Mercury business credit card reviews: Pros, cons, alternatives, and more [for 2024]

How the Mercury business credit card compares to other corporate credit cards for startups.
Rho editorial team
March 10, 2024
Reviewed by
Shannen Balogh
Product Marketing Manager
March 10, 2024

Mercury is a financial technology company that provides a business banking platform to VC-backed startups. Mercury customers have access to several corporate card options. 

This guide is designed to help VC-backed startups evaluate Mercury’s business credit card offerings and compare them to other competitors based on insights gathered from the Mercury website and third-party reviews.

Key highlights: 

  • Strengths: Mercury offers both debit cards and business credit cards for VC-backed startups with some supporting platform capabilities like spend limits. 
  • Weaknesses: Mercury’s customer support availability is limited, and as startups scale, they may need additional functionality like multi-entity support and AP automation that Mercury lacks and other platforms like Rho provide. 

What is Mercury?

Mercury is a financial technology company providing basic business banking products and services tailored to VC-backed startups — particularly tech startups. 

While there are several Mercury banking services, here are the business credit card and debit card solutions they offer: 

  • Mercury Debit Card – Mercury offers a business debit card that clients can use to make purchases and withdraw cash from their accounts via an ATM. 
  • Mercury IO Card – Mercury’s business credit card, introduced in September 2022, offers “startup-friendly credit limits” and up to 1.5% cashback on spend. 

Mercury claims their underwriting “offers higher credit limits to newly incorporated customers and those with limited credit history, thanks to a startup-friendly underwriting model.” 

Curious how Rho’s underwriting differs from newer fintechs like Mercury and legacy card providers like American Express? Learn more in our recent blog post on the topic. 

Mercury use cases and offerings

Mercury is seen as a go-to beginner banking solution for VC-backed startups. In addition to fee-free ACH and some treasury features, offers a select few spend management capabilities that help support its business credit card, the Mercury IO Card.

1. Business credit cards and debit cards

Mercury offers its business credit card, the IO Mastercard, to customers who meet deposit minimum requirements. IO’s underwriting model is designed to provide higher credit limits to newly-incorporated customers, and those with a limited credit history.

Note: Your business must maintain $25K in a Mercury account to qualify for IO and keep your credit account active. Credit limits are based on Mercury account balance (also known as cash-based underwriting), so your limit might increase as your Mercury balance increases, but your credit limit may also decrease.

2. Business checking accounts and savings accounts

Mercury clients can use these accounts to manage operational funds and non-operational reserves, including sending ACHs to vendors. Deposits are held by Mercury’s partner banks, Choice Financial Group and Evolve Bank & Trust, Members FDIC. 

Through sweep networks, funds in your Mercury checking and savings accounts are eligible for up to $5M in FDIC deposit insurance (an outcome also branded as Mercury Vault).

3. Mercury Treasury

Mercury Treasury is currently available to users with account balances over $500K. You can invest funds into “lower-risk mutual funds” through Mercury’s partner, Apex Clearing Corp. 

Mercury customers can automatically sweep excess cash into a Mercury Treasury account. Keep in mind that it will take several business days to withdraw funds from Mercury Treasury.

Be sure to review how money market funds compare to owning T-Bills outright like with services like Rho Prime Treasury. 

4. Mercury Venture Debt

Mercury offers venture debt, which is a term loan issued to startups that have raised venture capital within the past year. To obtain approval, Mercury focuses on the strength of the VC investors and founders and the startup’s potential for growth.

Mercury provides some limited integrations with QuickBooks and Xero – while also generating “Netsuite-friendly reports” i.e. CSV exports of transactions. 

Who is Mercury for?

Mercury has focused its products and services on startup founders who want access to business banking services built into a technology platform with a good user experience. 

Mercury may be a target for customers with more than $250,000 in deposits who want a sweep account to increase FDIC insurance coverage. Mercury is also a consideration for businesses that want access to venture funding.

However, as growth-stage startups scale, they may need additional capabilities like multi-entity support, AP automation, and other important financial operations features. 

Our Mercury business credit card review

Mercury offers business credit cards and debit cards to startup firms that meet eligibility requirements.

Mercury credit cards

The Mercury Debit Cards are issued by Choice Financial Group and Evolve Bank & Trust, Members FDIC. The IO Mastercard is issued by Patriot Bank, Member FDIC.

