How to fill out an Amex business card application
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If you’ve been hesitant to apply for a small business credit card because you’re unsure of how to apply, you’re leaving points on the table. You don’t have to own a traditional brick-and-mortar business to apply for a business card. If you’re a freelancer, Uber or Lyft driver or have any profitable side hustle, you may qualify.
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American Express offers a large portfolio of business cards, so you’re bound to find something that fits your business needs. In this guide, we’ll break down the business card application process specifically for American Express to help you answer some of the confusing questions.
Amex business card overview
Before we begin, it’s important to know that you can only earn a welcome offer for a specific Amex business card once per lifetime. This same restriction applies to Amex 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 TPG-exclusive welcome offer of 125,000 points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. If you’re looking for a card with no annual fee (see rates and fees), you could also opt for The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which 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 (enrollment required for select benefits) and a hefty bonus of 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card in the first 3 months of card membership. Or, you could opt to earn Delta SkyMiles with one of the business Delta credit cards, offering 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 an Amex small business card is almost the same process as applying for a personal Amex credit card. However, there are a few differences that can be hard to navigate if this is your first time applying for a business card.
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:
- Legal business name: As a rule of thumb, for a sole proprietor you should use your name as the business name. My wife is a freelance artist, and she uses her name as her legal business name on card applications. However, if you have set up 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 cardholder’s name (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 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 most 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 starting 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 haven’t registered for a Federal tax ID, you can use your Social Security number here.
- Company role: You are probably the owner, but if you’re not, select whichever best fits your job title.
After filling out your business information, you’ll then scroll down to fill out your personal information.
Most of the questions here are straightforward, but in the “Total Annual Income” box, be sure you include all of your eligible income. This includes any income you can reasonably expect to use to pay your bills. For me, 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. Still, if you receive any income exempt from federal income tax (Social Security, child support, disability benefits, etc.), you can enter that annual total.
The final step is entering the address (home or business) you’d like American Express to send your bill to and 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 Amex needs further information from you.
If your card application is denied or put into the pending category, one option is to call Amex’s reconsideration line (1-877-567-1083 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.
Even if you only have a part-time side hustle, you may be able to 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 product, so opening a Delta business card won’t limit you from opening the personal version of that card later on.
Additional reporting by Stella Shon.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.
Featured image by Image by Dan Rentea/Shutterstock.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
This card offers 2X points on the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1X point thereafter.
- 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