Business credit cards for bad credit

Getting a credit card for your business if you have bad credit can be hard, but isn't necessarily impossible. Here's how to increase your chances.

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Maybe your business is brand new and doesn’t have much of a credit history, or it hasn’t had the smoothest ride in the past. Either way, your business credit score is less than ideal.

Now you’d like a business credit card, but don’t know how to approach this daunting task. Let’s see if we can point you in the right direction.

How do I get a business credit card if I have bad credit?

We’re not going to lie to you, getting a business credit card with bad credit could be complicated. Most require a good credit score and you don’t have a huge number of credit cards to choose from in the first place. Still, following these good practices will make things a bit easier:

1. Don’t apply for many credit cards at the same time

It’s likely to damage your credit score even more. Only apply for one credit card that you’re confident you can be approved for instead.

If you’re refused, give yourself a few months before trying again. Most “hard” credit checks, like the ones that are carried out when you apply for a credit card, stay on your credit report for 12 months.

2. Check the eligibility criteria

This is the first thing to look at. For example, most business credit cards require a minimum annual turnover, while some are only available to businesses that have been operating for a few years.

3. Use an eligibility checker

Even if your business meets the eligibility criteria, it doesn’t mean that it will automatically qualify for the cards. Lenders usually offer a tool that allows you to enter your business details and see how likely you are to get approved for a card. It isn’t a full application and does a “soft” search that will not show on your credit report.

4. You may be asked for a personal guarantee

This means that you agree to be personally responsible for any debt you accumulate on your business credit card. Personal guarantees are less than ideal – as a rule of thumb you shouldn’t mix up your personal and business finances. However, in some cases they are a necessary evil.

You can always switch to a business credit card that doesn’t require one once your business credit score has improved.

5. Expect a low credit limit and a high rate

If you are approved, you probably won’t get the advertised rate. Be prepared for that and, initially, also expect a low credit limit.

Ideally, you want to get your first business credit card asap and gradually build up your credit score and credit limit. This way, when you actually need to spread out the cost of a purchase, you’ll be in the position to apply for a good credit card and get a decent rate.

6. Try to improve your credit score

Both your personal and business ones. This is easier said than done, we know, but there are a few simple things that can help, from making sure you’re on the electoral register to asking your suppliers to share payment data with the credit reference agencies.

You can learn more on your business credit score in this guide and on your personal one in this other guide.

How to compare business credit cards for bad credit

There are many factors to take into account, the most important one being the likelihood of being accepted. Apart from that, you should also give a thought to the following features:

  • Annual fee. This is the annual cost of your card. Some providers waive it for the first year or if you spend enough on the card.
  • Interest rate. This can be quite high if your business credit score isn’t great, so you really want to pay off your credit card bill on time every month.
  • Credit limit reviews. If you get a low credit limit at the beginning, try and find out if it can be reviewed after a few months.
  • Budgeting and accounting features. Does the card come with a mobile app to help you stay on top of your expenses? Can you feed the data into your accounting software?
  • Additional cards. How much will it cost to give additional cards to other members of your team?
  • Rewards and perks. If you can bag some, it’s great. For example, some business credit cards offer cashback or air miles on your spending.

Compare business credit cards

Table: sorted by interest rate on purchases.
Updated April 6th, 2020
Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rewards earn rate Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
Capital on Tap Business Credit Card
39.41%
£0
N/A
39.9% (variable)
Upgrade to Capital on Tap Business Rewards Card for £99 pa to earn 1 point for every £1 spent. 1 point can be redeemed for either 1 Avios or 1p in cashback. 10,000 bonus points when £5,000 spent in first 3 months. Up to 20 free supplementary cards available.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 39.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).
Capital on Tap Business Rewards Card
39.9%
£99 p.a.
1 point per £1 spent
39.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent. 1 points can be redeemed for either 1 Avios or 1p in cashback. 10,000 bonus points when £5,000 spent in first 3 months. Up to 20 free supplementary cards available.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 39.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).
British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card
22.9%
£210 per annum
1.5 points per £1 spent
81.6% (variable)
Earn 1.5 On Business Points for every £1 spent with BA on eligible flights and 1.5 Avios for every eligible £1 spent on credit card. Earn an extra 3,000 On Business Points annually when £20K or more spent by card anniversary.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £210 per annum, your representative rate is 81.6% APR (variable).
American Express Gold Business Card
N/A (this product is a charge card).
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £125
1 point per £1 spent
N/A (this product is a charge card).
Earn 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points when you spend £3,000 in first 3 months of Card membership. Earn 1 Membership Rewards® point for every £1 spent thereafter.
American Express Platinum Business Card
N/A (this product is a charge card).
£595 p.a.
1 point per £1 spent
N/A (this product is a charge card).
Earn 40,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points when you spend £6,000 in first 3 months of Card membership. Earn 1 Membership Rewards® point for every £1 spent thereafter.
Metro Bank Business Credit Card Mastercard
14.9%
£0
N/A
14.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 14.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 14.9% APR (variable).
HSBC Commercial Credit Card Visa
15.9%
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £32 per annum
N/A
22% (variable)
Identity Theft Assistance helpline and online tool. Liability Waiver for companies who have two or more cardholders. 24 hour customer service support.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 15.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £32 per annum, your representative rate is 22% APR (variable).
Bank of Scotland Business Credit Card Mastercard
17.57%
£32 per annum
N/A
22.4% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.57% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £32 per annum, your representative rate is 22.4% APR (variable).
Clydesdale Bank Business Mastercard
16.9%
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £28 per annum
N/A
22.4% (variable)
Receive discounts at participating retailers with the Mastercard Business Savings scheme.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 16.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £28 per annum, your representative rate is 22.4% APR (variable).
Lloyds Bank Business Credit Card Mastercard
17.57%
£32 per annum
N/A
22.4% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.57% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £32 per annum, your representative rate is 22.4% APR (variable).
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Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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