Which Credit Cards Can Help Me Build Business Credit?

Which Credit Cards Can Help Me Build Business Credit?

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Small business credit cards offer myriad benefits: rich rewards and cards with limits that are often higher than on personal cards. Plus, there’s an added bonus that small business owners don’t always recognize at first: A business credit card may help you build business credit.

In fact, getting one of these cards may help put your business on the map when it comes to building business credit, provided the card issuer reports information to commercial credit agencies. Not all cards have the same policy when it comes to reporting to business credit bureaus, though, and it’s important to understand how each one works. (In a separate article, we explain how business credit cards may affect a business owner’s personal credit.)

How Business Credit Card Data Ends Up on Credit Reports

There are a number of commercial credit reporting agencies in the U.S. Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian are among the most well known. Separately, the Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE) serves as a repository of business credit information for its members, which include major financial institutions and lenders of all types that provide financing to small businesses.

The SBFE doesn’t compile or sell credit reports. Instead, it works with SBFE Certified Vendors, which are credit reporting agencies that are permitted to include credit information reported to the SBFE exchange in the reports they sell to members of the SBFE. SBFE Certified Vendors currently include Dun & Bradstreet, LexisNexis and Equifax.

Credit reporting is entirely voluntary. No issuer is required to report information to credit bureaus, whether it’s personal or commercial credit information. And with business credit in particular, it can be difficult to find lenders and vendors that report. That’s why this kind of information is important.

We reached out to the major business credit card issuers and asked them where they report small business credit card data. Below is a chart that lists the results. Note that because of the SBFE Certified Vendor model, information reported to SBFE may also be included in reports compiled by SBFE Certified Vendors. (Editor’s Note: This chart is accurate as of publish date, but issuer policies can change.)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. 6,000 Learn More

United℠ Explorer Business Card

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Tips for Building Business Credit With Credit Cards

If one of your goals is a good business credit rating, consider getting a business credit card. Many entrepreneurs think their business has to be well-established and profitable to qualify, but that is not always the case. Card issuers are often more interested in the personal credit score of the owner who applies, and will often consider income from a variety of sources, not just the business itself.

To build strong business credit using a business credit card, make sure you:

  1. Pay your credit card on time. Payment history is the most important factor in personal credit scores and can be an even greater factor with business credit scores. Some business credit scoring models rely almost entirely on payment history.
  2. Keep balances low. Business credit reports are different than personal credit reports in several ways. One is that issuers don’t typically report credit limits. Unlike personal credit scores, where debt usage is based on the balance compared to the credit limit, with business credit the balance may be compared to the highest balance reported. Your business may appear “maxed out” more easily this way. Not all commercial credit scoring models will evaluate debt usage, but when they do, lower balances can be a benefit.
  3. Check credit often. Another way business credit reports are different than personal credit reports is that they do not list the name of the lender (or card issuer). As you begin to build business credit, keep track of your business credit reports to identify when one of these accounts reports. You’ll then be able to track how various accounts impact your credit history.

Credit cards can be a flexible and relatively low-cost way to borrow for your business and can offer lucrative rewards that provide additional value at no cost when you pay your balances in full. As with all types of credit, you want to be careful and cautious so you don’t put your business finances at risk. You can check your business credit for free every month on Nav.

The Plum Card® from American Express
American Express is a Nav Partner
Terms, Rates & Fees

The Plum Card® from American Express

Paying early pays off: Get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on Learn More
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
American Express is a Nav Partner
Terms, Rates & Fees

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your Learn More
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
American Express is a Nav Partner
Terms, Rates & Fees

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Welcome Offer: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card Learn More
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10 responses to “Which Credit Cards Can Help Me Build Business Credit?

  1. With only a handful of banks on the list is there a simple way to to get this information for banks not on the list? I have tried calling some banks but the CSR do not seem to know what business credit agencies their cards report to.

    For example would I be able to find out by contacting Experian or Equifax directly?

    1. Good question. Unfortunately there is no easy way to get this information. The credit reporting agencies won’t be able to tell you. (And business credit reports don’t list the names of card issuers.) However this list encompasses the top small business card issuers which together issue the large majority of business credit cards available. Keep in mind that these issuers often have multiple cards with different rates, fees, and rewards – so there’s a good chance there is something on that list that should be a fit!

  2. I’ve read plenty of places that the Wells Fargo Secured credit card reports to DnB and the other credit agencies. I cant find any information about that unsecured bussines card though. Does the unsecured Business Platinum report to DnB or the other agencies? Logic would suggest it would, but I cant seem to find any info on this.

    1. Hi Joe,

      As indicated in the chart above, Wells Fargo reports their business credit cards to the SBFE. That means that data may be available on certain credit reports purchase through Certified Vendors which may include D&B, Equifax, Experian and LexisNexis. This article may help: What is the SBFE?

  3. My daughter is interested in applying for a business credit in the near future. Her Business is new (less than 6 months), but she has established (3) vendor credit accounts which are paid, and in good standing, will that qualify her business for a unsecured business credit card?

  4. I’m interested in a business card to start.
    Is there a secured deposit type card available.
    I’d like to deposit 1000.00 dollars to start.

    1. Wells Fargo offers a secured business credit card. Before you go that route you may want to get a free Nav account and check whether you have high MatchFactor scores for any of the unsecured business credit cards.

      1. I have a Nav account! How do I go by checking to see if I can get approval for Wells Fargo Secured Card???

        1. The Wells Fargo secured card is not currently available in the Nav marketplace. I believe you need to go into a branch to apply for it.

          Let us know how your experience with it goes. I’m sure other small business owners will be interested.