4 Best Business Credit Cards In Canada (Nov 2021)

October 27, 2021
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Choosing the best business credit cards in Canada is not an easy task: there are dozens of cards to choose from, each with their own unique set of features and benefits. Fortunately, I’ve spent the past 7 years observing the business credit card market in Canada, and have been able to narrow down the top cards to a select few depending on your unique situation, all of which come from American Express.

At just $99/ear, the Business Edge Card is my pick for the best all-around card, while the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card has excellent earn rates that reward you handsomely for every dollar you spend. The Business Platinum Card is an exceptional travel card, while the welcome bonus on the Gold Rewards Card is worth more than $2,000 alone. 

If you’re looking for a great Canadian business credit card, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for a more personalized recommendation below.

Who’s Eligible For A Business Credit Card?

Many people believe that you need to be running a corporation in order to get a business credit card. In reality, you just need to be earning income outside of your normal job.

The great thing is that nearly everyone earns some sort of income outside of their normal job, even if it’s just $20 here and there. 

Here are some non-traditional income sources that make you eligible for a business credit card:

  • Freelance writing, editing, proofreading, fact-checking, etc.
  • Developing software, building websites, etc.
  • Managing social media profiles, including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc. 
  • Managing social media ads, including Instagram, Facebook, Google, etc.
  • Buying and selling on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, etc.
  • Working as a freelance virtual assistant, translator, consultant, etc. 
  • Consulting independently or as part of a team
  • Driving for Uber, Lyft, etc.
  • Delivering food for UberEats, SkipTheDishes, DoorDash, etc.
  • Walking dogs in your neighborhood
  • Tutoring in person or online
  • Buying and selling art, wine, antiques, etc.
  • Selling homemade items at flea markets or online 
  • Singing, dancing, or providing entertainment in person or online
  • Collaborating with brands on sponsored social media content, including sponsored Instagram posts, YouTube videos, TikTok posts, etc. 

If you fit any of these categories (or hundreds more like them), you’re eligible for a business credit card. And even if you don’t fall into these categories yet, if you intend to earn income outside of your day job in the future, you can still apply for a business card.

Now let’s dig into the best business credit cards Canada has to offer.

Myth: You need to have a registered company in order to get a business credit card.

Reality: You don’t. When signing up for a business credit card, it’s completely legal and fine to put your personal name “eg. Jane Smith” when asked for your company name.

Bottom Line: If you earn any sort of income outside of your salaried job, you’re eligible to get a business credit card.

What Is The Best Business Credit Card In Canada?

1. American Express Business Edge Card

Best Overall Business Card

American Express Business Edge Card Canada

The American Express Business Edge Card is a great all-around card for small business owners looking for an impressive bang for their buck. The current welcome bonus (up to 57,000 MR points) is worth at least $1,000 on its own, and the 3x earn rate means you get back 6-9% on most of your business spending.    

We chose the Business Edge Card as our #1 card because it offers so much at such a low price. For $99/year, it’s truly a steal.

Features

  • Welcome bonus of up to 57,000 Membership Rewards points
  • Earn an additional 1,000 Membership Rewards points for every month you spend $3,000 on the Card
  • Earn 3x points on eligible office supplies & electronics, rides & gas, eats & drinks
  • Employee Card Misuse Protection up to $100,000
  • Purchase Protection Plan & Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan
  • Award-winning travel insurance coverage 
  • Annual fee is tax-deductible

The annual fee for the American Express Business Edge Card is $99, which is a tax-deductible expense.

2. American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card

Best Business Rewards Card 

American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card Canada

Like the Business Platinum Card, the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card is designed for frequent travelers. It offers an incredible 5x the points on gas, dining and travel spending for the first 3 months, and 3x the points thereafter. We value those points at 2-3% each, which means you’ll earn 6-9% back over the long run with this card.

