Separating personal and church expenses is essential for those who work for church organizations. According to the Internal Revenue Service’s Income Tax Regulation 1.501, individuals associated with a church are not permitted to profit from it.

To help organize your church’s daily expenses, credit cards are a convenient way to ensure purchases strictly for the church can be accessed in one account to avoid any overlap with personal costs. Plus, if you use a rewards credit card, you may be able to receive additional incentives for the church to use.

To find the best credit cards for churches, check out our guide to help decipher which cards are ideally suited for your church’s needs.

What to look for in a credit card for a church

The best credit cards for churches provide you relevant rewards for spending on the card. Rewards credit cards might come with sign-up bonuses, cash back matches, travel points rewards and other perks. You may also be able to earn more reward value for using the card on certain purchases, like travel-specific purchases.

You can opt for either a personal or business credit card for church expenses, even when you’re a nonprofit organization. The advantage of business credit cards is having access to higher lines of credit, plus you can get multiple cards for various members of your organization to earn rewards faster.

You also want to avoid adding expenses and keep costs low so watch out for fees when trying to find the best credit cards for churches. In some cases, it may be worthwhile to pay an annual fee if the rewards you earn are more valuable. Other cards provide travel protection and travel perks like rental car waivers and 24/7 travel assistance. If you need a credit card for travel expenses, look for a travel-focused card without foreign transaction fees.

If you know you want to make a significant purchase investment and will need some time to pay it off, look for 0% interest credit cards, which typically offer an intro period for 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers.

There are also credit cards with purchase protection, extended warranties and other features for churches to utilize. If you’re going to be using a credit card to purchase equipment and pricey items, you’ll want a card with these features.

Our best credit cards for churches

In some cases, you may want multiple cards for multiple types of purchases and features. Make sure to compare cards in each category to find the best choice for your church. Here is our list of the best credit cards for churches:

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from Amex (a NextAdvisor advertiser) has no annual fee and a 0% intro APR rate for purchases for the first 12 months from the date of account opening with an ongoing APR of 13.24% to 19.24% variable afterward. Cardholders also receive 2x points on the first $50,000 in transactions every year then 1x points on all other purchases. Points are redeemable for travel, merchandise, entertainment and dining. You can make purchases over the credit limit when you need to with no enrollment required and no penalty, while still earning points on those purchases.

American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

If you want cash rewards instead of points, check out the Amex Blue Business Cash™ Card (a NextAdvisor advertiser). This card also comes with the same 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening and a variable APR rate of 13.24% to 19.24% after that. The card has no annual fee and cardholders earn 2% cash back on transactions on up to $50,000 per year, then 1% on all subsequent transactions with cash back automatically applied to the statement.

Chase Ink Business Cash credit card*

The Chase Ink Business Cash™ credit card has some nice cash back perks. You can earn a $500 bonus in cash back after spending $3,000 in transactions in the first three months. You also receive 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in transactions for phone and cable services, internet and office supply store purchases each year. Collecting 2% cash back on purchases at gas stations and restaurants on up to $25,000 in purchases a year is also achievable with this card. All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back and you automatically qualify for additional cards. This business card has no annual fee and a 0% intro APR period for 12 months for purchases, then a 13.24% to 19.24% variable APR rate applies.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business*

The Spark® Cash from Capital One® card is another card with cash back rewards. You can receive a $500 cash back bonus after making $4,500 in transactions within the first three months. Earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases so there’s no need to keep track of categories. While there is no annual fee for the first year, it increases to $95 annually after that. The card comes with a 20.99% variable APR and zero foreign transaction fees.

How to use credit cards for churches

To avoid legal troubles and produce the best bang for your buck, it’s imperative to establish a comprehensive credit card policy for your church. Make it clear personal expenses should never be charged to a credit card. If you’re giving out multiple cards, make sure someone is monitoring and reporting expenses regularly.

Some financial areas you can use your church credit card for include:

  • Travel expenses and transportation
  • Equipment, like sound systems
  • Clothing and uniforms
  • Office supplies
  • Donations

As you spend on the credit card, look out for rewards and how you can apply them back to church expenses. These might include:

  • Cash back and reward bonuses to lower expenses
  • Travel points to cover travel expenses
  • Discounts for travel-related charges, like hotels and airfare

In the end

Credit cards make sense for any organization with expenses, including churches. With responsible repayment, you can achieve free rewards for everyday spending. Credit cards also help churches operate legally since the cards make it easy to separate expenses from personal items if the correct user policies are in place. While there are numerous choices, make sure to compare credit cards based on your spending needs so the congregation can maximize its rewards.

*Information regarding the Ink Business Cash Credit Card and Capital One Spark Cash for Business was prepared by NextAdvisor.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the writer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented on this page is accurate as of the date of the post.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.