A lot of people think that they are “not in business” and therefore cannot apply for a business credit card. The simple fact is that you probably can.
Applying for business cards is a great way to have access to more lucrative credit card offers. There are several other benefits:
- The account’s credit line and age are don’t show on your personal credit score
- It’s a great way to keep business expense separate from personal expenses
- More spending bonuses and more points
What Qualifies as a Business?
Basically if you are making, buying, selling, or providing a service for money, you are a business. This can even be a part time job. Here’s Merriam Webster's definition of a business.
- the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money
- work that is part of a job
This means that if you a) provide goods and services and b) hopefully earn profit, you are a business.
The bottom line is that you don’t even have to be making a profit, you could even be a startup or operating at a loss. A business doesn’t have to be a large company either. As far as credit card applications, it can consist of just one individual (sole proprietorship) or a potentially large group of people.
Don’t Think you Have a Business?
Even though you might not call yourself a business, you just might be considered one!
If you’re involved in any transactions that include exchanging goods or services for money, you’re set.
Consider whether any of these are true for you:
- Selling things on eBay or Etsy
- Consulting as a side job
- Have rental property
- Getting paid for odd jobs/handy work
- Selling art/photos/services
- Run a garage sale every couple months
You can apply for a business card even if you are just a start-up venture. You can even be a start-up with zero revenue and qualify for a business card. My sister just applied for a business card in hopes that she will sell her handmade jewelry. You don’t to have an established business. I’m sure you can come up with a great start-up venture that you have always been thinking about. Selling art or photos. Reselling items on ebay. Housesitting. Tutoring. Consulting. You get the point.
If you’re in the early stages of opening a business, you can plan ahead to keep expenses separate from your personal spending with a business card.
Already Have a Business?
Just think about how you do or plan to exchange in business activity--exchanging money for goods or services. You certainly don’t have to have a business license or be incorporated. You don’t even need a business tax ID number to fill out a business card application.
Of course if you have an operating and existing business, even better. You can simply apply using all of the information that you already have.
How Does Applying for a Business Credit Card Affect Your Credit Score?
When you apply for a business credit card the hard inquiry shows up on your personal credit score. You will get a small ding for this, just as you would for applying for a personal credit card. Each hard inquiry usually lowers your credit score by 3-5 points.
However, the credit line and account age will not post to your personal credit score. So opening and closing a business credit card every year will not shorten your average credit account history. Similarly, the fluctuation in total credit lines should not affect your personal credit score.
Do you have a business credit card for your business? What kind of business do you have? Tell us in the comments!
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