There are more credit card accounts in the United States than there are adults, so you probably know what it’s like to apply for a personal credit card. But when it comes time to applying a credit card for your small business, you might be wondering, is the application any different?
The short answer is, yes.
The applications for a small business credit card is similar to those for consumer credit cards, but there are several important differences (here are eight things you should know before getting a business credit card). The card issuer will want to know about the type of business you have, how it’s incorporated, and some basic financial information about it. This will be in addition to the personal information that you would expect to supply when applying for a consumer card.
What Additional Information Will You Need?
First, you’ll have to supply some basic information about your business such as its name and the name that you would like printed on the card. You’ll also need to supply your business address and phone number. A typical small business credit card application will also ask you to provide additional business information such as its legal structure and business tax ID number. For example, you could apply as a corporation, a partnership, a nonprofit, a limited liability corporation or even as a sole proprietorship. You might also be asked if your company is privately owned, publicly traded, or government owned. Other information collected on most business credit card applications can include the age of your business, its industry type, and who is authorized to sign for it.
And just like a consumer credit card application will ask for your income, a small business credit card application might ask for your annual business revenue and the amount your business spends each month. Some applications will ask you about how you for additional information about how you plan to use your card, such as how often you carry a balance. Finally, a small business credit card application might ask if your business is headquartered in the United States, legally formed here, and permanently based here.
Once you submit your application, you may receive an immediate decision, or you could be informed of your application’s status later. Sometimes, a card issuer will reach out to the applicant to verify the information on the account, and to try to get to know you and your business a bit better. The information discussed can be used to evaluate your application, but it’s also collected to help the bank try to build a relationship with you.
What You Won’t Be Asked
A small business credit card application won’t ask you about your business credit history. When you apply for a small business credit card, you’ll be personally guaranteeing the account with your own credit history.
How to Fill Out Your Small Business Credit Card Application
As with a personal credit card, it’s important to fill out the application as honestly and as completely as possible. Give accurate estimates of your business income and spending, as well as your personal income. Just like with a personal credit card, you can include numerous sources of personal income such as alimony, child support, investment dividends and Social Security benefits. You can even include the income of your spouse or domestic partner so long as you have a reasonable expectation of access to it to repay your loan.
The Bottom Line
A small business credit card application isn’t much different than a personal card application, but understandably, you can expect to be asked all sorts of questions about your business. By filling out the application as completely and accurately as possible, you should have just as much chance of being approved for a business account as you have for every other credit card you applied for.
This article was originally written on October 16, 2017 and updated on March 24, 2020.