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Brex For Startups is a unique card designed for startups that might face challenges getting credit. It comes with generous rewards, a $0 annual fee and requires no personal credit guarantee.
Two engineers — Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi — founded Brex, according to the company’s website. Their aim is to provide credit to startups that might have trouble qualifying for traditional corporate credit cards.
Brex For Startups isn’t for everyone. You have to have a certain amount of money in the bank, and your business must have an Employer Identification Number and be registered in the United States.
You also have to make Brex For Startups your business’s exclusive card if you want to get the most of its rewards program. We’ll take you step by step through where this card stands out, where it falls short and how to get the most out of it.
In this article:
- Where Brex For Startups stands out
- Additional benefits
- Where Brex For Startups falls short
- Compare it with the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
- The bottom line
Where Brex For Startups stands out
Rewards. Earn points on every dollar spent with industry-leading multipliers: 7x on rideshare, 4x on travel, 3x on restaurants, 2x on software subscriptions and 1x on all other transactions.
Take note that you must have Brex Exclusive status to earn rewards at those rates. This status is achieved by businesses that make Brex For Startups their exclusive corporate card. Without this status, you’ll only earn 1 point per $1 spent.
New customers will be automatically enrolled in Brex Exclusive for two months, but after that, you’ll have to show that Brex For Startups is your business’s exclusive corporate card.
You can redeem points for a statement credit (each point is worth 1 cent), redeem points for travel through the Brex portal, or gift them to your team. You can also transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to travel loyalty programs, including:
- AeroMexico – Club Premier
- Air France KLM – Flying Blue
- Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- JetBlue – TrueBlue
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Points do not expire, and there’s no minimum or maximum redemption amount.
No personal guarantee. It’s common for small business cards to require a personal guarantee. In other words, you are ultimately responsiblefor paying off charges on a small business credit card, and your personal credit score can suffer if your payments are late. But Brex For Startups is different — it’s a corporate card and does not require a personal guarantee. This is great if you need a card for your startup operations but don’t want to put your personal credit on the line.
Numerous discount offers. Brex lists its partner offers (discounts) at a value of more than $50,000, and the offers can be redeemed at any time. Here are the partners listed online:
- Amazon Web Services
- Clear Channel Outdoor
- Google Ads
- Science Exchange
- Stitch Labs
$0annual fee. For a card with rewards as generous as this one, a $0 annual fee is an excellent deal. Your first five cards are included — after that, additional cards are $5 per user per month.
Build business credit. Brex reports to Dun & Bradstreet and Experian.
Access to credit for startups. If you’re looking at this card, you might be operating a startup that doesn’t exactly fit the requirements for getting more traditional forms of credit. If so, a huge benefit of this card is the chance to get a corporate card designed for businesses like yours.
Instant approval. You have a chance to be approved within minutes of applying, and Brex will provide a virtual card before your physical card arrives (the latter can be expected in three to five business days after approval).
Money management tools. Once approved for Brex For Startups, you can issue cards to employees and set cardholder limits through the Brex dashboard. There’s also a Brex app where you can upload receipts, which Brex will then match with your statement.
Where Brex For Startups falls short
You have to have a lot of money in the bank. You must have at least $50,000 in a U.S. bank account to qualify for Brex For Startups. The company’s website says companies that are typically approved generally have $100,000 in the bank at the time of application.
Your business must be structured a certain way. If you want to apply for a Brex For Startups, your business must be organized and registered in the U.S. And though Brex doesn’t ask for a Social Security number, you will have to provide an EIN.
Examples of eligible business structures include:
Business types that are not eligible include:
- Sole proprietors
- Unincorporated partnerships
- Companies registered outside the U.S.
Brex also has a list of prohibited and restricted activities, so check to make sure your startup doesn’t run afoul of this list before you apply. For example, businesses involving marijuana or firearms won’t qualify for Brex For Startups.
If your business doesn’t have the minimum amount of money in the bank or doesn’t meet the structuring requirements to apply for Brex For Startups, a more traditional small business card might fit your needs better. Take a look at our guide on best business credit cards for startups.
Can’t carry a balance. This is a charge card, and everything that you put on the card will automatically be deducted from your company bank account each month. We don’t recommend carrying a balance anyway — but in the event that you need a little extra time to pay off a large purchase, for example, Brex For Startupswon’t let you do that like a regular credit card would.
Compare it with the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Brex For Startups has done a great job at carving out a unique niche for itself as a high-rewards corporate charge card designed for startups with a significant chunk of funding. So when we compare it to the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, which is a small business card, it’s not because the two are exactly the same — but because the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card might suit a business owner’s needs at times when Brex For Startups wouldn’t.
Here’s how the two stack up against each other:
|Brex For Startups||American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card|
|Rewards||Earn points on every dollar spent with industry-leading multipliers: 7x on rideshare, 4x on travel, 3x on restaurants, 2x on software subscriptions and 1x on all other transactions.||Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%|
|Intro APR||N/A||0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening on purchases (after, 13.24% - 19.24% variable). N/A on balance transfers (after, n/a).|
|Other perks||Chance to get discounts on services such as Amazon Web Services, Google Ads and more via partner offers.||Allows you a limited ability to make purchases above your credit limit without incurring fees.|
|Annual fee||$0||No annual fee|
To see rates & fees for American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card please click here.
If you need to pay down debt from another card, or if you’re planning to make a big purchase and need time to pay it off, the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card could be a good card to consider. It charges a reasonable balance transfer fee — n/a
0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
- Earn up to $300 back to boost your business. You can earn up to $100 in the form of statement credits at each of the following merchants: Dell Technologies, DocuSign or FedEx after you make an eligible purchase on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
- From workflow to inventory to floor plans, your business is constantly changing. That’s why you’ve got the power to spend beyond your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power.
- Just remember, the amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us and other factors.
- 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24% - 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
- No Annual Fee
- Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card also offers Expanded Buying Power, which lets cardholders spend beyond their credit limit without penalty, and earn rewards on those purchases. We don’t recommend doing this regularly, but it can be good to have the flexibility in case you need to take advantage of a business opportunity with little notice. It’s important to understand that at the end of your billing cycle, the amount you charged above your credit limit will be due in full.
The bottom line
If your startup is a C-corp, S-corp, LLC or LLP, and you have at least $50,000 in a U.S. corporate bank account or $50,000 in monthly sales, Brex For Startups could be a great choice. The rewards are generous:Earn points on every dollar spent with industry-leading multipliers: 7x on rideshare, 4x on travel, 3x on restaurants, 2x on software subscriptions and 1x on all other transactions. (That’s if you show Brex this is your business’s exclusive corporate card — otherwise you’ll earn rewards at a lower rate.)
However, it’s important to note that this is a charge card. If you want a card that will let you carry a balance, this isn’t what you’re looking for. We recommend considering a small business card, such as the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card.