8 Best Credit Cards for Freelancers & Side Hustlers of 2023


Driving for a ridesharing app like Uber or Lyft or a food delivery app like DoorDash or Instacart. Working as a writer or graphic designer for hire. Teaching English online in your spare time. These are among the most popular side gigs and freelance opportunities for people looking to earn extra income.

These solopreneurs count as self-employed individuals — small-business owners, technically — and are typically eligible for many small-business credit cards. This is true even for those with no plans to turn their side business into a full-time enterprise.

What follows is a list of the best credit cards for freelancers and side hustlers hoping to earn rewards for business-related purchases and raise their business credit score in the process.


Best Credit Cards for Freelancers & Side Hustles

The best small-business credit cards for freelancers, sole proprietors, and side hustlers pair modest annual fees — if they have annual fees at all — with generous rewards programs whose bonus categories favor general spending or a broad range of everyday business expenses.

Many also have attractive sign-up bonuses — also known as welcome offers, welcome bonuses, or early spend bonuses, depending on the issuer. And all accept personal guarantees from applicants, which means you can apply using your personal credit score. This is very useful if you don’t have any business credit history (or you haven’t formally incorporated your freelance business at all).

Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

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Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and enjoy an unusually long 0% APR introductory promotion (for a business credit card).

Rewards Rate

Unlimited 1.5% on every business purchases

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases, then variable regular APR

Regular APR

17.99% to 23.99% (variable)

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Chase Ink Business Unlimited® is a popular small-business cash-back credit card with no annual fee. All purchases earn unlimited 1.5% cash back, with no spending categories or tiers to keep straight.

Ink Business Unlimited also has an amazing sign-up bonus for cardholders able to spend enough in eligible purchases during the first three months. The introductory 0% APR promotion on purchases is rare to find on a business credit card too, easily justifying its inclusion on our list of the best business credit cards.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Well-above-average sign-up bonus
  • Unusually long 0% intro APR promotion

Cons

  • No way to earn more than 1.5% cash back
  • Relatively few business benefits

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Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

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Earn up to 5% cash back on everyday business purchases. Plus, take advantage of an above-average 0% intro APR offer and sign-up bonus opportunity.

Rewards Rate

Up to 5% cash back

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases, then variable regular APR

Ongoing APR

17.99% to 23.99% (variable)

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The Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is another Chase-issued business card with no annual fee.

Its sign-up bonus is identical to Ink Business Unlimited’s, and it has the same great lineup of value-added perks and benefits. The rewards program is more generous for freelancers and side hustlers who frequent office supply stores, gas stations, and restaurants.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Up to 5% cash back on eligible purchases
  • Unusually long 0% intro APR promotion

Cons

  • Few value-added business benefits
  • Low baseline cash-back rate

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American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

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Earn 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in eligible purchases, then 1% cash back on all eligible business purchases. Plus, enjoy 0% intro APR for the first 12 months on purchases.

Rewards Rate

Up to 2% cash back

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases, then variable regular APR

Ongoing APR

18.24% to 26.24% (variable)

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The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card has an excellent rewards program that favors everyday business spending, no annual fee, and a 12-month 0% APR introductory promotion for purchases (terms apply).

For rewards-hungry side hustlers, the highlight of Blue Business Cash is its rewards program, which pays 2% cash back on the first $50,000 per year in combined eligible purchases. Purchases over this annual spending cap earn 1% cash back.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Above-average welcome offer
  • Long 0% intro APR on purchases

Cons

  • Few value-added business benefits
  • Earn rate capped at 2% back

For rates and fees of the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, please visit this rates and fees page.

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The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is another no-annual-fee business credit card that’s ideal for freelancers.

Like Blue Business Cash, its rewards program favors everyday business purchases and pays double (2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent) on eligible purchases up to the first $50,000 in combined annual spending, after which eligible purchases earn 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent. Terms apply.

Also like Blue Business Cash, it has a solid 0% APR introductory promotion.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Above-average earnings on the first $50,000 in eligible purchases each year
  • Above-average 0% intro APR on purchases

Cons

  • Low baseline rewards rate
  • Few value-added business benefits

For rates and fees of the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, please visit this rates and fees page.

