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According to freelancing platform Upwork, more than 56 million Americans worked as freelancers in 2018, up over 3.7 million since 2014. But you don't have to perform a study to realize that the so-called gig economy is booming. Perhaps it's because freelance workers quickly find that they have more flexibility to balance their lifestyle with their work hours than they do with their full-time positions.
Freelancers are also starting to realize that they are in fact small business owners, even if their freelance work is just a small part of their overall household income. And like any small business owner, the right credit cards can help them extend their purchasing power and track their expenses while realizing valuable rewards and benefits.
If you are a freelance worker, then you should consider one of these top small business credit cards.
Best Cash Back Card: Spark® Cash from Capital One®
Freelance workers who aren't using a rewards credit card are just leaving money on the table. And while there are all sorts of credit cards that offer airline miles and other kinds of travel rewards, many prefer good, old-fashioned cash back. Spark® Cash from Capital One® offers you unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, which you can redeem at any time. Also, new cardholders receive a one-time $500 cash bonus after spending $4,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Other benefits include quarterly and yearly summary reports to help you with planning and budgeting, as well as purchase security and extended protection policies. There's a $95 annual fee that's waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.
Best Perks and Benefits: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
At first glance, most freelancers might not consider a premium rewards card like The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, especially in light of its hefty $595 annual fee. Nevertheless, savvy business owners who focus on the return on their investment may find it to be a bargain. To start off with, Business Platinum cardholders receive one year of complimentary WeWork Platinum Global Access to their shared office facilities, which is a $2,700 value. You also receive an annual $200 airline fee credit, a $200 annual Dell statement credit and up to $100 credit towards the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
You can also save money and stay productive when traveling with access to the Delta SkyClub, Priority Pass Select and American Express Centurion airport lounges. You'll also enjoy elite status with Hilton and Marriott hotels, along with Hertz and National car rentals. On top of that, you'll be earning points in the American Express Membership Rewards program, which can be transferred to airline miles or hotel points. For many freelancers and other small business owners, these rewards and benefits are easily worth The Business Platinum Card's annual fee.
Best for Ride Share and Other Drivers: Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi
Over 2 million ride-share drivers in the U.S. have found it to be an effective way of utilizing their spare vehicle and their available time to earn extra money on their schedule. And as with any business, one of the best ways to maximize your profits is to minimize your expenses. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi allows you to do that by offering you an impressive 4% cash back on up to $7,000 per year of eligible gas purchases, including those at Costco. This is especially attractive when you consider that many of the competing cards that offer bonus cash back at gas stations specifically exclude warehouse store fuel centers (like Costco), where gas is often the least expensive. So this card can also appeal to delivery drivers, movers and many other kinds of freelancers that depend on their vehicles.
This card also offers you 3% cash back on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% back at Costco stores and at Costco.com, and 1% back on all other purchases. There's no annual fee for this card with your paid Costco membership.
Which Card Is Right for You?
With so many credit cards available, you have to find the one that best meets your freelance business needs. That will be the card with the right combination of features and benefits that you're able to use to the maximum extent. For example, a freelancer who needs access to a shared workspace could save thousands of dollars a year with the Business Platinum card's WeWork membership. But that benefit might be useless to ride-share drivers who work from their cars.
By taking a look at how you would use a small business credit card, and what features and benefits are most important to you, you'll be able to choose the best one to further your freelancing career.