The most important business credit card requirements are a good credit score and a low debt-to-income ratio. These are the requirements weighed most heavily by business credit card issuers. Your personal credit score lets them know how you’ve handled your finances in the past, and your personal debt-to-income ratio lets them know how able you’ll be to pay off what you borrow each month.
When it comes to determining whether or not to approve you for a business credit card, issuers want to feel confident that you’ll be able to pay your bill each month. Personal financial records are the best way to judge that because they usually go back much further than business records, and business credit card owners are personally liable for balances, anyway.
Most major credit card issuers have broad definitions of what constitutes a “business.” Owners of traditional businesses obviously count, like LLCs, non-profits, corporations, and so on. However, independent contractors and freelancers can also qualify for business credit cards from some issuers. Even sellers on eBay, Airbnb hosts, etc., may be able to get one. Essentially, if you provide goods or services and make income from them, you could qualify for a business credit card. If you’re one of these non-traditional “business owners,” you’ll list “sole proprietorship” under business type on your application.
Business Credit Card Requirements:
- Owner, officer or partner of a business, which may include sole proprietorships, independent contractors and non-profits, in addition to corporations, partnerships and LLCs.
- Employer Identification Number (EIN - assigned by the IRS when you register your business. If you’re a sole proprietor who doesn’t have an EIN, you’ll just fill in your SSN.)
- U.S. Resident
- 18+ years old
- Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
- Ability to make monthly bill payments
In addition to these requirements, there’ll be other information you should have on hand. You’ll need to provide your annual income, which will help the issuer determine your debt-to-income ratio. On top of that, you’ll need to list business information such as the number of employees you have, how long you’ve been in business, your annual business revenue, and your business contact information. Even if you’re a one-man startup operation that hasn’t opened yet, you’ll still need to provide all of that information.
If you haven’t made any business revenue, be honest about it. Trying to stretch the truth on any kind of credit card application is not a good idea. There are plenty of business credit card options out there for new businesses, so don’t worry.
Once you’ve covered the above requirements, you’re just about ready to apply for a business credit card. Just remember that each issuer has its own specific standards. So make sure to read your chosen card’s terms and conditions before submitting an application.
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