How to get a business credit card with just your EIN
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You probably know from applying for personal credit cards that one of the first pieces of information a card issuer asks for is a Social Security number (SSN). That’s also the case with small business credit cards, especially those that require a personal guarantee from the owner.
However, some card issuers will approve you for a credit card using only your Employer Identification Number (EIN), a number that credit bureaus and the IRS use to identify businesses in much the same way that they use SSNs to identify people. Those card issuers won't look at your personal credit report when determining whether to approve your application.
Whether or not you get a business credit card, it still usually makes sense to avoid using a personal credit card for business. A business credit card is a powerful tool that can help you manage your company’s cash flow, understand its spending and expenses, and separate your business finances from your personal money.
Curious to learn more about how to get a business credit card? Read on to find out how to get a business credit card with only an EIN, the different types of credit cards available with only an EIN, the pros and cons of getting a credit card with only an EIN, and how to apply for a business credit card with an EIN only.
Can you get a business credit card without an SSN?
Yes, but you’ll need to provide an EIN or a tax ID. In most cases, you won’t meet the requirements for a business credit card without an SSN. Most small business credit cards require a personal guarantee, leaving you liable for any credit card debt your business is unable to pay. This is why most credit card providers perform a personal credit check before they’ll approve your business credit card—and for that they'll need your SSN. If you don’t have an SSN (e.g. you recently immigrated), you may be able to use your individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), or tax ID, in the application process.
Can you get a business credit card with just your EIN number?
Yes, you can get a business credit card with just your EIN number, but there are fewer options to choose from than business credit cards that also require an SSN. If you’re applying with just an EIN number, you may have to meet more requirements around your business sales or the amount of capital you have in the bank.
Single-member LLCs and sole proprietors are typically not eligible for small business credit cards using only their EIN. If you have a large, established business, you can opt for a corporate card without using an individual SSN.
What is an EIN?
An EIN, or employer identification number, is a nine-digit taxpayer identification number assigned to all registered businesses. The IRS uses an EIN number to keep track of business tax returns in the same way that it uses SSNs to keep track of personal returns. You’ll need to provide this number when applying for many types of business loans, including those backed by the Small Business Administration.
An EIN is similar to an SSN in that once the government assigns an EIN to a business, it will never change.
You’ll also need your EIN when filing business taxes and, usually, when opening a business bank account. If you lose your EIN, you may be able to find it on business-related paperwork, like your business registration documents or previous tax returns. If you still can’t find it, you can call the IRS at (800) 829-4933.
Lenders will provide your EIN to business credit bureaus to get your business’s credit report. You don’t always need an EIN to apply for a business credit card, but you do need one if you want a business credit card without a personal guarantee.
Note that while getting an EIN lets you apply for business credit cards, simply having one won't help you build your business credit. Your credit score will grow over time if you make on-time payments and maintain a low credit utilization.
What is a personal guarantee?
A personal guarantee means that you’re personally liable for any debts taken on using that card. Even if your business fails, the credit card issuer can come after your personal assets to recoup their losses. If your business hasn’t established its own credit yet, most business card issuers will require a personal guarantee before giving you a business credit card.
Why some issuers don’t approve applications with only an EIN
Many card issuers prefer an SSN over an EIN—and many may ask you to provide both—because they require business owners to provide a personal guarantee. That’s because lending money to startups is extremely risky, and most credit cards don’t require collateral. Lenders want to protect themselves from losses by requiring individuals to promise to repay their debts if their business can’t.
Business credit card issuers that require a personal guarantee will look at your personal credit when deciding whether to approve your credit card application. In those cases, your personal credit will also factor into the size of the credit limit you receive and the interest rate, if applicable.
Some, but not all, business credit card issuers that require an SSN will report payments on the card to personal credit bureaus.
Why would a small business need a business credit card with EIN and not an SSN?
If you’re a small business owner, you might prefer a credit card with an EIN rather than an SSN for several reasons. For starters, using an EIN instead of an SSN helps separate your personal finances from those of your business.
That way, you can avoid taking on personal liability for your business’s debts, should you become unable to repay them. Cards that use only an EIN are also one of the few types of business credit cards that will not affect personal credit.
Using an EIN can help your business establish a credit history over time, as long as the card issuer is reporting payments to business credit-rating agencies.
Your business credit reflects how well you manage your finances and pay off your debt. Building your business credit score can give your company access to extra sources of capital in the future, and make it more affordable for you to borrow money.
Another reason you might want a credit card with just an EIN as a business owner is if you have bad credit. In that case, you wouldn’t have to worry about being denied based on your personal credit history.
How do business credit cards without an EIN work?
Business credit cards that don’t require an EIN work just like other business credit cards. You can use them to make purchases for your business, and they can be a helpful tool to manage your cash flow. Many small business credit cards also come with digital tools that can give you extra insight into your company’s spending.
