This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

For most people, stepping into the world of travel rewards means (in one way or another) stepping out of your comfort zone. Maybe that means applying for your first credit card, your first premium credit card or even taking your first flight in international first class (which can be simultaneously exhilarating and awkward).

For many people, the first boundary that they’ll push is the realization that they might qualify for a business credit card and the decision to apply for one. While it’s not any harder to fill out the application for a business credit card than for a personal one, it can be confusing. When you apply for a personal credit card, there shouldn’t be any doubt in your mind about what to put under “name,” but that can be an important decision to make when applying for a business card.

Photo by RawPixel/Unsplash
Photo by RawPixel/Unsplash

Why You’d Want a Business Card

There are plenty of reasons to apply for a business credit card, the simplest of course being that you have an established business and are looking for a way to better organize your expenses.

Even if you don’t need a business card, if you’re eligible for one, you might decide that you want one because your balances don’t get reported to your personal credit report. This can help big spenders keep their utilization low and their score high. Or, maybe you’re looking to earn some nice sign-up bonuses without affecting your Chase 5/24 status.

What Name Should I Apply With?

The specific answer to this question will depend on how your business is structured, with banks giving you the chance to specify whether you are applying as a partnership, corporation or sole proprietorship. Some card issuers such as Citi will give you an overwhelming number of options to pick. Larger companies, or those registered as corporations, LLCs or partnerships, will have an easier time deciding what name to use, as they will simply apply with the name of the business.

If you aren’t 100% sure you should speak with a lawyer or tax professional, but many points enthusiasts will be applying as sole proprietors/self employed.

This is a great option because you don’t need to file any paperwork with the state or federal government to form a sole proprietorship, you simply become one by doing business. If you go this simple and hassle-free route, you’ll apply for business credit cards using your own name. Some banks (especially Chase) like to ask for supporting documentation before approving a business credit application, including proof of physical address. By using your name as the business name, you’ll be able to submit rent or utility bills that are consistent with the information you gave on your application.

Branding is half the battle in attracting customers, and maybe you don’t want to call your new consulting firm “Ethan Steinberg” (sorry, that name is taken already). If your business is operating under a name that doesn’t include the owner’s first or last name, you’ll need to file a DBA (doing business as) form. The specific regulations on this (who/where/when/what you need to file) vary by state, and again, you should consult a legal professional before proceeding. This is a necessary step before you can open a bank account or line of credit in the businesses name.

In many ways, this is a warning about what not to do. Never, under any circumstances, should you make up a business name for your application without having filled out the necessary paperwork first. Not only will you have no recourse if a card issuer asks you for supporting business documentation, but you’d be committing fraud by passing yourself off as a business that doesn’t exist/you don’t represent. The simple and short answer for most award travelers looking to apply for business cards is to use your own name and keep things simple and legal.

Bottom Line

Business rewards cards can be a great way to enjoy even more sign-up bonuses, bonus categories and valuable perks. Most people would be surprised to know that they already qualify for business cards, or could with just a small amount of work, but it’s important to remember that these applications will often face slightly more manual scrutiny and review than personal credit card applications. It’s very important not to lie or make up a name, and to always be prepared to present your business registration certificate or other relevant documents if needed.

Featured photo by Rawpixel/Unsplash

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card



CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.