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If you’ve been in the market for a business credit card, you’ve probably noticed a term often used: personal guarantee. A personal guarantee provides business credit card issuers assurance that they’ll get their money back regardless of what happens with the business.

But what if you don’t want to put your financial stability on the line to access capital for your business? In this article, we go over personal guarantees, when business credit cards require them, and how to access business credit without one.

What is a personal guarantee on a business credit card?

A personal guarantee is a promise you make to personally repay your debt if your business can’t afford to do so. What this means is if your company is unable to pay the bill, this personal guarantee gives the lender the right to start the collection process on you as the business owner. This could include everything from annoying phone calls to the lender reporting you to the credit bureaus.

In extreme cases, a lawsuit can be brought against you as well, resulting in losing personal assets such as your home if things go wrong.

Do business credit cards require a personal guarantee?

If you're a new business owner, a personal guarantee is usually required to open a credit card. A business credit card without a personal guarantee will typically require a higher business credit score, which will pose an issue if your business isn’t already established.

However, there are some business credit cards you can get without a personal guarantee or established business credit. Ramp’s corporate cards, for example, use your monthly sales data to underwrite your card. If your business is making enough revenue, you may be approved for a card with a higher credit limit than typical credit cards.

Can I use my EIN to get a credit card?

It's possible to get a small business credit card using only your Employer Identification Number (EIN) without providing a Social Security Number (SSN), but the options available are limited. Most business credit card companies require either an SSN, an EIN, or both from the cardholder.

If your business doesn't have established credit, you'll probably only be able to avoid using your EIN number if you can meet an annual revenue requirement and have enough capital in the bank.

How to get a business credit card with no personal guarantee

If you don’t want to put your personal financial stability on the line, there are some card options that don’t require a personal guarantee. However, some of these credit cards are notoriously hard for new business owners to access, so be sure that you meet the requirements first.

General requirements

Lenders that offer business credit cards with no personal guarantee typically require you to have:

  • A well-established business: Your business will likely need articles of incorporation to show it's been operational for at least three years.
  • Strong business credit: Your business will likely need some form of positive credit history—like a history of responsible use of a business credit card with a personal guarantee or a business loan that has a proven history of on-time payments.
  • Deposit account: You may be required to open a deposit account and maintain a minimum balance with the lender. A deposit account is typically linked to the credit card, acting as a safety net for the lender, much like a personal credit card with a security deposit.
  • Significant revenue and profitability: You may need to prove that your business generates a substantial amount of annual profit.

Consider corporate cards

Corporate cards work like credit cards, but they usually don't require a personal guarantee because they require a higher revenue threshold to be approved. You may be able to get approved even if you operate a relatively new business because some card providers offer sales-based underwriting to determine your revenue instead of requiring multiple years of financial documents.

If you have multiple employees, you should consider corporate charge cards over business credit cards. They usually offer wider benefits like multiple cards, expense management features, and real-time reporting.

Another benefit of corporate cards is that they don’t accrue monthly interest like credit cards. Instead, you pay balances off monthly, avoiding interest and late payment fees altogether.

Best business credit cards with no personal guarantee

Here are the best no-personal-guarantee business credit cards currently on the market:

How to choose the right card

If you’re looking for a new credit card for your business, it’s important to compare your options carefully. Consider the following as you compare your options.

1. Look for rewards and perks that can help your business

As you shop your options, you may get drawn in by airline rewards or other loyalty programs. However, you'll want to make sure that the rewards are ones your business will use. If the card comes with annual fees and a high interest rate, it might not actually add value for your business.

Some cards come with unlimited cashback, which means you won't have to navigate loyalty programs or spend within specific categories to earn rewards. For example, Ramp offers 1.5% unlimited cashback on all purchases.

2. Compare interest, fees, and liabilities

Like many personal credit cards, small business credit cards typically come with a long list of fees, including:

  • Interest, aka APR rates
  • Annual fees
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Over-limit fees
  • Late payment fees
  • Balance transfer fees
  • Cash advance fees

It’s important to get a detailed understanding of all the fees associated with each of your options and choose a card that helps you minimize costs. Consider the liabilities associated with account ownership, like a requirement to open a deposit account with the issuer and maintain a minimum balance.

If you find that it’s too much hassle, have a hard time getting approved, or want to avoid interest and fees entirely, you may want to consider a corporate card where you pay off your balance monthly.

3. Consider credit limits

As of 2020, the average small business credit card credit limit in the United States is $56,100. However, your credit limit may be significantly higher or lower than average. This could be due to multiple factors, including:

  • Credit history: The more established your business credit is, the higher the credit limit you’ll qualify for. For example, a business with 10 years of on-time payments will likely be able to access more capital than a business with 3 years of on-time payments.
  • Revenue and profitability: Providers ultimately want to know that your business can pay back the money it lends. The more profitability your company generates, the more money lenders are willing to offer.
  • Credit utilization rate: Your business’s credit utilization rate is the percentage of available credit it has already used. When your credit utilization rate is too high, it’s a red flag to lenders. If you keep your credit utilization rate below 30%, you're more likely to access a higher credit limit.
  • The lender: Some lenders are known for offering higher credit limits than others. If you have a working relationship with one lender, they're usually more willing to offer you higher limits.
  • Underwriting style: If you use e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Stripe, or Amazon, you should consider looking for a card provider that uses sales-based underwriting. This typically leads to much higher credit limits—up to 30x higher than traditional offerings in some cases.

4. Look for expense management software

When you look for a business credit card, you should look for something more than a traditional credit card. In particular, look for modern options that come with expense management software.

Access the capital your business needs with Ramp

If you need access to a spending card for your business, Ramp may be right for you. Our card comes with a wide range of expense management features, 1.5% unlimited cashback on all purchases, and integrations with platforms like QuickBooks, NetSuite, and Sage Intacct for better accounting.

Ramp gives you complete control over your company’s spending with features like:

  • Unlimited employee cards with custom spending limits at the card and transaction level
  • Merchant and category restrictions to help you implement your expense policy
  • Real-time expense tracking and automated savings insights
  • Access to bill pay and reimbursement capabilities so you can track all of your non-payroll spending in one place‍‍
Try Ramp for free
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Content Lead, Ramp
Fiona writes about B2B growth strategies and digital marketing. Prior to Ramp, she led content teams at Google and Intercom. Fiona graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in English. Outside of work, she spends time dreaming about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail one day.
Ramp is dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes make informed decisions. We adhere to strict editorial guidelines to ensure that our content meets and maintains our high standards.


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