Can a business credit card affect my personal credit?

Discover how a business credit card can affect your personal credit score.

Updated

With a business credit card, your business is liable for all debts incurred by default, not you. However, there are occasions when your business credit card could affect your personal credit score.

When could a business credit card affect my personal credit score?

  • Applying for a business credit card. When you apply for a business credit card, a lender will always assess your business credit report. However, in some cases, your personal credit report will also be checked. This is especially common when your business is new and there’s not much trading history to assess. When your personal credit report is checked, it will produce a slight dip in your credit score.
  • If you have a personal guarantee and default on your debt. Most business credit cards will require you to sign a personal guarantee when you apply. This contract states that you’ll become personally responsible for any debts your business defaults on. In the case that a lender does make attempts to retain debts from your personal accounts, this will harm your personal credit score.
  • When your credit card providers report account activity to consumer credit bureaus. All business credit card providers will report account activity to commercial credit reference agencies and this information will be used to create your business credit score. However, some providers may also report certain activity to consumer credit reference agencies. These agencies may use this information to alter your personal credit score.

How can I protect my personal credit score from a business credit card?

The following behaviours will help ensure you maintain a healthy business and personal credit score.

  • Pay your bill on time. If you pay your business credit card bill on time, you won’t have to worry about lenders retrieving debts from your personal accounts, nor having late payments reported to consumer credit reference agencies.
  • Stay under your limit. When you keep your credit utilisation low, it’s easier to qualify for other credit cards or business loans in the future.
  • Use your business credit card for business purchases only. This will make it easier to manage your finances and helps to draw a line between your personal and business credit scores.

Do I need a business credit card that won’t affect my personal credit?

It may be possible to seek out a credit card that doesn’t report transactions to consumer credit reference agencies.

However, provided you’re able to avoid serious delinquencies such as late payments or defaults, it’s unlikely to make a huge difference.

These “red flags” are likely to end up on your personal credit report, regardless of your card provider.

Dos and don’ts

Do

  • Choose the best business credit card for your needs, based on rates, terms and credit limits
  • Spend within your means
  • Check your personal credit report if you’re worried about business transactions being recorded there

Don’t

  • Choose a credit card based solely on what it reports to consumer credit bureaus
  • Use your business credit card for personal purchases
  • Fall behind on credit card repayments

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