A business credit card is a great way to keep your business expenses separate from your personal ones. It can also help you build a strong credit profile for your business. So how do you apply for one? It’s easier than you might think. Here are the steps to take.
Getting a business credit card is one of the most powerful steps you can take toward keeping your business organized.
It is a great way to keep your business expenses separate from your personal ones.
Beyond that, using a business credit card can help you build a strong credit profile for your business. Credit bureaus track business credit cards and loans when tabulating a credit score for a business.
If you develop a track record of paying your business credit card bills on time and don’t max out your card, it will help you continue to build business credit.
So how do you apply for a business credit card? It is not difficult. Here are the steps to take.
See related:How to build business credit
1. Check your personal credit score
Generally, you will need to personally guarantee a business credit card, and credit card companies will evaluate your loan application based in part on your personal credit history.
If your credit card score needs buffing up, spend three to six months working on lowering your credit utilization — the percentage of your available credit you use — and making sure you pay your bills like clockwork. It’ll make it easier to get a business credit card.
2. Decide which kind of card you need
A business credit card will allow you to carry a balance within a preset credit limit from month to month, but you must make a minimum monthly payment. This type of card can be very helpful if cash flow is tight — especially if you can get a deal offering 0% interest for several months.
A business charge card requires you to pay your entire bill each month. This type of card is ideal if you have a strong cash flow. If you pay on time, there is no interest.
3. Gather the business information you’ll need for your application
An application for a business credit card will typically ask you for your business name (such as Acme LLC), Social Security number or employer identification number (EIN) for your business, your annual business revenue, the number of employees you have and your years in business.
If you would prefer not to use your Social Security number but don’t have an EIN, you can apply for an EIN for free through the IRS.
4. Gather the personal information you may need
Some credit cards require you to provide your personal income and your monthly housing expenses. Review the application before you start entering information so you have all of the documents you need in one place.
5. Submit your application
Many credit card companies allow you to submit your application online, and you can apply for many cards through CreditCards.com. Apply for only one card at a time and see how you fare.
See related:10 things to know about business credit cards
What to do if you get rejected for a business credit card
If you get rejected because you have not built sufficient credit, all is not lost.
Consider applying for a secured business credit card. A secured business credit card often requires you to put down a deposit for the privilege of using the card. While this setup isn’t ideal if you are short of cash, if you can come up with the deposit, it will give you a chance to prove you can use credit responsibly.
If you build up a steady track record of paying your card on time and ideally more than the minimum balance, you should be able to graduate to better credit card deals in the near future. Good luck!