Terms apply to American Express offers on this page. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
What We'll Cover
- How to Build Business Credit Quickly
- Do Business Credit Cards Build Business Credit?
- How Does Business Credit Work and What Is It Used for?
- Can a Business Build Credit With Just an EIN?
- How To Build Business Credit With Business Credit Cards?
- Should You Use Your SSN or EIN for Business Credit?
- Can You Get a Business Credit Card With No Revenue or Credit Score?
- Can a Personal Credit Card Help Build Business Credit?
- Pros and Cons of Business Credit Cards
- Top Business Credit Cards that Help Build Business Credit
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best All-Around
- Divvy Business Card: Best for Rebuilding Business Credit
- Ink Business Cash® Credit Card: Best for Start-Ups
- Capital One Spark Miles for Business: Best for Business Travel
- Brex Mastercard for Startups: Best for Startups With No Credit History
- Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard®: Best for Flexible Rewards
If you’re opening your own business for the first time, then you likely have plenty of questions about how to start building business credit. Whether you register your business as a corporation or LLC, you’ve taken the first step toward separating your business and personal finances.
Applying for business credit cards and other sources of credit can be a great way to begin establishing your business credit file. Just remember that, much like personal credit, it's vital to maintain a solid reputation for using credit responsibly and making your payments on time.
Join us for a look at several business credit cards that help build business credit, track expenses, and more. We'll also answer common questions about why business credit is so important.
How to Build Business Credit Quickly
After registering your business, you’ll first want to apply to the IRS for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You’ll also want to apply for a DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet, which is an important business credit bureau.
At this point, you’re ready to start proving to lenders that your business is trustworthy when it comes to credit! The quickest way to do so is to start establishing a solid track record for paying your bills and expenses on time.
Do Business Credit Cards Build Business Credit?
Absolutely- as long as you use them responsibly. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), some of the best ways to do this include establishing a credit history through:
- Vendor and Supplier Credit
- Retail Credit
- Business Credit Cards
How Does Business Credit Work and What Is It Used for?
Much like your personal credit score, your business credit scores give potential lenders hints as to whether it’s a good idea to loan you money. Establishing and maintaining a solid business credit score can make it much easier to secure loans for your business at a reasonable rate.
Many business lenders and suppliers report to different business credit bureaus including, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax. While each score may be a bit different, the key to maintaining a great track record is making your payments on time or even early.
Can a Business Build Credit With Just an EIN?
Getting an EIN is a vital first step in building business credit, much like having an SSN is essential for building personal credit. But in order to build your business credit, you’ll have to begin proving your creditworthiness by doing business with various lenders.
You may also need to contact various business credit bureaus, such as Dun & Bradstreet, to make sure you establish a file for your business.
How To Build Business Credit With Business Credit Cards?
Building a good credit score requires doing business with lenders that report back to all the major credit bureaus. While not all suppliers and lenders report to such bureaus, many business credit cards do.
Just keep in mind that this is true for better or worse. You’ll want to ensure that you always make your payments on time and keep your credit utilization ratio at 30% or less.
Should You Use Your SSN or EIN for Business Credit?
You should always use your EIN when applying for business cards, rather than your personal SSN. This is an important step in ensuring that you keep your business and personal finances separate.
That said, many issuers will also require you to provide your SSN in order to personally guarantee any business debts you rack up on the card. This is particularly true if your business has yet to establish its own credit history.
Can You Get a Business Credit Card With No Revenue or Credit Score?
If your business is brand new, then it’s highly likely that it has not established a credit score yet or even begun bringing in revenue. For this reason, many issuers will also consider your personal credit score when you apply for your first business card.
This is another reason that many business cards will ask for your SSN in addition to your EIN.
Can a Personal Credit Card Help Build Business Credit?
Not directly. Your business’ finances will be reported separately from your personal finances, which is part of why it's so important to establish your business as a separate legal entity.
As we covered in the last question, however, your personal credit may come into play if you apply for a business credit card before your business has established its own credit history. If you’re planning on establishing a business in the future, it’s never a bad idea to get your personal score in good shape for this reason.
Cards like the Chime Credit Builder can be a great way to help rebuild personal credit in the long run.
Pros and Cons of Business Credit Cards
Much like personal credit cards, business credit cards come with pros and cons of their own. When used responsibly, business credit cards can be a great asset.
When used improperly, however, they can come with just as many issues as regular credit cards.
- Can be a great way to help build business credit
- Often offer rewards that can help benefit your business
- Great for record-keeping
- Easier to get approved for higher limits than personal cards
- May come with expensive annual fees or APRs
- Misuse can harm your business credit
- Cards with personal guarantees hold you personally responsible for any charges
- Business cards are not required to offer the same protections as personal cards
Top Business Credit Cards that Help Build Business Credit
Ready to take the plunge and start establishing a credit history for your new business? Let’s take a look at some of the best business credit cards for building business credit and keeping expenses on track.
