Applying for business credit and charge cards is a great way to earn more miles and points than you already do, but many people don’t apply for business cards because they incorrectly believe they don’t qualify.
Do you qualify for a business card?
Myth #1: A business must have employees.
Your business can be a sole proprietorship, meaning only you work on the business. That’s how MileValue started, just Scott, and he has received several business cards for MileValue. I also have received multiple business cards for various side-hustles that only involve myself.
Myth #2: A business must be profitable.
Businesses are set up to earn profit, but they aren’t profitable all the time. One time when almost no business is profitable is when it is just starting. That’s a time when you have to put money into the business before you can start making money from it.
A new business–even if it’s not making money yet–is still a business, and you can still get a business card.
Myth #3: A business must have an EIN.
You can use your social security number in lieu of an Employee Identification Number (EIN) on any business card application with no issue.
Myth #4: A business must have it’s own name.
You can open a business credit card by filling in your own name in the business name field of an application. I just did this myself when opening a Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card.
Myth #5: A business must have it’s own location.
Your own personal address will suffice.
Myth #6: Selecting “Other” when classifying the type of company you’re running will get your application denied.
Absolutely not! If your business isn’t correctly classified by one of the drop-down menu options, then feel free to choose “Other”. It’s better to be truthful than to choose a category for the sake of being specific.
Examples of Businesses You May Currently Be Running
Most people reading this site probably make most of their income from a job working for someone else, so they may not consider their side money-making activities as a business. But those side activities could very well be businesses. Activities like:
- Seller on eBay
- Seller on Amazon
- Seller on Etsy
- Seller at consignment shops
- Seller at yard sales
- Seller of baked goods
- Seller of souvenirs from your trips abroad
- Seller and collector of coins, stamps, or coins
(Hat tip to Daraius for some of these)
If you are currently involved in one of these activities or something similar, you may find a business card helpful for running your nascent business. After all, business cards are a convenient way to track all the expenses of the business in one place, making it easy to compare that to your revenues to see whether the business is profitable.
Getting a Business Card is as easy as 1-2-3.
- Select the right business card for you.
- Apply for the business card online.
- Call Chase to answer a few questions.
1. Select the right business card for you.
The big things to consider are an appealing sign up bonus, good ongoing rewards for spending (think: category bonuses), and the ease of using the rewards.
2. Apply for the business card.
Fill out the form about your business truthfully.
3. Call the issuing bank to answer a few questions.
As soon as I fill out the application, I call the banks’ business reconsideration lines if I’m not automatically approved*. All it takes is a five-minute call, and I’m in business.
When the agent answers, I say, “Hi! I just applied for the [card.] I wanted to call and see if you needed any more information.”
At this point, the agent will find the application and ask you a few questions about your business relating to what it is; how long you’ve run it; and what its revenues, profits, and costs are. Answer these questions truthfully and politely, and you should have a decision within a few minutes.
If the rep asks why you want the card, you should answer honestly about your reasons, which probably have to do with tracking expenses and earning rewards for business activities.
If you have a relationship with the bank, you may want to highlight it on the call. Having a checking account or mortgage with the bank may make them more likely to approve you since they want to continue their relationship with you (although neither is absolutely necessary).
If you don’t think the call is going well, you can always try politely hanging up and calling back. I’ve never had to do that, but nothing limits you to one call to the reconsideration line.
Here are the numbers I use:
- American Express: 877-399-3083
- Chase: 800-453-9719
- Citi: 888-201-4523
- Barclay’s: 866-408-4064
- Bank of America: 866-695-6598
*The one exception to always making reconsideration calls is when you aren’t automatically approved for a cards issued by Chase. I say this because most people report higher approval rates by just waiting it out when they receive pending responses for Chase applications.
Most Business Cards Don’t Count Towards Your 5/24 Limit
If you have opened five credit cards from any issuing bank in the last 24 months, Chase will not approve you for their credit cards. This is what people mean when they reference the Chase 5/24 rule.
Luckily, business cards are exception to this rule–so if you’re trying to fly under the 5/24 limit, you can apply for most business cards without affecting your total. Why’s that? Business credit cards from the majority of issuing banks are not considered in your Chase 5/24 count because they do not show up as new accounts on your personal credit report. The only banks’ business cards that do show up on your personal credit card are those issued by Barclay’s and Capital One.
There are even enough data points out there now that I can pretty confidently say that Chase doesn’t even count their own business cards toward your 5/24 total.
Top Business Credit Cards Right Now
- Chase Ink Business Preferred: 80k Ultimate Rewards for spending $5,000 in three months, 3x Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
- Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express: 50k Membership Rewards for spending $5,000 in three months, 3 Membership Rewards per dollar spent on one these categories…
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
- …and 2 Membership Rewards per dollar spent on the four remaining categories.
- Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express: no sign up bonus but 2 Membership Rewards per dollar spent on ALL purchases
- Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express: 25k SPG Starpoints for spending $5k in three months. Great choice for non-bonused spending because points are so valuable (we value them at 2.5 cents each, mostly because they transfer to TONS of airline programs).
- CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard (specifically the 60k offer I posted about yesterday–the public bonus isn’t that good right now)
- Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi: specifically a good card for Costco shoppers. You’ll get…
- 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
- 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
- 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.
Many people have a small business even if it’s not their sole source of income. If you’d like a credit card to help manage that business and earn more miles and points, you may want to apply for business cards. You don’t need to be an incorporated business pulling in tons of money. You don’t need your own office anywhere and you certainly don’t need employees.
Applying for a business card is a simple, three-step process. Pick the right card, apply for that card online, and call the bank to seal the deal.