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If you’re a business owner, using a business credit card for business expenses offers some big advantages. You’ll have access to a steady stream of working capital to finance your small business, and the potential to earn great perks and rewards. Unfortunately, if your credit score is less than stellar, you might be concerned about whether there are easy business credit cards to get approved for.
The higher your credit score, the more business credit card options you’ll have available to you. But even with bad credit, you’ll have some options. In this article, we’ll show you exactly what those options are and how your credit score affects access to business credit cards. Some of these easy business credit cards even come with decent rewards programs, so you can earn some extra cash while making essential purchases for your company.
Even though you use a business credit card for business purposes, your personal credit score plays a big role in helping you get approved. Often times, startups and freelancers apply for business credit cards as a mode of small business financing, but haven’t established a business history yet. As a result, card issuers rely heavily on your personal credit score when determining whether you qualify.
The most common personal credit score is called the FICO score. FICO scores are three-digit scores ranging from 300 to 850, or “bad” to “excellent.” You typically receive a score from the three major personal credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Generally, those scores are categorized as follows:
In general, you need a score that falls into the fair, good, or excellent buckets to qualify for the best business credit cards. If you have a lower credit score and are applying for a business credit card, the issuer will probably disqualify you from that card entirely.
Those with bad credit have fewer business credit card options available to them, but there are a few easy business credit cards to get approved for.
For the most part, when people talk about credit cards, they’re talking about ordinary, “unsecured” credit cards. But a few of the cards on this list of easy business credit cards are secured. There are important differences between secured versus unsecured credit cards. With an unsecured credit card, the issuer approves you for a standard credit limit, and you can charge purchases up to that limit.
A secured credit card, on the other hand, requires the cardholder to put down some of their own cash as collateral. That cash deposit also acts as the whole or the majority of your credit line. Because the credit card company is armed with that deposit in case you default on your payments, they’re more willing to extend secured credit cards to high-risk borrowers.
Other than the cash deposit, secured credit cards function just like unsecured credit cards, so you’ll carry a balance from month to month. Paying off that balance in full and on time will help you boost your credit score. If you fall behind on payments, the issuer will deduct your deposit to make the payment. The deposit is refundable if you close the credit card account and have paid all your balances on time.
Let’s say you put down a $500 cash deposit, your credit limit on a secured credit card might be limited to $500 or $1,000. This might not seem high, but secured business credit cards are easy to get approved for and act as a stepping stone to better credit.Eventually, you might be eligible for an unsecured credit card. Most secured card issuers report payment activity to the credit bureaus, so your credit score will benefit from responsible card usage. Keep in mind, however, that not all card issuers report to all three credit bureaus, so it’s best to read the fine print on your secured credit card to make sure.
Whether they’re secured, unsecured, or another type of card entirely (which we’ll explain in a bit), the following cards will help you build credit, earn perks, and better run your business. Most importantly, they’re all relatively easy to qualify for, making these the perfect options for people with challenged credit.
We recommend the Capital One Spark Classic for Business credit card as your first stop when looking for an easy business credit card. That’s because, at 550, this card has one of the lowest minimum credit score requirements you’ll find on an unsecured business credit card.
The Spark Classic has no annual fee, plus the card offers 1% cash back on every dollar you spend, with no limit on how much cash back you can earn. Those are perks that are hard to come by in business credit cards for bad credit.
As an unsecured credit card, Capital One reports card activity to the three major personal credit bureaus—so this card can help you build or rehab your credit score, as long as you’re paying your bills on time. Just be careful because Capital One also reports missed payments to the personal credit bureaus, and you don’t want your credit score to take a hit.
The Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card is a secured business credit card. Since it’s secured, the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card is an easy business credit card to get. They’ll work with borrowers who have credit scores as low as 450. Depending on how much cash you deposit, you’ll receive a credit line of any amount between $500 and $25,000.
Unlike most secured credit cards, the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card comes with more perks. You can choose to receive cash back or rewards points on all of your purchases. Should you choose cash back, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limit, making this an even stronger reward program than the Capital One Spark Classic. Should you choose rewards points, you’ll earn 1 point per $1, plus a 1,000 points bonus of when you charge more than $1,000 per month to the card.
Since this secured credit card intended specifically for businesses, you can order up to 10 employee cards. There is an annual fee of $25 per card, whereas the Capital One Spark Classic doesn’t charge an annual fee. You’ll also have access to Wells Fargo Business Online, so you can easily track and manage spending across all those cards.
Here’s another reason why this is a great starter business credit card: Wells Fargo periodically reviews your account usage to determine whether you’re eligible to graduate to an unsecured business credit card. They’ll make that decision based on factors like timely bill payments, low credit utilization, and personal credit score—which is just more incentive to use your business credit card responsibly, and boost your credit score in the process.
