Business credit cards are an easy way to get an unsecured line of credit for your business. They should be part of any new business funding plan. In fact, it’s possible to use business credit cards as small business startup loans. But how do you give your company the best possible chance of getting approved for credit cards?
We all know the feeling of sending off a credit application, worried whether we will get an approval or a rejection letter. Unfortunately, there’s no magical solution to eliminate that feeling. However, there are certainly ways to improve the odds of being approved, and lessen the worry of being turned, down for business credit cards.
As a general rule of thumb, the trick is make your credit look like you do not need to borrow money. Here are six tips you can implement right away to improve your odds of getting approved next time you submit a business credit card application:
Do these things before you apply
- The first thing you can do is pay down outstanding balances on all your cards before applying. Make sure the new, lower balances appear on your credit report. There is a natural tendency to keep money in your checking account for a rainy day while carrying a balance on your credit card. Do the opposite! The credit card company knows how much you owe, not how much you have in your checking account. Lower credit card balances tend to increase your credit score.
- Do everything you can to get high-limit credit cards. If you don’t have any higher-line cards, you may want to request a credit line increase on your current cards. This demonstrates you can handle a credit card with a higher limit.
- Diversify your credit. Do not be afraid to open that retail store card. Not only do retail store cards give you great value and shopping discounts, they also strengthen your credit overall. If you demonstrate you can keep balances low on multiple cards, banks and credit card companies will fight for your business.
Do these things when you apply
- If you are going to transfer a balance, either to consolidate or take advantage of a promotional offer, list your intention to do so on the application. Credit card companies like to know you are not keeping an existing balance plus growing a balance on one of their cards. Remember, these companies love winning over business from their competition—other credit card companies and banks.
- Apply for a business credit card where you bank. When deciding whether to approve or decline your application, banks take your deposit history into consideration. If you have a good deposit balance, regular deposits from your job, and/or have managed your checking account well, the bank will likely conclude you manage your finances well.
- Make sure to list all of your income on your credit card application, i.e., your gross income. This is very important to remember. A lot of people deduct taxes, making their income look lower than the bank or credit card company considers it. Also include any additional income streams you may have, such as a pension, an annuity, rental income, or even alimony. Gross income is an important factor all creditors consider in ensuring you can pay off balances.
The bottom line about qualifying for business credit cards
You do not have to be a sitting duck when applying for business credit cards. There are a lot of things you can now do to be proactive and strengthen your credit. Even though banks and credit card companies will look at business documents such as your articles of incorporation, getting approved will ultimately depend on the strength of your personal credit. In sum, you want to shape your credit score to show your financial independence and responsibility. Following these tips will certainly improve your chances of getting the best business credit cards for your business.