What real estate investors should look for in a credit card
The most important factors real estate investors should look for in a credit card are purchase rewards and 0% intro APR offers. Both of these perks can help you save money on every real estate investment. Purchase rewards allow you to get value back on all your expenses. 0% intro APR offers give you time to pay off eligible purchases or balance transfers at a 0% annual percentage rate (APR).
There are several other things you can look for as you shop around for the best credit cards for real estate investors. A high credit limit gives you more spending power, which can help with cash flow. The credit card you choose should have a reasonable annual fee or no annual fee at all. Bonus opportunities and purchase protections are also valuable benefits for a real estate investor.
To recap, here are the factors to consider when choosing a card for real estate investing:
- Purchase rewards
- Intro 0% interest offers
- A high credit limit
- A reasonable annual fee
- Bonus opportunities
- Purchase protections
Now, let's go over in more detail how each of these factors works and why they matter.
Cards with purchase rewards give you back a percentage of all qualifying purchases. Depending on the type of rewards credit card you have, you can earn cash rewards, travel rewards, or other types of rewards points.
Real estate often involves lots of different expenses, so with the right credit card, you'll have ample opportunities to earn rewards. You generally can't pay your mortgage with a credit card, but everything else is fair game.
0% intro APR offers
A credit card may offer a 0% APR on purchases, balance transfers, or both for a set period of time. This type of offer is helpful when you know that you won't be able to pay your credit card bill in full. For example, if you have a costly remodel on a rental property and need to pay it off over time, a 0% purchase APR lets you do that without interest.
A high credit limit
The credit limit is the maximum amount you can spend using your credit card. Since real estate investing can be expensive, a card with a high credit limit is nice to have. You'll be able to spend more without hitting your credit limit.
A reasonable annual fee
Some credit cards charge an annual fee, but you can also find plenty of cards without annual fees. If you decide to get a card with an annual fee, make sure the benefits are worth more than what you're paying for the card.
Credit cards often provide bonus opportunities, especially for new cardholders. The most common is a welcome bonus. This is a bonus you can get after opening the credit card, and it usually requires you to spend a certain amount.
For example, a card could offer $500 in cash rewards if you spend $5,000 in the first three months. Bonuses like these are a great way to get money back through your everyday purchases.
Purchase protections are some of the more underappreciated credit card perks. A credit card could offer complimentary insurance covering new eligible purchases against damage or theft. Another popular protection is extended warranty coverage.
Whether your real estate business purchases tools, computer equipment, or any other supplies, purchase protections can cover you if anything goes wrong.
Do real estate investors need a business credit card?
You don't need a business credit card for real estate investing, but there are advantages to getting one. Here are the benefits of opening a small business credit card as a real estate investor:
- A business credit card can keep your business expenses separate from your personal expenses.
- Business credit cards often have features designed for business owners, such as expense-tracking reports.
- If your business has employees, you can request employee cards for them.
Although business cards have their advantages, a consumer credit card can also work well. You may find it's best to focus on choosing the card with the benefits you value the most, regardless of whether it's a consumer or business credit card.
Best for cash rewards: Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
If you want to earn competitive cash rewards on all your purchases, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is the best choice. It offers an unlimited 2% cash rewards -- the highest, no hassles flat rate we've come across. In addition, new cardholders who spend $1,000 in the first three months will get a $200 cash rewards bonus.
This card has no annual fee, so it won't add extra costs for your business. It also includes a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers made within 120 days of account opening, giving you time to pay off large business expenses or refinance credit card debt.
Best for a welcome bonus: Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card offers a welcome bonus of 100,000 points for spending $15,000 on purchases in the first three months. Those Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth $1,250 when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. You can also transfer them to Chase's airline and hotel partners or redeem them for $1,000 in cash back. It's an extremely valuable bonus, especially for a card with a reasonable annual fee.
You can earn even more extra points through this business credit card's bonus categories. The card offers three points per $1 on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each year across the following categories:
- Internet, cable, and phone services
- Advertising purchases through search engines and social media
Best for intro 0% APR offer: Citi Simplicity® Card
With the Citi Simplicity® Card, you get one of the longest 0% intro APR periods of credit cards we've come across. The 0% intro APR lasts for the first 18 months and applies to both purchases and balance transfers.
Investing in real estate often involves paying large upfront costs and then paying them off over time. If you need to do that, then this card can save you quite a bit of money. You'll be able to avoid interest charges for a full year and a half. You also won't need to pay anything extra to carry the Citi Simplicity® Card, as it doesn't charge an annual fee.
Best for home improvement spending: Lowe's Advantage Card
When your business involves fixing up an investment property or flipping houses, there are usually plenty of trips to home improvement stores for supplies. That's where the Lowe's Advantage Card comes in handy. It's a great value for the store's frequent shoppers.
The Lowe's Advantage Card offers a 5% discount on all your eligible purchases, including both in stores and online. On certain types of purchases, it offers special financing plans with interest rates as low as 0%. When a special financing plan is available, you can choose between getting a 5% discount or taking advantage of the financing offer.
There's no annual fee for the Lowe's Advantage Card. The card issuer is also flexible about who it approves, so you don't need a good credit score for this card.
Best for flexible rewards: American Express Business Gold Card
The American Express Business Gold Card offers bonus rewards to match your spending habits. Every billing cycle, this American Express card earns four points per $1 in the two bonus categories on its list where you spend the most (terms apply). That list includes airfare purchases directly from airlines, as well as U.S. purchases in the following categories:
- Online, TV, and radio advertising
- Computer hardware, software, and cloud systems from select technology providers
- Gas stations
You earn bonus rewards on up to $150,000 in bonus spending per calendar year. All other purchases earn one point per $1. This business credit card costs $295 per year, but the rewards can make up for that if you have high spending. American Express also offers excellent purchase protection and extended warranty coverage.