Mercury offers the IO Mastercard to customers who meet minimum deposit requirements. Mercury does not run a credit check during the IO application process, so your personal FICO credit score will not be considered or affected.

Eligibility requirements

When you apply for the IO Mastercard, you will need to deposit up to $25,000 into your account. To keep your credit account active, you must maintain an average cash balance of roughly equal to $25,000 in your Mercury account.

Your Mercury credit limit is determined by your Mercury account balance, and the company may increase or decrease the credit limit. Mercury reassesses your credit limit following large withdrawals and deposits.

Mercury pros

  • Low fee structure: Mercury does not charge annual fees or account fees. There are no fees for Global ACH,  wire transfers, or for additional credit cards. 
  • Mercury Vault solution: Mercury Vault (another name for its checking and savings accounts) provides up to $5 million in FDIC insurance through partner banks and sweep networks. Businesses with large bank balances can spread deposits between multiple banks to increase the total FDIC insurance coverage. The Rho Treasury Management Account offers up to $75M FDIC coverage.
  • Smooth user experience: Many Mercury customers are satisfied with the integration of payments, corporate cards, and other features into a single platform.

Mercury cons

  • No cash deposits: Mercury does not support cash deposits unlike many online business checking accounts. Mercury is not an option for businesses that process many customer payments in cash. A traditional bank is a better option for companies with frequent cash transactions.
  • Withdrawing Mercury Treasury funds: Mercury Treasury withdrawals typically take 1-2 business days to post to your account, but transfers can take up to 5 business days. These delays in processing may create cash flow management issues.
  • Money market funds vs. T-Bills: Unlike Rho Prime Treasury, which invests client funds in T-Bills held directly in their name, Mercury Treasury funds are invested in money market funds. 
  • Risks of using venture debt: Lenders put terms and conditions in place to ensure prompt loan repayment when due, and loan covenants may restrict how the founders can operate the business while the loan is outstanding. Venture debt is a secured debt, and defaulting on a secured loan will require the founder to give up company assets, which may disrupt or end business operations.
  • Point-solution for cash management: Mercury lacks multi-entity accounting support, and additional finance capabilities startups may want to integrate with banking, including AP automation and expense management. 
  • Customer support: Mercury does not currently offer live support, which may be an issue if you have challenges or need help. 
  • Fraud alerts: Mercury does not currently send SMS alerts to clients alerting them of potential fraudulent activity like American Express or Rho. 

Another risk is technical debt. If you use multiple software solutions for banking and finance, your software costs and transaction fees can rise quickly. 

For example, standalone AP automation, expense tracking, and cash management tools can be expensive and have hidden integration costs with accounting software or bookkeeping platforms like QuickBooks Online.

Managing multiple financial platforms can also place a strenuous burden on your already time-strapped team. A disjointed finance stack increases the risk of errors and makes understanding how your business operates difficult.

Mercury business credit card features

The Mercury IO Mastercard provides a number of features:

  • Cashback: Credit cardholders earn 1.5% cashback on all spend, and cash is automatically deposited into your account at the end of each month.
  • Wide acceptance: You can use IO anywhere that accepts Mastercard credit cards. 
  • Balance payments: IO is a charge card, and customers must pay off the full balance each pay period. Your pay period may be daily or monthly, depending on the balance in your Mercury account. Since users do not carry balances, there is no opportunity for a balance transfer into the Mercury IO card from another credit card.
  • Customization: Users can set custom spend limits (daily, weekly. monthly). Businesses can also set up merchant-locked cards, which are cards that can only be used for a specific merchant. 
  • Virtual and physical cards: Instant virtual cards can be accessed before physical cards arrive.
  • Dashboard: IO Mastercards are part of Mercury’s banking platform, which includes an intuitive dashboard to view all account balances and cash flow.
  • Finance automation: Automation process to categorize transactions and syncing to ERPs including QuickBooks and Xero.

However, Mercury does not provide multi-entity support, AP automation, and spend management capabilities. Many startup founders will either pair Mercury with Ramp or Brex for the spend management piece – or manage both cash and spend with Rho.

Mercury business credit card fees, interest rates

There are no annual fees, no fees for additional credit cards, and no interest charges. Balances must be paid in full each month, and no balances can be carried over to a new month and charged interest.

