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You need a personal credit score of 700 or higher to qualify for the best business credit cards. The exception to this rule is corporate cards, which usually don’t check your credit score. Instead, these cards require that you have a certain amount of capital in a business bank account.

In this article, we’ll explain the credit score requirements for business credit cards, how to improve your credit score, and alternative funding options to consider.

What credit score do you need for a business credit card?

You can get a business credit card with a personal FICO score of 630 or under. However, the best business credit cards usually require at least a score of 700. Cards with higher credit score requirements generally have more favorable terms, higher credit limits, and a range of additional perks like rewards programs or travel benefits. If you have bad personal credit, you’ll be limited to secured credit cards or corporate cards that don’t consider your credit report.

If you have a fair credit score of around 650, you can qualify for some unsecured business credit cards, like the Capital One Spark Classic For Business. This card is available to business owners with a limited credit history and has no annual fees. However, it comes with a steep regular APR rate of 30.74%.

If your credit score is 600 or lower, you’ll be limited to secured business credit cards, like the First National Bank Business Edition® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card. Secured cards require a cash deposit which then acts as your credit limit. You can use a secured credit card to build your credit score until you can qualify for unsecured cards. Alternatively, you can consider corporate cards, which don’t check your credit score.

What credit score does a business start with?
Ranges for business credit scores vary. Both the D&B Paydex score and the Experian Intelliscore start at 0 and go up to 100. If your business doesn’t have any established credit, you may start with a low credit score or no credit score at all.

What factors impact your credit score?

If you’re interested in improving your credit score to qualify for better credit cards, you’ll need to know what factors play a role in your score in the first place. These factors are slightly different when you compare business and personal credit scores.

Business credit scores

The factors that impact your business credit score include:

  • Payment history
  • Outstanding balances
  • Credit utilization ratio
  • Trade experiences
  • Years in business
  • Business size

A good business credit report largely depends on how long your company has been in business. A longer history of making payments as per your agreements and paying down outstanding balances will build your credit score over time.

Personal credit scores

The factors that impact your personal credit score are as follows:

  • Payment history on personal credit cards
  • Credit utilization rate
  • Credit age
  • Credit mix
  • New accounts

You’ll likely have a great credit score if you manage your personal finances well by paying on time, using less than 30% of your available credit limit, and including a good mix of accounts that you’ve maintained for several years on your credit report.

How to improve your credit score

If you have less-than-perfect credit, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Nor are you stuck with a poor credit score forever. Here are a few tips to help improve your credit score.

Business credit scores

Consider these tips to improve your business credit score:

  • Use accounts payable software to make sure your bills are always paid on time, alleviating the risk of late or missed payments.
  • Open a secured business credit card and use it properly to build your credit history.
  • Be patient—the age of your business plays a role in your credit score.
  • Keep your credit utilization to 30% or less.
  • Grow your business revenue and profitability, as larger businesses enjoy better credit scores.

Personal credit scores

Here are a few tips to help you improve your personal credit score:

  • Make larger than minimum payments.
  • Open a secured credit card and use it responsibly.
  • Set up automatic bill payments to avoid making late payments.
  • Keep your credit utilization rate below 30%.
  • Make sure you have a good mix of loan types, including unsecured and secured loans.

Credit score requirements for other types of business funding

A business credit card is just one option for financing your business expenses. Here are a few alternative financing options and their credit score requirements:

Corporate cards

Corporate cards are similar to business credit cards, except that you pay your balance in full every month. These cards also come with expense management features to streamline your business finances. Unlike regular credit cards, corporate cards don’t perform a credit check—instead, to qualify you’ll just need to have a registered business and enough money in a business bank account. With cards like Ramp, you may even qualify for higher credit limits than other cards with our sales-based underwriting.

Secured credit cards

Secured credit cards don’t require a credit check, since you’ll be putting up a cash deposit to act as your line of credit. This removes any risk for the lender. Secured credit cards still often report to the major business credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and Dun & Bradstreet—so you can use them to build your credit score.

Business loans

A business credit score of 80 or personal credit score above 700, along with a reliable source of income, is usually the minimum to secure a business loan. However, some companies don’t consider your credit score at all in the underwriting process. These lenders pay more attention to your company’s sales and revenue.

If your business credit score isn’t enough, lenders will ask for a personal guarantee. In this case, your personal score will come in handy.

Here’s a snapshot of the credit score ranges to qualify for a business loan:

  • Business credit score range: Your business credit score ranges from 1 to 100. Scores between 80 and 100 are considered great and will qualify your business for most loans. If your business credit score is below 80, you may need to make a personal guarantee for most loans.
  • Personal credit score range: Personal credit scores above 700 are considered excellent and will qualify you for just about any loan. However, credit scores below 680 start to limit your options.

Business line of credit

A minimum credit score of 600 is usually required for a business line of credit, though a higher score can help you secure a better interest rate. There are line of credit options for small business owners and larger businesses, each with their own requirements and interest rates. For a look at the current business line of credit rates from different lenders, you can read our updated guide to business lines of credit.

Equipment financing

A credit score of 500 to 650 is generally required to qualify for equipment financing. However, lenders may also require a certain amount of annual revenue and time in business. Equipment loans can be easier to qualify for since they’re available to businesses with low creditworthiness. Plus, repayment plans can span up to seven years, giving you plenty of time to repay the loan. Just be wary of interest rates when applying, especially as a small business.

Business bank account

A business bank account isn’t a source of funding, but opening one is usually necessary to secure capital. You don’t need a good credit score to open a business account, but banks will check your ChexSystems report to assess your banking history. If you’ve overdrawn on your balance in past bank accounts, have unpaid bank fees, or have had an involuntary bank account closure, new banks may deny you an account.

Get Ramp to improve your credit and access capital

Ramp isn’t as concerned with your credit score as most traditional credit card providers. Instead, we use your sales to determine your eligibility. That means you can use our platform to improve your credit score while accessing the funding you need. Ramp also comes with intuitive money management tools designed to help your business grow.

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Finance Writer, Ramp
Richard Moy has written extensively about procurement and vendor management topics for companies like BetterCloud, Stack Overflow, and Ramp. His writing has also appeared in The Muse, Business Insider, Fast Company, Mashable, Lifehacker, and more.
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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