One of the most untapped resources for us fellow credit card ‘churners’ are business credit cards. Before I get too far ahead, yes, you can get business credit cards without owning a business.
What is the point of signing up for a business credit card if I don’t own a business?
– First off, business credit cards are considered a separate product compared to the personal version of the same card. Take the Chase Southwest cards for example, they offer a Premier Personal version as well as a Premier Business version. If you’ve already received the Southwest sign up points for the Premier personal card, you cannot receive that same card sign up bonus again for 24 months. If you sign up for the Premier Business card, it is treated as a completely separate card, therefore you can have both Premier cards and receive two bonuses (50k + 50k =100k SW Points). This is a HUGE shortcut towards achieving the Southwest Companion Pass and getting 2 for 1 travel.
You can have all three Southwest cards since they are different products. You will want to space out your applications to Chase for each card, 90 days is usually a good time-frame to use. I have all three cards and received the sign up bonuses for each one!
How do I apply for a business credit card without inputting business information?
The first thing you will need to decide is which one of your hobbies or ventures you want input as your business. Remember, you don’t necessarily need to have income to have a business. If you are a blogger, eBay-er, baby-sitter, or landlord (for example), you are a sole proprietor and that makes you eligible for a business credit card. Instead of inputting your Employer Identification Number (EIN), you will use your Social (SSN) on the application. Of course if you have an EIN, it would make sense to use that, however, one is not required to apply (or to be approved, in my case). Of course, do not put in any incorrect information as they may ask for details or explanation over the phone if you are not instantly approved, just be up front and let them know you want to grow your business. Your credit will technically be pulled and will still be a HUGE factor in your approval chances on business cards.
How does a business credit card report to my credit?
This is the interesting part, they don’t report to your credit. Well let me clarify, your credit limit and balances will not report to the credit bureaus. The credit inquiry (pull) at the time of application will likely appear on your report, but the opened account will not show up. This can be a good thing if you need to carry a balance and don’t want it to negatively impact your score but bad if you are trying to build your credit score.
1. DO NOT carry large balances on travel credit cards. They have very high interest rates to offset all the points they give you. If you need a credit card to carry a large balance, look for a low interest credit card as high interest charges will quickly offset any free travel.
2. Business credit cards are not good starter cards as they don’t report to the credit bureaus. This means you do not have your on-time payments reported. Start with a no-annual fee personal card as your first card, that way you can keep it for a long time and your payments will be reported.
3. Even though the business card won’t show on your credit doesn’t mean you are not liable. You are 100% personally liable for charges and fees on that card. They can come after you if the account goes into default.
What card would be best as my first business credit card?
This of course depends on where you live and where you want to travel to. One thing to note with American Express personal cards is that the sign up bonus is typically only allowed once in your life. If you sign up for the Delta Gold personal card and receive points, you are not eligible to receive that sign up bonus again in your lifetime. You can have the Delta Gold Personal and Business card at the same time and receive the bonuses for each. However, with American Express business cards, the bonus can be had as often as every 12 months. That is what we call “churning”; sign up for a card, cancel it after you receive the points, and sign up again in the future. Another thing that makes Amex a great bank as your first business card is that they are the most relaxed in terms of approving you when you don’t really have a ‘business’ and need to use your SSN to apply. Oh, I also have the Delta Gold personal and biz cards, I love them both!
Something else to note with American Express. If you log into your Amex account on a particular web browser on your computer, like Chrome or Firefox, they will store cookies in your browser for future visits. If you appear to be an existing customer because of your browser cookies, Amex will show you lower credit card offers, BOO! Don’t ask me why they do this, but fortunately there is any easy way around it. You will just want to open your browser’s ‘Private Browsing’ or ‘Incognito Mode’ before accessing the credit card offer. Learn how to go Incognito here.
Once you are in private browsing mode, then you can go to Amex and find the card you want to apply for like the Delta Gold Biz Card. Another thing that is REALLY important before applying.. always be on the safe side and take a screenshot of the offer details before proceeding. If the offer did not post to your account for some reason, you will have some documentation at least.
Signing up for a Biz credit card may have some great perks and allow you to receive additional points you’d otherwise not be able to access. This is a great option if you are working towards the Companion Pass. Have questions? Leave a comment below.