The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
- Business owners don't necessarily need a good credit score to qualify for a business credit card. Although there are fewer options available, there are still several options for business owners with bad, fair or no credit history.
- Review the qualifications and terms of the business credit cards you're considering, and compare the interest rates and fees associated with each card. If you plan on revolving balances, it is important to consider a card with a lower variable APR.
- Be sure to use your business card responsibly from the start so you can build your credit score. As your score rises, you will be eligible for a greater variety of credit products.
Small Business Saturday is November 25. Take advantage of our Small Business Saturday Guide for tips and advice from small business owners.
Business credit cards allow you to charge your company’s expenses while ensuring those costs remain separate from your personal expenses. High credit scores are usually required to qualify for business credit cards with the richest benefits, but getting a business card with bad credit is also possible.
To meet a greater number of potential cardholders, a few credit card issuers have developed business credit cards for bad credit. FICO scores range from 300 to 850 and scores starting at 670 are typically considered good. Depending on the card, however, acceptable credit scores can be below that figure. These products largely fall under the secured credit card category, which involves putting down a security deposit.
Whichever card you get, business credit cards for poor credit can help you manage your company’s costs while building a better credit score that will open up more credit options in the future.
Capital One Spark 1% Classic: Best for fair credit
Why we picked it: The Capital One Spark 1% Classic* has no annual fee and does not charge any foreign transaction fees. You will earn a flat 1 percent cash back on every purchase you make with the card, along with 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Other benefits include free employee cards, year-end summaries, virtual card numbers and roadside assistance.
- Unlimited 1 percent cash back on every purchase and 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
- $0 annual fee
- Free employee cards
- High 30.49 percent variable APR
Who should skip: Since the 30.49 percent variable APR is on the high side, this card is not for anyone who plans to carry a balance.
First National Bank of Omaha Business Edition Secured Mastercard Credit Card: Best for high credit limit potential
Why we picked it: With the First National Bank of Omaha’s Business Edition® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card*, you can request your own credit limit — between $2,000 and $100,000 — when you apply, subject to credit approval. Note that your security deposit is 110 percent of your credit limit.
This card also has a $39 annual fee. There is no rewards program, but it does have the Mastercard Easy Savings program, which allows you to save on purchases (with automatic rebates) when you use the card for qualifying purchases with participating merchants.
- Potential for a high credit limit
- Access to Mastercard Easy Savings
- Business management tools
- No rewards
- No welcome offer
- $39 annual fee
Who should apply: This card could be a good option for applicants with no credit history or credit in the bad scoring range (or a FICO score of 300 to 579), along with applicants who are looking for a potentially-high credit limit.
Who should skip: If your credit score is in the fair range, you may qualify for an unsecured business credit card, which does not require putting down a security deposit.
OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card: Best for business owners with bad or no credit
Why we picked it: The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is a solid option for business owners who may be held back from financing their business due to bad personal credit. No credit check is required, which takes a tremendous amount of pressure away from individuals recovering from bankruptcy. Instead, you’ll pay a security deposit between $200 and $3,000. Your credit limit is set based on how much you deposit into the account.
- Low 25.64 percent variable APR
- No credit check required
- No rewards
- $35 annual fee
Who should apply: This card comes with a low 25.64 percent variable APR, so it would be a better fit for business owners who may need to carry a balance from time to time.
Who should skip: This card is technically a personal credit card, not a business credit card. If you’re looking for a personal credit card to rebuild your credit, know that there are other secured credit cards available, some of which offer rewards and don’t charge an annual fee.
How to choose the right business card for bad credit
When searching for a small-business credit card for bad credit, or no credit history, consider the following:
What kind of credit history and credit score do you have?
Pull your consumer credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, available for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. Your credit files should be free of errors. If they’re not, dispute all inaccuracies. Then, access your credit score to see where you stand. With this information, you can focus on the credit products that are in your credit scoring range.
The better your credit score is, the easier it will be to qualify for a business credit card. Therefore, you may want to increase your score before applying. You can do this by sending all existing credit account payments on time and reducing your credit utilization ratio (owing less than 30 percent of what you can borrow is ideal).
Should you get an unsecured or a secured card?
Unsecured credit cards are more challenging to qualify for when your credit score is low. This is because they are based entirely on your financial circumstances, with a strong emphasis on your credit history and score. Secured credit cards are easier to qualify for because the credit card issuer can claim the funds held as collateral if you do not pay as agreed. Therefore, if you can’t qualify for an unsecured card but can set cash aside, a secured card can make a lot of sense.
What are the qualifications, interest rates and fees?
Review the qualifications and terms of the business credit cards you’re considering, and compare the interest rates and fees associated with each card. If you plan on revolving balances, it is important to consider a card with a lower variable APR.
Are there any rewards and benefits you will use?
Most credit cards designed for people with bad credit are slim on benefits, though some offer rewards programs and other perks. Learn what the benefits are for each card, and identify the card that best meets your needs and lifestyle.
Learn more: What to look for in a credit card for bad credit
Is a business credit card for bad credit right for you?
As a business owner, a designated business credit card is a smart idea even when your credit isn’t quite in the good range. You won’t have to use the cash you have on hand, which can be insufficient to meet your needs. Not only will you begin to establish a positive relationship with the issuing bank, but when the issuer sends information about your account activity to the credit reporting agencies, you can begin to build your personal credit and increase your score while also building your business credit.
The key is to treat the account carefully. Send all payments on time and either pay the entire bill by the due date or maintain a very low balance compared to your credit limit. By doing so, you will prove that you can handle business credit cards responsibly. As your credit score rises, you will be eligible for a greater variety of credit products.
The bottom line
Good credit scores are not always essential to qualify for business credit cards. There are several options for business owners with bad, fair or no credit, so choose the card that is right for you and your company. Once you have the card, use it responsibly from the start. Over time, even a single well-managed business credit card can help boost your credit score, so keep track of your progress and consider adding more beneficial business cards when you’re ready to expand your credit portfolio.
*The information about the Capital One Spark 1% Classic and First National Bank of Omaha Business Edition® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.