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What credit score do you need for business credit cards?

June 08, 2020
8 min read
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If you have a small business, it may be smart to get one or more small business credit cards for your business-related expenses. Even if your business is relatively small, new or informal, you may still be eligible for a business credit card.

If you’re ready to apply for a new credit card for your small business, you may be wondering whether you’ll be able to be approved. Here’s what you need to know about getting approved for a business credit card.

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What credit score do you need for business credit cards?

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Most issuers will perform a credit check with consumer and business credit bureaus when you apply for a business credit card. However, unless you have an established business that is incorporated or a Limited Liability Company (LLC), has a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) and meets other requirements, you likely won’t have any business credit history.

In most cases, you’ll need a good or excellent credit score to be approved for a business credit card. However, you may be able to find some issuers that will accept you for a card with a lower credit score -- especially if your business is well established or has significant annual revenue.

Related reading: Which business credit cards could affect your personal credit?

How to check your credit score

You can check your personal credit score for free through various methods. Some credit cards even offer a free FICO Score just for being a cardholder. It’s also possible to check your business credit score, if you have one, although you’ll generally need to pay to do so.

Related reading: Does closing a business credit card affect my credit score?

How to improve your credit score

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Whether you’re looking to improve your personal or business credit score, you’ll want to focus on responsible credit usage. For example, you’ll want to pay your bills on time, avoid applying for a lot of new credit in a short period and decrease your credit utilization. And, you may want to set up auto-pay on your accounts so that you don’t miss any payments.

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Related reading: How a business credit card could help your personal credit scores

What is the easiest business credit card to get?

The easiest business credit card to get will be a secured credit card. Secured credit cards require a security deposit, but can provide a low-fee option for business owners with poor credit who need a credit card.

There are various secured credit cards for consumers, and these cards may be a better option if you’re mainly interested in improving your credit score. But if you need a business credit card and have poor credit, you may want to consider a secured credit card such as the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card. However, once your credit improves, you’ll likely want to move on to a more traditional business credit card with lower fees, higher rewards and better benefits.

Related reading: 5 ways you might be eligible for a business credit card without realizing it

Can I get a business credit card with bad credit?

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You may be able to get a secured business credit card, such as the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card mentioned above, even if you have bad credit. But, you’ll generally need to improve your credit before applying for traditional business credit cards that offer rewards.

Whether you get a consumer or business secured credit card, you’ll want to focus on paying your balance in full on time each month, staying below your credit limit and keeping your credit utilization as low as possible. Then, once your credit score has improved, you may be able to be approved for a business credit card.

Related reading: 7 credit card rules every business owner should follow

How do I get approved for a small business credit card?

You can apply for most business cards online, and the process is similar to what you’d go through for a personal credit card. However, instead of asking personal questions regarding monthly rent or mortgage and annual income, you’ll generally be asked questions regarding your business. For example, most business credit card applications ask for the legal business name, type of business, industry, number of employees and annual revenue.

To make sure you fill out the application correctly, check out the following guides:

And, remember to use your name as the business name if you’re applying as a sole proprietor unless you’ve registered with your local or state government for a DBA name.

Related reading: 9 side hustles that can help you qualify for a business card

Can I use my EIN to get a credit card?

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When applying for a small business credit card, you’ll generally be asked for your business’ federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) as well as your social security number. Of course, if you are applying as a sole proprietor you won’t need to provide an EIN.

You’ll generally be required to provide your social security number on business credit card applications because the primary cardholder is usually personally responsible for debt accrued on the account. This is one of the primary reasons that some companies decide to move from a small business credit card to a corporate card as their business grows.

Related reading: Best business credit cards

Are business credit cards hard to get?

Business credit cards can be relatively easy to get if you have excellent credit and a bonafide business with solid revenue. But if your credit is less than excellent or your business doesn’t seem healthy, you may have trouble getting approved for some small business cards.

You may also face issues getting a business credit card if you make up a name for your business or can’t provide compelling business details during a call with the issuer. But you can maximize your approval odds by following our guide to applying for a business credit card.

Related reading: 9 reasons to get a business credit card

Bottom line

Many excellent small business credit cards offer business-related bonus categories. Most credit card issuers consider personal credit as well as business credit, when available, to decide whether to approve an application. But, if you have a successful business and a high credit score, you may have success applying for a small business credit card.

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