How to Complete a Business Credit Card Application

Every business, however small, can derive a great many benefits from having a business credit card. Applying for one, especially if it is the first time you have tried to obtain a credit card in your business’ name. As easy as it might sound in principle finding business credit cards that you might be approved for, and then filling out the application the right way is a little more complicated than it might seem.

Review Your Credit Situation

If you have been in business for over 2 years and have a positive cash flow you can probably get approved for a business credit card without banks having to take your personal credit record into consideration. However, if yours is a small concern you will probably not want to wait two years to get a business credit card. A business credit card can help build up a business credit rating so the quicker you can get one the better. In that case, your personal credit rating will have to come in to play.

If you happen to have a good credit rating getting approval for a good business credit card should not be too hard. Try applying for cards with lenders that you already have personal credit cards withe (as long as your payment record is good) as you already have a relationship with these institutions and may have your application looked upon more favorably because of that fact.

If your own credit situation is less than excellent then things may become a little more difficult. The first thing you should do is find out exactly what the state of your personal credit is. Everyone is entitled to one free copy of their credit report from each of three major credit bureaus every year. Theses can be obtained online and in most cases access is instant.

Once you have your credit reports check them for errors. Credit Bureaus can only go on the information they are given and have no real way of telling if the information may be wrong, or if a payment made has not been reported. Some poor souls order their credit report only to find that someone stolen their identity and has been obtaining credit in their name.

If you do find errors contact the credit bureau immediately. It can take a while to get these things straightened out so the faster you get the process started the better.

Once you are satisfied that your credit report is accurate, you can determine which basic credit category you fall into. Although it varies a little from bureau to bureau basically credit scores stack up as follows:

  • 700-850 Excellent
  • 680-699 Good
  • 600/610- 680 Average or Fair
  • 599-579 Poor
  • 300-499 Fair

It may surprise you to learn that about 70% of Americans have what is called fair credit, so if that applies to you then you are far from alone and fair credit will often be sufficient for you to obtain basic business credit cards, especially if you can show that your business is progressing well as well.

There are ways you can build up your business credit without a credit card. Many store cards are easier to obtain so taking out a store card in your business’ name can help begin building a credit rating for your business.

Choosing a Card to Apply for

Although it may not state the credit score range a certain business credit card will be issued to right on the ender site if you do a little research there are a number of sites that will tell you approximatively what those values might be. There is little point in applying for a business credit card that usually requires excellent credit and you have a new business and your own credit is fair. Instead look for business credit cards that seem to match your credit situation and then choose between those offerings. Applying for too many business credit cards at once will damage your credit record and that of your business so stick to just one or two offerings and apply for them only.

Even if you have fair credit there are still a good many business credit cards you can choose from. Many new businesses will get the biggest benefit from a low APR card unless you intend to pay off balances every month in which case there are fair credit business credit cards that have some rather nice rewards programs attached to them.

Completing the Application the Right Way

The way you actually complete a business credit card application can mean the difference between being approved and securing your first business credit card and being turned down. These days almost all credit cards can be applied for online even though not all lenders will give you an instant decision once the application is submitted.

Before you begin the application gather together all the information you might need, including your business’ EIN number, your accounts, most especially your recent revenue reports and any business tax returns you have filed. You will need your business banking information as well.

As you begin filling out the application work slowly and read every question or information field carefully. If you are asked for your legal business name that means the name the IRS issued your EIN in, even if you use a different one now. Almost all business credit card applications will also ask for two sets of figures – your business’ annual revenue and your personable expenses like rent and mortgage payments. Make sure you fill all these figures in accurately. Don’t attempt to falsify figures, the penalties can be quite serious if you are found out.

Before you hit the submit button on any page proof read, and proof read it carefully. Even a single typo on your business address can delay your application being approved or get it turned down altogether.

If you asked to fax or email additional proofs (ids, business incenses, tax returns etc.) make sure you do so right away and then call a few minutes later to make sure that the information was received. Many a business credit card application has been stalled or even turned down because a single piece of information was never received by the lender.