Brex Review: A Company That Makes Managing Your Startup A Breeze
Brex offers a cash management app for startups, along with a rewards-earning charge card for those that qualify. You’ll get plenty of perks and no fees.
- Highly funded start ups
- Businesses with big expenses
- Startups looking for fee-free banking
It’s never been easier to start a small business, with all the information we need just a few clicks away. But there are still a few basics you’ll need, including a bank account and a reputable card to keep in your wallet.
Brex is designed to let you skip traditional banking while still managing your money. You’ll get fee-free transfers and a reward-earning charge card to handle your purchases. With Brex, being a business owner is an even more rewarding experience (literally).
Let’s dive into all the features Brex has to offer.
What is Brex?
Brex got its start in 2017 when two engineers had a vision of a small business banking alternative. The founders previously founded Pagar.me, which is one of the largest payment processors in Brazil.
Businesses that qualify for a Brex account can enjoy limits that are up to 20 times those seen at traditional lenders. Best of all, since Brex 30 is linked to your Brex Cash Account, your personal credit is protected.
How does Brex work?
To get started with Brex, simply visit Brex.com and click “Open an account”. If you need help, the chatbot in the bottom-right corner can walk you through the process.
You’ll have to input some basic contact information, as well as your work email address. This is where you’ll set up a password.
Next, Brex wants your company information. If you don’t have a website yet, simply check the box that reads “We don’t have a website.”
Provide some information about your business, including the number of employees and your funding source.
Now it’s time to decide what type of account you want for your business. Here are your options:
- Cash. This type of account serves as a money management account for your business, giving you the ability to accept and send funds via ACH and wire for free. You can also set it up so that employees can access your Brex Cash Account. Comes with a Brex Daily card, a daily payment card with rewards.
- Cash and card. Upgrade to this bundle and you’ll get the Brex 30 card, linked to your Cash Account to make managing your money easy. You’ll get plenty of perks with this bundle, including a one-time bonus of 30,000 reward points if you link a payroll or revenue account to your card. You’ll need a balance of more than $100,000, or $50,000 with professional investors, to qualify for this option.
- Card. Businesses that merely need a credit card should choose this option. You’ll get the Brex 30, which includes 30-day terms, higher limits than other cards, and points for your purchases. Brex 30 comes with a variety of reward options to help you save money. You’ll need at least $100,000 or $50,000 with professional investors to qualify for Brex 30.
I chose the Cash option since I don’t have $100,000 in funding at this point. I went directly to a screen that asked for more information about my business.
Next, I had to verify whether I was a controlling officer at my company. If you choose “No,” you’ll be asked for contact information on your company’s controlling officer.
From there, you’ll provide legal details about your business and verify your identity. Once Brexit has successfully confirmed that you are who you say you are, your account will be set up. All in all, this whole process takes just five minutes!
Pricing for Brex
The best thing about Brex is its lack of fees. There are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees. Brex makes all its money from the fees it gets from merchants where you use your card.
With that being said, it’s important to note that Brex 30 is not a traditional credit card. In fact, it’s a charge card. When you get the Brex 30, you’ll need to set the card up so your balance will automatically be paid off each month. If you don’t have the funds right then and there, Brex will give you a 30-day payoff period to gather the funds.
If you’re looking for a money management solution for your well-funded startup, you likely have no shortage of options. Here are a few reasons to consider Brex.
Both the Brex 30 and Brex Cash Account come with no fees. You’ll pay no annual fee for the Brex 30, and you can even make purchases internationally without foreign transaction fees.
You’ll see the benefits of Brex (you will receive these points with Cash only too because it comes with a Daily card) right away with 50,000 in reward points when your card is approved and you spend $9,000 in the first 30-days. You can redeem your points, and any other points you earn, as a statement credit, trade them for a gift card, book travel through the travel center, or convert the points to airline miles.
Brex 30 issues points for a variety of categories. You’ll earn 7x points on any rideshares you pay for using your card, as well as 4x points on flights and hotels you book through Brex Travel. Use your Brex 30 card while dining out and earn 3x points, as well. Finally, to top their rewards structure off, you’ll also earn 1x points on all other purchases. So you’re truly getting rewarded in every category your business likely spends in.
Even if your startup capital is limited, you can qualify for Brex’s cash management app. This app lets you transfer funds and send checks, all without fees. You can also invest your cash into money market funds to earn a little interest on it.
Higher credit limits
If you’re approved for Brex 30, you’ll enjoy credit limits that are 10 to 20 times higher than traditional credit cards. Your credit limit will be based on factors like your monthly sales and how much money your business has in its account.
For any business, solid accounting practices are essential. Brex integrates with some of the top business finance apps, including:
This will ensure that your transactions are accurately logged without having to worry about manually entering them, which is a huge time-saver for those trying to get their business off the ground.
In addition to integrating with your bookkeeping tools, Brex also helps you with your accounting on its end. You’ll get built-in expense management and automatic receipt matching. You can also access virtual cards for each member of your team.
