as the best business credit card in Canada for freelancers or entrepreneurs. The reason I say this is that you earn 3 MR-S points $1 spent on office supplies & electronics, rides & gas, and eats & drinks while all other purchases earn you 1 MR-s point per $1 spent. As a freelancer, most of my expenses are from entertaining at restaurants and I often use rideshares to get around so I can maximize the points I earn with this card.

You’re probably wondering what’s the difference between MR-S points and American Express Membership Rewards. Well, they’re basically exactly the same as far as redemptions are concerned with one major difference. You can’t directly transfer your MR-S points to airline partners whereas you have that option with American Express Membership Rewards points. That said, you do get access to the American Express Fixed Points Travel Program, so it’s not like you can’t use your points for flights at all.

What’s also interesting about this card is how many points you can earn. The sign up bonus when using a referral link is 40,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. You can then earn an additional 1,000 points, every month you spend $3,000. That’s a total of up to 52,000 bonus MR-S points you can earn in the first year. I should mention that extra 1,000 MR-S points per month are valid even after your first year is done.

BMO CashBack Business Mastercard 

  • $150 annual fee
  • 6% cash back on gas, office supplies and cell phone/internet bills for 4 months (when you apply by March 31, 2020)
  • 1.5% cash back on gas, office supplies and on your cell phone/internet recurring payments
  • 1.75% cash back at Shell gas stations
  • 0.75% cash back on all other card purchases
  • Protection against employee card abuse
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty

Rounding out my list of the best business credit cards in Canada is the BMO CashBack Business Mastercard which has no annual fee. Since this is a credit card with no annual fee, the benefits you get are pretty basic. 1.5% cash back on gas, office supplies and on your cell phone/internet recurring payments; and 0.75% cash back on all other card purchases wouldn’t even put this card in the list of the best cash back credit cards in Canada.

That said, since this is a business credit card, you do get protection from employee card abuse and potentially a higher credit limit which would help you run your business. Of course, many of the other credit cards on this list also offer that, so this card is only really good if you want to minimize your fees and prefer cash back over travel rewards.

What is a business credit card?

A business credit card is pretty much the same as a personal credit card, but it may include some additional benefits such as:

  • Extended payment options
  • Increased spending limit
  • Protection from employee abuse
  • Business and expense management tools

It doesn’t matter if you run a small business, have hundreds of employees or if you’re a freelancer, having access to one of the best business credit cards in Canada can help you improve your day-to-day operations. Having a business credit card ensures that you’ll have the funds to operate and grow your business. It’s impossible to pay cash for everything so a business credit card will help you finance things while you run your business.

Who can get a business credit card?

Generally speaking, business owners which include sole proprietors who run their business under their own name would qualify for business credit cards. Depending on the financial institution, you may need to provide supporting documents including income to show that your business actually exists. Interestingly enough, some credit card providers also allow you to sign up for business credit cards for personal use but that’s not exactly advertised.

Advantages of business credit cards in Canada

Besides helping with your cash flow, the best business credit cards in Canada allow you to manage your business expenses more easily. If you own a business or if you’re a freelancer, just charge any related business expenses to your business credit card. By doing this, you don’t need to worry about separating expenses compared to had you used a personal credit card. In addition, business credit cards typically include fraud protection from employee abuse which happens more often than you would think.

How to pick a business credit card

Having a list of the best business credit cards is great, but many people find it difficult to narrow down their choices to just one card. Consider the following before you apply.

  • Type of benefits – The type of benefits you want is usually the most important choice. Are you interested in travel or cash back rewards? Don’t forget to consider a low interest credit card if you have any debt.
  • Annual fee – Will the benefits you get from your credit card be worth more than the annual fee? If not, look at no fee credit cards. Keep in mind that you may get your annual fee waived if you have a premium banking plan with RBC.
  • Welcome bonus – The welcome bonus is usually worth more than the annual fee so always take a look at what credit card deals are available when applying.
  • Additional benefits – For some people, the additional benefits such as no foreign transaction fees, lounge access and travel insurance are important, so check to see what each card offers and compare it to others.

With the above factors in mind, it should be a little easier to pick a credit card that makes sense to you.

Final thoughts

Getting one of the best business credit cards in Canada is a smart thing to do if you want to grow your business. If you’re a high volume spender, choose a credit card that gives you flexible rewards points so you can use them later for anything you want.

The Best Business Credit Cards in Canada

6 Comments

  1. SD on November 25, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    If I cancel a credit card before using up all the points I’ve earned, do I lose them? Or does that depend on what kind of points?

    • Barry Choi on November 25, 2019 at 4:17 pm

      SD,

      If the points are tied to the credit card e.g. RBC or Scotia Rewards, then you would lose them if you cancel your card. If it’s a co-branded card e.g. Aeroplan or WestJet, then once the points / dollars are in your account, they’re yours.

  2. SD on November 30, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    So that means american express MR points would be lost if I cancelled the card? But what if I applied for another amex card and then cancelled the first one, would I then be able to keep the points? Thanks

    • Barry Choi on December 1, 2019 at 12:24 pm

      SD,

      Not necessarily. You could transfer your points to Marriott Bonvoy before you cancel your card and then cancel your card. APplying for another AMex also works but it must be the Amex Cobalt as it’s the only other Amex card that earns you MR-S points. Note that you need to ask customer service to transfer your points, it’s not automatic.

      • SD on December 2, 2019 at 1:48 am

        I see. I guess this isn’t a credit card (along with the cobalt) you’d wanna churn unless you are going to use up all the points before cancelling it then. Thanks for the explanation!

        • Barry Choi on December 2, 2019 at 9:09 am

          SD,

          If you keep transferring the points to Marriott, then it’s fine. However, many people just keep the Cobalt card since it’s got a high earn rate.

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