Whether you’ve got stellar credit and want to go big or are looking for a solid card for your new startup, we’ve gathered a great collection of choices from across the board.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best All-Around
When it comes to the best business credit cards for building business credit, the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is one of our top contenders. Not only does it come with $0 annual fee, but also an introductory purchase APR of 0% for the first 12 months and a variable 18.24% - 26.24% APR rate thereafter. (See Rates & Fees)
You can also set up employee cards for no additional fee, with customizable limits on each. The card comes with plenty of great benefits, including the ability to earn 2x the points on your first $50,000 worth of purchases each year, then 1%.
Prefer cashback? Simply choose the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card instead for the same great benefits and cash rewards.
- Annual Fee: None
- Variable APR: 0% intro APR for the first 12 months, then 18.24% - 26.24% (variable)
- Perks: Earn 15,000 points when you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months
Divvy Business Card: Best for Rebuilding Business Credit
If you’re looking to take back control of your company’s finances, then the Divvy Business Visa Card is a great way to do it. Divvy is a charge card that’s designed to tailor to your unique business needs and grow along with you.
With no annual fee, each card seamlessly integrates with Divvy’s award-winning expense management software. Enjoy unlimited virtual cards and employee cards with customizable limits that you can control all from one place.
Divvy also offers rewards for on-time payments and reports your performance to the Small Business Financial Exchange to help build your credit.
- Annual Fee: None
- Variable APR: N/A- As a charge card, your balance must be paid in full each month
- Perks: Free tools for budgeting, tracking expenses, and controlling spending
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card: Best for Start-Ups
Setting up a new business is an investment, but Chase’s Ink Business Cash credit card can help you earn cash back on office essentials. You’ll earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000/year on purchases from office supply stores or on phone, cable, and internet services.
You’ll also get 2% cash back on the first $25,000/year you spend at gas stations and restaurants. With employee cards available at no additional cost, the Chase Ink Business Cash card offers a built-in cash rewards system and generous built-in security features.
- Annual Fee: None
- Variable APR: 0% intro APR for the first 12 months, then 18.49% - 24.49%
- Perks: Earn $900 when you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
Capital One Spark Miles for Business: Best for Business Travel
If your business involves travel, then the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card is worth looking into. The card offers a refreshingly straightforward rewards program that offers 2x the miles on every business purchase and 5x the miles when you book rental cars and hotels through Capital One Travel.
Enjoy free cards for your employees with customizable limits, easy integration with ERP platforms, and flexible payment dates. For a small fee, you can even make online payments with your card to vendors who don’t traditionally accept credit.
- Annual Fee: Waived the first year, then $95
- Variable APR: 26.24%
- Perks: 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months
Brex Mastercard for Startups: Best for Startups With No Credit History
No business credit history? Not necessarily a problem with the Brex MasterCard for startups. Brex offers cards for businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to major corporations.
One of the major appeals of Brex is that it offers higher limits without a personal guarantee or credit check. Brex even offers to help you incorporate through their partners if you haven’t done so yet.
While the Brex Startup card must be paid in full each month, it comes with a range of benefits including a 3.94% yield on cash balances. You can also earn up to 8x points on purchases which can be redeemed for cash back or business scaling perks such as billboards, coaching, or team events.
- Annual Fee: None
- Variable APR: N/A - the balance must be paid in full each month
- Perks: Expense tracking in real-time, custom employee cards accepted in 100+ countries
Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard®: Best for Flexible Rewards
If you want to customize your rewards categories, then Bank of America’s Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard is a great choice. You can earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice and 2% on dining purchases for the first combined $50,000 you spend each year.
You’ll also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. If you happen to have a Bank of America business checking account, you can rack up even up to 75% more cashback on every purchase.
With no annual fee or rewards expiration dates, this card could be an excellent value for the right business owner.
- Annual Fee: None
- Variable APR: 0% intro purchase APR for the first 9 months, then 16.49% - 26.49%
- Perks: Get $300 cash back when you make at least $3,000 in purchases during the first 90 days
Opening a business credit card can be a great way to help build your business credit history, all while enjoying the many perks that different card issuers have to offer. Whether you're looking to automate expense tracking or help you earn cash back to scale your business, there’s a card out there for you.
We hope this has answered your questions about how business credit cards work and helped point you in the direction of the perfect solution for you.
For Rates & Fees of:
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express Click Here
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply
The responses below are not provided, commissioned, reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any financial entity or advertiser. It is not the advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.