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Capital One Spark Cash Plus

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Earn unlimited 2% cash back on most eligible purchases. Plus, get one of the category’s best welcome bonuses with qualifying early spending, and earn another bonus with qualifying annual spending.

Rewards Rate

Up to 5% cash back

Ongoing APR

Pay in full each month

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Capital One Spark Cash Plus is a premium business cash-back card that’s ideal for prosperous freelancers and side hustlers. It boasts a category-leading early spend bonus (worth up to $1,000 bonus cash) and a super-generous rewards program that earns a flat, unlimited 2% back on most eligible purchases.

The $150 annual fee is the biggest downside. A $200 bonus cash offer for big spenders — after spending at least $200,000 in a year — more than offsets it, though most freelancers probably won’t get there.

Pros

  • Unlimited 2% cash back on most purchases
  • Multiple bonus opportunities for heavier spenders
  • Cons

    • $150 annual fee
    • New cardmember bonus and ongoing spend bonus require heavy spending

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The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card is similar to Spark Cash for Business.

The main difference: It has a mileage-based rewards program that’s great for travelers who’d prefer to redeem for credit against eligible travel purchases rather than general statement credits. It’s a travel rewards credit card, in other words.

The rewards program is basically the same though. You earn unlimited 2x miles on most eligible purchases, with no spending caps or categories. The only exception: travel bookings made through Capital One Travel, which earn 5x miles.

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Capital One Spark Cash Select for Excellent Credit has a very attractive early spend bonus — one of the best around for a no-annual-fee business credit card.

There’s also the ongoing rewards program, which promises 1.5% cash back on most eligible purchases without caps or restrictions. That’s almost on par with the Spark Cash Plus card, just without the annual fee. And eligible travel purchases (including hotel and rental car bookings) still earn 5% cash back when made through Capital One Travel.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • No caps on earning potential
  • Above-average early spend bonus

Cons

  • Cash back capped at 1.5% for most purchases
  • Relatively few value-added benefits

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Spark Cash Select for Good Credit has the same great ongoing rewards program as Spark Cash Select for Excellent Credit.

The biggest difference: Instead of an early spend bonus for cardholders who clear $4,500 in eligible purchases in the first three months, it has a 0% introductory APR promotion that applies to purchases and stretches for 12 months from account opening. If you’re planning a big purchase (or several) in the near future, this could save you hundreds of dollars in interest charges.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Above-average 0% intro APR promotion
  • No caps on cash-back earnings

Cons

  • No spending-based bonus for new cardholders
  • Cash back tops out at 1.5% for most purchases
  • Relatively few value-added benefits

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Methodology: How We Choose the Best Credit Cards for Freelancers & Side Hustlers

If you’re a freelancer or sole proprietor in the market for a credit card to cover professional expenses, you need to consider many of the same factors owners of (slightly) larger enterprises do when shopping for small-business credit cards. These are the most important criteria that we use to separate the best freelancer-friendly credit cards from the rest.

Personal Guarantee Requirement

Many freelancers and side hustlers aren’t formally incorporated and have no desire to be. Because they have no “business” in the technical sense, they have no business credit. They can’t get approved for business credit cards that don’t accept personal guarantees. 

For this reason, a missing personal guarantee requirement is a deal-breaker. All the cards on this list accept personal guarantees or offer ways around them, like guarantees based entirely on business revenue rather than credit.

Credit & Income Qualification Requirements

Most credit card issuers require applicants to back up their personal guarantee (or business guarantee) by meeting certain credit and income standards. For premium business credit cards, these standards can be high — effectively out of reach of the typical freelancer or side hustler.

So we look for freelancer-friendly credit cards with more relaxed qualification standards. Most of the credit cards on this list set minimum FICO scores near 700, but they’re not as picky as top-shelf business cards and don’t ask applicants to prove they’re pulling in tens of thousands of dollars a month on top of that.

Rewards Program

Every card on this list has an above-average rewards program. When evaluating these programs, we look for cards that do one of two things:

  • Earn higher returns on common business purchases, such as office supplies and telecommunications
  • Earn an above-average flat rate of return (1.5% or above) on most or all eligible purchases

We rule out cards that only earn rewards on certain purchases or ask you to jump through too many hoops (like activating your cash back before each purchase).

