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How to Apply for Business Credit Cards

How business credit cards differ from personal credit cards and how to apply even if you don’t have a “traditional” business Read more >

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* Suggested credit score ranges are supplied by QuinStreet, not from the issuers, and are guidelines, not a guarantee of approval.

Let’s just cover the basics. For one, business credit cards do not have to offer all the same consumer protections as consumer cards, though in practice they tend to offer most of them anyway.

The main questions people have are around how a business credit card affects your credit score. Most issuers will pull one credit report (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion). This is a normal hard pull. Exceptions are Capital One which will pull all three reports and American Express that will often not pull any at all if you already have a relationship with them. A hard inquiry generally will drop your score in the neighbohood of 7-10 points for a few weeks and then bounce right back.

Beyond that inquiry, though, they will never show up on your personal credit file unless you are in default. The card won’t appear there at all and your credit utilization will not be reported to the credit bureaus at all. This makes a business card a great choice for heavy spend, so the credit bureaus don’t see a super high utilization on your personal credit card.

The only exception to this rule is Capital One. Their Spark Cash Plus will not report to your personal credit, however, their other business cards will. That doesn’t mean that you should overlook excellent Capital One business cards like the Spark Miles for Business which earns 2X on everything with no limit.

Also note that business credit cards that don’t report to your personal credit also do not count against your Chase 5/24 score.

Business Credit Cards: Are You Eligible?

If you have a full on business with an EIN, then obviously yes, you can get a business credit card. Skip to the cards. But what if you don’t?

1) You do need to conduct business outside of a day job to get business credit cards. You are not eligible if you have a salaried position and no other income.

2) A side hustle counts. If you consult on the side, then you qualify for a business credit card. If you sell things on eBay or Craigslist, you qualify. If you sell goods or services anywhere, you qualify!

3) Note that if you do not have a registered business name and an EIN, you must apply in a very specific way, described below. Pay careful attention or you will be declined for a business credit card.

Apply as follows:

  • Your business name is just your real name. If you are “Jim Smith” on your personal credit cards, then put “Jim Smith” as your name and “Jim Smith” again as your Business name. DO NOT MAKE UP A BUSINESS NAME.
  • Your Tax ID number is your Social Security Number.
  • Your business income will be the amount you make or expect to make from your side business.
  • Do *not* include other income (such as investment income) etc, unless it is part of your business.


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