How to fill out an Amex business card application

Sep 10, 2019

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

If you’re a freelancer, Uber or Lyft driver or have any type of profitable side hustle, you might qualify for the top business credit cards. If you’ve been hesitant to apply for a small-business credit card because you’re unsure of how the process works, you’re leaving points on the table. So let’s break down the business-card application process, starting with American Express, and take a look at the questions that are most likely to trip you up.

You can only earn a welcome bonus for a specific Amex business card once per lifetime, which is the same restriction Amex has on its consumer cards. But there are several great Amex business cards to choose from, so you’ve got plenty of options. You could earn flexible Amex Membership Rewards points with The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which currently has an increased bonus offer of up to 75,000 points after spending $20,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months. Or you could opt for The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express which has no annual fee (see rates and fees) and earns 2x Membership Rewards points on every purchase on the first $50,000 spent on eligible purchases each calendar year, then 1x.

Amex also issues a range of cobranded small-business credit cards. If you’re looking for free hotel stays The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card comes with automatic Gold Hilton status (free breakfast), 10 Priority Pass airport lounge visits per year and a hefty 130,000 Hilton-point bonus, which you can earn after spending $3,000 in the first three months of account opening. Or you could opt to earn Delta SkyMiles with one of the business (or personal) Delta credit cards that have perks such as priority boarding and a free checked bag for you and up to eight companions.

How to complete an Amex business card application

Applying for Amex small-business cards is almost exactly the same process as applying for a personal Amex credit card — but the few differences can be confusing if you’ve never done it before. In the coming days I’ll also be writing step-by-step guides on how to fill out Capital One and Chase business-card applications, so sign up for The Points Guy’s email list to get notified when those are published.

If you already have an Amex credit card, you can sign into your account to shorten the application process. But if you’re new to Amex, the first page of your business-card application will look like this:

The basic information, like your email address, is straightforward, so let’s look at the boxes that can be tricky and what you should enter for each one:

  • Legal business name: As a rule of thumb, for a sole proprietor you should use your name as the business name. My wife is freelance artist and she uses her name as her legal business name on card applications. However, if you have setup a legal structure for your business (LLC, etc.) or registered a name for your business (aka a fictitious name or DBA – doing business as), then you’ll put the name you registered here.
  • Business name on card: This is the business name that will appear on your credit card just below the name of the cardholder (you or the authorized user). You can just put your legal business name here, although sometimes it won’t fit.
  • Business address: This can be the same as your home address if you do business from home or don’t have a separate business address.
  • Company structure: In most cases your company structure will be “sole proprietorship.” If you’re running a business by yourself, you’re mostly likely a sole proprietor. This includes most freelancers, Uber drivers, eBay resellers, etc. But, if you’ve got a partner, select “partnership.”  If you have set up some sort of legal business structure (LLC, S-Corp, etc.), choose “corporation.”
  • Number of employees: You count as an employee so you’ll always select at least one.
  • Annual business revenue: This is all the money your business earns in a year before taxes or any other expenses. If you’re just starting out in business, it’s okay to put zero.
  • Estimated monthly spend: The amount of monthly expenses you anticipate putting on the card.
  • Federal tax ID: If you’re a sole proprietor and you haven’t registered for a Federal tax ID, you can use your Social Security number here.
  • Role in company: You are probably the owner, but if you’re not, select whichever best fits your job title.

Once you’ve filled out the last page and hit “continue,” you’ll get to a page like the one below (unless you’re signed into your Amex account).

 

On the second application page most of the questions are straightforward, but in the “Total Annual Income” box be sure you’re including all of your eligible income. If you’re over 21, this includes any income you can reasonably expect to use to pay your bills. For me that means I can include my wife’s income and my income in this section. Your “Total Annual Income” will include any profits you’ve taken from your business as well.

The Non-Taxable Annual Income box is optional and can be left blank, but if you receive any income that is exempt from federal income tax (Social Security, child support, disability benefits, etc.), you can enter that annual total.

The final step is selecting which address (home or business) you’d like American Express to send your bill to and then reviewing the terms and conditions. At this point you can save the application and apply later or submit it for review. Often you’ll get an instant response, but sometimes your application can go into pending status.

If your card application is denied or put into the pending category, one option is to call Amex’s reconsideration line (877-399-3083 for new accounts). Sometimes answering a few simple questions or verifying minor details is all you’ll need to do to get an application approved. Other times you might be able to shift credit from existing accounts to the new card or be able to close an existing account to get your new application approved. Every situation is different but talking to an agent on the phone is an opportunity to humanize your application or at the very least find out the specific reasons your application was declined.

Bottom line

Even if you only have a part-time side hustle, you could qualify for many of the best small-business credit cards and completing the application is simpler than it may seem. In most cases, if you’re a sole proprietor, you can use your Social Security number as your business tax ID, and you can use your name as your business name.

One advantage to applying for an Amex business card is that it won’t appear on your personal credit report, which means it doesn’t add to your Chase 5/24 count. And because Amex limits you to earning a welcome offer for a specific card once per lifetime, applying for business cards will expand your options for earning new bonuses. For example, there are three Amex Delta business cards in addition to the available consumer cards and each card is considered a different a product, so opening a Delta business card won’t limit you from opening the personal version of that card later on.

Featured image by Image by Dan Rentea/Shutterstock.

For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

This card offers 2X points on the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1X point thereafter.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn up to $300 back to boost your business. You can earn up to $100 in the form of statement credits at each of the following merchants: Dell Technologies, DocuSign or FedEx after you make an eligible purchase on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
  • You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
  • More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24% - 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
Regular APR
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
Annual Fee
No annual fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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