Does a business credit card affect your personal credit?

The answer: Yes, in certain cases — and depending on your provider.

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Many providers consider your personal credit score to determine the interest rate and credit limit for your business credit card. And many cards require a personal guarantee, where you’re on the hook personally if your company can’t repay debt.

Some providers report your payment activity to consumer credit bureaus. Others will report only negative activity to the bureaus.

Our pick for a card that won't affect your personal credit

Brex for Startups

  • The first corporate card for startups
  • No personal liability or security deposit needed - your personal credit score won't be affected
  • Minimum of $100,000 of funds in corporate bank account and US EIN required
  • Earn 7x points on rideshares, 4x points on travel booked through Brex Travel, 3x points at restaurants, 2x points on software subscriptions and 1x points on all other purchases
  • Get a credit limit 10 to 20 times higher than traditional business cards
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Build business credit - Brex partners with Experian to report your on-time payments
Read less
Read more

Does a business credit card affect your personal credit?

Yes, it can in a few ways:

  • When you apply for a card.
    Though you’re applying for a business card, an issuer will typically still run a hard inquiry on your personal credit. This will usually lower your personal credit score temporarily.
  • If you default on your debt.
    Most business cards require a personal guarantee when you apply. This agreement permits the card’s provider to pursue payments from your personal accounts if your company isn’t able to meet its obligations.

    What this means is your personal credit may take a big hit if you’re unable to repay your debt. If you want to avoid this risk, consider a business credit card without a personal guarantee.

  • When your issuer reports account activity to consumer credit bureaus.
    Some issuers will report account activity to consumer bureaus in all cases. This means carrying high balances on your card can affect your personal credit. Other companies will report to consumer bureaus only if you fail to make card payments.

    If this is an important point for you, check what an issuer’s policy is before applying.

Which business credit cards minimally affect a personal credit score?

Business cardHow it reportsLearn more
Brex for StartupsBrex for Startups has no personal liability, meaning your personal credit score won’t be affected.Read review
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardChase typically reports to personal credit bureaus if your payments are late by 60 days or more.Read review
Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit cardBofA doesn’t report activity to personal credit bureaus.Read review
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®Citi business card activity doesn’t show up on personal records.Read review
Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit CardWells Fargo reports to personal credit bureaus if your card is in default — typically 180 days overdue.Read review
U.S. Bank Business Select RewardsU.S. Bank does not report to personal credit bureaus unless your payments are late by 60 days or more.Read review

Which business card issuers report to consumer credit bureaus?

Bank or issuerReports business cards to personal bureaus
American ExpressYes, but only delinquencies
Bank of AmericaNo
Capital OneYes
ChaseYes, but only delinquencies of 60 days or more
Navy FederalNo
PNC BankNo
Synchrony BankYes, but only delinquencies
TD BankYes
U.S. BankYes, but only delinquencies of 60 days or more
Wells FargoYes, but only when in default

Compare business credit cards

Updated January 17th, 2020
Name Product Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
3x points on the first $150,000 on travel and select business categories annually, then 1x after and on all other purchases
17.49% to 22.49% variable
80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
American Express® Blue Business Cash Card
2% cash back on all purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 20.74% variable)
Earn 2% cash back on all purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Rates & fees
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
5x points on flights and prepaid hotels through Amex Travel, 1.5x points if you spend $5,000 on a single eligible purchase on up to 1 million additional points per year and 1x points on all other purchases
Earn 50,000 points after spending $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after spending an additional $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Rates & fees
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
2x points on everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 annually, then 1x points
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 20.74% variable)
Earn 2x Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 with no category restrictions. Rates & fees
American Express® Business Gold Card
4x points on two categories on up to $150,000 combined annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases
15.74% to 23.74% variable
Earn 35,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. Rates & fees

Compare up to 4 providers

3 tips to protect your personal credit score from a business credit card

Healthy credit comes with monitoring your finances — ever important when you’re running a business. Even if your business card provider reports to the commercial bureaus, work to protect your personal credit with these pointers:

  1. Pay on time.
    Many issuers report delinquencies or negative info to the personal bureaus, even if those payments are for business purchases.
  2. Stay under your limit.
    Spending conservatively and even paying your bill in full can keep your credit utilization low, making it easier to qualify for other credit cards or business loans, should you need them.
  3. Keep your business spending separate.
    Draw a line between your personal and business finances and build a stronger business credit score by using your card for business expenses only.

Do I need a business card that won’t affect my personal credit?

If you’re worried about potential hiccups with your business credit card, you can look into cards that won’t report to the personal credit bureaus. But serious delinquencies — late payments of 60 days or more, defaulting on your account or reports to collections — may end up on your personal credit history regardless.

If you’re confident in your business’s financial health, instead focus on weighing cards that can best benefit and maximize your business spending, whether with a low interest rate, a balance transfer promotion or tiered rewards.

Bottom line

For most business owners, the need for a business credit card can be a sign that you’ve made it — your company is robust enough to need separating from your personal spending, and you can take advantage of rewards designed for your spending habits.

Still, your business activity could negatively affect your personal credit score without knowing the terms you’ve agreed to. Minimize any risk to your personal credit by managing your business spending carefully.

To find a card to best suit your unique business needs, read our comprehensive guide to business cards.

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