Editor’s Note: This is a recurring post with regularly updated card details.
Self-employed workers should consider using credit cards to make business easier by maximizing rewards and keeping expenses manageable. If you’re self-employed, the best options can help you stay on budget through no-interest financing, rewards on common business purchases like office supplies, and sign-up bonuses worth up to $500.
The best credit cards for self-employed workers are:
- U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ MasterCard®: (Best overall) Best for 0% annual percentage rate (APR) and no-cap 3% rewards
- American Express Blue BusinessTM Cash Card: Best for cash back rewards on fluctuating expenses
- American Express Blue Business® Plus: Best for points-based rewards on varying expenses
- Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard®: Best for annual-fee free travel rewards
- Chase Ink Business Cash®: Best for cash back on office supply expenses
- Discover it® Cash Back: Best for double cash rewards for the first year on a personal credit card
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard®: Overall Best Credit Card for Self-employed Workers
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard®
0% APR for 12 Billing Cycles
- Limited Time Offer: Earn $500 cash back after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of opening your account
- Earn up to 3% cash back on eligible gas station, office supply store, and cellphone/service provider net purchases
- 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases
- No limit on total cash back earned
- Rewards never expire
- 25% annual bonus based on your prior year's cash rewards, up to $250
- 0% Intro APR* on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles; after that, a variable APR that's currently 13.99% to 22.99%
- No annual fee*
- Great offer from U.S. Bank, a 2021 World's Most Ethical Company® ― Ethisphere Institute, February 2021
- A 0% APR period on purchases on balance transfers
- 25% annual cash rewards bonus
- Small introductory bonus offer
- Balance transfer fee
- MasterRental car rental collision damage waiver: When you rent a car using your U.S. Bank credit card, you’re covered in case of accident or theft on all rentals made worldwide. Coverage is primary, which means you won’t need to use your personal auto insurance or accept the insurance offered by the rental agency. Coverage is capped at $50,000.
- Purchase assurance: U.S. Bank may repair or reimburse for items purchased with your U.S. Bank business credit card that are damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase. Coverage is limited to $1,000 per loss, up to $25,000 per year per account. Lost items and items left out of reach that others can see are not covered.
- Extended warranty protection: U.S. Bank will double the manufacturer’s warranty up to an additional 1 year from the expiration of warranties of 5 years or less. An item with a 6-month warranty would be backed for an additional 6 months, for example. The issuer will replace the item or reimburse you up to the amount charged on your U.S. Bank card up to $10,000.
Why we like it: Self-employed workers usually need to finance business expenses at the lowest cost possible. The U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard® is the best choice because it offers the longest no-interest period on our list. Business owners and self-employed contractors alike can use this card to fund emergency expenses or pay off other high-interest business debt.
Typically, cards that have excellent rewards limit your earning potential. If you’re self-employed and spend more than $25,000 a year, the U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard® is a great option. This card earns its highest rate of 3% cash back on office supplies and phone service purchases, but without the cap on rewards—making it one of the best small business credit cards available.
This card also offers a great introductory cash bonus along with an additional 25% on your previous year’s spending—up to $250. This unique feature also makes it one of the best business credit cards for startups.
American Express Blue Business CashTM Card: Best for Cash Back Rewards on Fluctuating Expenses
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Earning 2% cash back every time you swipe and 0% introductory APR for 12 months
- Earn a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months.
- Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
- From workflow to inventory to floor plans, your business is constantly changing. That’s why you’ve got the power to spend beyond your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power.
- Just remember, the amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to American Express and other factors.
- 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24% - 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
- No Annual Fee
- Terms Apply
- No interest for 12 months
- Earn consistent 2% cash back rewards on every purchase
- Offers no cash sign-up bonus
- 2% cash back category is capped at $50,000 in annual spending
- Extended warranty protection: American Express provides up to an additional year of coverage on warranties of up to 5 years. Coverage is limited to $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per account each year.
- Purchase protection: The issuer will repair, replace, or reimburse you for an item purchased with the card that was damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase. Coverage is limited to $1,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per account each year.
