Cationic quaternary ammonium surfactant s are widely applied in many fields, such as detergent, cosmetics, petroleum and natural gas industries. However, the study of the effect of anion on cationic surfactants is rare. To research the influence of anions on the surface properties, a cationic surfactant was prepared, (cetyltrimethyl ammonium isonicotinate, CTAIN), and the surface properties were studied, including surface tension, critical micelle concentration, foaming ability and stability, and corrosion inhibition. The results indicated that the minimum surface tension of CTAIN is lower than that of CTAC, the foaming ability and foaming stability of CTAIN is higher than that of CTAC, and the corrosion inhibition efficiency on mild steel of CTAC is more potent than that of CTAIN. All the results indicate that the new cationic quaternary ammonium surfactant is a useful surfactant in the related fields.