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.
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.
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.
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