It also comes with a free hotel night every year—which is worth more than the price of the card on its own—not to mention a welcome bonus of up to 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, which are worth $1,400 – $2,100. If you travel frequently but can’t justify the Business Platinum Card’s $499 annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card is the ideal choice for you. 

Features

  • Welcome bonus of up to 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
  • Earn 5x points on all eligible gas, dining & travel purchases
  • Annual free hotel night award
  • Employee Card Misuse Protection up to $100,000
  • Purchase Protection Plan & Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan
  • Award-winning travel insurance coverage 
  • Annual fee is tax-deductible

The annual fee for the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card is $150, which is a tax-deductible expense.

3. American Express Business Platinum Card

Best Business Travel Card

American Express Business Platinum Card Canada

The American Express Business Platinum Card is an excellent premium card for business owners who want more from their card. It comes with complimentary access to 1,000+ airport lounges around the world (including American Express’ ultra-luxury Centurion Lounges), complimentary flight and hotel upgrades, and Amex Concierge 24 hours a day. 

I’ve personally held the Business Platinum Card for years, and can’t recommend it highly enough. 

Features

  • Welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points
  • Earn 1.25x points on every purchase
  • Complimentary access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Complimentary flight & hotel upgrades
  • Amex Concierge
  • Employee Card Misuse Protection up to $100,000
  • Purchase Protection Plan & Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan
  • Award-winning travel insurance coverage 
  • Annual fee is tax-deductible

The annual fee for the American Express Business Platinum Card is $499, which is a tax-deductible expense.

4. American Express Business Gold Rewards Card

Best Business Card Welcome Bonus

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card Canada

The American Express Business Gold Rewards Card comes with the best welcome bonus of any business credit card in Canada: up to 110,000 MR points, which we value at $2,200 – $3,300. Cardholders also get American Express’ suite of business, purchase and travel insurance coverage, plus a $100 USD hotel credit annually.

The Business Gold Rewards Card does have its drawbacks, though. At the $199/year pricepoint, it doesn’t offer the impressive earn rates of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card—or even the Business Edge Card, which costs half as much. If you’re interested in a big upfront bonus, this is a great card for you, though if you want to continue earning points year after year, you’re better off with one of the previous three cards.

Features

  • Welcome bonus of up to 110,000 Membership Rewards points
  • $100 USD annual hotel credit
  • Complimentary hotel and rental car upgrades
  • Employee Card Misuse Protection up to $100,000
  • Purchase Protection Plan & Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan
  • Award-winning travel insurance coverage 
  • Annual fee is tax-deductible

The annual fee for the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card is $199, which is a tax-deductible expense.

Why Everyone Should Have A Business Credit Card 

You might be wondering why you should bother getting a business credit card at all, and you’re not alone. There are a few main differences between business and personal credit cards that make business credit cards particularly attractive. 

Even if you don’t run a business, you should get yourself a business credit card. Here are nine reasons why:

#1 Better welcome bonuses

Welcome bonuses on small business credit cards are often higher than those on personal cards, even if the cards carry the same annual fee. That makes sense: businesses spend more than individuals do, so credit card companies are willing to offer more to acquire them, which means you can score some excellent welcome bonus deals.

The other great thing about business cards is that you can double-dip on welcome bonuses, getting the bonus on both the personal card and the business card. For example, if you applied for both the American Express Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card, you’d earn up to 200,000 MR points in welcome bonuses alone, which is worth $4,000 – $6,000. 

#2 Better earn rates

As you can see from the cards above, you can earn some pretty exceptional rates with small business credit cards. For example, with the Business Edge Card you earn the 3x points on office supplies & electronics, transit, gas, food, and drinks. With the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card you earn 5x the points on gas, dining and travel spending for the first 3 months, and 3x the points thereafter.

These rates are far better than you’ll find with personal cards, and they cover a much wider variety of expense categories, too. For example, the personal Platinum Card offers 3x the points on dining, but only 2x the points on travel, and 1x on everything else. If you want to earn serious points on your business expenses, you need a small business credit card. 

