Know more about how your provider reports your spending to protect your personal score.
A business credit card can increase your working capital and keep your business expenses off your personal cards. But you can’t fully separate your personal finances from your business’s: Many providers consider your personal credit score to determine the rate and credit limit for your business credit card. And many cards require a personal guarantee, in which you agree to be on the hook personally if your company can’t pay.
Even after your account is open, you could inadvertently hurt your personal score if your business falls behind on payments.
Can a business credit card affect my personal credit?
Yes, it can in a couple of different ways. When crunching your credit score, the major bureaus look at factors that include your payment history, credit utilization, overall history, the types of credit you carry and recent credit inquiries.
A business credit card — or any type of new card — can affect these factors, starting with your application. 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.
Business card issuers also typically run a hard inquiry on your personal credit, which can temporarily lower your personal credit score.
Other factors depend on whether the issuer or bank reports your business card’s activity to the personal credit bureaus. Many don’t, including Bank of America, Citi and PNC Bank. If yours does, it’s possible for large business card balances to be factored into your personal credit utilization, affecting your score. And late payments or delinquencies can also show up on your personal payment history.
Which business card issuers report to the personal credit bureaus?
|Bank or issuer||Reports business cards to personal bureaus|
|American Express||Yes, but only delinquencies|
|Bank of America||No|
|Chase||Yes, but only delinquencies of 60 days or more|
|Synchrony Bank||Yes, but only delinquencies|
|U.S. Bank||Yes, but only delinquencies of 60 days or more|
|Wells Fargo||Yes, but only when in default|
What business credit cards minimally affect a personal credit score?
|Business card||How it reports||Review link|
|Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card||BofA 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|
|Ink Business Cash℠ credit card||Chase typically reports to personal credit bureaus if your payments are late by 60 days or more.||Read review|
|Wells Fargo Business Platinum credit card||Wells Fargo reports to personal credit bureaus if your card is in default — typically 180 days overdue.|
|U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Select Rewards Card||U.S. Bank does not report to personal credit bureaus unless your payments are late by 60 days or more.|
Will a business credit card with no personal guarantee protect my personal credit?
Even without a personal guarantee, your business card can affect your personal credit score — at least initially.
Most business card providers pull a hard inquiry on your personal credit, which can temporarily lower your personal score. After approval, you’re typically not on the hook personally for high business balances or delinquencies.
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:
- Pay on time. Many issuers report delinquencies or negative info to the personal bureaus, even if those payments are for business purchases.
- 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.
- 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.
Compare business credit cards
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.