Separate from personal accounts
All activity on your Brex 30 card is connected to your business, from the time you apply to making purchases and paying your bills. Your card is connected to your business account, with payments made directly from there. All of this means that your personal banking information never enters into the equation, keeping your private account truly separate.
My experience researching Brex
There are many challenges business owners face when it comes to transferring and receiving money.
First, there’s the cash option. If you don’t have the required $100,000, or $50,000 with investors lined up, you’ll qualify for this option. In minutes, you’ll have all the benefits of business banking without an actual bank account.
Once you’ve gotten started with their banking, you’ll be able to see in the dashboard your available balance and your transactions. You can easily export the information for bookkeeping or tax purposes.
When it’s time to pay someone, the app will walk you through the process. Simply input the name of the business, some basic details, and the amount you want to send. For business owners, this is about as easy as it gets.
If you qualify for an account, you can also add the Brex 30 to your wallet. This is where I was very impressed. This card provides enhanced benefits, including rewards of up to 7x points per dollar spent and credit limits that are 10-20 times higher than average.
Brex 30 uses a 30-day payment cycle to calculate your payments. This means that once a month, your expenses will be taken out of your bank account in one lump payment. This can be both a drawback and a perk. If you have the capital to support paying off your card this way, it takes the headache out of having to make minimum payments for months. But, if you don’t, you’ll need to scrounge up the money in 30 days. It’s something to think carefully about.
All in all, I find Brex to be a great way to build business credit and manage your business finances without dealing with the complications of traditional banking.
Who is Brex best for?
Brex was designed for startups with plenty of cash. Your startup can be funded through a variety of sources, but you’ll need at least $100,000 to qualify for the Brex 30 unless you have professional investors, at which point you can get in as low as $50,000.
Even if you lack the capital required, however, you can still use Brex. You just won’t be eligible for Brex 30. The Brex Daily is a credit card you get with your Cash Account comes with plenty of benefits of its own, though, including fraud protection and discounts on certain services.
Businesses with big expenses
Brex 30 is ideal for businesses that deal with hefty expenses each month. You and your team members can charge everything to the card, earning rewards as you go, and have it all automatically debited from your Cash Account once a month. The much higher than average credit limits will ensure you won’t deal with the card being declined due to exceeding your balance.
Who shouldn’t use Brex?
If you’re just getting your business off the ground, you may find better options for making payments. Only once you’re more established will Brex begin to offer the biggest benefits. They can use Brex Cash though, as there is no minimum cash balance and it comes with a Daily card.
Brex 30 doesn’t work like a credit card. You can’t carry a balance from one month to the next. While this is great for avoiding interest charges, the fact that the funds are taken from your account once a month could put it out of the running for some businesses. If you need the ability to delay payment beyond 30 days, this might not be the best card for you.
Pros & cons
- No fees — Being able to transfer funds, send checks, and manage your cash without paying fees is a big bonus.
- Very high rewards offerings — With the Brex 30, you’ll earn 1x point for every dollar you spend, along with bonus points of up to 7x in certain categories.
- Instant virtual card — Whether you apply for the Brex Daily or Brex 30, you can start making purchases from the time you’re approved.
- You can’t carry a balance with Brex 30 — Each month, your balance will be deducted from your bank account. But there is a 30-day statement period to give you time to gather the funds.
- Large cash requirement — Only businesses with the necessary capital will qualify for a Brex 30 card and all the perks it provides.
Brex vs. the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
Brex 30 Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
Annual fee $0 $0
APR 0%; must pay full balance within 30 days 15.49% - 21.49% Variable
Rewards 1x point for every dollar you spend, along with bonus points of up to 7x in certain categories 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Brex is one of many credit card options for businesses. Here is one other to consider.
The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card is a close competitor to Brex, offering a straightforward and generous 1.5% cash back on all purchases. If you’re a business that spends in multiple categories throughout the year, you can rack up some serious cash. And thanks to the $0 annual fee, all those rewards go straight into your pocket. You can redeem your rewards in a number of ways, including cash back, gift cards, and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Plus, the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card comes with other business perks, such as free extra cards for your employees, Fraud Protection, Purchase Protection, and personalized Account Alerts.
If your startup has $100,000 in cash, or $50,000 in cash plus investors, you can save big with Brex 30. But even if you don’t, a Brex Cash Account can be a great way to save money on interest and fees while still enjoying the benefits of a business account.
Overall, Brex provides an alternative way of managing your business that makes the process much more seamless.Brex Disclosure - The Brex Mastercard® Corporate Credit Card is issued by Emigrant Bank, Member FDIC. Terms and conditions apply. See the Brex Platform Agreement for details.
Brex Treasury LLC is an affiliated, SEC-registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC that provides Brex Cash, a program that allows customers to elect to sweep uninvested cash balances into certain money market mutual funds or FDIC-insured bank accounts at program banks. Investing in securities products involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Brex Treasury is not a bank and your Brex Cash account is not a bank account. Please see brex.com/cash for important legal disclosures. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.