We recommend products that we love. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Our Verdict: Since Brex is no longer serving small business customers, Ramp is the better choice for small and medium-sized businesses.
Recently we wrote an article about the five best business credit cards for startups with no credit.
Two of the top cards on that list were Ramp and Brex.
For this post, we’ll take a deep dive into Ramp vs Brex for a side-by-side comparison so you’ll know which makes more sense for your business.
What is Ramp and How Does it Work?
This is a business credit card that’s part of a larger finance service ecosystem that revolves around automation software by Ramp.
With Ramp, there’s an emphasis on simplicity where your credit limit is determined by how much you spend each month.
In turn, it’s often a good option for small businesses that lack credit and are looking for easy scalability along with built-in expense management.
And there are no account opening fees, initial setup fees, annual fees, foreign transaction fees, or card replacement fees, Ramp is a dream come true for startups who don’t want to get hit with a bunch of extraneous costs.
The introductory APR falls between 16.74% and 21.74%, depending on your credit history and other factors.
Ramp’s reward system is super straightforward, giving you 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Also, this corporate card syncs with Ramp’s finance management software, allowing you to easily monitor your business finances and track your credit utilization.
Here are some other notable features:
- Ramp has unlimited physical and virtual card options to easily grow and expand your business (similar to Emburse Spend).
- You can add your own custom brand logo to your cards for added professionalism.
- There are built-in spending controls so you can restrict spending on a certain card or a certain vendor.
- You can block specific categories like dining and travel.
- You can prevent spending on large items while allowing employees to request exceptions.
- Ramp expense management is incredibly easy and can be done through their best-in-class platform.
- Ramp offers additional finance service options and can improve spend management and streamline operations for your finance team.
Put it all together, and the Ramp corporate card is a solid option that gives you access to a steady stream of cash, which is perfect for many startups.
What is Brex and How Does it Work?
Brex is a corporate card startup that launched in 2017 and has gained a ton of momentum in the span of just five years.
Let me start by saying Brex recently announced they’ll no longer be serving small businesses after August 15, 2022.
“Brex published a brief explanation on its website, saying that it is constantly evolving its business and as it does, it has become ‘less suited to meet the needs of smaller customers,’” –TechCrunch
You can find a full explanation in Brex’s own words here.
The bottom line is that it’s no longer a financial service option for small or even mid-sized companies.
To be eligible for a Brex corporate card, you need to meet any of the following criteria:
- Received an equity investment of any amount (accelerator, angel, VC, or web3 token)
- More than $1 million a year in revenue (if you’re seriously in the red with a lot of venture debt, Brex won’t be an option)
- More than 50 employees
- More than $500k in cash
- Tech/fintech startups who are on a path to meeting the criteria above, and are referred by an existing customer or partner.
While this, unfortunately, disqualifies many startups, Brex has some major advantages for those that are eligible.
This card, for instance, has a 0% introductory APR, no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, no interchange fee, and a beefy rewards system with up to 7-8x rewards based on payments.
And with 10x-20x higher cash limits than similar business cards, you can get significant funding to fuel growth.
Also, Brex makes daily bill payments, which allows you to quickly establish a strong credit history to create a virtuous cycle of business credit.
As for getting cards, Brex will give you unlimited cards for your entire team, while also allowing for simplified expense management through a convenient dashboard.
This makes Brex an enticing option for many businesses that meet the right criteria.
If you end up getting approved by Brex, you may want to consider using a Brex Cash account to safely deposit checks, send and receive payments, and manage spend because there are no fees, minimums, or limits.
Differences Between the Two
Now that you have a basic overview of how each corporate card works, let’s look at the key differences between Ramp and Brex.
Ramp Serves Businesses of All Sizes, While Brex Now Only Serves Larger Businesses
Initially, both a Ramp credit card and a Brex corporate card were viable options for most businesses, regardless of size.
But with Brex’s recent announcement that they’ll only serve larger businesses that meet specific criteria, they’re no longer an option for small businesses.
