As a new business owner—or any business owner for that matter—one of the best ways to separate your personal and business finances, build your business credit, and improve your options for future financing is to responsibly use a business credit card.
However, if you have subpar personal credit, you may find it difficult to qualify for a business credit card. After all, although it’s not the only factor, your personal credit score plays a large role in whether your business credit card application is approved or denied by the card issuer. So, if you can’t qualify for traditional business credit cards, but you still want to improve and build your credit, as well as finance your business expenses, what do you do?
Luckily, you have options—and you might start with secured business credit cards.
on Bento for Business's secure websiteRead Full Review
1.5% or 1 point
|Read Full Review|
3x points, 2x points, and 1x points
|Read Full Review|
|Read Full Review|
Cash back match
2%, 1% cash back
|Read Full Review|
1% cash back
|Read Full Review|
|Welcome offerfree trial||Rewards rate||Annual feeif using less than 2 cards. $29-149 monthly for more||Minimum credit|
Great For: Businesses with past credit challengesRead Full Review
|Welcome offer||Rewards rateon all purchases||Annual fee||Minimum credit|
|1,000 points||1.5% or 1 point||25||450|
|Welcome offer||Rewards ratebased on where you spend||Annual feefor first year, after that, $40||Minimum credit|
|None||3x points, 2x points, and 1x points||0||N/A|
Great For: Business owners who need to build creditRead Full Review
|Welcome offer||Rewards rate||Annual fee||Minimum credit|
|Welcome offerAutomatic cash back match at end of first year||Rewards ratebased on where you spend||Annual fee||Minimum credit|
|Cash back match||2%, 1% cash back||0||N/A|
Great For: Business owners with fair or average creditRead Full Review
|Welcome offer||Rewards rate||Annual fee||Minimum credit|
|None||1% cash back||0||580|
A secured business credit card operates much like any other business credit card, with one significant difference: With a business secured credit card, you’ll be required to make a deposit (usually equal to some or all of your credit limit) to open your account. This refundable deposit is used as a personal guarantee and protects the card issuer from the possibility of you defaulting on the card. Other than this major difference, however, a secured business credit card functions much like any other credit card and you can use it to pay for your business expenses while improving your credit history with responsible spending.
So, what’s the best secured credit card for your business?
We’re here to help you find out. We’ll break down some of the top choices for secured business credit cards, exploring everything they have to offer—as well as discuss a few additional card options—so that you’ll have all of the information you need to decide what’s best for your business.
The Best Secured Business Credit Cards
Truth be told, there are actually very limited options for secured credit cards for business, as secured credit cards are most often used to build personal credit. This being said, however, for a secured credit card that is designed specifically for businesses, you might consider the Wells Fargo Business Secured credit card.
Before diving into the details of this Wells Fargo business credit card, however, it’s important to note that Wells Fargo will only report your activity on this card to business credit bureaus and not consumer credit bureaus. In fact, if you’re looking specifically for secured business credit cards that report to D&B, aka Dun and Bradstreet, the Wells Fargo Business Secured card is going to be your only option. Therefore, although this is one of the best-secured business credit cards for new businesses looking to establish and build business credit, this card will not help you improve your personal credit history.
With this in mind, one of the biggest benefits of this secured business credit card is that it not only accommodates business owners with previous credit issues and allows them to improve their credit, but it also offers a substantial ongoing rewards program. As a Wells Fargo Business Secured cardholder, you’ll be able to choose between a cash back or rewards points program, earning 1.5% cash back or 1x points on every dollar you spend. Additionally, with the rewards points program, you’ll earn a 1,000 point bonus when you spend $1,000 or more in a monthly billing period.
With the cash back program, you’ll receive your cash back automatically as an account credit or deposit to your eligible checking or savings account each quarter. On the other hand, with the rewards program, you’ll be able to redeem your points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more.
This being said, as a business secured credit card, you’ll be required to put down a deposit when you open your account—and your credit line can range from $500 to $25,000 based on the amount you deposit. Another benefit of this particular card, though, is that Wells Fargo will periodically review your account to determine if you’re eligible for an upgrade to an unsecured business credit card.
Furthermore, the Wells Fargo Business Secured credit card includes zero liability protection, no foreign transaction fees, online spending reports, and fraud monitoring. This secured business credit card will, however, require a $25 annual fee. You’ll have the ability to add up to 10 employee cards to your account as well, but each card you add will also require a $25 annual fee.
