Clearing up the confusion: How to complete a Chase business credit card application

Sep 13, 2019

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Chase issues many of the best travel credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve. But Chase also has one of the more restrictive application rules for its cards — the dreaded 5/24 rule.

Here’s how it works: If you’ve opened five or more credit cards from any bank in the past 24 months, you won’t be eligible for a Chase credit card. That’s harsh, but there are ways to work around it. For example, business credit cards from most other banks won’t appear on your personal credit report, so they don’t add to your 5/24 count. The exceptions are Discover and Capital One, whose business credit cards do add to your 5/24 count.

Small-business cards from Chase are a bit of a different animal. These cards won’t increase your 5/24 count, but they are restricted by it. For example, let’s say you’ve applied for four cards in the past 24 months, so your 5/24 count is 4/24. If you then applied for the Chase IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you’d be at 5/24 and would no longer qualify for any of the valuable Chase Ink business credit cards.

But if you applied for a Chase business card first, it wouldn’t increase your 5/24 count because Chase business cards don’t appear on your personal credit report. So you could be approved for the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and still leave the door open to be approved for another Chase credit card. That’s why it’s important to include business cards as part of your miles and points strategy.

How to complete a Chase business card application

A Chase business card application is very similar to a Chase consumer card application, but there are a few differences. The biggest difference is that you’ll need to have a business that earns revenue. That can be easier to achieve than you might realize — you don’t need a full-time business or even a six-figure income from your business activities to be approved for a small-business card. And if you do have a business, having a business card isn’t just a good way to earn extra rewards — it’s also essential to keeping your business and personal expenses separate.

For instance, you can qualify for business cards as a part-time freelance writer, designer, consultant or artist. Also, gigs where you aren’t an employee like Uber, Lyft, some delivery driver apps (Postmates and Grubhub) or dog walking apps (Rover or Wag) can also be eligible businesses.

Let’s take a look at the Chase business card application and go over the information that’s most likely to trip you up. All Chase business credit card applications will look the same, but if you’re applying for a cobranded business card — such as the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, or the United Explorer Business Card just to use a few examples — you’ll have the option to add your loyalty program number. If you don’t add a number, one will be assigned to you and a new loyalty account will be created in your name. This can be a bit of a headache if you already have a loyalty account with that airline or hotel because you’ll end up having to merge the two accounts.

Let’s take a look at the first online Chase business credit card application screen:

Here’s the information you’ll need to add to each part of the application:

  • Legal name of business: If you’re a sole proprietor — meaning your business is just you operating under your own name — you can use your name as the “legal business name.” However, if you’ve filed with your local or state government for a DBA (doing business as) name, you’ll put that name here. Also, if you’ve set up any sort of legal business structure, like an LLC, your “legal business name” will be the name of the LLC or other entity. A very important note here: do not make up a business name if you don’t have a DBA for it. Chase may ask for proof of your business, and if you don’t have a DBA under the business name you entered in this field (aside from your own personal name), you’ll likely be denied for a card.
  • Business name on card: This doesn’t have to be your legal business name because it’s just the business name that will be etched onto your card (just below the cardholder’s name). You might need to abbreviate the name you enter here because longer names might not fit.
  • Business mailing address: If you work at home or don’t have a business address, entering your home address is fine.
  • Type of business: If you’re the only owner, then select “sole proprietor.” If your business has two or more owners, choose “partnership.” If your business is registered as any of the other options (LLC, corporation, non-profit), select the appropriate option.
  • Business phone: This can be a home or mobile phone.
  • Tax identification number: If you’re a sole proprietor, you can use your Social Security number as your tax ID. Otherwise, you’ll need a federal EIN (Employer Identification Number) which you can easily apply for with the IRS.
  • Number of employees: You count as an employee, so this number will be at least one.
  • Annual business revenue/sales: This is the total annual income of your business before you deduct any expenses or taxes. This doesn’t need to be a huge number — some new businesses get approved with little or no income, but if you do have business revenue, it’ll certainly improve the likelihood of getting an approval.
  • Years in business: If you’ve been in business less than one year, enter zero.
  • General industry/category/specific type: Choose the options that best describe your business.

Now you’ll move on to the second Chase business credit card application screen:

Most of the personal information you have to fill out is straightforward. If your home address is the same as your business address, check that box and you won’t need to re-enter the same information. When it comes to your “total gross annual income,” you want to be sure to include any eligible income, which according to Chase includes:

  • Full-time or part-time jobs
  • Internships
  • Seasonal jobs
  • Interest
  • Dividends
  • Social Security benefits
  • Public assistance

You can also include “money that someone else deposits regularly into your account,” and if you’re 21 or older, you can include any income from others that you regularly use to pay your bills. So if you’ve got a partner or spouse you split the bills with, it’s OK to include his/her yearly salary with yours.

After filling out your personal information, you can add employee cards (optional) and review the terms before submitting. At the very bottom, just above the “Submit” button, there’s a box you’ll need to check to show you’ve read and agreed to the terms.

Bottom line

Chase’s business credit card application is relatively straightforward, but as with all credit card applications, make sure you’re honest with your responses, because Chase can potentially ask for documentation to confirm your entries. But getting a business credit card isn’t as difficult as you may think, since many freelance or independent contractor jobs and side hustles can qualify as a business. Business credit cards can also make your bookkeeping simple by helping you easily separate business and personal expenses, and you can earn valuable travel rewards at the same time. On top of that, most business credit cards won’t appear on your personal credit report (including Chase business cards), so they don’t add to your Chase 5/24 count.

Finally, business credit cards are a vital part of a healthy miles and points strategy, so if you’ve been on the fence about getting one, take another look at where you make money outside of your normal day job and see if you might qualify.

Featured photo by @criene/Twenty20.

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