Small business credit card issuers are ratcheting up rewards

In July, EMI posted a blog on leading small business credit card issuers making large bonus point offers to encourage small business customers to activate and continue to spend on their business cards.  Some of these leading small business card issuers are turning their attention to revamping rewards structures for their leading cards.  Yesterday, Bank of America announced the introduction of a new version of its Cash Rewards for Business MasterCard.  It has added 2% cash back on spending at restaurants, in addition to the previous rewards of 3% on purchases at office supplies, gas and computer network services, as well as 1% on other purchases.

Other issuers that have enhanced their small business rewards card programs include:

  • Capital One: launched the No Hassle Cash Premier Card, featuring 2% cash back, as well as a bonus of up to $150 (this card does come with a $59 annual fee)
  • American Express: introduced a new version of its Business Gold Rewards Card, with triple points on airfare, double points on advertising, gas and shipping, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.  It previously offered a flat 1 point per dollar reward.  The card also features a 50,000 point bonus (for spending $10,000 on the card within the first 150 days).  The annual fee for this card has risen from $125 to $175 (both American Express and Capital One are evidently betting that small businesses will be willing to pay an annual fee in exchange for these higher rewards)
  • Chase: launched new earnings structures for Chase Ink Classic and Ink Cash: 5 points per dollar/5% cash back on first $25,000 in annual spend on office supplies, telecommunication services and cable services; 2 points per dollar/2% cash back on first $25,000 in annual spend on fuel and lodging; and 1 point per dollar/1% on all other purchase

The growth of bonus offers and bonus rewards illustrates the extent to which the leading small business credit card issuers are competing to capture a share of small business card spending.  There is significant growth potential in this market, as cards still account for a small share of overall small business spending.

And there are recent signs of life in the overall small business card market, which has been in the doldrums since the start of financial crisis.  Last week, American Banker reported on FDIC data that shows big banks starting to grow loans of $100,000 of less (which are largely made up of small business cards).