Keep in mind, however, that only existing Wells Fargo customers can apply for the secured business credit card online. If you don’t have an existing relationship with the bank, you’ll have to apply for this credit card in person.
The Capital One Secured Mastercard is actually a personal credit card, not a business credit card. We don’t recommend mixing your personal finances with your business finances, but there are very few secured business credit cards on the market. So, responsibly using a secured personal credit card strictly for business purposes could be a good way to start building your credit. Just avoid mixing personal and businesses expenses on the same card.
The Capital One Secured Mastercard is one of the most flexible secured credit cards on the market. While most secured credit cards require that you put down 90%—if not all—of your credit limit’s worth as a security deposit, the Secured MasterCard lets you put down a security deposit of as small as 25% of your credit limit, depending on your creditworthiness. Additionally, if you’re not able to put down your security deposit all at once, this card lets you pay it in installments, as long as it’s paid in full within 80 days.
The card issuer accepts credit scores below 550 to qualify, so that’s great news for those with challenged credit scores. The minimum required cash deposit is either $49, $99, or $200, and those with lower credit scores have a lower minimum required cash deposit. The initial credit line for cardholders is $200, but you’ll have the opportunity to raise that credit line if you make your first five monthly payments on time.
Capital One does not charge any annual fees on this card, which is also good news since you’re already putting down cash to create your credit line. On the downside, the Capital One Secured Mastercard doesn’t come with any cash back or rewards perks. However, Capital One does report card usage to all three credit bureaus, so if you use this card responsibly, you’ll be able to to build up your credit score and graduate to an unsecured credit card soon.
The Discover It Secured Credit Card is another secured personal credit card. As with the Capital One Secured Mastercard, you can choose to use this card exclusively for business to build up your credit. Discover will qualify you for a credit line, and then you’ll need to make a cash deposit that matches that amount.
Discover does not charge an annual fee for this card, and they offer a pretty good cash back program. You will earn 2% cash back on restaurant and gas station purchases, up to $1,000 in spending each quarter. You will earn 1% cash back on all remaining purchases, with no limit. Plus, after you’ve had the card for one year, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned.
This a good card for rebuilding credit because Discover reports your payment activity to all three credit bureaus. Plus, starting eight months after you open your credit card, Discover will review your account monthly and see if you’re eligible to receive a refund of your security deposit (essentially making this an unsecured credit card). You can access your FICO score for free at any time on your monthly statement, mobile, or online account, so you can track how your credit score is improving over time.
The Bento for Business is actually not a credit card at all, but a prepaid business debit card. Similar to a secured business credit card, you’ll load up your Bento for Business card using your own funds, and that amount becomes your credit line. You’ll hook up your business bank account directly to your Bento card, so you can easily, and securely, fund your cards anytime you want. Then, you can use the Bento anywhere that accepts Mastercards.
Unlike a secured business credit card, you’re not paying monthly bills to a credit card company, which means you can’t build credit with this card. But that also means that Bento doesn’t check your credit score at all when you apply, making this a great option for credit-challenged small business owners.
The real benefits of the Bento card are in its solutions for small business owners who need to manage employee spending. First off, you can order as many employee cards as you need, and set specific budgets on each of those cards. You’ll get the first two employee cards for free, and then pay one flat fee per account for all additional cards on a sliding scale.
Plus, the Bento can integrate into your business accounting software, so all card activity is readily available for you come tax season. Bento also has a mobile app and a dashboard, so you can track exactly which employees are using their cards—and where and how they’re using them—and manage their budgets accordingly.
Again, you can’t use the Bento to build your credit. But, the Bento doesn’t require any minimum credit score to qualify, making this an incredibly easy business card to get approved for. If you’re hoping to build credit, you’re best off using the Bento in addition to either a secured credit card, or the Spark Classic, once you can swing that 550 minimum credit score.
If you want to use a business credit card to help finance your small business, but your bad credit disqualifies you from most traditional business credit cards, know that there are some easy business credit cards to get.
Use these cards to build your credit, so you can ultimately advance onto an unsecured business credit card with more, or better, perks and rewards. In addition to using a credit card, sign up for the Bento for Business Visa Debit Card if you need to manage employee spending. There’s no credit check required, so you’ll have a shot at qualifying for this card even if your credit score is challenged.
Not only are these easy business credit cards to get, but they’re easy to apply for, too. You can apply for all of these cards online. The only exception is the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card, which you’ll need to apply for in person if you’re not an existing Wells Fargo customer.
Do keep in mind, however, that some of these card issuers will do a hard pull on your credit score when you apply. Hard pulls ding your credit score by a small amount—just about five points—but their impact declines over time. Definitely do your research, and only apply for one or two cards. With enough responsible usage, you’ll see your credit score start to grow.