- Baggage insurance: If your luggage is damaged or lost when you travel on a common carrier, such as a plane, trip, ship, or bus, American Express will reimburse you for losses not covered by your own personal insurance.
Why we like it: The American Express Blue Business CashTM Card earns consistent rewards on all purchases, making it a solid selection for those who purchase in a range of categories. Cardholders get a lengthy 12-month 0% APR period and access to select American Express benefits without the annual fee. Self-employed workers often have a variety of purchases, so a fixed-rate card like this one is best for entrepreneurs on the go.
What makes this a good credit card for self-employed contractors isn’t just the steady rewards but also the ability to spend above your limit when you need more capital for larger purchases. You never know when you’ll be in a jam, so this feature could come in handy when you need to cover unexpected business expenses. However, this feature isn’t unlimited and is based on previous card usage, among other factors.
American Express Blue Business® Plus: Best for Points-based Rewards on Fluctuating Expenses
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Pocketing 2x points per $1 and 0% introductory APR for 12 months
- Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
- You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
- *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to American Express, and other factors.
- 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24% - 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening.
- No Annual Fee
- Terms Apply
- 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfer
- Earn 2x points on all spending
- No lucrative welcome offer
- 2x points rewards are capped at $50,000 in spending
- Extended warranty protection: American Express will match the length of the original manufacturer’s warranty if it’s less than 2 years. It provides an additional 2 years if the original manufacturer’s warranty is between 2 and 5 years. Coverage is limited to $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per account each year.
- Purchase protection: The issuer will repair, replace, or reimburse you for an item purchased with the card that was damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase. Coverage is limited to $1,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per account each year.
Why we like it: Those who are self-employed and don’t want to earn cash back can use a points-based rewards card like American Express Blue Business® Plus. This card offers a 12-month 0% APR period as well as fixed-rate rewards that can be redeemed directly for travel. Plus, cardholders who spend in a variety of places won’t have to keep track of categories to earn maximum rewards.
This card earns 2x points on all purchases up to $50,000 each year. Like its sibling, the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, you can spend above your limit for qualified purchases, but the additional capital is not unlimited. Plus, you’ll still earn points on the purchases you make above your limit. Those who have expenses that change from month-to-month can benefit from the flexibility that a fixed-rate rewards card like this offers.
Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard®: Best for Travel Rewards & No Annual Fee
Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card
Earning top rewards on travel purchases booked through Bank of America
9 billing cycles
- Earn 30,000 bonus points when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening which can be redeemed for a $300 statement credit towards travel purchases.
- Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases everywhere, every time-no matter how much you spend. Points don't expire.
- Earn 3 points per every dollar spent on travel purchases (car, hotel, airline) booked through the Bank of America® Travel Center.
- No annual fee and no international transaction fees.
- 0% Introductory APR on purchases for your first 9 billing cycles.
- Redeem points for travel with no blackout dates, cash back or gift cards.
- Get 75% more points on the base earn of every purchase you make when you’re a Preferred Rewards for Business Platinum Honors tier member. That means you will earn 2.62 points for every $1 you spend and 4.12 points per every $1 you spend at the Bank of America® Travel Center.
- 3x points on travel
- 0% APR on purchases
- No blackout dates on travel
- Low ongoing rewards on non-travel
- Low introductory bonus
- No 0% APR on balance transfers
Bank of American does not disclose details of its additional card features. To find out more about these additional features, review your guide to benefits when you receive your card in the mail.
Why we like it: The Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® is a good fit for those who travel regularly. This card rewards self-employed workers with 3x points on each dollar spent on travel. You’ll also have the opportunity to earn introductory bonus points that can easily be redeemed for a statement credit—an automatic credit to your bill.
Self-employed contractors can book hotel nights, airfare, and car rental purchases through Bank of America’s travel portal to earn this card’s highest rewards. Plus, business owners who already have a banking relationship with Bank of America can earn even higher rewards if they join the Preferred Rewards for Business program. That’s up to 5.25 points per $1 spent, depending on your balance.
