How to Get a Business Credit Card in 2024

Updated Dec 5, 2022.

Applying for a business credit card holds numerous advantages for businesses irrespective of their sizes. A business credit card helps you build your business credit fast, boosts your chances of getting a business loan, and keeps your business finances distinct from your personal ones.

Business credit cards provide your business with higher credit limits compared with personal credit cards. Some business credit cards provide you the opportunity to earn rewards each time you use them for business transactions. These rewards include cashback and redeemable points.

With so many business credit card options available in the market, you can easily get overwhelmed with the multitude of options. Every business credit card has its application process, terms, and benefits. You need to carefully select the best option for your business needs.

In this article, you will learn how to get a business credit card and the best options that fit your business needs.

Let’s get started.

1. Research Business Credit Card Options To Find One That Fits Your Needs

The first step for getting a credit card for your business is weighing your options. To effectively do this, you first identify what your business is and what it actually needs in a credit card.

Different credit card issuers offer different credit options, fee structures, and rewards alongside your loan. To put this in full perspective, here are some features credit cards possess with differing offers from card issuers and the best-recommended issuer for these, in case your needs fit into that category.

Introductory Bonus

Great If You Intend To Make Substantial Purchases Within The First Few Months

Introductory bonuses are extra perks, like points or cashback, you earn from your card issuer for signing up with it. Although not all card issuers grant you this option, it proves very useful where available.

You usually reap these benefits when you make a certain set amount of purchases with your business credit card, with this varying from issuer to issuer.

However, if you feel introductory bonuses prove useful to your business needs, ensure to check the terms and conditions for accessing them. This is not just about the amount to spend but, for some card issuers, also relates to the type of purchases.

Best Option

For introductory bonuses, your best option is the Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card. With it, you get $750 cashback when you make purchases worth $7,500 in the first three months.

0% APR

Good If You Intend To Build Your Credit Score

A 0% APR means you do not pay any interest on any loan you take up for the set time determined by your issuer (typically 12 months). How is this beneficial?

For individuals planning to improve on business credit scores, you easily roll over your debt without attracting extra interest. This means you easily pay up loans, even before payback day, and give a good impression to your card issuer.

Of course, for this to be truly beneficial, you have to pay your loans before this set time elapses and interest starts to accrue. Paying at the end of each month proves to be the best practice for this.

You also want to check the subsequent APR charged by your card issuer, with this additionally depending on your creditworthiness and the market.

Best Option

One credit card issuer you could rely on for this is the American Express Blue Business Card Plus, offering you a 12-month 0% APR benefit. There are also no annual fees.

Foreign Transaction Fee Waiver

Great If You Make a Lot of Foreign Transactions

Some card issuers waive fees on the foreign transactions you make. Foreign transactions do not necessarily need to be from transactions you make while in another country but include transactions made with a foreign business or through a non-domestic bank.

The general foreign transaction rate among institutions who charge it is about 3% and having this waived is particularly useful if you travel a lot.

Best Option

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card proves very beneficial for this, waiving all foreign transaction fees and going the extra step to offer you travel-related rewards like points on your travel-related purchases.

In addition to these options, some extra credit card features to look out for include:

  • A rewards program, with the Chase Ink Business Cash credit card, presents you with great perks depending on where you spend and what you spend on.
  • The annual fee charged, which usually depends on the perks you get from using the card. The Chase Ink Business Cash credit card also has you covered on this.
  • Whether a more flexible charge card proves more beneficial to your business’s financial needs than a business credit card.

2. Check Your Personal Credit

Your credit score represents how well you are perceived to pay up debt by lenders. Usually placed between the range of 300 to 850 and linked to your social security number, your personal credit score does not just determine if you get to receive a loan but also affects the loan amount and options you get from your lender.

The higher your score, the more beneficial and numerous your credit options are. Checking to see where it is before applying for a business credit card is crucial. You do not want a situation where your credit score does not attract options that fully cover your business financial needs.

Reasons for not receiving financing by small businesses in the US in 2019
Source: Cloudistro

Thankfully, you get to improve your credit scores by engaging in certain activities. Lenders typically consider your reported business revenues, expenses, and personal income.

However, some extra factors that improve your credit score include paying existing debt preferably before the repayment date, paying bills on time, resolving credit issues, and charging low on your overall credit each month.

Regardless of these, having a credit score of about 650 puts you in a good place with a lot of lenders. Having a credit score below this should keep you from applying for a business credit card. Instead, engage in business credit-building activities so that your eventual credit options are financially actionable for your business.

3. Apply For A Business Credit Card

To apply for a business credit card, you need to have and submit certain personal and business information and documentation. This process is completed within minutes. Some of the most important of these documentations include:

  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). An identification number that is used for tax purposes in the US and other countries using the Common Reporting Standard, and found on the Form W-7 or SS-4 IRS forms.
  • Social Security Number (SSN). The Social Security Number of any other individual that has ownership over 20% or more of your business
  • Incorporation Documents. This give information on the number of years your business has existed
  • Recent Financial Statements. They include balance sheets and income statements that provides information on your recent revenue and expenses
  • Lists of Individuals to Bear Business Credit Cards: If applying for multiple individuals under your company, a list of these individuals who will be given cards to get loans in the company’s name.

After gathering all these documents and information, you then proceed to apply for the business credit card. For most issuers, this process is facilitated online, and, depending on the issuer, additional information is collected from you.

