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Learn how to build business credit and access more business financing.

Can I Get a Business Credit Card with Bad Personal Credit? 

The short answer is, yes.  

It is possible with bad credit. But it’s not easy. 

We’ve already covered similar building business credit topics in our previous articles, How to Build Business Credit with Bad Personal Credit and How to Build Business Credit Without Using Personal Credit.  

For this post, we’ll lean more into these strategies, while discussing how to go about getting a business card even if you have bad credit or are rebuilding credit.  

The Difference Between Personal Credit and Business Credit 

There are four main differences that small business owners need to know.  

First, personal credit is linked to your Social Security number, while business credit is linked to your EIN or Tax ID.  

Second, personal credit is affected by different factors than business credit credit, such as: 

  • Personal credit history 
  • Personal credit length 
  • Credit utilization ratio on a secured credit card or unsecured card 

A business credit score, on the other hand, is affected by the following: 

  • Business credit history 
  • Age of business 
  • Industry risk 
  • Whether or not you have a history of delinquent payments, bankruptcies, liens, or other issues that indicate bad credit  

And third, the two types of credit are reported to different credit bureaus.  

Personal credit, for example, is reported to consumer credit bureaus like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. There are other credit bureaus, but these are “the big three.” 

As for a business credit score, the three major credit bureaus that are reported to are Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business. Creditsafe is another smaller, but still important, business credit bureau. 

Finally, personal credit is used to finance expenses like consumer credit cards, personal lines of credit, auto loans, and mortgages.  

Business credit, however, is used to finance business expenses like business credit cards, business loans, and business lines of credit with vendors and suppliers. 

The Impact Personal Credit Can Have on Business Loans 

While well-established businesses with several years of business credit aren’t heavily impacted by personal credit, this isn’t true for newer small business owners and startups.  

For small business owners who lack strong business credit, most lenders will look closely at personal credit to determine creditworthiness.  

In turn, this determines the likelihood of being approved for business loans. If, for instance, you’re a new small business owner with a good credit history, you’re more likely to be approved for a business loan than if you have bad credit.  

Besides loan eligibility, personal credit can also impact the loan amount, terms, and interest rate.  

Let’s say again that you’re a new small business owner with a good credit history. Once approved for a business loan, it would be easier to get a higher loan amount, better loan terms, and a lower interest rate than if you have a poor credit score.  

It’s the same concept when trying to get the best credit cards.  

It’s also easier to get an unsecured business loan with a good credit score than with a bad credit score. So if your personal credit score is less than ideal, you may be forced to get a secured business loan initially.  

How to Build Your Business Credit Without Using Personal Credit 

Your first objective should be to separate your business and personal finances.  

This starts by doing the following: 

  • Establishing your small business as a legal entity, such as an LLC or corporation 
  • Getting an EIN and DUNS number 
  • Opening a separate business bank account  
  • Using a separate credit card for business expenses (secured card or unsecured card) 
  • Opening a business line of credit with a vendor or supplier that reports to at least one major business credit bureau 

Another effective way to quickly build your business credit report without using personal credit is to turn business bills into business credit tradelines with eCredable.  

If, for example, you already pay electric, water, gas, and internet bills to run your business, eCredable will report your payment history for a rapid boost to your business credit score.  

In many cases, you can even build business credit in 30 days.  

Upon signing up, eCredable will attempt to report up to the last two years of payments, which results in an average of a 32-point business credit score increase — all without having to use personal credit.  

In the long run, this can be instrumental in building or rebuilding credit, getting the best credit cards, and accessing other perks.  

3 Things to Avoid When Building Business Credit 

1. Keeping a High Balance on a Credit Card 

As we mentioned before, your credit utilization ratio heavily impacts your personal credit score.  

Therefore, if you have a high personal credit card balance that exceeds 30% of available credit, this can hurt your personal credit report.  

And again, if you’re a small business owner just starting out, a lackluster personal credit report can make it difficult to gain momentum when building business credit.  

To prevent issues, try to maintain a low balance, using no more than 30% of available credit from a credit card issuer.  

2. Multiple Hard Inquiries at Different Times 

“Having multiple hard inquiries within a short period of time can be predictive of credit risk, so having too many inquiries for different types of credit can result in a lower credit score,” Experian explains.  

That’s why you should avoid too many hard inquiries at different times, which happens when you apply for things like a personal loan, an auto loan, and a mortgage.  

While this won’t be as detrimental as something like missing a credit card or loan payment, it can negatively impact your personal credit, which can, in turn, make it harder to build good credit. 

3. Mixing Personal and Business Expenses 

Also, as we said earlier, it’s important to separate your business and personal expenses.  

For example, using personal credit cards for business expenses won’t help build your business credit history. Instead, you would want to use a small business credit card like the Bank of America Business Advantage card specifically for business costs.  

Besides helping you establish business credit, this makes it easier to track business expenses which can improve bookkeeping.  

What You Should Look for in a Business Credit Card 

When considering a business credit card, here are some specific things to look for.  