Some business cards are true credit cards, meaning you only have to pay a minimum amount at the end of each monthly billing cycle and can carry a balance over from month to month, as long as you pay interest on it. Other business cards are charge cards, which require you to pay off the balance in full each month.
Can I apply for a business credit card with no business income?
You can get a business credit card with no revenue, but you'll have to provide a personal guarantee. That means using your SSN number to apply for the credit card and letting the card provider look at your personal income and credit score. If you have a good credit history on another credit card at the same bank, they may consider that in your application.
The pros and cons of business credit cards with EIN only
There are pros and cons to using credit cards that only require an EIN as a line of credit for your business.
Pros of credit cards with EIN only
The main advantage of using a credit card with an EIN only is that it helps establish a distinction between your company’s finances and your personal finances. It can also help you build your business credit score.
Companies that offer business credit cards with no credit check typically don’t require an EIN and don’t evaluate your personal creditworthiness with the credit bureaus when deciding whether to approve your business for a card. That means that the application itself won’t impact your personal credit score.
Cons of credit cards with EIN only
One of the biggest disadvantages of using a credit card with an EIN only is that you’re left with fewer options to choose from, and your business may have to meet additional requirements to get approval for the card. If your business doesn’t meet the minimum revenue requirements or have enough assets in the bank, you may not be able to get a credit card using only an EIN.
How to apply for a business credit card with EIN
1. Get your EIN
Before you can apply for a business credit card using your EIN, you’ll need to get an EIN for your business. You typically get an EIN when you register your business with the state, but if you don’t have one, you can request an EIN from the IRS using this online form.
2. Find EIN-only business credit cards that work for you
Once you have an EIN, you’ll need to look for card issuers that will approve you with just an EIN—we’ve listed a few options below. Usually, your business will need to be registered as a limited-liability corporation (LLC), a partnership, or a corporation. Then, apply for a business credit card as you would any other credit card. If there’s a box asking for your SSN, just skip it and fill out the section requesting an EIN instead.
3. Apply for a business card with EIN
You'll also need to include other information about your business, like its name and corporate structure, its contact information, the size of your business, its current and projected revenues, and its date of registration. Once you’ve filled out the application, the card issuer will review and verify the information and then let you know whether you’ve been approved. Some card issuers will complete the verification process instantly, while others might take a few days.
Types of business credit cards using an EIN
If you’re looking for the best business credit card with only EIN, you’ll want to consider what you’re using it for. Here are the different types of cards to look at:
Corporate business cards
Corporate business cards that don't require a personal guarantee typically allow you to apply with only an EIN. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t the case for all corporate business cards.
Usually, corporate business cards are issued directly to companies and not to any individual. This means that the company assumes all liability for purchases made by employees that have access to the cards. Most corporate business cards also require very high credit scores, several million dollars in annual revenue, and a workforce of at least a dozen employees.
That’s not the case with Ramp. We offer corporate business cards that you can apply for with just an EIN, as long as you’re an incorporated business with at least $75,000 in a business bank account.
Store credit cards
Store credit cards are meant to be used at one specific store. While you’ll be more limited in where you can use them, they may make sense if the bulk of your business purchases come from a single vendor. As a bonus, store credit cards don’t come with a personal liability requirement. Best Buy’s credit card and Amazon’s Secured Store Card are examples of this type of card.
While store credit cards often offer rewards that can benefit your business, these are only redeemable at the store where you use the card. You’re better off with a more flexible corporate card that lets you set permissions on which stores employees can shop from, with a wider range of rewards.
Corporate gas credit cards
Much like a corporate store card, gas credit cards offer perks like discounts at the pump and other travel rewards. Many companies opt to use corporate gas cards instead of gas reimbursement programs.
As with store cards, corporate gas credit cards have limited use since they only work at gas stations within a specific network. That said, if gas is a significant expense for your company, a corporate credit card for gas might make sense. For a more flexible option, consider a corporate credit card that works anywhere, while offering category controls to limit where employees can spend.
Prepaid business cards
Business card issuers typically require an SSN as part of a personal credit check for businesses without an established credit history. Since prepaid business cards reduce the risk to lenders (since there’s no possibility for losses), they don’t require an SSN or a personal credit check.
Prepaid business credit cards are one type of secured business credit cards. While these can be a useful tool to help you build business credit, an unsecured card offers much more flexibility.
Why Ramp is your best choice if you have an EIN
Ramp’s corporate credit cards offer more flexibility than other types of cards, as well as a range of additional perks. You can use Ramp at all different types of stores while building your business credit score. Plus, Ramp helps you save more with its rewards and has credit limits up to 20 times higher than traditional banks.
We also make it easy to start an employee card program by allowing you to issue unlimited virtual credit cards. You can place spending limits or restrictions on where your employees can use the cards, empowering your company to spend as necessary while controlling for unnecessary expenses.
Learn more about how to get an EIN-only credit card from Ramp.