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The Best Business Credit Cards for Fair Credit

Brayden McCarthy

Brayden is Fundera's credit cards expert. He's passionate about helping businesses take advantage of the best credit card offers on the market, from the longest 0% intro APR periods to the richest cash back and travel rewards bonuses.
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When you’re sifting through your options for business credit cards for fair credit, it’s easy to get caught up in an all-too-real conundrum: It’s difficult to secure a business credit card with a less-than-stellar or limited credit history. But, at the same time, the best way to build or rebuild credit is with a credit card.

What’s a business owner to do?

Well, though your choices for business credit cards may be limited, you’ve still got plenty of options.

Let’s dive right in and explore the best business credit cards for fair credit:

TL;DR: Finding the Best Business Credit Card If You Have Fair Credit

Don’t have the time to learn all about your best options in your search for a business credit card for fair credit?

We’ve still got you covered—here’s a quick synopsis of the best business credit cards for fair credit.

If you’re looking for a business credit card, then a personal credit score that’s on the lower side can seriously limit your options. In fact, most card issuers will primarily look to your personal credit score when determining whether or not you qualify for a business credit card.

business-credit-cards-for-fair-credit

If your credit score is 550 or above, then you’re eligible for the Capital One Spark Classic, the only unsecured business credit card for fair credit out there. The Spark Classic not only extends your business an unsecured credit limit, but it also lets you earn cash back for your business spending as well.

If you don’t quite qualify for the Spark Classic, you’re just one step away—you just need to build your personal credit with a secured card. The best secured card on the market for building your personal credit is the Capital One Secured Mastercard.

Understanding What “Fair Credit” Means in This Context

First thing’s first, let’s get a good grasp on what we mean by “fair credit” within the context of business credit cards.

When you apply for a business credit card, the card issuer will typically look to your personal credit score when deciding whether or not to extend you the business credit card in question.

I know what you’re probably thinking—something along the lines of “What does my personal credit score have to do with qualifying for a business credit card?”

Well, because the credit card issuer will consider you—the business owner—to be the ultimate decider on how you spend—and, more importantly, repay—with your business credit card, they’ll look to your personal fiscal responsibility.

And what will they look to as the main indicator of your personal fiscal responsibility?

You guessed it—your personal credit score.

business-credit-cards-for-fair-credit

So, within the context of business credit cards, it’s assumed that “fair credit” refers to your personal credit rather than your business credit, as that will almost always be the ultimate decider.

Though this might seem unfair or arbitrary—many small business owners might sacrifice their personal financial soundness in order to better their business’s—you’ve still got some pretty great options when it comes to business credit cards for fair credit.

Even if you’re not quite able to access an unsecured credit card with your current personal credit score, improving your personal credit is just one additional step toward securing a business credit card for fair credit.

The Very Best of Business Credit Cards for Fair Credit: The Spark Classic

The Capital One Spark Classic is the only unsecured business credit card for fair credit out there.

If offers a credit limit—with no security deposit required—to business owners with personal credit of 550 or above. Meanwhile, most other unsecured business credit cards out there require that you have a personal credit score of at least 620 in order to qualify for a card.

Not to mention, you’ll be able to earn for any business spending you do on this business credit card for fair credit. You’ll get an unlimited 1% cash back for every dollar you spend.

And that’s not all—the Spark Classic doesn’t come with an annual fee, either, so you won’t have to pay for these perks.

Even better news for business owners with fair credit?

The Spark Classic will report all of your activity on it to personal credit bureaus, so when you spend responsibly with it, your personal credit score will improve accordingly.

business-credit-cards-for-fair-credit

On the other hand, if you miss monthly payments or outspend your credit limit with the Spark Classic, then your personal credit score will suffer accordingly. So, it’s especially crucial to be diligent with this business credit card for fair credit, as your personal credit score is at stake.

However, if you do spend responsibly and improve your personal credit with the Spark Classic, then you can access even better business credit card deals as a result.

Once you surpass that 620 threshold, you’ll be able to access some of the very best business credit cards—all unsecured, might I add—on the market.