  • Introductory offers - The best credit cards will have a 0% APR for the initial period or will offer a cashback reward for signing up. An example of a small business credit card with an excellent intro offer is the Bank of America Business Advantage card, which offers 0% APR for the first nine billing cycles.  
  • Low APR - The lower your APR, the less interest you have with a business credit card. According to early 2024 data, 22.13% was the average APR for business credit cards.  
  • Robust rewards - Cash back, points, travel rewards, and business-related benefits can help you get the most from a business card. For instance, the Bank of America Business Advantage card offers an impressive 3% cash back, a platinum card from Visa offers up to 12% off hotels through Agoda.com, and Brex cash back offers up to 7x back.  
  • No annual fees - Like some personal credit card options, some business credit cards charge an annual fee that you have to pay each year. Others have no annual fees, which is usually preferable.  

Vendors That Don’t Check Personal Credit 

1. The CEO Creative 

In addition to web development services and print services, this vendor sells electronics, office supplies, and office cleaning supplies.  

By having a net 30 account, you can get up to a $1,100 credit limit, and The CEO Creative reports to Equifax Business and Creditsafe, which can help you build business credit.  

Besides not requiring a personal credit check or personal guarantee, we also like how easy this vendor makes it to apply for a net 30 account.  

To qualify, you must simply: 

  • Be a US-based business 
  • Have been in business for at least 30 days 
  • Have a clean business history  
  • Not have a record of late payments that indicate serious poor credit 

Just note that there is a $49 annual membership fee.  

2. Creative Analytics 

Creative Analytics is a B2B digital marketing agency that offers web design, SEO, and social media marketing. 

If you’re a new business owner looking for net 30 terms on these types of services to build your business credit without having to deal with a personal credit check or personal guarantee, Creative Analytics can be a great option.  

They report to Equifax Business and Creditsafe and offer up to a $12,000 credit limit.  

To qualify for financing, you must: 

  • Be a US-based business 
  • Have been in business for 30 days 
  • Have an EIN 
  • Have a DUNS number 
  • Have an up-to-date state of incorporation registration and verifiable phone number 
  • Not have any derogatory reporting marks that indicate serious bad credit 

Also, note that there is a $79 annual fee.  

3. NAMYNOT 

This is a brand growth and strategy firm that offers several services, including: 

  • Web design 
  • Organic lead generation 
  • Email marketing 
  • Ad management 
  • Social media 

Like the other vendors, NAMYNOT offers net 30 payment terms with no personal credit check or personal guarantee, allowing you to finance these services while building credit.  

As for reporting, they report to Dun & Bradstreet and give business owners a credit limit of up to $10,000.  

To be eligible, you must: 

  • Be based in the US 
  • Have been in business for at least 90 days 
  • Have at least 25% ownership in the company 
  • Have an EIN  
  • Have a DUNS number 
  • Be the Authorized Officer 
  • Be registered with your respective state and be in good standing 
  • Not have any negative payment issues 
  • Have a completed website, rather than one that’s “Coming Soon” 

Wrapping Up 

The bottom line is that it is possible to get a business credit card and other forms of financing with bad credit. However, it’s not easy.  

If you fall into this camp, there are a few things you can do, such as building your business credit without personal credit and partnering with vendors that don’t perform a personal credit check.  

With all that said, we still recommend striving to build your personal and business credit simultaneously because of how interwoven both types of credit are, especially for newer business owners.  

FAQs 

Do Credit Card Companies Run Your Personal Credit for a Business Credit Card? 

Yes. In most cases, credit card companies will run your personal credit when applying for business credit cards.  

This is especially true for newer small business owners with a limited business credit history.  

Doing so is integral in helping credit card companies determine the creditworthiness of small business owners when they lack adequate business credit. 

Therefore, if you have bad credit, it can limit the business credit cards you’re eligible for, and you may need to get a secured credit card or one with less-than-ideal terms and conditions.   

What Credit Score Do I Need for a Business Credit Card? 

While different credit experts will give you different numbers, you’ll generally need a minimum FICO score of 670.  

Having a higher score of 720+ can make you eligible for the best business credit card options with favorable terms and conditions like a Visa credit card.  

Or, if your business is large enough, you may be eligible for a corporate card like the Brex Card, as a corporate card doesn’t typically require a credit check.   

But if you’re a small business, a corporate card probably won’t be an option because you’re unlikely to have the necessary revenue.  

Note that there are a handful of small business credit card options that cater to individuals with bad credit scores as low as 500 — most of which involve secured credit cards.  

But for the most part, 670 is par for the course for an unsecured credit card.  

How Do I Build My Personal Credit Score? 

Some key strategies for building or rebuilding credit include: 

  • Starting with a secured credit card and working your way up to an unsecured card 
  • Always making payments on time or in advance 
  • Using no more than 30% of your available credit on credit cards 
  • Reducing your debts 
  • Diversifying your credit mix 

Also, keep older credit accounts open because this increases your amount of available credit, which, by default, decreases your credit utilization ratio.  

Besides that, be sure to routinely monitor your credit reports to ensure there are no inaccuracies. If you find any issues, promptly dispute them.  

These steps combined can help you overcome bad credit and put you on your way to building good business credit as well.  

 

 

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