Do Business Credit Cards Report to Personal Credit?

Do Business Credit Cards Report to Personal Credit?

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If you are looking for a small business credit card, you’ll probably focus on the benefits and rewards you can earn, as well as the annual fee and interest rate you’ll pay. How that card will affect your credit scores probably won’t be top of mind, but it’s worth considering. The way a business credit card reports information to the credit bureaus can help or hurt your personal and business credit ratings.

Will my business credit card activity affect my personal credit?

Most small business credit cards require the business owner/cardholder to personally guarantee the debt. That means that if the balance isn’t paid off through the business, the owner will be on the hook for the entire amount. That also means business account activity may spill over to the owner’s personal credit reports, depending on each card issuer’s policy.

Some card issuers only report activity to the cardholder’s personal credit reports if the owner defaults. Others will report all activity, whether it is positive or negative.

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Pros and cons of business credit cards that do report activity

Which way is better? It depends on your situation. As long as you pay your business card on time and avoid high balances, having a business card that appears on your personal credit reports with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion should not be a problem, and may even help your credit scores.

But if you charge everything you can on your card to rack up rewards, for example, then your personal credit could suffer. Why? Credit scoring models take into account your “debt usage” or “utilization” ratio, which compares the balances reported against available credit limits, often for each card as well as all credit cards totalled together. A high balance on a business card that appears on an individual’s personal credit can mean a high debt usage ratio which can lower credit scores.

(Keep in mind that simply paying the balance off in full each month alone isn’t likely to solve this problem. The balance that is reported is usually the balance as of the statement closing date, not after a payment has been made. If you want lower balances to be reported, you need to make your payments before the statement closing date, or whatever date the issuer reports.)

On the other hand, if your personal credit history is a bit thin, a business card that reports your full account activity may help. For example, if you avoid credit cards and use a debit card, then you may have a “thin” credit profile that could benefit from the boost another card can help provide.

Choosing a business credit card that does not report to personal credit may be helpful if you know there will be times you need to run up charges that put you close to the limit or carry a balance — think holiday inventory, or that big tradeshow, for example — and you don’t want that activity to bring down your scores.

Following are the policies of the major business credit card issuers at a glance:

Business credit card information reported on owner/cardholder’s personal credit reports

Issuer All Activity Default/Negative
American Express No Yes
Bank of America No No
Capital One Yes* Yes
Chase No Yes
CitiBusiness No No
Discover N/A** N/A
US Bank No No
Wells Fargo No Yes
*Capital One activity is flagged as ‘small business’ when reported to personal credit reports.
**Discover does not offer a small business credit card at this time.
Confirmed with card issuers November 2015. Be sure to check with your card issuer for updated information.
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Ultimately, you’ll have to decide whether having a card that does (or doesn’t) report monthly account activity on your credit reports is right for you. Either way, you’ll want to keep tabs on your personal and business credit scores, to make sure they are as strong as possible–and stay that way.  

Ready to see your credit data and start building better business credit? Check Your Personal and Business Credit Scores For Free (No Credit Card Required).

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About the Author — Gerri serves as Head of Market Education for Nav, which provides business owners with simple tools to build business credit and access to lending options based on their credit scores and needs. She develops educational programs and content for small business owners, and works on advocacy initiatives. A prolific writer, her articles have been featured on popular websites such as Yahoo!, MSN Money, ABCNews.com, CBSNews.com, NBCNews.com, Forbes, The Today Show website and many others.

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  • scottvost

    I know this is an old article but I do have a question. I had a “business” Costco credit card from AMEX that I would like to be reported to my personal credit. It is a very old account and I have kept a low balance and on time payments. Nothing else shows up on my report except my mortgage and some older closed accounts. I think it could raise my score as I have tried everything else and I am still in the “fair” range. Is there a way to “make” AMEX report it?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Great question! No, you can’t force an issuer to report, unfortunately. It does sound like you could benefit from a revolving account on your credit reports though. The only way to get an “aged” revolving history would be to have someone add you to one of their accounts as an authorized user. If they do, it’s likely the entire account history would be reported. But the next best option is to get a personal credit card and let that help round out your mix of credit and add some current activity to your reports. Hope that helps!

      • scottvost

        It does. Thank you. Just frustrated hat they will only report “the bad”. I would have changed my account type if I knew this information earlier. Live and learn I guess… Thanks again!

  • travellight

    What about Barclay’s? You don’t mention whether they report new business accounts to personal credit bureaus.

  • Amanda

    I have an established business with high revenues but brand new to building and establishing my business credit report. Do you have recommendations to secured business cards that report to business credit agencies but perhaps not to personal? I believe Wells Fargo does and BBVA does not report. Any others that you can suggest?