How to get a business credit card |

How to get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card can be easier than you think.

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Applying for a business credit card usually isn’t much more difficult than getting a personal credit card.

Whether you’re a corporation owner or a solopreneur, you can qualify for a business credit card. Just know your credit score, have the right application details on hand and be prepared to personally guarantee your business’s card debt.

How to get a business credit card

The process to get a business credit card is relatively straightforward:

  1. See if you qualify for a business card.
  2. Know your credit score.
  3. Find the right business credit card.
  4. Apply and wait to hear a decision.

That’s right — it can be that simple. Approval is never guaranteed, but you can get your application off to a strong start by following these steps.

1. See if you qualify for a business card.

You can apply for a business credit card if you have a corporation, such as an LLC or S corporation.

You can also apply for one without a corporation, as long as you’re running an operation that aims to make money. One-person businesses can qualify.

Do I need a tax ID number if I’m not applying as a corporation?

For most business card applications, you’ll be asked for your business’s tax ID number. If you apply as a sole proprietor, you can usually just enter your Social Security number instead.

2. Know your credit score.

A personal credit score is a basic requirement to get a business credit card. Check your score before looking for a card, as this will help you see what you might qualify for.

You don’t need a business credit score to apply. But if you have one, it could offer advantages such as better odds of approval, a higher credit limit and lower APRs.

Pro tip: How to start building business credit

Look for vendors who will start a credit profile for your business and report your payment activity to business credit bureaus. Three to five vendors is a good number to start with. If you consistently make your payments in full and on time, you’ll soon have positive business credit.

There are different types of business cards, and picking the right one depends on what your business needs most. Here are a few major considerations that can help you quickly narrow down the right card.

Compare business credit cards

Updated September 19th, 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 15.24% to 21.24% variable)
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)
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 15.24% to 21.24% variable)
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

4. Apply and wait for a decision.

To apply for a business credit card, you’ll typically need to provide information about your business, including its:

  • Legal name.
  • Mailing address and phone number.
  • Industry, number of employees and years in operation.
  • Tax identification number.
  • Annual revenue.
  • Estimated monthly spend.

You’ll also need to provide information about you, the authorizing officer. This may include your name, address, date of birth, annual income, contact details, mother’s maiden name and Social Security number.

Simply fill out the credit card application, sign a personal guarantee and submit the application.

Why do I need to sign a personal guarantee for my business credit card?

Most providers require a personal guarantee to be assured they’ll be repaid for debt your business accrues. This is the case even when you have an LLC. It’s always wise to only spend as much on your credit card as you can personally pay back.

If you don’t want to sign a personal guarantee, look for business credit cards that waive this requirement.

Immediate approval is possible, but allow up to two weeks to hear back if your issuer wants to review your application further. Call your issuer and speak with a representative to get answers about your application.

Business credit cards for startups, online businesses, freelancers and more

The following are a few great picks for certain business types. For more options, check out our guide to the best business credit cards.

CardGreat for …Why
American Express® Business Gold CardOnline businesses and e-commerceEarn 4x points on two categories of your choice on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, then 1x points. Categories include US purchases for advertising in select media, US purchases made directly from select technology providers and more.
The Plum Card® from American ExpressFreelancersEach month, you can carry a balance for up to 60 days without incurring interest.
U.S. Bank Business PlatinumStartupsLong intro APR for a business credit card.
Capital One® Spark® Cash for BusinessRestaurantsUnlimited 2% cash back on every purchase.
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit CardBusinesses with frequent travel needsEarn 3x points on travel, shipping, eligible advertising purchases and more for the first $150,000 in combined purchases every card year, then 1x points.

What if my business credit card is denied?

First, figure out why your business was denied. Common reasons include:

  • No credit history.
  • Negative marks on your credit history.
  • Missing or incorrect information on your application.
  • Insufficient business income.

If you think your application was denied in error, you can request reconsideration with the provider. Your provider may give you the chance to submit extra supporting documentation and manually review your application.

If that doesn’t work, it’s time to look at your business’s finances and credit. Work on improving your business’s cash flow and paying bills on time, and you may have much better odds with your next application.

A credit card isn’t the only way to get access to capital, so consider other funding options.

Bottom line

In just a few steps, you can be on your way to getting a business credit card. Compare different business products based on the factors discussed and you could find the perfect card.

Need more help getting a business credit card? Check out these frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

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