5 Tips for Applying for a Small Business Credit Card

Small business credit cards may offer you some convenient benefits. They simplify paying for travel, can help you build your business credit scores, and many come with perks and points that can help you save money. While your first business credit card may not offer you the lower fees and higher limits of a line of credit, it can provide your business with a convenient way to pay for things online or over the phone. If you manage your credit well, that first business card can help open doors to more funding and payment opportunities in the future too.

Helpful Tips to Apply for a Small Business Credit Card

To save time and frustration, consider these 5 tips to get accepted for the right card for your unique company.

1. Learn how credit card companies qualify small businesses.

Before you apply for the first credit card that you see advertised online, make sure you understand how credit card companies qualify customers for acceptance. If you have an established business, you can use your business credit history. However, your startup mobile app development project or part-time online seller gig may still qualify based upon your personal credit history even if you haven’t actually earned revenue yet.

In fact, you can apply using your social security number for a sole proprietorship if you don’t have an Employee Identification Number (EIN). That means you may qualify for small business credit cards if you just run a part-time business selling online, freelancing or even mowing lawns.

2. Know your business and personal credit scores.

Credit card companies may look at both your personal and business credit scores. If you haven’t established any business credit yet, they will just look at your personal score. Before you apply, you can usually research the kinds of credit scores that various credit offers consider.

Even if you have a mediocre credit score, you can probably find a business card; just expect to have low limits and fewer benefits. Still, good credit management of your card balance can help you improve your scores and work your way up in the future.

3. Get ready to provide income information.

Credit card issuers will want to know how much you make before they will offer you a credit card. Your income may factor into an acceptance decision, and it will certainly matter when credit card companies decide how much of a credit limit to offer you.

So, what do you do if you’re just getting started and haven’t already made any income yet? Startups can still obtain business credit cards. The issuer will simply use your personal income and credit scores to make a decision.

4. Think about why you want a business credit card.

Business credit cards may offer lots of perks; however, not all small businesses find them useful. If you’re selling online in the evenings and during weekends, you may not find travel points valuable. Very often, cards with more perks also come with higher fees. If you can’t use the perks, you shouldn’t pay for them.

If you just want a credit card to buy supplies or inventory online and to establish credit, a card with lower charges and fewer perks might suit you better. If you don’t believe you can qualify for a business credit card based on your credit scores, you might research business debit cards that can also help you build credit. If you simply need some extra funding, you might also consider online lines of credit that can use information besides credit scores to qualify you.

5. Gather your information and apply.

You can usually apply online. You can save time if you gather up information that the issuer will probably ask for. This is a general list of records that you should have ready before you apply:

  • Your business name or DBA
  • Contact information, type of industry, and business structure
  • Number of employees and time doing business
  • Annual revenue or personal income
  • Estimated card spending
  • EIN or SSN

Is Your Business Ready for a Business Credit Card?

Credit cards offer convenient ways for small businesses to pay online, arrange travel and keep track of expenses. To enjoy all the benefits of having this convenience, make sure you have a good credit management plan in place. If you have high credit scores, you may qualify for introductory offers that waive fees and interest for several months. Some savvy business owners make sure they keep their credit scores high, so they can keep taking advantage of different introductory offers after one expires. In addition, some small business owners can benefit from rewards programs that business credit card companies offer.

On the other hand, business credit cards offer risks as well. Some companies prefer to simply use debit cards that draw upon their existing business checking accounts or lines of credit. These funding solutions usually cost less and don’t necessarily require high credit scores. Before you apply for a business card, think about why you want one, shop around for the best value for your unique company and consider alternatives.




Kabbage provides automated, online financing to small businesses in minutes.

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