#3 Boost your personal credit score

The biggest factor impacting your personal credit score is your utilization ratio, or the amount of credit you’re currently using divided by the amount of credit available to you. For example, if you have a total credit limit across all your personal cards of $10,000 and you currently hold a collective balance across those cards of $7,000, your utilization ratio is 70%. If you hold a balance of just $2,000, your utilization ratio is a much healthier 20%.

Keeping your utilization ratio below the 30-40% level is important, because if you go above that, your credit score starts to take a hit. This is why business credit cards are so powerful: if you’re able to shift some of your business spending from your personal cards to your business cards, your utilization ratio will drop, improving your personal credit score.

#4 Boost (or establish) your business credit score

Your business credit score is unrelated to your personal credit score, so it’s a good idea to build them both up to give yourself the best shot at success. Here’s why: even if you have a perfect personal credit score, if you don’t have a strong business credit score, you’ll still get denied for loans and other forms of financing. 

A small business credit card can provide the financing you need for many purchases, it won’t be enough for all of them. If you want to buy a property, for example, you’ll need to go to a traditional bank or mortgage provider for that, and that’s when having a strong business credit score could save you thousands of dollars or more.

#5 Greater access to financing

As a business owner, accessing traditional lines of credit and bank loans can be difficult. Banks often request an enormous amount of documentation, and preparing those documents detracts from time you’re able to spend building your business.

With a business credit card, though, you get access a large amount of credit right off the bat. If you need to buy a new vehicle or piece of equipment, or run a large marketing campaign, the credit limit you get on a small business credit card will often be more than enough.

#6 Higher credit limits

If you run a capital-intensive business—whether it’s a logistics company or an e-commerce store running Facebook ads—you know how tricky it can be to stay within the low credit limits offered on personal credit cards. While personal cards often have limits in the range of $5,000 – $10,000, business credit cards frequently have limits 5-10x that amount, freeing you up to run your business on your terms. 

#7 Shielded from employee misuse

If your business has employees, there’s one big reason you shouldn’t give your employees access to your personal credit cards, even if you personally use them for business expenses: you aren’t protected if something goes wrong. This may sound like an unlikely scenario, but if your employee buys a car with your personal credit card and then disappears, you’ll be left footing the bill.

Of course, this isn’t the case with business cards. All of the American Express business credit cards mentioned above come with $100,000 of employee misuse protection, which covers you if your employees use their card for unauthorized expenses. This means you can freely give out business credit cards to your employees without fear of them taking advantage: if they buy something that they shouldn’t have, you won’t have to worry about a thing.

#8 Improved accounting 

Separating your personal and business expenses is Accounting 101: not only will you be able to quickly see exactly how your business is doing, but you’ll also be able to make smarter purchasing and planning decisions in a shorter amount of time.

Having your personal and business expenses separated also makes filing your taxes easier, which can save you hours of time (or hundreds of dollars in accountant fees) at the end of the year.

#9 Greater purchase protection

While both personal credit cards and business credit cards offer purchase protection and extended warranties on your purchases, business cards tend to be more generous in what they cover. This is important, because if an expensive piece of equipment breaks, you’ll want to know that your business isn’t on the hook for it.

Canada's Best Credit Cards

Exceptional Value

Earn up to 40,000 Aeroplan Miles (valued at $800 - $1,200) with the American Express Aeroplan Card, our #1-rated card in Canada in 2021.

Bonus: Includes Buddy Pass

The Finer Things In Life

Earn up to 80,000 Membership Rewards points (valued at $1,600 - $2,400) with the American Express Platinum Card, plus a $200 annual travel credit.

Bonus: Airport Lounge Access

Low Fee, High Value

Earn up to 50,000 MR points (valued at $1,000 - $1,500) with the American Express Cobalt Card, a low-fee card that offers 5x the points on all food and drinks.

Bonus: $100 USD hotel credit