Competition in the U.S. credit card market continues to accelerate as issuers vie to attract and retain valuable cardholders whose high-dollar, recurring spending can generate robust transaction and fee revenue. Small businesses are among the cardholders able to support such high-value transaction activity, but these companies are often turning to consumer card products and to secondary financial service providers. This report explores that dichotomy in the small business credit card market and enumerates approaches that issuers can use to detail a unique value proposition for small firms encompassing both the feature-rich credit card options that support business needs and the integration of a larger financial servicing relationship.

Key questions discussed in this report:

  • How can the use of credit cards by small firms be characterized?
  • Is a small firm’s choice of credit card driven by its primary financial servicing relationship?
  • What share of small firms are receptive to cardholder acquisition initiatives?
  • What features do small firms seek in a credit card?
  • Are digital channels important to acquiring small business cardholders?
  • What can issuers do to communicate the value of small business credit card products to small companies?


The business data in this report is based on information collected in a random-sample panel of 1,000 small businesses and microbusinesses in a March 2017 online survey. Javelin defines microbusinesses as those with annual revenue of $100,000 to less than $1 million and small businesses as those with revenue of $1 million to less than $10 million.