As I’ve done a few financial product reviews in the past, a couple of readers expressed interest in my opinion about the top small business credit cards in Canada. Even though I run a small business of my own, this is an area that I haven’t really researched, that is, until now.
You may be wondering why an entrepreneur would want a small business credit card as most of them are much more expensive with less features than personal credit cards. The most important reason is to keep expenses separate along with a generally higher credit limit. As well, charging business expenses to a personal credit card may be against the terms of service of the credit card issuer.
Having said that, the table below shows the credit card offerings from all the big banks in Canada with the addition of competitive cards from American Express. I only listed credit cards that offered rewards, but there are certainly other cards available for small business that focus on lower interest rates. The rewards include Aeroplan, Avion, Air Miles, TD Travel and Cash Back.
Here is a comparison table for the best small business credit cards in Canada:
|CIBC Aerogold VISA||$180, $50 for supplementary cards|
|American Express Business Gold||$180, $50 for supplementary cards (both are FREE for the first year)|
|AMEX Aeroplan Platinum||$399, $199 for supplementary cards|
|BMO Air Miles Mastercard||FREE for business owner, $5 for employee card.|
|BMO Gold Air Miles Mastercard||$119 for business owner, $15 for employees.|
|AMEX Air Miles Gold||FREE primary and supplementary cards|
|AMEX Air Miles Platinum||$99, FREE supplementary cards|
|BMO CashBack Mastercard||FREE for business owner, $5 for employee card.|
|BMO Premium CashBack Mastercard||$69 for business owner, $5 for employees. ($29 discount if you have a BMO Biz Account)|
|AMEX Cash Back||FREE primary and supplementary cards|
|ScotiaBank VISA (Silver)||$65||1% Cash Back on spending||–|
|ScotiaBank VISA (Gold)||$95||1% Cash Back on spending|
|TD Travel VISA||$149, $149 for additional cards|
|RBC VISA AVION||$120, $50 for supplementary cards|
|AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)||$150, $50 for supplementary cards|
Out of the selected cards, they are all fairly competitive, but some stand out from the rest. For the business owner in choosing a rewards card, to me, it depends on a few factors namely, the return on spending, the usefulness of the rewards program, and the accessibility of the credit card. For example, if the business owner is already an Aeroplan member and heavy collector, then it may make sense to stick with the program and funnel all business expenses to boost the points accumulation. It appears as well that American Express is extremely competitive in their offerings, but they aren’t accepted everywhere. However, the business owner may only purchase from suppliers that offer American Express which makes it a non issue. Onto my favorite picks.
Top Aeroplan Card
There are a few contenders in this rewards group for the business owners who collect Aeroplan points. Out of the three choices, I think that there are two real contenders as I think the AMEX Platinum is out to lunch with their $399 annual fee.
The CIBC Aerogold and the AMEX Business Gold card really go head to head as both have the same annual fees but slightly different rewards and perks. I like the AMEX for its greater insurance coverage, especially the extended warranty, and their sign up freebies which equate to a free year and a free flight. However, the CIBC card is a VISA, which has greater acceptance, and offers 1.5 pts per dollar of travel spending. It’s a toss up here!
Top Air Miles Card
I’m not a big Air Miles collector, but there are a couple cards in this group that offer good value, namely the free ones. As a passive Air Miles collector, I would choose the BMO free Air Miles card as it offers 1 Mile for $20 spending and 1.5 Miles for $1 spending at Shell along with extended warranty protection. The AMEX competitor offers a similar rewards package, but doesn’t have quite enough insurance for my liking.
If I was an active Air miles collector, I would likely choose the AMEX Platinum card and write off the $99 fee. Although the AMEX Platinum and BMO Gold have a similar rewards system (1 pt for $15 spending), the AMEX insurance package is slightly more comprehensive.
Top Cash Back Card
I must comment that the cash back options are weak for small business owners, compared to personal cash back credit cards anyways. Each of them have their pitfalls, for example, the free BMO card only offers 0.5% cash back and the AMEX free version is light on the insurance.
However, if I had to pick, it would likely be the BMO Premium card ($69) that offers 1% cash back, 3% at shell and includes roadside assistance and extended warranty. BMO clients can receive a $29 discount on the card.
Best of the Rest
The last three cards fall into the “other” pile as each cover unique rewards programs that no other cards offer. These cards include the TD Travel Visa, RBC AVION Visa, and the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) card. The three cards are approximately the same cost and fairly comprehensive rewards and insurance offerings.
Within this category however, I think the SPG program outweighs them all. As I’ve written about before, the SPG program can give you up to 8% return on spending if you choose your rewards carefully. Along with that, AMEX includes perhaps the most comprehensive insurance package of them all.
What do you think? Which cards do you think offer the best value for each rewards category?If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).