Chase Ink Business Cash®: Best for Cash Back on Office Supply Expenses
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Office-based businesses that want top cash back rewards
- Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
- Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
- With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring.
- With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
- No Annual Fee
- Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
- Top rewards for office supply spending
- Introductory APR on purchases
- Cash sign-up bonus
- 0% APR doesn’t apply to balance transfers
- High balance transfer fee of 5%
- Designed mainly for office-oriented companies
- Auto rental collision damage waiver: Coverage is primary—meaning it replaces any coverage your personal insurance might offer—when renting for business purposes. It provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most cars in the United States and abroad.
- Purchase protection: Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account per year.
- Extended warranty protection: Extends the time period of the US manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of 3 years or less.
Why we like it: Chase Ink Business Cash® is a nice option for self-employed workers looking to earn excellent rewards on common business expenses. You’ll earn 5% cash back on purchases like office supplies and internet, phone, and cable service purchases, This rewards rate is better than what our top pick offers in those categories but is only good on spending of up to $25,000 per year. After that, you’ll earn 1% back in those categories.
Business owners who spend regularly on restaurants and car travel will also earn second-tier rewards. However, like top-tier rewards, you’ll only earn the card’s best rate on purchases up to $25,000 each year. The limit on the rewards makes this card a better fit for self-employed workers who spend no more than $2,000 on monthly business expenses.
If that’s not enough, this card comes with a 12-month 0% APR period and a hefty introductory bonus offer. Both of these offers can be extremely lucrative to owners who need to finance purchases and spend at least $1,000 per month.
Discover it® Cash Back: Best for Double Cash Rewards for the First Year
Discover it® Cash Back
Double cash back on the first year’s purchases
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more, up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
- Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases — automatically.
- We'll automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much we'll match.
- Excellent rewards rate on rotating bonus categories
- Double the highest rate for the first 12 months
- 0% APR period that’s longer than most cards
- Cardholders must enroll each quarter
- Bonus rewards are capped at $1,500 each quarter
- No purchase protection or extended warranty protection
- Account lock: Freeze your account in seconds to prevent new purchases with an on/off switch available on both the mobile app and website.
- Late fee waiver: You won’t pay a late fee the first time your payment is late. Late fees are up to $39 thereafter.
Why we like it: It’s common for self-employed workers and contractors to use personal credit cards for business expenses. That’s why Discover it® Cash Back is a top pick for self-employed workers looking for a personal credit card with great benefits. Earn this card’s highest rewards of 5% back at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.com through December 2020.
You’ll be able to double those cash back rewards during the first year, potentially earning 10% back. Unlike its business counterpart, Discover It® Cash Back for Business, this card’s 14-month 0% APR period is the second-longest on our list. When you’re not making business purchases, you can use the introductory balance transfer offer to pay off other credit card debt.
Although this is a great personal card for business expenses, you can’t use it to build business credit. Personal cards don’t report to business credit bureaus, even when you use them for business purposes. To build business credit, apply instead for a business credit card.
Qualification Requirements of Credit Cards for Self-employed Workers
If you’re self-employed or an independent contractor, you can qualify for a business credit card. Even if your business is selling items on Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, a credit score above 670 can be enough to qualify you for a great business credit card. If you don’t have a tax identification number (TIN) or employer identification number (EIN), you can apply using your Social Security number.
How We Evaluated the Best Credit Cards for Self-employed Workers
When evaluating cards for this list, we prioritized introductory 0% APR offers and easy-to-use rewards programs, which includes cards that pay fixed-rate rates. We also took into account annual fees, introductory rewards, and any additional benefits like insurance that increase the value of a card. The rewards or financing offers you want to receive likely point you in the direction of the perfect card.
Self-employed workers can use credit cards to help keep more money in their pockets. However, being frugal and keeping costs low doesn’t mean missing out on valuable card benefits. Choose a card from this list that fits your self-employed spending habits and helps you manage your day-to-day expenses.
For rates and fees on the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, please click here.
For rates and fees on the American Express Blue Business® Plus, please click here.