If you recently launched your new business venture, you’ll need capital to help you grow. The same applies to existing business owners looking to scale. Business credit cards are a convenient way to access funds, but you should understand how they work and what you’ll need to be eligible for a business card before applying with a credit card issuer.
What is a Business Credit Card?
A business credit card is a revolving debt product catering to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Like traditional credit cards, they can be used at the point of sale or online to complete transactions. Still, they should only be used for business expenses.
It’s not uncommon for business credit cards to come with higher limits than you’ll find with personal credit cards. Furthermore, many have generous cardholder perks to make them more attractive to potential customers.
Common Requirements to Get a Business Credit Card
Below are some general guidelines to be mindful of when applying for business cards. Remember that each credit card issuer has its own requirements that could be more or less stringent than what’s listed below.
Credit card issuers want to know you can comfortably make monthly payments and ultimately repay what you borrow over time. Consequently, they’re interested in how much you earn from both your business and other sources, along with the percentage of that amount that’s currently used to pay other outstanding debt obligations.
Time in Business
Most credit card issuers require you to disclose the amount of time you’ve been in business. However, the minimum amount of business experience you’ll need varies by the credit card issuer, and some will approve you for a business credit card even if you’re just getting started.
Personal and/or Business Credit Scores and History
Your personal credit scores and history are both assessed by credit card issuers to determine if you’re a good fit for a business credit card. If your credit score is on the lower end or if adverse credit items, like collection accounts and bankruptcies, appear in your credit report and indicate you may have struggled to responsibly manage debts in the past, you could be denied a business credit card. And if the credit card issuer decides to give you a chance to prove you’ve turned a new leaf, expect a high annual percentage rate (APR) and annual fee.
If you’ve been in business for some time and established a business credit history, it may hold weight when you apply for a business credit card. However, many credit card companies also consider your personal credit profile unless you’re applying as a corporation.
Legal Business Entity
You’ll also need to disclose the type of business you have. It could be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability company.
Most credit card companies require business owners to provide a personal guarantee when applying for business credit cards. It means you’ll be on the hook for the total amount owed if the company experiences financial difficulties and the account becomes delinquent. A personal guarantee also means the past due balance and late payments could be reported to the three major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – and negatively affect your personal credit rating.
Typical Process How to Get a Business Credit Card
Are you ready to apply for a business credit card? Follow these four steps to streamline the application process and get the capital you need for your company, minus the hassle.
1. Determine Which Business Credit Card is Right for You
A simple online search for business credit cards will give you several options to choose from. But how do you know which are best for your company’s needs? It depends on your financial profile and what you’re looking to accomplish.
For example, if you’re looking to make a few big-ticket purchases soon and would prefer to finance them while paying little to no interest, consider a card with a 0 percent introductory APR. You can purchase what you need without exhausting your cash reserves and avoid interest as long as you pay the balance in full before the promotional interest period expires.
Or maybe you’re seeking a credit card that features travel and cash back perks. In that case, a business rewards credit card could be best.
Be sure to reference the fee schedule before applying. Some cards boast impressive interest rates but come with steep annual fees that may not make them the best option for your financial situation.
2. Check Your Eligibility, Including Credit Scores
Each credit card has a minimum credit score requirement. The credit card issuer may not disclose this number, but you can possibly get pre-qualified on their website to see where you stand. You may also find that your score is on the lower end, and you’re better off working towards improving your credit score to qualify for more competitive business credit card offers.
Another option for business owners with a minimal credit history or lower credit scores is a secured credit card. It requires a security deposit that’s typically equivalent to the credit limit.
It’s also worth reviewing your credit report to identify any errors that could be dragging your score down. If so, file disputes promptly to have them resolved.
3. Prepare Requirements and Documentation
Be sure to complete the credit card application in its entirety and only provide accurate information. Also, ask the credit card issuer about any documentation requirements they may have so you can prepare what you need beforehand. That way, you’ll avoid hiccups and delays during the application review process.
4. Submit Your Application and Wait for Approval
It’s possible to receive an application decision within minutes of applying. However, some credit card issuers may delay issuing a decision and request that you submit additional documentation to substantiate the responses you input in the application.
Consider a Cheaper Alternative to Access Funds When You Need Them
Are you struggling to find business credit cards that are a good fit? Then, a cheaper alternative, like Fund&Grow offering up to $250,000 in safe and easily accessible capital, could work for you.
Its signature business credit card stacking membership features a host of benefits, including:
- Access to up to $250,000 in unsecured funding with 0 percent introductory interest rates for up to 18 months that isn’t reported to the consumer credit bureaus
- Up to $100,000 of non-recourse corporate credit that isn’t tied to your personal credit profile
- Credit consulting and premium business coaching related to real estate, tax strategies, investing, incorporation, and so much more
Plus, there’s a 60-day money-back guarantee in case the done-for-you business credit card stacking membership doesn’t quite work for you.
Take the first step toward unlocking funding for your business. Schedule your free consultation with a business lending consultant from the Fund&Grow team today.