As a business expands beyond a single owner-operator, its financial needs become dramatically more complex. With more than one person making purchases, the basic bank-issued debit card becomes less than optimal.

The drawbacks:

  • Coordination
  • Communication
  • Controls
  • Security

Those issues can be solved with a small-business-oriented credit or charge card such as those offered by Ramp, Divvy, American Express and dozens more (see our full list of digital challenger cards here).*

There are dozens of options, so what exactly are the most important features? Here are our favorite advanced features to look for in a digital smart charge card:

Must-have features:

  1. Email/SMS customer service (minimum of 8 hours per weekday, 4 hours per weekend day)
  2. Bullet-proof and clear fraud protection guarantee
  3. Two-factor authentication
  4. Customizable alerts
  5. Downloadable transactions (common file formats)
  6. Ant–fraud transaction scanning
  7. Mobile app
  8. Long-term (5+ years) transaction/statement archives
  9. Sortable/searchable data
  10. Virtual cards for authorized users
  11. Plastic cards*
  12. Robust transaction dispute tools

Should-have features:

  1. Large dynamic (changes with bank balance) spending limits (with floor level)
  2. Spend management (e.g. budgeting) tools*
  3. Expense management controls at the card-holder level*
  4. Lifetime statement/transaction archives*
  5. Dedicated account manager(s) you know by name (with contact info)*
  6. Positive pay for transactions over a certain amount*
  7. Unlimited plastic/digital cards*
  8. Expanded customer service hours (eg. 12 hours minimum per weekday)
  9. Enhanced security*
  10. Card on/off switch
  11. Custom permissions for third-party access
  12. Feeds/integrations to major accounting services*
  13. Expedited dispute resolution*
  14. Transaction annotation (by user)
  15. Daily statement delivery (email)
  16. Transaction filing system with custom folders
  17. Transaction display prioritization (shows most important transactions first)
  18. Three/four-factor authentication for certain transactions*
  19. Annual transaction and account summaries*
  20. Credit monitoring/alerts (personal, family & business)*
  21. Emergency security contacts (“break glass in case of fraud”)*

Nice-to-have features:

  1. Revolving options (for charge cards)*
  2. Software integrations*
  3. Immediate credit for disputed transactions (pending resolution)
  4. Rewards*
  5. 24/7 customer service*
  6. Equipment financing*
  7. Transaction feed with automatic prioritization (eg. Gmail priority inbox)
  8. Business dashboard*
  9. Security token-based account access option*
  10. Account aggregation of outside card accounts*
  11. Preformatted forms*
  12. Premium/VIP client service option*
  13. Receipt capture/upload*
  14. Emergency cash-advance for employees*

*May incur extra fees or service charges