Building Credit to Access Business Credit Cards for Fair Credit in the Future

What if you’re not quite able to qualify for a Spark Classic?

If your personal credit isn’t quite at that 550 cut-off, not to worry. You’re just one step removed from access to the Spark Classic.

That one step? Improving your personal credit score with a secured credit card. A secured credit card is a credit card whose credit line is secured by a refundable security deposit. This security deposit makes secured credit cards much easier to access if you have fair credit, as it mitigates the risk that a card issuer takes on by extending you a credit line.

It might seem counterintuitive to get a credit card just to lock up your cash in a security deposit, and I get it—you’re probably thinking, “Why wouldn’t I just spend with my debit card at this point?”

However, a secured credit card is meant for pretty much only one thing—building credit.

And the best, most flexible secured credit card for business owners looking to build or rebuild credit?

The Capital One Secured Mastercard.

This secured card is the most flexible credit building solution out there. And though it’s actually a personal secured credit card, it’s ideal for business owners who need to build their personal credit to improve their future business credit card options.

While most secured credit cards require that you put down a security deposit of at least 90% of your credit limit, depending on your creditworthiness, the Capital One Secured Mastercard comes with the possibility to put down a security deposit of as little as 25% of your credit limit.

Additionally, if you’re unable to provide your security in one lump sum, you could pay it in installments, as long as it’s paid in full within 80 days of opening your account.

Finally, unlike many other credit cards that are meant for building credit, the Capital One Secured Mastercard won’t saddle you with an annual fee, or any other hidden fees, for that matter.

If you’re looking for a flexible yet effective way to build your personal credit, then you’re looking for the Capital One Secured Mastercard. If you spend responsibly with this secured card, you’ll be at that 550 threshold that the Spark Classic requires in no time.

Bento for Business Visa® Debit Card: Manage Spending Without Impacting Your Credit Score

No matter where your credit score lands, if you’re the owner of a registered business entity you can definitely qualify for the Bento for Business Visa® Debit Card. That’s because Bento doesn’t require a credit check to sign up—which means it doesn’t require any minimum credit score to qualify. And since it’s a debit card, it will never impact your credit score.

When you sign up for Bento, your card is hooked up to your checking or business banking account, and you’ll securely transfer cash directly onto the card to fund your credit line. That may sound a lot like a secured credit card, which are both funded with the cardholder’s own capital. But unlike a secured credit card, the Bento’s expenses are pulled directly from the cardholder’s own bank account. You won’t carry a monthly balance with the Bento card, so you can’t use this card to build credit.  

Rather than a credit-building solution, this is an excellent tool for business owners who delegate and manage spending for several employees. Bento makes it easy for the original cardholder to create and assign new cards, set spending limits, and track card activity—all without any hidden fees. Take advantage of its features while you graduate your credit from fair to good with the Spark Classic or the Capital One Secured Mastercard.

The Bottom Line for Business Credit Cards for Fair Credit

The bottom line for sifting through your business credit cards for fair credit options?

If you’re working with fair credit that rounds in higher than 550, then your decision should be a no-brainer—your very best business credit card option is the Spark Classic. With an unsecured line of credit, an unlimited 1% cash back for every dollar you spend, and no annual fee, the Spark Classic can’t be beat when it comes to business credit cards for fair credit.

However, if your personal credit score doesn’t quite reach the eligibility threshold for the Spark Classic, then you’ll need to build credit with a secured card option—the best of which is the Capital One Secured Card.

And if you’re delegating expenses to one or more employees, signing up for a prepaid business debit card that won’t impact your credit score is a no-brainer. Track, control, and manage employee spending with the Bento for Business Visa® Debit Card while you build you credit with a conventional credit card.

Either way, spending responsibly with those two business credit cards for fair credit will help you build and improve your personal credit score. If you keep at it, your credit will help you access some of the very best business credit cards available on the market.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brayden McCarthy

Brayden is Fundera's credit cards expert. He's passionate about helping businesses take advantage of the best credit card offers on the market, from the longest 0% intro APR periods to the richest cash back and travel rewards bonuses.

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