Mercury business credit card alternatives and comparisons

1. Rho

Based in New York, Rho is a comprehensive finance automation platform that empowers startups, SMBs, and middle-market companies with tools to boost their bottom line and operate more efficiently. 

In one platform, businesses can access corporate credit cards with spend controls, automated expense management and accounts payable, business banking, and treasury management – all without platform fees. 


  • Rho Corporate Cards have built-in spend controls, expense management capabilities as needed, and the ability to earn up to 1.25% cashback on spending. 
  • Rho Expense Management allows users to create custom spending rules, capture receipts in real-time, and automate approvals.
  • Rho AP automates the end-to-end accounts payable process in just a few clicks and without payment delays that some experience with point solutions thanks to Rho’s integrated business banking. 
  • Rho Prime Treasury is a bespoke treasury management solution that helps customers invest their excess cash in short-dated government securities held directly in their company’s name.
  • Rho Treasury Management Account, built on a network of over 400 FDIC-insured banks, that offers access up to $75M in FDIC deposit insurance per entity. 

Rho integrates with QuickBooks Online, Oracle NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, and Sage Intacct.  Rho also supports flat-file CSV exporting, so you can automatically tailor transaction categorization to your business needs.


  • Responsive business banking: Rho clients enjoy fee-free business banking services like Same Day ACHs and responsive customer support. 
  • Dedicated customer support: Dedicated customer support available 24 hours a day Mon-Fri, and 10-7pm ET on weekends to assist with any customer needs. 
  • More comprehensive finance solution: Rho offers not only expense management, corporate cards, AP automation, and accounting but also business banking and treasury management – all in one platform. 
  • No tiered payment plans: You don’t have to subscribe to Rho to access advanced features that you would have to subscribe to on many competitor platforms. 
  • Dynamic integrations: Rho can easily be integrated with your accounting, HR, and even other expense management platforms like Emburse and Certify. 


  • Straight cashback vs. points: Some companies prefer legacy corporate card solutions like American Express, Chase, or Capital One for the point rewards they offer, even if that impacts process speed. 


The Rho platform is free, though the Rho Prime Treasury capability does have a small annual management fee which depends on the amount invested, but caps out at 0.60% . 

Best for

Just like middle-market companies, Rho is a great fit for startups. Founders use Rho as a single solution for corporate cards, expense management, payments, banking, and treasury. Startup founders can effectively manage finances with a lean team, saving time and money.

Rho vs. Mercury

Mercury is great for startup businesses that are just starting and want access to business banking services built into a technology platform with a good user experience. 

As startups start to scale, more streamlined approvals, a robust expense management solution, and structured workflows become necessary. 

This is where Rho shines - providing a comprehensive stack of financial tools allowing unimpeded growth without team members needing platform changes. 

Visit G2 to learn how Rho’s fee-free business banking and finance platform, business credit cards, and more compare with different startup solutions, including:

  • Legacy financial institutions: Chase Bank, US Bank, Wells Fargo
  • Newer financial technology companies: Mercury, Ramp, Brex, BlueVine, Novo

2. Ramp

Based in New York, Ramp is a fintech company initially launched in 2019 as a corporate card and expense management platform combo. It has since expanded its spend management product capabilities to include bill payments, procurement, and accounting integrations. 

Ramp’s mission is to help build healthier businesses and does so through its platform that helps firms control business spend, save time, and automate busywork. 


  • Corporate credit cards: Ramp Visa charge cards offer up to 1.5% cash back rewards on qualifying spending and customizable spend controls to help enforce your expense policy. 
  • Expense management: Automated workflows that handle expense submissions as an alternative to traditional expense reports and software like SAP Concur. Users can assign specific permissions for expense approvals.
  • Accounts payable automation: Automates data entry and manages invoice intake, bill recording, and payment processing. 
  • Procurement: Workflows that help employees make procurement requests, manage vendor invoices and POs, get approvals, and issue cards to purchase. Ramp also recently acquired a procurement startup, Venue, to boost its capabilities. 
  • Vendor management: Provides a single place to manage all current vendors backed with renewal reminders, contract details, and custom fields. Your data is protected with vendor authentication controls. 
  • Ramp Flex: A paid service that offers businesses additional float on vendor bills. For a fee, Ramp will pay your invoices with the intent of helping you with working capital management, and you are then responsible for repaying the amounts. 
  • Ramp mobile app: Allows employees to upload expense receipts, use virtual cards, and perform other financial management tasks on the go. Users can choose an iOS or Android mobile app.
  • Various automation sparklers: Features like a 1Password API access and integrations with Gmail, Uber, Stripe, PayPal, Amazon Business, and Lyft. Ramp offers perks, including travel and emergency assistance services.