All in all, although this Wells Fargo secured business credit card will not help your personal credit history, it’s a great option for new businesses who need to build their business credit before applying for an unsecured card, as well as for business owners who have had business credit issues in the past and need to improve their business’s credit history.
For another secured credit card that is, in fact, designed specifically for businesses, you might consider the BBVA Secured Visa Business credit card.
Therefore, like the Wells Fargo secured business credit card, this is a great option for a secured business credit card for new businesses looking to build their business credit. This being said, however, to apply for this BBVA business credit card, you’ll need to visit a branch location—and the card is only available in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas.
Nevertheless, if you’re located in one of these states, you might look into the BBVA Secured Visa card as a way to separate your personal and business finances, improve your credit history, and earn rewards while doing so.
With this secured business credit card, you’ll earn:
Additionally, if you enroll your BBVA secured business credit card with Visa SavingsEdge, you’ll be able to save up to 15% with participating merchants. Moreover, BBVA includes free employee cards with your account and waives your annual fee for the first year. After the first year though, the annual fee will be $40. Plus, as a Visa cardholder, you’ll receive Visa Business benefits like purchase protection, travel insurance, and emergency assistance coverage.
This being said, however, as a business secured credit card, BBVA will require that you open a Secured Credit Card Savings Account with a minimum opening deposit of $500. The available credit on your secured business credit card, then, will be 90% of your savings account balance. You’ll be able to add funds in $100 increments to increase your limit.
Overall, despite the strict credit limits and location restrictions, this BBVA card is worth considering if you’re looking for a business-specific secured credit card that can help you improve your credit and earn rewards at the same time.
As we’ve mentioned, your options for secured credit cards designed specifically for businesses are limited. However, if you need to improve your personal credit in order to qualify for an unsecured credit card for your business, you have some additional personal secured credit card options. Although technically, you can use a personal credit card for business expenses, there are a variety of reasons why this isn’t the best course of action—more or less the same reasons why you shouldn’t use a business credit card for personal expenses.
This being said, though, if you do need to build your personal credit to help you qualify for a business credit card in the future, one of your best options will be the Capital One Secured Mastercard.
With the Capital One Secured Mastercard, you’ll be able to build your credit—as Capital One reports to all three major consumer credit bureaus. Additionally, unlike many other secured business or personal credit cards, this card has a flexible deposit allowing you to deposit as little as 25% of your credit limit. To get started then, all you have to do is make a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, and you’ll receive an initial $200 credit line.
Moreover, this card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and you’ll be able to manage your account 24/7 with both online and mobile banking. Plus, if you make your first five monthly payments on time, Capital One will increase your credit line with no additional deposit needed.
Once again, it’s important to remember that this Capital One secured card is a personal credit card, not a business secured credit card, and therefore, will not help you build or improve business credit. However, as a secured business credit card alternative, the Capital One Secured Mastercard is one of your best options to improve your personal credit so you can later qualify for a Capital One business credit card or other unsecured cards.
As an alternative to the Capital One Secured Mastercard, which earns no rewards, you might consider the Discover it Secured card. Once again, this secured card from discover is not a secured business credit card, but a secured personal credit card.
This being said, however, like the Capital One Secured card, the Discover it Secured card is a great option to rebuild your personal credit to increase your ability to qualify for a Discover it Business card or other unsecured cards in the future.
With this in mind, the Discover it Secured credit card will require a refundable security deposit equal to your line of credit. Therefore, if you want a $500 credit line, you’ll need to make a $500 deposit. Discover will report your spending on this card to all three major credit bureaus, so again, responsible spending will help your personal credit score, but not your business credit score.
Additionally, unlike many other secured business credit cards or secured personal credit cards, the Discover it Secured card allows you to earn cash back rewards. Specifically, you’ll earn:
You’ll be able to redeem your cash back in any amount, at any time, and your rewards never expire. Moreover, Discover offers a unique welcome bonus on this card where they’ll automatically match all of the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.
On top of this ongoing rewards system, the Discover it Secured card includes $0 fraud liability, fraud monitoring and alerts, free Credit Scorecards, 100% U.S.-based customer service, and no foreign transaction fees. Plus, starting at eight months after opening your account, Discover will perform monthly reviews to determine if they can transition you to an unsecured card account.
All in all, the Discover it Secured card is a pretty competitive offer for business owners with bad credit who need to improve their credit history before qualifying for a business credit card.
