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Getting a business credit card as a small business owner or emerging startup is easier than you might think. You can qualify for most cards as long as you have good personal credit (a score of 700 or higher), even if you don’t have a business plan or any business revenue.

There are plenty of benefits to opening a business credit card. You can access working capital, finance large purchases, and track business expenses more easily. Plus, you’ll build business credit, which will come in handy when applying for loans.

Applying for a business credit card is a simple process as long as you’re prepared. In this article, we’ll explain how to get a card in three easy steps.

How do business credit cards work?

Business credit cards work just like personal credit cards, except they're designed for business expenses. They come with business-specific rewards programs and higher credit limits than personal cards to accommodate larger purchases. Some business credit cards also include features to help you manage your expenses, like downloadable expense information and integrations with accounting software.

How to get a business credit card

Opening a business credit card is a straightforward process, but it requires a little research and preparation. Here’s how to get a credit card for your business in three steps:

1. Check your eligibility

To apply for a business credit card, you just need to operate a business. If you profit from selling goods or services, you have a business.

All types of business structures are eligible to apply for a business credit card:

You’ll be eligible for a business credit card no matter your business’s age, size, or nature. With that said, qualifying for business credit cards usually depends on your personal credit score, and many of the best cards require good to excellent credit.

It can be tough to open a business credit card with a poor or limited history, so you’ll need to determine which cards you have a realistic chance of qualifying for. You might consider building credit on a personal credit card or a secured business credit card before applying for the card you really want.

2. Compare different business credit cards

‍There are plenty of different types of business credit cards on the market, so try to find the best card for your business. Here’s what you should pay attention to as you compare:

  • Fees: Consider annual fees and interest rate (APR) fees. If business travel is the norm for you, look for a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
  • Rewards and perks: Cards usually offer membership rewards on eligible purchases, so consider the rewards you’ll use the most. Card offers like a statement credit or welcome bonus add even more value.
  • Balance transfers: Some cards come with a 0% intro APR period and allow balance transfers. This lets you move debt from another credit card and avoid paying interest during the intro period.
  • Card features: Some business credit cards offer extra features like employee cards and expense management tools, such as automated expense reporting and accounting integrations.

If you have poor personal credit but substantial revenue or funding:

Consider getting a corporate card. Your business’s finances and cash flow will be considered during the application process, rather than your credit score. Note that these cards are only available to registered businesses, not freelancers or sole proprietors.

Ramp, for instance, has no annual fee for the standard package and is designed for corporations and LLCs with at least $50,000 in the bank​​. There’s no credit check or personal guarantee required, and the card is connected to a powerful expense management platform.

If you need to pay off credit card debt or finance a large purchase:

A credit card with a 0% intro APR period that allows balance transfers is your best option. During the intro period, you can move over existing debt or pay down a large purchase over several months without interest.

The U.S. Bank Triple Cash Rewards Visa Business Card offers 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers. It has no annual fee, comes with a $500 welcome bonus, and offers cashback rewards with bonus categories.

If you want a cashback card with extra rewards in your top spending categories:

Find a small business credit card that lets you choose your bonus rewards category. That way, you can earn extra on the purchases you make most often.

For example, the Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard lets you earn 3% cashback rewards on the category of your choice: gas stations, travel, office supply stores, TV and internet, computer services, or consulting services. All other purchases earn either 2% or 1% cashback. The card has no annual fee and requires good to excellent credit.

If you want to maximize business travel rewards:

Look for a travel rewards credit card that earns bonus points on travel purchases. These cards come with other perks, too, like airport lounge access or annual free nightly hotel stays. You can find flat-rate or tiered membership rewards, depending on your preference.

The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express card, for example, offers tiered membership rewards on travel and other purchases. The highest rewards are on Marriott purchases, so it’s ideal if that’s your go-to hotel chain. Amex points can be redeemed for hotels and flights, and there are perks like flight delay insurance. The card has an annual fee of $125 and requires good to excellent credit.

If you want a versatile, straightforward card:

Cashback business cards are some of the most versatile because your rewards typically get redeemed as a statement credit. If you don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of selecting rewards categories or getting locked into rewards you can only use on a particular brand or chain, a cashback card is a great choice.

Ramp’s corporate card gives you 1.5% cashback on every purchase. You can apply your cashback directly to your statement balance, returning the cash to your bottom line.

3. Apply for your business credit card

You can apply for most business credit cards through the credit card issuer’s or bank’s website.

To complete your business credit card application, you’ll need several pieces of personal and business information:

  • Legal business name
  • Business address and phone number
  • Type of business, industry, and legal structure
  • Approximate annual revenue, years in business, and number of employees
  • Estimated monthly spending
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Social Security number (SSN)

It’s worth noting that by applying for a credit card, your personal credit score may temporarily drop a few points if the issuer performs a hard inquiry. While this effect on your credit won’t last, it’s best not to apply for many cards at once to avoid multiple credit inquiries affecting your score.

TIP
Can you use just an EIN to get a business credit card?
Technically, yes, you can get a business credit card with just your EIN. However, the eligibility requirements for EIN-only cards tend to be much stricter. These cards are geared towards larger companies and often aren’t attainable for most small businesses.

Get a Ramp card based on your business revenue

If you’re looking for a business credit card, Ramp is a great alternative. Our corporate cards come with universal cashback and integrated expense management software, offering tools business credit cards can't provide.

Unlike traditional cards, Ramp doesn't check your credit history or require a personal guarantee. Instead, we look at your company’s cash balance, cash flows, and annual revenue to determine your credit eligibility—which can lead to a higher credit limit.

There are other card benefits, too:

  • Unlimited cashback rewards with no minimums
  • Unlimited physical and virtual employee cards
  • Detailed expense tracking and analytics
  • Quality accounting integrations
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Automated financial management that scales with your business

See if you're eligible for Ramp’s modern corporate card.

Try Ramp for free
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Former Sr. Content Marketing Manager, Ramp
Prior to Ramp, Stefanie worked as a finance reporter at Institutional Investor, where she covered everything from options to pension funds. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in English and a concentration in journalism and later earned an MA in education from NYU. When she isn't immersed in content and thought leadership, Stefanie loves to play any and all racquet sports.
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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