How to get a business credit card | finder.com

How to get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card is simpler than you might think. Here’s exactly what to do.

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Your business is in full swing and you’re ready for a business credit card. The only problem is, you’re not quite sure how to get one.

Fear not: Applying for a business card is fairly straightforward. And there are myriad benefits of having one, such as separating your personal and business finances and having access to expense-management tools.

Our pick for a business credit card

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

  • Get rewarded for business as usual. Earn 2x Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.
  • 2x applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
  • You’ve got the power to use your card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
  • More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, 14.99%, 17.99% or 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • Terms apply
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See Rates & Fees
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How to get a business credit card

Let’s talk about these steps in depth.

1. Form a business.

There’s a low bar to jump for qualifying as a business. You’re eligible if you have a formal business structure such as a limited liability company (LLC) or S corporation. However, you can also apply as a sole proprietor. That means you qualify if you make money through freelance work — for example, as a photographer-for-hire or an Amazon seller. Just make sure you can produce documentation that proves you make money outside of regular employment.

If you have a formal business structure, you’ll enter your tax identification number while applying for your card. If you’re applying as a sole proprietor, you’ll simply enter your Social Security number.

2. Establish business credit.

Every provider will check your personal and business credit. Your personal credit weighs most on the provider’s decision, but having strong business credit will increase your odds of approval.

To build business credit, start by obtaining vendor credit. Put your phone and utility bill under your business name. And ask your vendors — such as your office supply store or advertising agency — if you can start small lines of credit with them. You might also want to apply for a business loan. As you make consistent on-time payments of at least the minimum amount due, you’ll build your business credit.

There are many excellent cards on the market, and the perfect pick will depend on your specific needs. Here are a few key factors that’ll help you choose between different cards.

  • Annual fee. It’s a good idea to first check a card’s annual fee. You’ll want to get enough out of your card to offset this fee, which might mean earning a sufficient signup bonus or significant rewards.
  • Rewards. You’ll find big differences here. Consider your business spending and see whether certain cards offer accelerated rewards for your preferred categories. If your spending is relatively even across categories, you might like a card that offers a flat rewards rate for all spending.
  • Intro APR. Getting a 0% APR on purchases or balance transfers can be very helpful, especially when your budget is tight. For business cards, zero-interest periods tend to top out at around 15 months.
  • Signup bonus. Business credit cards are a competitive category, and providers are generally willing to offer big bonuses to attract business owners. A signup bonus alone can pay for your annual fee many times over.

Compare business credit cards

Getting a business credit card can help you streamline your business finances and earn rewards on your purchases. Make sure you compare multiple options until you find the right fit for your wallet.

Updated September 22nd, 2019
Name Product Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
2% cash back on all purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 20.99% variable)
$0
Earn 2% cash back on all purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Rates & fees
2% cash back on all purchases
19.24% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn $500 after spending $4,500 in the first 3 months.
1.5% cash back on all purchases
0% intro for the first 9 months (then 15.24%, 19.24% or 23.24% variable)
$0
Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
2x points on everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 annually, then 1x points
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 20.99% variable)
$0
Earn 2x Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 with no category restrictions. Rates & fees
2x miles on all purchases
19.24% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase for your business, with no blackouts or seat restrictions, and no minimum to redeem.

Compare up to 4 providers

Is there a good credit card for startups?

Yes. You can try the Brex for Startups for startups. This is a charge card that doesn’t require a personal guarantee.

In addition, you can earn rewards on your purchases and you can get a high credit limit.

4. Apply and wait for a decision.

Once you’ve picked a business card, it’s time to apply. You’ll need to provide information about yourself, including:

  • Your name, residential status and residential address.
  • Your Social Security number and date of birth.
  • Your email address and phone number.
  • Financial information, such as your annual income and source of income.

You’ll also need to provide information about your business, including:

  • The name of your business, its mailing address and its employee count.
  • Your years in business and annual business revenue.
  • Your tax identification number or Social Security number if you’re applying as a sole proprietor.

Fill out the application form, request employee cards if needed and agree to the provider’s terms. The last step is to review your application and submit it.

Most major providers offer automated applications, so you’ll likely receive a decision within 60 seconds. If there are issues with your application, you may need to wait a few business days to a few weeks to hear back.

After you’re approved, expect to receive your card within 10 business days.

Why should I get a business credit card?

There can be many advantages to getting a business card, including:

  • Keeping your personal and business expenses separate.
  • Gaining access to advanced expense-management tools, such as employee spending controls and quarterly or annual expense reports.
  • Accelerated rewards on business purchases.
  • Higher credit limits.
  • Building business credit.

What if my business gets denied for a credit card?

If your business is denied for a credit card, don’t lose hope. There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting one soon or in the future.

  • Ask the provider to reconsider. Many providers use algorithms that automatically process applicants. For that reason, your application may have been denied by a computer instead of a human. Call the provider and ask for its reconsideration team, who will review your application manually. At that time, you can ask why you were denied and add clarifying information that may help your chances of approval.
  • Increase your credit score. You may have been denied because your credit score was too low. In that case, apply again when your credit improves. Keeping debt low and paying balances on time are two tried-and-true methods to increase your score.
  • Apply for a card for business owners with fair credit. You don’t have to have excellent credit to get a business card. There are cards you can get with average credit, such as the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business.

Am I personally liable for my business credit card?

Most of the time, the answer is yes. Your provider will probably ask you to personally guarantee your debt no matter your business structure. For that reason, it’s a good idea not to charge more than you can personally pay off. But there are some credit cards without a personal guarantee.

Bottom line

Applying for a business credit card can be very simple. If you’ve decided on a business structure, it’s a matter of comparing different business credit cards and finding the best fit. When you’ve settled on a card, you can easily apply for it on the provider’s website.

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