If you’re building your personal credit with a secured personal credit card—but still need a way to pay for your business expenses, you might look into the Bento for Business Visa debit card. As the name implies, Bento for Business is neither an unsecured nor secured business credit card, however, it can be a great solution for separating your finances until you can qualify for an unsecured business card.
This being said, as a debit card, the Bento for Business card allows you to fund your account in advance every month and make purchases based on that available balance. Therefore, although Bento doesn’t help you build credit, it allows you to set a hard spending cap, monitor employee spending, and download spending activity into your bookkeeping program of choice. Additionally, your Bento card gives you access to expense reports, 24/7 U.S.-based customer service, fraud coverage, and account management through a mobile and desktop app.
Moreover, Bento offers a 60-day free trial. Plus, when you apply for a Bento for Business debit card, you’ll receive a decision instantly without a credit check—making this one of the only business cards without a personal credit check requirement.
All in all, although Bento for Business is not a secured business credit card, it’s one of the best options to use in conjunction with a personal secured credit card. By combining these two card types, you can separate your business and personal spending while still paying for business expenses and improving your personal credit.
Finally, once you’ve used a personal or business secured credit card to build your credit score to 580 or above, you’ll have a chance at qualifying for an unsecured business credit card. Although most other unsecured cards will require an even higher credit score, the Capital One Spark Classic for Business is designed as a business credit card for fair credit.
This being said, with the Spark Classic, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases with no limit. The cash back you earn can be redeemed in any amount and will not expire for the life of your account. Additionally, this card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no balance transfer fee, and will allow you to add free employee cards that will also earn cash back.
Moreover, since Capital One is one of the only credit card issuers that reports business credit card activity to both consumer and business credit bureaus, you’ll be able to use this card (if you spend and pay responsibly) to build and improve both your personal and business credit.
Therefore, after you’ve improved your credit using a secured business credit card (or personal card), the Spark Classic is the next best step for you to continue to build your credit, pay for business expenses, earn rewards, and hopefully, help you qualify for a more competitive unsecured business credit card in the future.
Compared to deciding between other types of business credit cards, say a travel vs. a cash back card, for example, determining whether a secured business credit card is right for you is a little more complex. Essentially, as we’ve discussed, you have very limited options for secured credit cards for businesses specifically, however, you’ll likely want to consider a personal or business secured credit card if:
With this in mind, you’ll want to pay close attention to how any secured business credit card issuer reports your account history, as a business secured credit card that doesn’t report to consumer credit bureaus will not help your personal credit. In this case, if you need to improve your personal credit, you’ll want to skip a secured business credit card and opt for a personal secured credit card.
On the other hand, you might also explore your other options simply if:
If you can qualify for the Capital One Spark Classic, this is going to be a much better option for your business than any secured business credit card. Plus, if you don’t have any credit issues, there are a variety of business credit card options that will be able to offer you rewards, perks, and more.
At the end of the day, secured business credit cards are designed specifically for business owners with past credit issues (or no credit history at all) who can’t qualify for an unsecured business credit card. Therefore, if you’re asking, “Should I get a secured business credit card?” the answer will depend on whether or not you fall into the aforementioned category. If you can’t otherwise qualify for an unsecured card, a secured credit card will be your next best option—and a fairly easy business credit card to get approved for.
If you’re looking for a business secured credit card, the Wells Fargo Business Secured credit card really is your top option, as the BBVA secured card is only available in seven states. It’s important to remember, though, this Wells Fargo card will only influence your business credit history and not your personal credit history.
Therefore, if you can’t qualify for an unsecured business credit card due to your personal credit history, you’ll want to use a personal secured credit card, like the Capital One Secured or Discover it Secured cards to improve your credit. Plus, you can use one of these personal secured cards in conjunction with a business debit card, like Bento for Business, to improve your personal credit while separately paying for your business expenses.
Ultimately, your personal credit score is always going to be a factor in your ability to qualify for business financing—so you’ll want to do everything in your power to improve it if you have had credit problems in the past. Once you’ve boosted your credit to be able to qualify for an unsecured business credit card, then you’ll face a whole new process to determine which unsecured business credit card will be best for you.
Randa Kriss is a senior staff writer at Fundera.
At Fundera, Randa specializes in reviewing small business products, software, and services. Randa has written hundreds of reviews across a wide swath of business topics including ecommerce, merchant services, accounting, credit cards, bank accounts, loan products, and payroll and human resources solutions.