Welcome Offers for New Cardholders

Most of the cards on this list have spending-based welcome offers (aka sign-up bonuses) that increase their rewards programs’ appeal. We intentionally exclude cards with uncomfortably high spending requirements — a $3,000-per-month pace or above. The remaining offers’ spending requirements are realistic for many if not most freelancers.

Other Business Benefits

Freelancers have less use for common business credit card benefits like Amazon Web Services credits and Salesforce integrations, but all else being equal, we prefer cards that offer the option. And some business credit card benefits are legitimately freelancer-friendly, like discounts on popular bookkeeping software. 

Interest Rate & Introductory APR Promotions

We don’t advise anyone to carry a credit card balance if they can avoid it, but business owners — including sole proprietors — sometimes have no other option. With that in mind, we look for freelancer-friendly cards with low ongoing interest rates and long 0% APR introductory promotions.

Annual Fee

All else being equal, we prefer professional credit cards without annual fees. However, committed freelancers can offset more modest annual fees (under $100) without too much trouble, so this list isn’t entirely annual-fee-free.


Credit Card FAQs for Freelancers & Side Hustlers

Finding and applying for a freelancer-friendly credit card isn’t too much different from the process for consumer cards. Once in your hands, these cards work more or less the same as consumer cards too. But if it’s your first time, you might still have questions as you work through the process.

Do You Need to Incorporate to Get a Professional Credit Card?

Not necessarily. Freelancer-friendly credit cards generally don’t ask applicants to prove they’ve formally incorporated their business. This is a good thing for part-time freelancers who don’t want the headache (and added cost) of managing a legal business entity.

By contrast, some small-business credit cards do require formal incorporation. Those cards don’t make this list.

How Much Can You Spend on a Professional Credit Card?

It depends on two factors: whether the card has a preset spending limit, and if so, the limit’s dollar value.

Some business credit cards have no preset spending limits, including some we consider freelancer-friendly. To prevent runaway spending, these cards usually have a pay-in-full requirement, so you can’t charge more than you can afford to repay (for long, anyway). If your freelance business is thriving, these no-limit, pay-in-full cards usually offer better spending power.

Other business credit cards base spending limits on revenue. This is more common for cards that underwrite based on business credit, but if you’ve been freelancing for a while and can show consistent income, you might qualify for a generous credit limit without a business credit score.

Do Freelancer-Friendly Credit Cards Allow Personal Guarantees?

They should if they want to be on this list. Some freelancers have incorporated business entities of their own, but many don’t. This means they can’t get a business credit card that doesn’t accept personal guarantees. 

Does Your Professional Credit Card Affect Your Personal Credit Score?

If you qualified using your personal credit and income, yes. 

This effect can be positive, negative, or both at different times. If you use your professional credit card responsibly, your personal credit score could increase over time. If you bump up against your credit limit or miss payments on your professional credit card, your personal credit score could suffer.

What’s a Good Annual Fee for a Professional Credit Card?

The most freelancer-friendly credit cards waive annual fees altogether. However, cards with unusually generous rewards programs or perks generally charge annual fees. If you spend enough to offset these fees by earning rewards and net more than you would have with a no-annual-fee alternative, it’s worth the cost.


Final Word

Because freelancers and side hustlers are eligible for many credit cards traditionally marketed to small-business owners with employees or contractors on the payroll, this list overlaps considerably with our overall list of the best credit cards for small-business owners.

The lists aren’t identical, however.

Some of the top cards for small businesses, such as the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card and the Amex Business Platinum Card, aren’t ideal for part-time entrepreneurship or freelance work due to some combination of high annual fees, strict credit underwriting requirements, and welcome offers that require heavier spending than most side hustlers can manage.

That’s not to say those cards don’t appeal to unusually prolific side hustlers.

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to scale your side business into a full-time enterprise with a balance sheet to match, you might find yourself in search of a credit card with a credit limit to meet your spending needs. When that day comes, you’ll be only too happy to trade up.



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