Running a business without a dedicated credit card causes headaches in tracking expenses.
Getting approved seems impossible without a registered company.
But it’s easier than you think.
Follow these steps to get a business card to simplify spending, earn rewards, and build credit without all the paperwork of forming a legal entity.
Understanding Business Credit Cards
A business credit card functions similarly to a personal credit card but offers features tailored for business use.
The key differences are:
- It’s issued in the business’s name, not yours personally.
- Business credit cards help build your business’s credit history separate from your score.
- They offer benefits like rewards for business spending, higher limits, and coverage for employees.
The main benefits of having a business credit card include:
- Separating personal and business expenses to better track spending.
- Earning rewards points on purchases to get cash back, travel perks, or other bonuses.
- Building your business’s credit history by responsibly using credit.
- Getting higher credit limits to have access to capital when needed.
- Coverage for employees – you can issue cards to workers.
- Protections like extended warranties, rental coverage, and fraud protection.
|Separate personal and business expenses||Keeps business and personal spending organized and easier to track for taxes and expenses.|
|Build business credit||Using a card responsibly helps establish credit history for your business separate from your personal credit.|
|Rewards||Many business cards offer rewards points or cashback that can be used for business purposes.|
|Fraud protection||Business cards tend to have better fraud protection than personal cards.|
|Higher spending limits||Business cards usually have higher spending limits to accommodate business needs.|
Requirements for Getting a Business Credit Card
Traditionally, to get a small business credit card you need:
- A registered business entity like an LLC or corporation.
- 2+ years in business with significant annual revenue.
- A strong personal credit score (680+).
- Your social security number to personally guarantee the card.
However, there are options for getting a business card without formally registering a business. The main requirements are:
- A personal credit score in the good to excellent range.
- Providing your SSN and personal info.
- Reporting business income activity, even if part-time or freelance-based.
- Having a strategy to meet minimum spending requirements.
Options for Getting a Business Credit Card Without a Business
Here are some of the options that make it possible to get a business credit card without a registered business:
Personal Credit Cards
Many personal credit cards allow small businesses to use and offer rewards on categories like office supplies, internet, phone bills, etc.
The downsides are no separate business credit history and fewer reporting tools.
Secured Credit Cards
Secured cards require a refundable security deposit that becomes your credit limit.
This allows those with poor credit to build history. Use for business allows building business credit.
Prepaid Business Credit Cards
Load funds to these cards to limit spending. Use for business builds credit history. Less risk for issuers so qualification is easier.
Downsides include fees and close oversight.
Authorized User Status
Become an authorized user on a business card of a trusted friend or family member. Build history without obligation to pay.
The downside is no separate rewards.
Business Cards for Sole Proprietors
Apply using just your SSN, not a business identification number.
List your name as the business name. Report freelance or side business income.
Did you know?
🚀Nearly 8 in 10 small businesses use credit cards as their primary payment method.
🚀The average small business has around 4 credit cards to manage expenses and operations.
🚀Business credit card rewards averaged around 1.5% cashback or points per dollar spent in 2022.
|Card Name||Issuer||Minimum Requirements|
|Spark Cash Select||Capital One||– Minimum credit score of 680<br>- Personal guarantee by business owner|
|Ink Business Unlimited||Chase||– Minimum credit score of 690 <br>- No annual fee|
|Wells Fargo Business Platinum||Wells Fargo||– 12+ months in business<br>- $5,000 minimum deposit|
|American Express Blue Business Plus||American Express||– No credit check <br>- No minimum annual revenue|
|Discover It Business Card||Discover||– 12+ months in business <br>- $50,000 minimum annual revenue|
How to Apply for a Business Credit Card Without a Business?
Follow these steps when applying for a business credit card without an official business entity:
- Pick a card matching your needs – rewards category, rates, fees, etc.
- Check your personal credit score to ensure approval eligibility.
- Gather documents like ID, income statements, and tax returns to list income.
- Apply using your SSN – list yourself as both owner and business name.
- Provide NAICS code based on your freelance or side business.
- List accurate estimated business revenue when asked.
- Use a personal address but provide a business name for the card.
- If declined, consider alternatives like secured cards to build history.
Tips to increase approval odds:
- Have a 680+ personal credit score.
- Keep credit card balances low overall.
- Highlight steady freelance or side business income sources.
- Start with issuers more friendly to new businesses if possible.
Getting a business credit card no longer requires having a registered business entity.
By applying as a sole proprietor, using a secured card, or being added as an authorized user, you can get access to a business card’s benefits.
Take steps to ensure your personal credit record is strong and accurately report any freelance or side business income when applying to increase approval chances without a formal business.
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FAQs On How to Get a Business Credit Card Without a Business
Can You Have a Business Card Without a Business?
Yes, you can have a business card without a registered business, but it may be harder to get approved for one.
Can Normal People Get Business Credit Cards?
Generally normal people can get business credit cards, but approval depends on your credit score and income sources.
How Do I Get Business Credit if I Have None?
You can get business credit by applying for vendor accounts and reporting payment history to business credit bureaus like Dun & Bradstreet.
What Are the Requirements for a Business Credit Card?
Requirements for business cards include documents proving business existence, revenues, tax ID number, and personal credit score/income.
Is It Illegal to Apply for Business Credit Card Without Business Tax ID?
It’s generally not illegal to apply without a tax ID, but misrepresenting business information on applications can be fraudulent.
How Hard Is It to Get a Business Credit Card?
Approval for business cards varies, but good personal credit and income sources improve your chances significantly.
How Soon Can I Apply for a Business Credit Card?
You can apply for business cards as soon as you have documents to prove business operations, revenues, and creditworthiness.
Rahul is a former medical student turned business blogger who founded NamesPilot to share his passion for entrepreneurship. After successfully launching several online ventures, he now runs his blog full-time, providing tips and insights to help others build their own businesses.