How to Get a Business Credit Card
If you are a small business owner, then you should consider getting a business credit card. A great practice for business owners is to keep personal and business finances separate. One way to do that is to apply for a business credit card. Have you been told that credit cards are more trouble than they are worth? That’s not all true; they can be beneficial.
Business credit cards and consumer credit cards have some differences. Consumer credit cards are used to establish a line of credit for individuals. Business credit cards are for business owners — whether that is a corporation, small business, or freelancer — to credit purchases for business expenses. Various institutions offer different options for business credit cards. The key to it all is choosing the right small business credit card that suits your needs.
What Is a Small Business Credit Card?
A small business credit card is a business credit card that establishes a line of credit to cover business-related purchases and tailors to the needs of a small business owner.
Some benefits of a small business credit card are:
- Helps to build a business credit score
- Frees up cash flow
- Higher credit limits than personal credit cards
- Offers perks and reward points
- Opportunities to earn cashback
Trailing the benefits of a small business credit card are the annual fees and high-interest rates.
Who Qualifies for Business Credit Cards?
Technically, as long as you have a business and a legal business name, then you could qualify for a business credit card. You have to be a legally formed business entity — a corporation, S-corp, C-corp, LLC, or sole proprietorship. Any business that is of any size qualifies for a business credit card. Virtually any business that sells a product or service is eligible for a business credit card.
How To Get a Business Credit Card for a New Business
As a new business, you may find it a bit difficult to get access to a flow of cash like a business loan. However, there is another option — a business credit card. Some banks and other financial institutions promote business credit cards for new businesses. To apply for a business credit card, you will have to fill out an application. Applications can be completed online or in person at a bank or other financial institution. You will be contacted with the final decision via email or mail.
Before starting your application, be sure to gather all of your required information to accurately enter the information on the application. Here is a list of the items you need when applying for a business credit card for a new business.
- The legal name of your business
- Your business contact information (phone number and address)
- Business legal structure (entity type)
- Type of business industry
- Business Tax Identification Number or EIN (Employer Identification Number)
- Date of business formation and the number of employees
- Annual business revenue
- Monthly business expenses
- Your legal name, date of birth, and SSN (Social Security Number)
- Your personal income and credit history
You may have noticed that you will need both information for your business and personal information. This information is used in the personal guarantee portion of the application. The personal guarantee acts as an agreement for you to be fully responsible for any debts associated with the business card. This also gives the card issuer the legal right to pursue your personal assets.
How to Get a Business Credit Card With an EIN Only
Most business credit card applications ask for your SSN (social security number) along with a personal guarantee. A business credit card that only requires an EIN (Employer Identification Number) may not ask for a personal guarantee, but there may be different requirements to qualify for the card.
An EIN (employer identification number) is a government-issued nine-digit number with the purpose of identifying a business as a taxpayer. If you haven’t applied for an EIN, you can apply for one on the IRS website.
Business credit cards that ask only for an EIN are most likely corporate business credit cards. These business credit cards don’t ask for an SSN during the application, but they do require businesses to make a certain amount of profit annually.
To apply for a business credit card with an EIN only:
- Your business must first be determined if it is eligible to apply for the corporate business credit card using the EIN.
-Qualifications are based upon entity type, company size, and estimated spending activity for the business credit card.
- Once declared eligible to apply, you have to decide if the corporate business credit card is suitable for your business.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Business Credit Card?
Business credit card applications are completed online and in person. If you completed an application online, then you will be notified almost immediately if your application was approved or denied. However, if you completed your application in person, then it may take up to 7 business days for review.
If you are approved, then you can expect your business credit card to arrive in the mail within 7 to 14 days. If your application was denied, then you can expect notification by mail of the determination. The banking institution may also provide instructions on how to appeal the decision.
Best Business Credit Cards for Your Small Business
There is an overwhelming amount of business credit card options available to small business owners. Some business credit cards may have a higher chance of approval than others. Each business credit card may have something different to offer, but that does not mean that it will be the most beneficial for your business.
Applying for a business credit card because it is the easiest business credit card to get… That is not the best strategy to improve the financial outlook of your business. There are other things you must consider:
- Why does your business need this business credit card? To build a credit score, develop a business credit history, or earn cash back.
- Is your personal credit history able to withstand a hard inquiry from the application process?
- How soon are you planning to use your new business credit card?
- Will your purchases stay below the credit limit?
Business credit cards are beneficial to business owners, but they don’t come without risks. Available to all business owners, business credit cards offer opportunities to build credit scores and credit history. The application process, however, requires information about the business and personal information from the business owner. The information is used in the personal guarantee holding the business owner liable for any debts.
You might be wondering how long you have to be in business to get a business credit card. No need to worry about this. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in business to get a business credit card. Business credit cards are generally available to all businesses. You just have to find the one that fits your business well and apply.
An Outsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.youtube.com/gymconsultant.