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7 Steps to Get Business Credit Cards for A New Business

Written by Allison Martin

Allison Martin is a personal finance enthusiast and a passionate entrepreneur. With over a decade of experience, Allison has made a name for herself as a syndicated financial writer. Her articles are published in leading publications, like Banks.com, Bankrate, The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, and Investopedia. When she’s not busy creating content, Allison travels nationwide, sharing her knowledge and expertise in financial literacy and entrepreneurship through interactive workshops and programs. She also works as a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) dedicated to helping people from all walks of life achieve financial freedom and success.

Updated October 19, 2023​

4 min. read​

You’re in the beginning stages of operating your new company and seeking funding options to accelerate growth. Maybe you’ve thought about applying for a credit card but worry you won’t get approved as a startup. This isn’t necessarily the case, though, as there are credit card companies that may be willing to approve you for an account. Here’s what you’ll need to have the best chance at getting a business credit card as a new business. 

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What Do Credit Card Providers Consider a New Business?

In most instances, credit card companies focus on the creditworthiness of the small business owner. So, you should have a strong credit rating and a positive credit history. However, the credit card issuer may also take your debt-to-income ratio into account to determine if it’s acceptable or if you appear to be overextended – the latter could result in your application being denied, even if your credit score is up to par. 

Can a New Business Get a Business Credit Card?

Yes, it’s possible to get a business credit card, even if you’re just starting out. Most credit card issuers require a personal guarantee, so you’ll be on the hook for the debt if your business encounters financial difficulties in the future and is unable to pay. 

But to qualify for the most attractive business credit cards on the market, you’ll need good or excellent credit. A lower credit score doesn’t mean you won’t get approved for a card, but you’ll likely receive a far lower credit limit and less favorable financing terms. Or you may be forced to settle for a secured credit card requiring a security deposit until your credit rating improves. 

Benefits of Getting a Business Credit Card for a New Business

There are several reasons why a credit card for your new business could be ideal. For starters, these debt products are far easier to get approved for than traditional business loans and lines of credit when you have limited time in business or little to no revenues. Many credit card companies require a personal guarantee on business credit cards and will consider your income instead to determine if you qualify for an account. 

Furthermore, you’ll have access to working capital to cover everyday expenses if needed and when just starting out. Be mindful that a card offering a promotional zero-interest period is best for this purpose to keep borrowing costs low. You can also leverage these types of business credit cards to make big-ticket purchases that are instrumental to the growth of your company. 

Another key benefit of a business credit card is the ability to separate personal and business expenses, which can be challenging when your business is new, and you have very few earnings to pull from. Also, some cards offer cash-back rewards on eligible purchases and bonus points for travel rewards that can be redeemed for gift cards or cash and reinvested back into the business. 

7 Steps to Get Business Credit Cards for New Business

When you’re ready to apply for your company’s first credit card, following these steps will help streamline the process. 

1. Forecast Your Business Spending

You’ll typically need to provide estimated business expenditures when applying for a credit card. This information helps credit card companies set spending limits if you’re a good fit for an account. So, take some time to come up with a realistic figure. 

2. Do Your Research 

There’s no shortage of small business credit cards to choose from, as these financial products are readily available through banks and credit unions. Still, it’s vital that you do your homework to sift through the options to identify those that will work best for you as you work to grow your company. Ideally, your shortlist of options should include cards with minimal fees, competitive APRs and incentives that you find attractive. 

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3. Know Your Eligibility

Ask the credit card issuer about its general eligibility requirements for the credit cards you’re considering. You may find this information on the website, or you can call to learn more. Be sure to inquire about the preferred credit score and debt-to-income thresholds. 

4. Compare Your Options

Which of the cards that you’re considering feature perks that will be most beneficial to your company? To illustrate, if your business will incur a lot of travel expenses, a lodging or airfare card could be sensible. But if you want the freedom to earn on all your purchases or save in interest for a set period, consider a cash-back rewards card or one that offers a promotional APR period. The best business credit cards offer a combination of perks, including rewards and a welcome bonus or welcome offers, along with competitive APRs. And don’t forget to review the annual fees and other costs that come with each card when comparing your options to confirm the costs won’t outweigh the benefits. 

5. Prepare the Requirements

Inquire with the credit card issuer to learn more about any information or documents you’ll need to have handy when applying. Be sure to gather what you need before sitting down to complete the application to avoid any hiccups or processing delays. 

6. Check Your Credit 

As mentioned above, you’ll likely need good or excellent credit to have the best approval odds for a business credit card. That’s unless you settle for a business card that’s designed for consumers with bad credit. Either way, it’s worth checking your credit to know where you stand so you can avoid applying for credit cards that aren’t a good fit for your credit profile. 

7. Complete Your Application

In most instances, you can apply online and receive a decision in minutes. Be prepared to provide your personal information (i.e., name, address, date of birth, address), housing status (i.e., rent or own) and how much you pay each month and a few details about your business, including the employer identification number and how long it’s been established. In addition, the credit card issuer will want to know how your company is legally structured along with your annual earnings. 

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