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Whether you’re trying to keep your business and personal finances separate, or you simply want to work on building business credit, you can get a business credit card with an employer identification number (EIN). While small businesses may have a tough time getting a small business credit card that accepts an EIN rather than a Social Security number, it’s possible to apply for credit only using your EIN.
Establishing your business credit card with an EIN is a relatively simple process: just sign up for an EIN, then use it in place of your Social Security number when applying for credit. Here’s how it works.
Why apply for business credit cards with an EIN?
When you apply for business credit, the credit card company will perform a hard inquiry on your credit line. This may not work for everyone, especially if your personal credit has recently taken a hot.
Fortunately, although corporate cards have stricter application requirements, it’s entirely possible to receive a business credit card without having to list your SSN. This makes it easier to keep your finances separate and won’t result in your personal credit score being affected by the inquiry.
Typically, however, if you’re just starting to establish business credit, you may not be able to qualify for a business credit card on your own—you need high revenue and good business credit. If you need a business card and don’t have business credit, you might need to look for a card that doesn’t require a personal guarantee.
On the other hand, if you do apply for a business credit card with your Social Security number, you can always reserve it for occasions in which you have already budgeted to pay it back. This helps establish business credit, and will make it easier for you to get a card without a hard inquiry on your personal credit.
How to apply for a business credit card with an EIN
It can be tough to find a card issuer who will let you apply with just your EIN. You’ll need to perform careful research and find a card that’s right for you. Here’s how it works:
- Find out if you’re eligible: First, it’s important to find out whether you’re eligible for a card. Don’t worry—you don’t need to be incorporated to get a business card, but you may miss out on some of the better benefits and signing bonuses. If you don’t have business credit, however, you might be additionally limited in finding the right card. Find out what your business credit score is, then research a card that works for your budget and needs.
- Gather the required information: Even if you only apply with your EIN, you’ll need to provide both personal and business information. This typically includes the business name and address, annual revenue, number of employees, estimated spending needs, and your EIN. Depending on the card issuer, they may have additional information requests. Remember to provide the information they ask for, without embellishing—you can always provide a business plan that accounts for your projected revenue. Beefing up the numbers can backfire.
- Research your options: The best way to get a business credit card with just an EIN is to work with your business’s bank first. Look into whether they issue business credit cards, and what kind of interest rates, welcome bonuses, transaction fees, rewards, and credit limits they offer. It’s also important that you understand how your credit card works: how you can use it, how you’re expected to pay back your purchases, and what happens if you fail to do so.
- Check your own credit: Finally, check your personal credit before you apply. If you can’t find a card issuer who will accept an EIN only, you’ll have to provide your own personal information. Furthermore, in that event, you’ll be personally liable for the business’s debts. (It never hurts to check your own credit report on an annual basis, even if you don’t plan to use your personal information to apply for business credit.)
The information you’ll need includes:
- Business name, address, and phone number
- Type of business and legal business structure
- Number of employees
- Annual revenue (projected or actual)
- Estimated revenue
- Estimated monthly expenses on your card
Startup business credit cards you can get with your EIN
Although this is not an exhaustive list, here are some of the credit cards you can get with an EIN alone:
- Bank of America Business Advantage: If you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days of your account, you’ll earn 30,000 bonus points.
- Ink Business Cash: You’ll earn $750 bonus cash back after spending $7,500 in the first three months.
- Amex Business Platinum Card: Get $200 in airline fee credits, plus 50,000 Membership Rewards Points when you spend $15,000 in qualifying purchases within the first three months.
- Capital One Spark for Business: This card offers a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $4,500 within the first three months.
- Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card: If your business brings in over a million dollars per year, you can get this card, plus a one-time $1,000 cash back bonus—or 100,000 bonus points after spending $25,000 in the first three months.
Get a NorthOne small business bank account
Business credit cards are just part of the small business finance equation. A business bank account is useful for a small business, in addition to a business credit card, if you don’t yet have one.
With NorthOne business banking you’ll access tools designed for small businesses and freelancers—plus tools that will make managing your funds simple. Read more today to learn more about your options, or sign up for an account. It’s the perfect complement to your business credit card, whether you apply with an EIN or SSN.