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Business credit cards for no credit

No credit or a low credit score? You've still got options when it comes to small business credit cards.

Taking on a customer with no credit can be risky for a credit card provider since they have no real indication of what type of borrower you are. Most small business credit cards require a credit check, with providers looking for you to have a good personal or business credit score in order to be eligible for the card.

If you don’t have personal or business credit or you have poor credit, you may struggle to get an unsecured business card since there aren’t any “bad credit” or “no credit check” cards on the market – but you’re not completely out of options.

  • If you have no personal or business credit, your best options are:

Applying for a credit card with a guarantor, joining on as an authorized user with a business partner, or choosing from the tiny market of secured or prepaid business cards. You could also turn to an alternative form of business funding such as a loan, line of credit or a startup grant.

  • If you don’t have a business credit score but you do have a good to excellent personal credit score:

You could qualify for a powerful unsecured business credit card since many lenders will turn to your personal credit score to assess your risk as a borrower.

How to get a business credit card if you have no or low credit

If you’re worried you can’t get a business credit card with no credit history, first be clear on which type of credit history you don’t have.

Without a business credit score, you can likely still get an unsecured business credit card – but it will depend on your score. The provider will look at your personal credit score when deciding whether to approve you or not.

If you don’t have a personal or a business credit score, it’s more difficult to get approved for a business credit card. The provider won’t be able to assess your risk as a borrower, which may result in a rejected application. If you have neither personal nor business credit, consider these options:

  • Explore an option that doesn’t require you to have a business credit score. Some providers may not require you to have business credit to apply for a business credit card, and instead they will use your personal credit as an indication of your risk. Before applying, contact the provider directly and inform them of your situation. They will likely be able to give you an idea whether you could be approved for a credit product or not.
  • Get a business partner to apply for a credit card. If you have a business partner, they can add you as an authorized user on the account, or you can use them as a guarantor to get your own card. You can build your own credit using these options, however your business partner will ultimately be liable for any balances left unpaid on the card.
  • Apply for a secured or prepaid business card. A couple of banks, such as TD and BMO, offer a secured and prepaid business credit card respectively. With no credit, you can typically expect a higher approval rate with these card types.

Compare credit cards for small businesses

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Welcome Offer
American Express Business Edge Card
19.99%
21.99%
$99
N/A
Earn up to 57,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 45,000 Welcome Bonus points when you charge $5,000 in purchases to your Card in your first three months, and earn 1,000 Membership Rewards points each month (a total of 12,000 annually) when you spend a minimum of $3,000 on eligible purchases.
American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
16.99%
21.99%
$599
N/A
Earn up to 90,000 Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass.
BMO Cashback Business Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
N/A
Get 10% cash back on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills for 3 months.
BMO World Elite Business Mastercard
17.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
N/A
Get 50,000 points as a welcome bonus when you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months.
BMO Air Miles No-Fee Business Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
N/A
Get 1,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (over $100 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Business Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
N/A
American Express AIR MILES for Business Card
N/A
N/A
$180
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months
Business Platinum Card from American Express
N/A
N/A
$499
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points ($1,000 in statement credits that you can reinvest into your business).
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card
19.99%
21.99%
$150
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Plus, earn 5 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, dining & travel (excluding lodging) for the first 3 months.
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
N/A
N/A
$199
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of up to 110,000 Membership Rewards points. If redeemed for statement credit, this is $1,100 that you can reinvest in your business.
American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card
19.99%
21.99%
$0
N/A
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 150 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months
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Compare up to 4 providers

How to compare business credit cards

Set on applying for a business credit card? If you have no credit or a poor score, consider the following factors when choosing the best card for your needs:

  • Annual fee. There are a couple of business credit cards on the market that charge no annual fees, while cards that charge an annual fee tend to sit between $50 to $499. Cards with higher annual fees usually come with stronger perks and rewards, so consider the features that you’ll actually use before paying a hefty annual fee.
  • Interest rates. Most business credit cards have standard interest rates around 19.99%. In addition, some American Express business cards are charge cards, which means you’ll need to pay off your balance in full each month. If you tend to carry a balance from month to month or you have an unpredictable cash flow, a regular credit card will be a much better option.
  • Credit limit. Business credit cards typically have higher credit limits than personal credit cards. If you’re approved for a credit card and have no credit score, you’ll likely be assigned a low monthly credit limit. Once you make timely repayments, you can always request an increase on your credit limit should you need it.
  • Rewards. Some business cards will offer accelerated rewards points, cash back or miles when you spend in specific categories such as office supplies or gas. If your business spends evenly across many spending categories, you might prefer a flat-rate rewards card.
  • Employee cards. Some providers offer free employee cards, while others charge for them. You may also be able to access business tools that allow you to limit and monitor your employees spending.

Compare business credit cards for fair credit

Bottom line

If you’ve got a good personal credit score but no business credit, you will have an easier time getting approved for a business credit card. However, if you don’t have a personal or business credit score, your options may be limited to applying with a guarantor or a business partner, getting a secured or prepaid card, or turning to another type of business funding such as a loan or line of credit.

If you run a small business or have a sole proprietorship, you may prefer to apply for a personal credit card first to build up your score and then graduate to a business card at a later date.

Compare a variety of personal credit cards in our guide here or compare a range of business cards here. Ultimately, you want to find a card that is going to work for your spending habits and business needs.

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