  • Receipt matching: Users can easily match receipts sent by text or email.
  • Reporting: Ramp provides a useful set of real-time reports. 
  • Multiple finance features in one platform: Can help simplify your tech stack. 
  • UX: The platform is intuitive and easy to navigate.


  • Ramp Plus feature wall: You must be a paying Ramp Plus or Ramp Enterprise customer to access previously free features like accounting integrations, custom approval workflows, or premium customer support. 
  • No banking or treasury capabilities: Even if you use Ramp for spend management, you can’t replace a poor business banking experience or support from incumbents like Chase or Wells Fargo. 
  • Banking transaction fees: Ramp charges to process Same Day ACHs and wires using external bank accounts. These charges can quickly add up if you have a high volume of invoices. 
  • Customer support: While Ramp claims to offer call, chat, and phone support on their website, “premium support” and “dedicated account management” are Ramp Plus and Ramp Enterprise features. 


Some of Ramp’s basic features are free to use. However, many automation features are now paywalled behind Ramp Plus and Ramp Enterprise plans, including ERP integrations, purchase order management, and premium customer support. 

As of this article’s publishing date, Ramp Plus is $12 per user per month (when billed yearly; $15 per month otherwise). 

However, larger enterprise organizations must contact Ramp Sales for a more specific quote if they want important features like multi-entity support. 

Best for

Ramp is a viable alternative for businesses with manual expense and payment processes or using outdated tools like Concur or BILL that cause problems, such as expense receipt submission and invoice payment delays. 

Ramp vs. Mercury

Ramp offers corporate card, expense management, and spend management product capabilities. Ramp, however, does not offer banking or treasury capabilities. 

Mercury provides business checking and savings accounts, corporate credit cards, treasury services and venture debt. The platform does not offer expense management or spend management features. 

Ramp and Mercury do not provide business banking, payments and corporate cards in a single solution. Rho provides all of these services within one platform, allowing startup founders to run finances leaner and boost profitability.

3. Brex

Based in San Francisco, Brex is a spend management fintech company that first launched as a VR startup back in 2017. After pivoting, they launched a corporate card to challenge American Express and have since added spend management capabilities like expenses, travel, and AP. 

Brex’s mission is to empower employees anywhere to make better financial decisions, doing so by providing spend management and finance automation capabilities.


Brex’s products include corporate cards that offer a points-based rewards system, expense management, procurement, accounts payable, travel booking, business banking services, a mobile app, and other finance features. 

Key features include: 

  • Brex Corporate Cards that offer a points-based rewards program based on different categories of spending. For example, it offers 7x points multiplier on rideshares, which you can redeem for things like billboard ads. 
  • Built-in travel booking and travel policy management capabilities and automated AP workflows. 
  • Business accounts that offer yield and fee-free ACHs. 
  • Brex AI, the company’s AI-powered assistant embedded in each product that can help employees with expenses and answer questions, freeing time for the finance team. 


  • Brex Empower: Admins can set up automated spending controls and block or approve spending based on specific categories or merchants.
  • Brex mobile app:  Brex makes it easy for employees to upload supporting expense documentation like receipts. 
  • Brex Travel: Employee users can book travel accommodations with preferred airlines and hotels within preset policies, make unlimited itinerary changes, and manage their expenses. 


  • Paying for functionality and support: Brex customers must sign up for a Brex Premium or Brex Enterprise account to access important features like dedicated customer support, custom roles and permissions, ERP integrations, live budgeting, and travel planning.
  • Brex Card underwriting: The company’s underwriting model adjusts credit limits based on the real-time and average 30-day cash balances in your linked bank accounts. If your cash balance declines, you may experience an unexpected credit limit cut.
  • Small businesses: Brex no longer supports traditional small businesses.