Some additional information collected includes your business’s legal name, contact information, industry type, legal structure, personal credit history, and personal guarantee, among others.

You submit all these during the application process and may be required to perform follow-up actions via email or phone for verifications.

4. Wait For Your Business Credit Card In The Mail, Activate It, And Use It Wisely

At this stage, you await approval from your business credit card issuer. For applications online, the approval process may take a few minutes or span a couple of days depending on the follow-up actions required and the level of verification your issuer gets involved in.

Once approved, you then wait for your business credit card to arrive in your mail, which usually takes between 7 to 14 business days for most card issuers. You activate your card and start using it.

However, while using your business credit card, there are certain tips and advice you would like to follow.

  • Avoid Using Your Business Credit Card for Your Personal Expenses. Calculating tax is hard enough and having to sort out your personal and business-oriented expenses makes the whole process even more tedious. All you need to do to make this easier is to limit the use of your business credit card to business-oriented expenses and take out loans you can recuperate easily.
  • Check All the Perks and Benefits Your Card Issuer Offers. Different business credit card providers offer different perks and benefits to users. Aside from checking out the perks and benefits your card issuer provides, you always want to carefully check the conditions attached to get the most out of them. Some business credit card issuers only offer perks and benefits on several kinds of purchases and spending limits.
  • Repay Loans on Time: Use your business credit card wisely. Do not incur bad debts but your business credit card to build your credit. You can do this by repaying your loans on time so your lending institution feels free and confident enough to extend your credit score even further. This could be key to your business’ growth.

Business Credit Card FAQ

Who Can Apply for a Business Credit Card?

Anyone can apply for a business credit card. You do not need to have a business like an LLC or corporation to apply. However, when applying for a business credit card, your provider will ask what type of business you do and also require you to fill in your business tax identification number as per its requirements.

You can apply as a sole proprietor and use your social security number in place of your tax identification number. Banks will look into your personal credit score if you want to open a business credit card. Once you open your business credit card, your transaction in the business credit card will not affect your personal credit score. 

How Do I Get Approved for a Business Credit Card?

Credit card issuers always look into certain requirements when issuing a business credit card. You should know your personal credit score is important when you want to request a business credit card. 

Your personal credit score should be at least 690 to get a business credit card. Other requirements your credit card issuer will look into before approving your business credit card include your expenses and financial history.

Can I Use my EIN to Apply for a Business Credit Card?

If you want to apply for a business credit card using your EIN (Employer Identity number), this means you are either avoiding personal liability or your credit score is too low. You have to look for a business credit card issuer that will issue a business credit card even if they need more information than just your EIN if you want to apply.

Your credit score is one of the requirements for getting a business credit card. You will struggle to get a top business credit card that suits your business needs if you apply with your EIN. The type of cards you can easily get with your Employer Identification Number is corporate cards or prepaid cards. 

How Do I Get a Business Credit Card for a New Business?

Getting a business credit card for a new business you just opened is easy. You do not even need to have an established business before you get it.

Credit card issuers often use your personal credit score to determine if you are qualified for a business credit card. You can state your business has not made any money yet.

The credit card issuer will have to look into your personal finances instead to determine if they will issue a business credit card to you.

What Credit Score is Needed to Get a Business Credit Card?

When applying for a business credit card, you will need your personal credit score. The reason is that when you can not pay your credit card balance, you have to pay with your personal account. This means a business owner will have to pay what is owed even if the business fails to pay.

Your personal credit score is needed to get a business credit card. Once your credit score is good then you have a list of business credit card issuers you can apply from.

A FICO score of at least 690 is a good score to apply for a business credit card. If your score is less than 690, you need to have the habit of credit building like paying your bills on time which can increase your score. 

Do Business Credit Cards Check my Personal Credit Score?

A business credit card issuer will have to know your personal credit score before issuing a business credit card for you. A FICO score of at least 690 is required.

There are a lot of other credit card issuers that will go below 690 for personal credit to issue you a business credit card. This will determine if you are eligible to get a business credit card.

After getting a business credit card through your personal credit score, you will be personally responsible for the business debt if the business can not pay them.  This is why a personal credit score and a full inquiry are made into it when issuing a business credit card.

Even if you are incorporated or have an LLC, the credit card issuer still requires a personal guarantee. If the business can not pay its debt, someone will have to pay them.

What Factors Impact Business Credit Card Approval?

Credit card issuers need a lot of information about the business and business owner to grant a business credit card out.

The information required by a credit card issuer includes the type of business (any legal business although some issuers do not accept sole proprietor and non-profit businesses), your revenue or estimated revenue, your personal credit score, your industry, and guarantees for your business.

There is a lot of information required depending on the credit card issuer. A business credit card can be denied for several reasons. The main reason why even if all your information is right is your personal credit score.

If all your information is right and you have an excellent credit score, you are 100% ready for a business credit card. This is a two-way street relationship between your business credit card and personal credit.

Any issue with approving the business credit card is traceable to the owner of the personal credit. You should not apply for a business credit card if your personal credit is bad and you already have a lot of debt.

Also, you need a lot of revenue to run your business since your personal credit score is connected to your business. If your business takes time to pay or default in any transaction, it will affect your personal credit score.

Which Business Credit Card Should I Get?

The right business credit card can grow your business credit and business. Before applying for a business credit card, you first have to know the needs of your business, and then determine the card features that best suit those needs.

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Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.