Our top picks of timely offers from our partnersMore details
Business credit cards allow you to keep your personal and business expenses separate and may offer attractive rewards and perks. Whether your business has a team of employees or is a side gig where you work for yourself, a business credit card can provide valuable benefits.
Luckily, you still have options. CNBC Select compared business credit cards you can get with poor or fair credit and analyzed each card's approval requirements, benefits and potential disadvantages to help you make an informed choice. Below are our top picks for business credit cards you can get approved for with less-than-ideal credit. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best cards.)
- Winner: Capital One Spark 1% Classic
- Runner-up: Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured credit card
- Best for building personal credit: Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 1% on all other purchases
Balance transfer fee
Foreign transaction fee
Who's this for? The Capital One Spark 1% Classic* is an excellent choice for business owners with fair credit. Typically, it's challenging to get approved for an unsecured business credit card without good credit. The Capital One Spark Classic* is a rare exception as it doesn't require a deposit and has no annual fee.
The card offers a straightforward cash-back program, as well as useful benefits for business owners, including free employee cards, no foreign transaction fees, year-end summaries and purchase records available to download in multiple formats.
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Balance transfer fee
4% of each transaction (minimum $0)
Foreign transaction fee
Poor/No credit history
Who's this for? The Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured credit card is a solid option for business owners who have poor credit but don't mind putting down a deposit to secure a credit line.
The minimum security deposit for the Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured is $1,000. If you get approved, it will also become your credit line. Later, as you continue to improve your credit score, Bank of America may upgrade you to an unsecured card.
The card offers above-average rewards, as well as benefits such as cash flow management tools allowing you to schedule automatic payments and transfers and download transactions into QuickBooks. Plus, if you have a Business Advantage 360 account with Bank of America, you can get free access to your Dun & Bradstreet business credit score.
Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year
N/A on purchases
Balance transfer fee
3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
Foreign transaction fee
New / Rebuilding
*See rates and fees, terms apply.
Who's this for? The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is ideal for business owners looking to build their personal credit.
Since a card issuer may check your personal credit when you're applying for a business credit card, improving your personal credit score can help you qualify for more lucrative business cards. The Discover it Secured is one of the best cards for building credit available on the market, thanks to its rewarding cash-back program and additional benefits, such as no foreign transaction fees.
Discover also makes it easy to transition to an unsecured line of credit. Starting seven months from account opening, Discover will automatically review your account, and if eligible, will upgrade you to an unsecured card and return your deposit.
- Do business credit cards verify income?
- Do banks check personal credit for a business credit card?
- How do I know if my business qualifies for a credit card?
- How long does it take to get a business credit card?
- How can a business get credit with bad personal credit?
- Can you build business credit with only an EIN number?
- Does an LLC have its own credit score?
- What is the lowest business credit score?
Credit card issuers may request proof of revenue or income, such as receipts, paystubs, invoices or other documents. For that reason, it's important to ensure you provide correct and verifiable information on your credit card application. Additionally, don't report any personal income, unless the issuer specifically asks for it or it's related to your business.
Credit card issuers will typically pull your personal credit when you apply for a business credit card. However, there are a few cards, such as the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card, that don't pull your credit when you apply.
Most businesses, from sole proprietorships to corporations, can qualify for a business credit card. A business doesn't have to be registered or incorporated to apply. However, an independent, unregistered or unincorporated business owner will also be personally liable for any business credit card debt they accrue.
Don't miss: How to check your business credit score for free
A business credit card approval process can take less than a minute — or as long as two weeks, depending on the issuer. Once you're approved, you can expect to receive your new business credit card in seven to 10 business days.
Getting approved for financing may be a challenge for your business if your personal credit is poor, but there still are options available, including business credit cards specifically for those with fair or bad credit.
Most lenders require you to provide your Social Security Number (SSN) when applying for a business credit card, but you may be able to open a corporate card with only an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Here are some ways you can check your business credit score for free.
An LLC is its own business entity, and once you start using it to open business bank accounts and get financing, your LLC will have its own credit scores and reports. To start the process of establishing credit for your LLC, you'll need an EIN and should register for a D-U-N-S Number — a business credit score number with the reporting agency Dun & Bradstreet.
Unlike personal credit scores that start at 300 and go up to 850, business credit scores typically range from 0 to 100, or 0 to 300 for business scores using the FICO Small Business Scoring Service (FICO SBSS).
Money matters — so make the most of it. Get expert tips, strategies, news and everything else you need to maximize your money, right to your inbox. Sign up here.
A low credit score can make qualifying for a business credit card a tough task. Luckily, you still have a few options.
Before you apply, read the card's fine print to make sure it fits your business needs. For instance, most credit cards for bad credit require a security deposit. Evaluate whether it makes sense for your budget to put one down and remember that you'll want to use less than 30% of your available credit. This way, you'll keep your credit utilization ratio low, avoiding damage to your credit.
As you keep using your credit card responsibly, you'll likely see your credit score improve. With time and patience, you'll be able to qualify for more rewarding business credit cards, such as the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. Terms apply.
To determine which business credit cards are the best picks for business owners with bad credit, CNBC Select analyzed the most popular credit cards available to U.S. business owners with poor or average credit. We compared each card on a range of features, including fees, minimum and maximum security deposit, APR, rewards and benefits for business owners, as well as any additional approval requirements and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is to redeem rewards.
The main criteria in our ranking were the rewards rates and accessibility to a small business owner without good credit. The fewer costs a card required, and the more rewards it offered to offset them, the higher it ranked on our list.
Click here to view the Cardholder Agreement for the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card.
For rates and fees of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, click here.
* Information about the Capital One Spark Classic for Business has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.