The only exception would be if you’re a tech startup that has received an equity investment or are on a path to meeting the criteria mentioned earlier.
So if you’re a brand new startup with zero clout and little to no personal or business credit, Brex probably won’t be a realistic option. In this case, a Ramp card will be the obvious choice.
While Brex could potentially become a possibility later on as your small business grows, it’s simply not suited for small companies just starting out.
Brex Has a Much Lower Introductory APR
When it comes to APR, Brex is in a league of its own. It’s a charge card with a 0% introductory APR, and you can’t do much better than that!
Ramp, on the other hand, has a 16.74% – 21.74% introductory APR, which is obviously much higher.
It should be noted, though, that when compared to many other corporate credit card options, Ramp is lower (Indigo, for example, has a 24.9% APR).
But when placed side-by-side with Brex, there’s no comparison.
You’ll pay way more in interest with Ramp than you would with Brex (assuming you qualify).
There is, however, a caveat with Brex.
“You won’t owe interest, but you also won’t be able to carry debt from one month to the next or finance a large purchase over time. Your account will be automatically debited for the balance, so you’ll need to have sufficient resources on hand.”
So this is something to keep in mind if you do qualify for Brex and are seriously considering it.
Brex Has Much Bigger Rewards
One of the main perks of using a corporate card is the rewards.
As we learned earlier, Brex offers extensive rewards, including:
- 7x on rideshare
- 4x on Brex travel
- 3x on restaurants
- 2x on software
- 1x on everything else
Beyond that, Brex has some other innovative rewards that you won’t find with many similar corporate cards.
You can, for example, use your rewards toward billboard advertising, event planning, and even executive coaching.
Ramp, on the other hand, simply offers unlimited 1.5% cashback. While this is nice for keeping things simple and avoiding confusing multipliers, the rewards don’t go as far as they do with Brex.
On a side note, Ramp does beat out other cards like Capital One Spark Classic for Business that only offer 1% cashback, but it’s not in the same tier as a Brex card.
Ramp is Far More Lenient with Their Eligibility Qualifications
Not too long ago, Brex was fairly lenient in terms of their eligibility requirements.
In their own words, this card was “for companies of any size with no minimum balance.”
But as we discussed before, they’re in the process of making a huge shift where they’re targeting larger businesses. As a result, they now have extensive eligibility requirements.
Ramp, in contrast, is much more lenient with their eligibility requirements.
In fact, no personal guarantee or personal credit check is required. Ramp just requires that:
- You have at least $75,000 in a US bank account
- Your business is a corporation, LLC, or limited partnership (individuals, sole proprietors, and unregistered businesses aren’t eligible)
- You currently spend more than $10,000 per month on corporate cards (so not a good option for inactive shelf corporations)
Our Verdict: Which One Should You Choose?
It’s pretty straightforward.
Brex is the best option if you’re a large or rapidly growing business that’s looking for 0% APR and wants big rewards.
Ramp is the best card if you’re a new/small startup and want a card with a reasonable APR, respectable rewards, and a ton of great features.
With big cash limits that are 10 – 20x higher than most other cards, Brex is an excellent way to generate the cash needed for continued growth as long as you meet the right criteria.
Meeting that criteria, however, simply isn’t in the cards for many businesses. So if you’re a fledgling startup just getting your feet wet, Brex isn’t the right choice for you.
In that case, Ramp will be the only realistic option.
But if you have the size Brex is looking for or anticipate getting there in the near future, Brex could very well be an option.
The bottom line is that if you can swing it by meeting eligibility requirements, we recommend Brex.
If, however, you’re not at that level, Ramp is still a great choice for many small to mid-sized businesses and can help put you on a positive long-term trajectory.
Nick is an author, small business owner, and finance/digital marketing writer. He’s been covering the industry for over a decade and loves exploring topics to help other small businesses succeed. You can connect with him at Nnickmannwrites.com