Small business credit cards can offer perks, benefits, and rewards that are unavailable on personal credit cards. Some of the best credit card welcome offers are for small business credit cards. But if you’re wondering if you qualify for a small business credit card, the answer is probably, “yes.”
Maybe you want to get more rewards when you buy office supplies, charge travel expenses, or pay for telecommunications services. Perhaps you simply want to keep your business and personal expenses separate. Or maybe you’re eyeing a generous welcome bonus on a credit card. Regardless of your reason, you likely qualify for a small business credit card.
Here’s what you need to know.
You probably have a small business
If you do anything outside of regular employment that earns money, you have a business. And what you do doesn’t have to be large or make much (any) profit. If you do work on a freelance basis, you have a business. If you occasionally drive for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, or do some other “gig-economy” work, you have a business. Even if you occasionally sell items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or eBay, you have a small business.
You don’t have to incorporate and you don’t have to do anything to register your business. The IRS even has a term for someone who has a small business that hasn’t formally incorporated: sole proprietor.
Your business doesn’t have to be large, or even make money. If you have a hobby that may some day turn into a profitable venture, you have a business and can qualify for a small business credit card.
Business credit card requirements
When you apply for a business credit card, you’ll get asked for some information about your business. If you’ve only ever applied for a personal credit card, this information may be new to you. Here’s what you’ll be asked to provide.
- Your Employer Identification number, or Tax-ID number. If you’ve registered for an EIN with the IRS or if you are incorporated and have an EIN, you can use this number for your business card application. But you don’t need an EIN if you are just doing business on your own. If this is the case, simply use your social security number.
- Your business income. If you are a sole proprietor, this can be the same as your personal income.
- How long you’ve been in business. Back when my business was selling things on eBay and Craigslist, I used the date I graduated college as the start date of my business. Now that I have formally incorporated my writing business, I use my date of incorporation.
- Your role in the business. This is typically something like “owner” if you are a sole proprietor.
- Your business address. This is the address at which you do business. If you do business out of your home, this can be your home address.
- Your business phone number. If you don’t have a separate business phone like, this can be your home or mobile number.
Why get a small business credit card?
There can be many reasons to get a small business credit card. Here are a few of the top ones:
- Keeping business and personal expenses separate. Having a small business credit card available to charge business expenses can simplify accounting come tax-time. Many small business cards even offer reporting features that categorize business expenses.
- Earning additional rewards. You’re probably on this website because you want to earn credit card rewards. Business cards can be a great avenue to earn additional rewards. Business cards often offer category bonus rewards in categories like office supply stores, travel, and telecom. The Chase Ink business credit cards frequently top the list of the best Chase Ultimate Rewards welcome bonuses.
- Keep credit line utilization low on your credit report. A large factor in your credit score is the proportion of your available credit that you are using. And if you have a lot of business expenses, you’re likely to use a large part of your credit line. But if you put these expenses on a small business credit card, large balances won’t impact your credit score. Most business credit cards don’t report credit lines or balances to your personal credit report. This can also be helpful if you are trying to stay under 5/24 for Chase credit card applications.
- Build a business credit history. Your small business has a credit report through the three business credit bureaus, Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian. And it’s more important than you might believe. Vendors may use your business credit report when determining whether to allow you to pay for purchases over time.
Yes, you probably own a small business and can qualify for small business credit cards. If you do anything on the side to make money or have a hobby that you want to one day turn into a money-making venture, you have a small business and can qualify for small business credit cards.