CIBC bizline VISA: the optimal no-fee, no-reward credit card for Canadian small businesses

When searching for a Canadian personal credit card, there are tons of options without annual fees. I can then pick and choose from those options for the one with the best rewards structure.

When it comes to a business credit card, however, the options are a lot more limited. A good place to start is the credit card directory.

I run a relatively small web development company and 3 of us needed to have credit cards. Mainly, we wanted to simplify the administrative hassle around continuously writing cheques to reimburse our business purchases, which include travel expenses, equipment and supplies, external services, and meals and entertainment. After a rather thorough search, we ended up choosing the CIBC bizline VISA. Here’s why:

No fee

The annual fee for the CIBC bizline VISA is $0. You can have up to 9 additional cards at no extra charge.

No rewards or points

Generally, getting rewards from a credit card is considered beneficial. But after we weighed the fees (no matter how nominal) against the rewards on other cards, it simply wasn’t worth the administrative effort to us. Accounting for the fees and managing and using the points, not to mention any possible taxable benefits coming out of the rewards if awarded for personal use, actually seemed like a cost.

Without rewards, we can keep the purpose of the cards simple and as intended.

Accepted at many places

While American Express has a few tempting cards, for the purpose of putting as many business purchases as possible on a card, VISA and MasterCard are simply safer bets.

Consolidated statements

With the CIBC bizline VISA accout, each cardholder gets his/her own card and card number in his/her name. However, all cards on our account are tracked on the same statement. This contrasted with some other cards we looked at, where each card had a separate statement. We’re small enough that we can quickly tell which charge was by who and for what, and it is administratively easier to only have to deal with one statement.

An added bonus is that the CIBC online interface is quite nice to work with.

CIBC bizline VISA online interface

You can even break down transactions by type:

CIBC bizline VISA online spend report

Simple application process

You can apply for the CIBC bizline VISA completely online. The process took less than ten minutes for us. It asked for information including:

  • Primary cardholder’s address, phone number, date of birth, and income
  • Additional cardholders’ address, phone number, and date of birth
  • Business information: years in operation, annual revenue, business type, nature of business, primary bank

We received our cards about two weeks later.

When we had previously investigated getting credit cards through our primary financial institution (not CIBC), they wanted us to go into the branch, fill out significantly more information, and do credit checks on all of us. To be fair, that was not the main reason why we went with the CIBC bizline VISA (and we didn’t have anything to hide), but it didn’t help.

Miscellaneous details

  • The CIBC bizline VISA comes with a PIN, which is the first time I’ve ever had a card with a PIN. Extra security, but also an extra number to remember 🙂
  • We don’t ever intend on using our cards for actual credit loans, but the interest rate on the card is between 1.5% and 11% above CIBC’s prime rate.
  • The card doesn’t include many insurance benefits. However, for things such as travel medical insurance, we use our normal benefits provider.

As a whole, the CIBC bizline VISA is simple and straightforward. Several of us charge our business purchases to it, and we pay it off every month. That’s it.

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