What to know before getting your first business credit card

By Emma Miller

When you’re running a small business, it is difficult to find the time and the will to research deeply into something, and business credit cards are no different. We just can’t tell if they are a better choice for our business or if there are real differences among the various options available. When you observe all the pieces of information out there, it is easy to get discouraged.

However, credit cards are a great way to build a credit history for your business. Although analyzing different card issuers and their offers can be time-consuming and strenuous, it is necessary because you want to make sure you made the right decision. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated if you know where to start – so, here are a few things you need to know when getting your first business card.

Business’s size doesn’t matter

Many novices in the business world believe that acquiring a business credit card is problematic when it comes to small businesses so they give up before they even start. The truth is often completely opposite since each credit card company has its own list of the required information; the trick is in finding just the right one for you.

While the strictest ones might only offer credit cards to incorporated businesses that have a tax ID number and employer identification number (EIN), some only ask for your business name. In case of a sole proprietorship, when asked for an EIN, you can simply provide your social security number. Meaning, when it comes to the business size since even a small business needs a credit card, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be able to get one.

Business card and personal credit record are separate

By going about this traditionally, the only point where your personal credit record and business card meet is at the very beginning when your creditworthiness is checked out in order to receive your business credit card. Since your business will most probably deal with larger numbers, it’s a good strategy to have your business line of credit and your personal credit record separate.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can disregard your duties and stop taking care of your business expenses. This kind of behavior, besides being irresponsible and unprofessional, can be also detrimental for you because the card issuer can come after you directly since your business card is guaranteed by your personal credit. So, small businesses will be able to work with larger amounts than they would as individuals but you still need to be careful and pay your business credit card bill on time every time.

Different cards come with different types of credit

When choosing the type of a business card, think hard about what you need – perhaps you would want to establish a credit history or if you would be traveling a lot, you might want to accumulate reward points. The latter could be particularly interesting for an entrepreneur applying for a credit card for the first time.

You can earn a flat or tiered cashback on each purchase, and not just traveling points, while the yearly cashback amount is usually limited by the card issuer. However, with an unlimited cashback credit card offer, there is no maximum capping on the cashback that you can earn throughout the year or during some promotional period. So, for you to be able to find a card that will cover your needs thoroughly, you first need to look into your business and then make a decision based on what’s on offer.

Strive to separate business and personal expenses

Regardless of whether it is more convenient or if the tax season is near, it is often tempting to mix business and personal expenses. You see an item for personal use that is a bit more expensive and you instinctively want to purchase it with your business card or you want to buy management software for your small business and you might find it easier to do it with your personal card – all of that is understandable but you should avoid it.

First, no matter how organized you are, you are also quite busy and it is not impossible for you to get business and private expenses mixed up among all your daily tasks. Secondly, you will make your accountant’s life easier if you keep them separated since sorting them out might be grueling as well as expensive for you. And thirdly, it is always wiser to have straightforward answers in case your tax return gets audited.


As mentioned earlier, building a credit history for your business is crucial if you plan on expanding it, and business credit cards are an excellent tool for that if you use them prudently. The good thing is that you can apply for one regardless of your business’s size and as long as you don’t mix personal and private business and you tend to your payments, you will build a strong line of credit. Naturally, to find a card that suits your business needs best, you would have to look into different card types and card issuers’ offers, but thorough research can lead to optimal results.


Emma Miller is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.

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