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For many small-business owners, a business credit card can help streamline finances while building business credit. But if you have little or no business credit, how do you get a business credit card in the first place?
Whether you’re a freelancer or have your own start-up, you’ve probably wondered how to get a business credit card, especially if you’re just starting your business and don’t have any business credit yet.
Even though there are a few differences between business and personal credit cards, the process for applying is similar. Here’s what you should do if you’re trying to get a business credit card.
- Check your personal credit
- Research business credit card options to find one that fits your needs
- Apply for a business credit card
- Begin using your business credit card wisely
Before you start the process of applying for a business credit card, check both your personal and business credit. Both can be considered when you apply.
Lenders may also consider other factors about both you and your business, such as …
- Business revenue
- Business expenses
- Personal income
There are several different types of business cards, so make sure to keep your business needs in mind. It’s important to consider the type of business you have and how you can maximize your rewards based on your business-spending requirements.
For example, a freelance graphic designer with monthly expenses for design software might consider a business credit card with cash back for general purchases. But a business owner who travels frequently might consider a business card with travel rewards instead.
If you’re working on building your business credit, know that not all business credit cards report to business credit-reporting agencies. If you get a card from an issuer that doesn’t, you won’t build your business credit. Before you apply, ask the credit card company if it reports to a business credit-reporting agency.
Compare each card side-by-side so that you can make the best decision and minimize the number of cards you apply for — too many hard inquiries will impact your credit scores.
Once you’ve found the right business credit card for you, fill out an application.
Most credit card companies will accept an application online, where you’ll be provided with a decision. If you don’t receive an immediate decision, your application will be reviewed and a decision will be sent to you.
The application will likely ask for your personal and business information, including …
- Legal business name
- Business address
- Type of business
- Business phone number
- Tax identification number
- Annual business revenue
- Years in business
- Monthly business expenses
- Personal income
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
If you’ve been approved, all you need to do is wait for your card to arrive in the mail. If you applied online, most credit card companies will mail your card within seven to 14 business days. Once you receive your business card, activate it and start using it wisely.
- Carefully review the terms of any related rewards program so you can reap the maximum benefits of your business card.
- Avoid mixing personal and business-related expenses on your business credit card. Doing so will help you when it’s time to sort out your accounting information during tax season.
If you’re a self-employed freelancer or small-business owner, the right business credit card can help you build your business credit if you use it responsibly. But if your business doesn’t have an income yet or you don’t have business credit, be prepared to prove your creditworthiness based on your personal credit history and income.
Once you’ve received your card, use it responsibly to further grow your business and your business credit.