As of this article’s publishing date, Brex Premium is $12 per user per month (when billed yearly; $15 per month otherwise), but larger enterprise organizations must contact Brex Sales for a more specific quote if they would like to access more features and dedicated onboarding. 

Best for

Brex caters largely to startups with venture capital funding. If you fit this category, they can be a quality option, although other providers like Rho offer these capabilities and more without the need to pay subscription user fees. 

Brex is not a good choice for bootstrapped startups, because spending limits and benefits are designed for funded growth companies.  In 2022, Brex made a decision to no longer support traditional small businesses. If you are in this market, Brex may not be the right solution for you. 

Mercury vs. Brex

The Mercury platform does not offer expense management or spend management features. Brex provides expense management, procurement, and accounts payable functionality that is not offered by Mercury. While Brex offers these additional benefits, they require fees.

Brex customers must sign up for a Brex Premium or Brex Enterprise account to access important features like dedicated customer support, custom roles and permissions, ERP integrations, live budgeting, and travel planning.

What should you look for when picking a business credit card?

Choose a business credit card that is backed by an integrated expense management platform. When cards are integrated with a platform, managers can take full control of company spend with complete visibility in real-time.  

Benefits include:

  1. Better expense tracking, margin control, and cash flow management. 
  2. Reduction in overspending, expense policy non-compliance, and fraud-related charges.
  3. Employee cardholders submit expense receipts faster thanks to smart notifications and ease of uploading. 
  4. Faster month-end close by transforming credit card transaction reconciliation from a post-close activity to a pre-close checklist item. 
  5. Easier reimbursement management and tax preparation with clear audit trails. 
  6. Your team can focus on higher impact, engaging work.

FAQ: Mercury business credit card

What is the Mercury card?

The Mercury debit cards are issued by Choice Financial Group and Evolve Bank & Trust, Members FDIC, and the IO Mastercard is issued by Patriot Bank, Member FDIC.

Mercury offers the IO Mastercard to customers who meet deposit minimum requirements. IO’s underwriting model is designed to provide higher credit limits to newly-incorporated customers, and those with a limited credit history.

Can I get a Mercury card if I don’t have a Mercury bank account?

No. When you apply for the IO Mastercard, you will need to deposit up to $25,000 into your account. To keep your credit account active, you must maintain an average cash balance of roughly equal to $25,000 in your Mercury account.

Is Mercury a good business credit card to have?

The IO Mastercard can be useful for startup founders. IO’s underwriting model is designed to provide higher credit limits to newly-incorporated customers, and those with a limited credit history. However, startup firms must be able to maintain minimum cash balances.

Is the IO Card a secured credit card?

Mercury cash deposits secure credit card repayments. Your IO Mastercard credit limit is based on the total deposits in your Mercury bank accounts. 

How do you qualify for a Mercury business credit card?

When you apply for the IO Mastercard, you will need to deposit up to $25,000 into your account. To keep your credit account active, you must maintain an average cash balance of roughly equal to $25,000 in your Mercury account.

What are the fees associated with the Mercury business credit card?

There are no annual fees, no fees for additional credit cards, and no interest charges. Balances must be paid in full each month, and no balances can be carried over to a new month and charged interest.

How does Mercury make money?

Mercury makes money in five different ways:

  • Interest earned on checking deposits in Mercury bank accounts
  • Merchant fees (interchange fees) paid by merchants when customers use an IO card or a Mercury debit card
  • Earnings on foreign exchange processing on international wires
  • Customer fees paid by Mercury Treasury customers
  • Origination fees and interest earned on Mercury Venture Debt transactions

Wrap-up: Is the Mercury business credit card good?

After reviewing the Mercury business credit card and other credit cards on the market, think about the features and tools that are most important for your business.

And if you still need help choosing a business credit card, let's make this easy.


  • End-to-end functionality to capture, record, approve, and pay expenses
  • Full integration with corporate cards for easier expense management
  • A scalable platform that grows as you grow

All wrapped up in unbeatable pricing and great customer support sounds nice to you, so you should consider Rho.

Schedule time with a Rho payments expert today!

Competitive data was collected as of February 21,2024, and is subject to change or update.

Related Posts

Join thousands of top business leaders today.

No personal guarantee or personal credit check required.
Rho is not a bank. Banking services and cards issued by Webster Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.