For many small business owners, the ideal business credit card is one that does not require them to provide a Social Security number on the application. Some cards let you apply with a taxpayer identification number, but it may take some legwork.
For many small business owners, the ideal business credit card is one that does not require them to provide a Social Security number on the application.
Some simply don’t want their business credit to be linked to their Social Security number; they prefer to build credit for their business under their federal tax ID. Others may not have a Social Security number yet. Sometimes that is the case for new immigrants who run a business.
Can you get a business credit card without an SSN?
Fortunately, it is possible to get a business credit card without a Social Security number, but it is harder to do than applying with one.
There are generally two ways to do this. Some business credit cards will let you apply with an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), a number available to immigrants and their spouses. You may have to review a number of credit card applications online to find one that will allow you to apply using your ITIN. Most issuers require an SSN, though some — American Express, Bank of America and Citibank — accept just the ITIN, or even a foreign passport.
Other business credit cards will let you apply using your employer identification number (EIN), a federal tax identification number that the government uses to identify a business entity. You can use your ITIN to apply for your EIN, which is required anyway, for your business to operate. You can apply for one through the IRS for free online.
Why most credit cards require a Social Security number
Most credit cards require a Social Security number because, under federal law, financial institutions must verify the identity of anyone who opens a new account. Banks will typically require an identification number such as a Social Security number, passport number or ITIN to ensure they’ve covered their legal obligations.
Another reason is that issuers often require a personal guarantee on your business credit card in case you cannot make payments. That means they’ll still hold you financially responsible for your business’s bills, even if your business cannot pay up.
How to apply for a business credit card without a Social Security number
Here are some steps you’ll need to take to apply for a business credit card without a Social Security number.
- Research credit cards: Before you start applying, you should narrow down which card you’d like to apply for. As discussed above, some issuers that don’t require an SSN include American Express, Bank of America and Citibank.
- Apply for an ITIN: This is the best option for undocumented or new immigrants who don’t have an SSN, and you can easily apply online via the IRS website. Per the website, the application could take around seven weeks to process.
- Apply for an EIN: Even if you have an SSN, you’d still need to register your business for an EIN to operate it properly. Much like an SSN or ITIN, an EIN is necessary for tax purposes. You can use your newly established ITIN on the EIN application, which you can also do online.
- Apply for a business credit card: Use your new forms of identification on your business card application finally. It should be a relatively quick turnaround from here.
Business cards to apply for with an EIN
Many business owners consider it advantageous to apply for a credit card using an EIN. One benefit of using an EIN is that it will help you build your business’s credit profile. Credit bureaus track businesses by their EIN, so spending on your business card should count toward your business’s credit history.
Here are some cards that will allow you to apply with an EIN:
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- Brex 30 Card
- Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®*
Some additional credit card options that don’t require an SSN and only ask for an EIN are corporate cards, corporate store cards, corporate gas cards and prepaid business credit cards.
It takes some extra effort to apply for a business credit card without a Social Security number, but for many small businesses, it is worth the time. Having a business credit card can help you build your company’s credit profile, paving the way to additional credit when you need it to grow your business.
*All information about the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.