There are numerous reasons to have a dedicated business credit card for your company. Credit cards for business help you separate personal and business spending, which can be immensely helpful when getting your business expenses organized for tax time. Further, many of the top cards offer consumer protections, rewards programs, sign-up bonuses, special interest rates and travel perks.
Unfortunately, unsecured business credit cards tend to require good credit, so not everyone can qualify for the best offers. For those with poor credit, it’s common to be unable to qualify for any unsecured credit card at all.
If you haven’t established your credit or your credit is damaged, you may consider a secured business credit card where a cash deposit acts as collateral for the credit line. While secured business cards tend to offer fewer benefits than those that are unsecured, they can help you secure a line of credit and build a positive credit history over time.
Best secured business credit cards
Best secured business credit cards comparison table
|Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card||First National Bank of Omaha Business Edition® Secured® Visa Card:||Union Bank® Business Secured Visa® Credit Card|
|Best for||Rewards||Flexible credit limits||Low APR|
|Potential credit limit (with security deposit)||$500 to $25,000||$2,200 to $110,000||Up to $25,000|
|Other things to know||
Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card: Best for rewards
The Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card offers credit limits between $500 and $25,000, although your credit limit depends on how much collateral you put down. You can also earn 1.5 percent cash back, or 1 rewards point per $1 spent and 1,000 bonus points when your company spending equals $1,000 or more in any monthly billing period. This card comes free of an annual fee and foreign transaction fees to boot. You can even get employee cards for up to 10 employees.
Be aware, though, that your activity with this card will not show up on your consumer credit reports produced by TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Instead, you will establish a relationship with the bank and you may be able to open an unsecured credit product with them in the future.
First National Bank of Omaha Business Edition® Secured® Visa Card: Best business card for flexible credit limits
This secured business credit card is for applicants with bad credit who need access to an especially large credit line. To get it, you’ll have to open a First National Bank of Omaha savings account with at least $2,000, which will serve as collateral for your charges. If you have more cash to put down, you can deposit up to $100,000 to secure your line of credit, and the limit you receive will be 110 percent of your security deposit. There is a $39 annual fee for this card.
While there’s no rewards program, this card does have the Visa SavingsEdge program, so you can receive discounts from participating merchants when you use the card for qualifying purchases. With this secured business credit card, your credit activity will be reported to the consumer credit reporting agencies.
Union Bank® Business Secured Visa® Credit Card: Best for low APR
With the Union Bank Business Secured Visa Credit Card, you can receive a credit limit from $500 to $25,000 depending on your security deposit. Although it does not come with a rewards program, this card does have a few perks such as enrollment in Visa SavingsEdge. Also note that a $30 annual fee applies.
The primary benefit of this card is the low interest rate, at 13.99 percent variable. If you plan on rolling balances over from month to month, that rate will be instrumental in keeping costs low. Further, your credit activity will be reported to the consumer credit reporting agencies.
Pros and cons of secured business credit cards
Just by looking at the card options above, you can probably see where secured business credit cards come up short. With that being said, having a secured card for business is often better than the alternative—which is no business credit card at all.
Consider the main advantages and disadvantages of secured business credit cards before you sign up.
- Secured business credit cards can help you establish or build your credit
- A secured business card can help you track your business expenses in one place
- Some cards in this niche offer valuable perks and rewards
- You have to secure your line of credit with a cash deposit
- Secured business credit cards often come with low credit limits due to the collateral requirement
- Annual fees, foreign transaction fees and other fees can apply
Who are secured business credit cards best for?
If you’re a small business owner with poor credit, a secured business credit card may be all you can qualify for right now. While secured business credit cards don’t come with the same level of rewards and cardholder perks as unsecured credit cards for small business, they can give you the opportunity to either build or repair a credit history or form a valuable relationship with the issuer. After that, you may upgrade to a business credit card that does not require a security deposit, and you can reclaim the money held in deposit.
With that being said, it’s important to make sure you can spare the capital required to secure a line of credit with a secured business credit card. You may not have much cash to put down, and even if you do, you may not want to have your excess cash tied up for a lengthy period of time.
With all this in mind, secured business credit cards are best for:
- Business owners with poor credit who want the chance to start rebuilding their credit scores
- Small business owners who can afford to have cash tied up in a security deposit
- Business owners who need to have a credit card they can use for business purchases made in-person or online
How to choose a secured business credit card
Before applying for a secured business credit card, review the terms, requirements and benefits. The APR and fees should be reasonable for you. If a card you’re considering offers a rewards program, it should be easy to manage and one that you will use for your business.
Want to build your credit with the three major credit reporting agencies? Make sure the issuer reports to them. Because most business cards review consumer credit reports as a contingency for qualification, making sure your credit file is filled with positive data will be essential for ensuring your options are open in the future.
How to use a secured business credit card
When you are creating or repairing your credit history or forming a relationship with the issuer, it is essential that you treat your secured business credit card carefully. Use credit responsibly by following these steps:
- Only charge purchases you can afford to repay. That way, you won’t get started in a cycle of debt or wind up paying a ton of money in interest charges.
- Pay your credit card bill on time, every time. By avoiding late payments, you can prove your creditworthiness and boost your credit score over time.
- Keep your revolving debt to less than 30 percent of your available credit. Keeping your credit utilization low can also improve your credit score.
In the event you fall behind and cannot make your payments, contact the credit card issuer immediately. You may be able to work out a plan so that you keep the account in good standing. If you do not pay as agreed, the issuer can claim the amount that’s owed from the cash held in deposit.
Secured business credit card FAQ
The following questions and answers can help you understand more about secured business credit cards.
Are any unsecured business credit cards available to me if my credit isn’t perfect?
There are a few issuers that extend unsecured business credit cards to people with bad credit. However, they tend to charge fees and lack in terms of rewards and perks.
Can I use a personal credit card for business instead?
There is no law that says you have to use a business card to pay for your company’s expenses. Often, personal credit cards can be a fine alternative. If you do use a personal card for your business, make sure all of your expenses are separate from your personal costs. After building your credit with the personal card, a greater variety of business card options will be available to you.
When can I get my security deposit back?
If you do get a secured credit card, whether it’s a business or a personal card, the money you put down as collateral will be freed up when you close the account with no balance due. Some credit card issuers will convert a secured account into an unsecured account after you use the card responsibly for a certain time frame, so the security deposit will be returned to you after the transition.
The bottom line
Don’t let imperfect credit stop you from pursuing the credit card products that can help you and your business get ahead. While a secured business credit card may not be exactly what you hoped for, this type of card can make purchases more convenient and rewarding until your credit improves enough to qualify for a better option.