How to Get a Business Credit Card: Your Questions Answered!
Everyone knows that the absolute quickest way to earn tons of frequent flyer miles is to take advantage of credit card signup bonuses.
However, most credit cards only allow you to get the signup bonus for the credit card one time.
After a while, if you open a few cards, you’re options will become limited.
The best way to continue to get the best signup bonuses?
Open up a business credit card!
However, there are a few differences about opening up a business credit card and a personal card, so let’s walk step by step through some of the more frequently asked questions surrounding business credit cards so that you can begin taking advantage of these awesome opportunities!
Question 1: But What If I Don’t Own a Business?
Now, before you start to say “but I don’t own a business”, stop and think for a second.
Is there anything you do that makes you extra money that isn’t included in your regular salary?
- Do you sell items on ebay?
- Do you do some consulting on the side?
- Baby-sit or pet-sit for friends?
- Do yard work or snow-plowing?
There are lots of things that people do for extra income that they don’t consider a business but which can be considered one!
Here’s a perfect example:
My mother is a middle school gym teacher. When I first started telling her about the Chase Ink Bold card and all its awesome perks, she was intrigued, but told me
“Travis, I don’t have a business.”
This was easy pickings, but I decided let her figure it out on her own.
“So you don’t do anything for extra money Mom? You just make your teacher’s salary?”
“Well, I do coach field hockey and lacrosse at the high school and during the summer, I run field hockey camps.”
“Do you make money for that?”
“Then guess what, you’ve got a business.”
And just like that, my mom, who 2 minutes before claimed she didn’t have a business, was on her way to applying for a business card.
Here’s the important thing:
- You don’t have to be incorporated to be a business.
- You don’t have to have employees to be a business.
- And you don’t have to make a lot of money to be a business.
All you have to be is provide a good or service in an attempt to make profit.
So start thinking if there is anything you do that could be considered a business. Nothing is too small, and the answer may surprise you!
Question 2: Ok, but what if I don’t do anything that currently earns extra money like you’ve described above?
This makes things a little more tricky, but doesn’t mean you can’t get a business card.
The definition of a business includes the words “an attempt to make a profit.”
This does not mean that you have to currently be making a profit.
If you rack your brain and can’t think of any way that you currently have a business, you can still qualify for a business card.
Are you planning on starting up a business in the near future?
If so, you may be able to qualify for a business card by applying for a card BEFORE you’ve actually made profit as a start-up.
The banks will be more hesitant to give cards to start-ups than they will to already established businesses (and remember, when I say established, I mean things as simple as my mom’s coaching) but if you go in with a well thought out and convincing plan, you can oftentimes still get approved.
A few things to make sure to mention when going this route are:
- Your relationship with the lender already. If you already have an established relationship with Chase (or Citi or Amex), make sure to mention this. Tell them that you’ve enjoyed being a customer of their’s for ______ years and that you’d like that relationship to continue.
- Your desire to split your personal expenses from your business expenses. Tell them you want to open up a business card right when you are starting the business because you want to easily track your business expenses and you currently only have personal credit cards.
- Your willingness to move some credit from a personal card to the business card. If they are hesitant to offer you more credit, make sure to mention to them that you’d be willing to take some of the credit from a personal card and put it on the business card. This should help assuage their fears.
Question 3: How do I fill out a business card application?
When applying for a business card, it’s important to understand how to fill out the actual application as it’ll differ from a personal application.
Most of it will be pretty straightforward, but there are a few parts that might be a touch confusing.
The most important thing is to not make it too complicated. You don’t have to make your business look bigger, better, or more profitable than it is.
Just be honest on the application.
While each bank will have slightly different questions, lets look at a Chase application and how to fill that out.
The information below is intended for people, who like my mom, don’t have a registered business.
Of course, if you have a registered business, you can use that information.
Legal name of the business: Put your own name.
Business Address: Use your home address (unless you have a separate business address).
For the type of business: Select SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP.
For tax identification: Use your PERSONAL SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.
For number of employees: Most people will select 0 unless you have someone you pay to help your business.
For years in business: List the amount of time you’ve done whatever it is you’re applying for a card for.
For “nature of the business”: Select the one that best fits. Don’t get hung up on this.
For annual revenue: Give your best guess if you’re not exactly sure. If you’re a start-up, you can put 0 in here. You’ll almost assuredly have to explain it later in a phone call, but that’s fine.
And that should be all. Submit your application and….(see below)
Question 4: I submitted my application and got the message that it was “pending review”. What should I do now?
First off, realize that this DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE DENIED!
Every single person I know, myself included, who has applied as a sole proprietor has gotten this message.
If you want to speed up the process, call up the business reconsideration line.
Waiting for a letter of if you are approved or not can take up to a month, and oftentimes, you’ll be denied because they couldn’t verify your business.
Instead, take 5 minutes and call the reconsideration line. You can call anytime, even the same day you applied, and will usually get approved immediately.
When you call the reconsideration line, simply tell the customer service rep that you applied for the card and would like to check on the status.
They will then as you a few basic questions about your business, such as:
- What is your business? What do you do?
- How long have you been in business?
- How much revenue did you make in the past year? How much of that was profit?
- How much revenue do you plan on making this year? Why do you think you’ll make that amount?
There may be some other, more specific questions about your business, so the best advice I can give you is to take a few minutes and be prepared.
But don’t worry, this isn’t the Spanish Inquisition.
The person on the other end of the line just wants more information about your business.
It’s best to be as honest and personable as possible.
Don’t be nervous; you have an actual business!
I can’t begin to tell you how many people have told me they think they are doing something “wrong”.
I believe it comes from the idea that we have in which we think a business is this huge entity employing thousands of people.
The sooner you get past that false ideology and realize that a business is ANYTHING (big or small) that someone does to make money, you’ll understand that you have as much right to a business card as the Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg (although you’ll probably be given a much smaller line of credit)!
Business Card Wrap-Up
Business cards can be a GREAT way to earn even more frequent flyer miles quickly and easily, do don’t write them off right away.
Take a few minutes to think about your own business, and what you might do that is considered a business.
Once you’ve found that, don’t let your fear of having to make a phone call scare you. It’s usually painless and finished in less than 5 minutes.
If you’re still scared or nervous, take a minute to imagine yourself sitting in an Italian café, watching the sunset over the Meditteranean.
Or walking through the vineyards of France, picking grapes off the vine and sitting down to a some delicious cheese and red wine.
That’s usually enough to convince people to make that call, because the boatload of frequent flyer miles that’ll come your way as a result are well worth the small hassle.
And once you do it, you’ll realize just how easy and painless it is. From then, its game on!
Best Business Cards
There are many good business credit cards out there.
To see an updated list of all the best travel credit cards, personal and business, click on the “Travel Credit Cards” link up in the navigation bar at the top of this site.
What are some of the businesses you have that have gotten approved for a business card? Are there any other questions you have regarding how to get a business card? Let me know in the comments below!