Hey, you’re pretty ambitious. You’ve got plans to take over the world with your unique and well-planned business idea, and you may have already put your boots on the ground and been making money. Getting things REALLY going, however, takes money (not to mention, blood, sweat, probably some tears, and plenty of time).
The path to qualifying for a business credit card all begins with determining if you can qualify as a business owner, which is actually much more simple than you’ve anticipated. Do you have a side job? Do you do freelance work or sell things online? Do you have any system or operation apart from traditional W2 employment that makes you money? Yes? Great, you probably qualify as a business owner.
LLC or Sole Proprietor
One of the most important steps you can take as you start your business is to separate your personal and business expenses. It will save you a killer headache at tax time, and just makes life a lot smoother for you as a busy business owner.
Whether or not you apply for your business card as a sole proprietor or an LLC, you’ll be able to separate your personal and business expenses moving forward. When you apply, however, the lender will likely use your personal credit score before approving a business card.
It may make more sense for you to apply for your initial business credit card as a sole proprietor, but you may want to consider filing your business as an LLC down the road as it grows and your expenses grow more complex.
Reasons to Get a Business Credit Card
Along with being able to separate your personal and business finances, there are plenty of perks to getting a business credit card.
Rewards for business credit cards are almost always superior to those offered by personal credit cards. This can include skymiles, purchase points, or cash back on expanded categories. Not only are these options luxurious and make you want to splurge on something unnecessary (don’t do it), they can help you take your business to new levels by incentivizing things that you simply do for your business, like buying supplies or traveling to meet with clients.
Higher Credit Limit
Business cards also typically carry a higher credit limit than personal credit cards, giving you more purchasing power for your business. It’s normal and pretty typical for business owners to start their business with some of their own money, but far too many may be using personal credit cards to keep their business going.
A Nav survey regarding personal credit cards found that business owners have an average of 4.78 cards with a combined average credit limit of $35,291, compared to 2.32 cards and a $18,401 limit for non-business owners. In some cases, a single business card can match that total credit limit for a small business owner. This would reduce your number of credit lines and, again, simplifying your hectic life and increasingly more complex finances.
Build Business Credit
Many young people will get a personal credit card to start building their pretty bare credit profile. When you start a business, your business credit will need some love in order to go anywhere. A business credit card does just that. Just like with personal credit, making payments on time and keeping your debt level low are good moves as your business ages. While business and personal credit are a bit different, you can still check both of your scores for free with Nav. You’ll also be able to look for the best matches for your business.
So as your business progresses and grows, don’t hesitate to seek a business credit card to help it get off the ground.
This article was originally written on July 2, 2018.