Your personal credit score is up. Time for a business credit card?

Americans' credit scores have improved in the COVID era. Here's what you should do if you're a business owner with a score on the rise


If you’re in the market for a business credit card, haven’t built up much business credit and have gotten the good news that your personal credit score has gone up, you may find that you have more options available than in the past. Here’s what to do next.

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One of the more surprising developments during the COVID-19 pandemic has been improved consumer credit.

The average FICO score for consumers was 711 as of July, according to data from the credit scoring firm. Experian, too, reported that credit scores had risen. As of October, the average Vantage Score was 688, a six-point jump since 2019.

Some experts believe that stimulus payments have helped people pay down their balances, lowering credit utilization. Meanwhile, consumers have had fewer opportunities to spend money on purchases like entertainment, helping many to lower their balances.

Check out all the answers from our credit card experts.

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One thing many business owners discover when they apply for business credit cards is that lenders look at their personal credit score. Business credit and personal credit are different, but when a new business does not have enough business credit to qualify for financing on its own, lenders look at the owner’s personal credit.

As you may have noticed, almost all business credit cards require a personal guarantee – a promise you will pay the balance if the business can’t.

So, if you’re in the market for a business credit card, haven’t built up much business credit and have gotten the good news that your personal credit score has gone up, you may find that you have more options available than in the past.

See related: What are the differences between business credit cards and personal cards?

How to make the most of a credit score improvement

Compare it with your old score

If it has only gone up by just a few points, chances are your options will be similar to the last time you applied. However, if it has risen significantly, check out the options available for your level of credit, such as “good credit” or “excellent credit.”

You may be able to qualify for a card with a lower interest rate or larger credit limit than the ones you currently have. lists a number of business cards and requirements for applicants.

Review your current cards

Review the terms of any business cards you already have. If any of them started out as 0% interest deals but now have started charging higher interest, you may be able to do a balance transfer to a card offering better terms if you successfully apply for a business credit card now.

See related: How to do a balance transfer to a business credit card

Check your balances

Make sure to avoid high credit utilization on your business cards. Some of them do report to the credit bureaus that track your personal credit. Using most of the credit on any given card can negatively impact your credit score.

Pay your credit card bills on time

This goes for both business cards and personal cards. You’ll want to do all you can to not only keep your personal score high but also to build good business credit.

Build your business credit

Make sure you are building a business credit score, so you don’t have to rely on your personal credit as much in the future. To make sure you are being tracked, check with the major credit bureaus that track business credit.

See related: How to check a small business’s credit report and credit score

Bottom line

Remember, the best time to apply for credit is always when you don’t need it. Even if you don’t need to purchase anything on a business credit card in the near future, it doesn’t hurt to have one tucked away in a drawer, in case you ever do.

Lenders shy away from offering credit when a business is short of funds, because they want to be paid back. If your personal credit score is better than it’s ever been, why not make the most of it?

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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